Friday, October 15, 2010

October 15

"On one side is the vitality of the Theater of Propaganda ... . On the other is the ideal of an art that catalyzes thought in order to create a community united not by a shared ideological project but by a common aesthetic experience, one with 'no gain beyond the priceless minute.'" [Orson Welles]

--Mark Wollaeger, "Propaganda in Hitchcock and Welles," Modernism, Media, and Propaganda (2006), p. 237; image from


--An answer to a survey question on what cultural diplomacy can provide; see also "Culture Vultures and Others" at


1950's propaganda - Communism Vs Capitalism


The same old story - Lubna Umar, John Sunol Blog: "The third meeting of the famous strategic dialogue between the allies, Pakistan and the US is due on the 22nd day of October, marking yet another foreign tour for our esteemed leaders to enhance their communicative competence and try their best to win the American leaders hearts and minds. Once again, the Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has aired large aims of proposing a list of numerous issues that would be on the discussion table from the Pakistan side. These include: economy, energy, education, defence, science and technology, strategic stability and non-proliferation, counter terrorism, agriculture, health, and communication and public diplomacy, which is quite a long list and probably would not receive the attention it requires as the Americans have a plan contrary to ours."

Thursday, October 14, 2010 - Mehmet Kalyoncu, "Both US President and Turkish Prime Minister can boost their respective countries' popularity by simply playing basketball and soccer

with the high school students in some countries they visit, especially in the Middle East and Africa... They should consider their hobbies as a tool for public diplomacy." Image from article

Press Roundtable at U.S. Embassy in Cairo Michael H. Posner Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Cairo, Egypt October 9, 2010 - Ren's Micro Diplomacy: "ASSISTANT SECRETARY POSNER: ... What I would say, and I’m not just talking about Egypt, I’m talking in general, is that the US Government has lots of people working and different people always have different views on when something should be made public.

What I would say more broadly is that the President’s speech at the General Assembly three weeks ago, and in Secretary Clinton’s speech on restrictions on civil society in Krakow, I think show that at the most senior level, this Administration in increasingly outspoken about human rights and democracy issues, and that translated into more activity in terms of our diplomacy, our public diplomacy, and the financial support we give to democracy and human rights organizations." Posner image from

50 Years Later: Personal and National Lessons from the Peace Corps "A welcome movement is underway to increase opportunities for Americans to volunteer abroad. (A 'summit on global citizen diplomacy' will address this issue November 16-18 in Washington, DC.) Those spearheading this effort would do well to remember what has made the Peace Corps successful, and to do everything they can to emulate it. The following paragraphs are taken from NAFSA’s 2008 paper, International Education: The Neglected Dimension of Public Diplomacy: 'The Peace Corps provides trained volunteers to live with the people of poor communities and help them work toward development objectives defined by the communities themselves. Volunteers share their skills with their communities, but also learn from and are enriched by their communities, and they bring their experiences back home to enrich Americans’ understanding of other peoples… It is impossible to overstate the importance of the concepts of reciprocal learning and responsiveness to local communities for public diplomacy. The America that people learn about from Peace Corps Volunteers is not an America that sells itself to them, has all the answers, or gives them things. It is an America that respects them, listens to them, shares with them, and learns from them—and that is an America that people can love. These concepts are absent from much of today’s public diplomacy conversation; that conversation would benefit greatly from focusing on what has made the Peace Corps successful.'" See also, via GD

“Public Diplomacy” and the Khmer Mountain Tribes - Abe Medoff, "The United States Information Agency (USIA) was the official public diplomacy (or propaganda depending on your of view) arm of the U.S. government. Created in 1953, it was active in Indochina during the French struggle against the Viet Minh and their allies. In Street Without Joy, Bernard Fall discusses one particularly successful USIA project with the tribe in the inland mountain areas of Vietnam: 'The tribesman had seen aircraft and jeeps, and even the French Ford sedan which their chieftain Deo Van Long had the French fly in for him (it took him six months of hard work by several hundred coolies to fix a few hundred yards of road upon which to drive it), but they had never seen anything like the hook-and-ladder assemblies shown in the film.

Neither had they ever seen flat land with no mountains on the horizon, or asphalted and straight roads. The hook-and-ladder rig swaying at 60 mph through the Illinois countryside became probably the greatest film success the T’ai hills had ever seen and for days on end, tribesmen would filter in even from the surrounding Communist-held areas to see the ‘big American car on the straight road’. USIS [USIA] and an Illinois fire department have many fast friends in some forgotten villages deep in Communist Vietnamese territory to whom America will forever mean nothing else but a hook-and-ladder truck on a paved road.' ... I think Fall’s story is still of interest in the modern context. Goodwill toward the United States was won in this case rather cheaply by a sincere display of ordinary America. Lost in the hysterics stirred up by Islamic extremists and others who espouse anti-American views is the fact that genuine America is a strong brand that can sell well. The actions of the U.S. government dilute this tendency and sometimes work against it, but it’s something that those charged with marketing America abroad should not lose sight of." Image from article

Obituaries for conservative writer Joseph Sobran conjure who's who of US international broadcasting - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Arts and Entertainment: Remembering Willis Conover - Voice of America: "Willis Conover's long-running 'Jazz Hour' broadcast on the Voice of America introduced millions of people in the former Soviet Union to American jazz.

Willis Conover would have been 90 years old this month. But his impact is still recognized today. With his deep baritone voice, Willis Conover brought jazz into the homes of listeners around the world, inspiring the next generation of stars. His daily hour-long jazz broadcast on the Voice of America was especially meaningful for those who tuned in from behind the Iron Curtain. Conover's 'Jazz Hour' was for many the only exposure to music from the West." Conover image from article

Free speech in a fishbowl: In a world where everyone has access instantly to what is said on the other side of the planet, free speech has to reckon with millions of new 'free listeners' - John Yemma, Editor's Blog, Christian Science Monitor: "Free listening is the flip side of free speech. It is about 200 years younger than the First Amendment.

I’d date its birth to 1987, when Moscow stopped jamming the Voice of America and other external broadcasters. Free societies don’t jam. They let the marketplace of ideas decide, as John Stuart Mill said they should. They trust their people, even when they say and do jerky things. North Korea, China, Iran, and a few other countries still don’t allow unfettered access to the Internet, but most of the world is clicking, watching, and listening." Via; image from

Communication Award for NATO - ‎press release, Media Newswire: "Denmark’s Minister of Defence Gitte Lillelund Bech will present 'The Danish Defence Minister’s Communication Prize' for 2010 to NATO’s Public Diplomacy Division on Thursday, 14 October 2010. In announcing its selection, the Danish Ministry of Defence highlights 'NATO HQ’s web-based communication, including the coverage of the ISAF operation in Afghanistan.'”

France frets about its image abroad - Angela Doland, The Associated Press: "Many in France see the country as open to the world and a champion of human rights, a nation bound by liberty, equality and brotherhood. But tough government law-and-order policies including crackdowns on Gypsies and a ban on Islamic veils are causing trouble for France's image abroad. A report handed this week to President Nicolas Sarkozy's conservative party says the country should use stronger public diplomacy to better explain itself. The report, commissioned by Sarkozy's UMP party, lists recent developments that were popular at home but baffled or angered observers in other nations. A new law forbidding burqa-like veils in public has upset Muslims at home and abroad.

And from the United Nations to the Vatican, critics have questioned France's expulsions of hundreds of Gypsies, or Roma, back to their homes in Eastern Europe. ... The author of the UMP report, Frank Melloul — a party member who plans strategy at France's state-run international broadcasting company — says he isn't criticizing the government's positions. But 'when you make a bold political decision, you always have to ... think not just of public opinion inside the country, but also outside the country,' he told The Associated Press. Asked how he would 'sell' France's crackdown on the Roma, for example, Melloul said that though France is the country of openness, liberty and fraternity, the government must stress 'that there are also laws and rules when you live in France, and you can't break them.' ... Melloul suggests that France needs a 'special representative for public diplomacy.' There must also be more 'synergy' between France's international broadcasting, its development agency and its cultural outreach, his report said. He also believes new technology is key. That sounds straightforward enough, but when the government launched a promotional site called this summer on Bastille Day, the site crashed almost immediately and stayed down for a month — a very global embarrassment." Image from

Hasina emphasises ties with China - The Daily Star: "[Bangladesh] Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has underscored the need for collaboration with China in the field of science and technology, energy, power, culture, sports, health, education, communications and human resources development. She emphasised cooperation between the two countries when a Chinese delegation led by Chen Haosu, president of Chinese Peoples Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, paid a courtesy call on the prime minister at her office yesterday. PM's Press Secretary Abul Kalam Azad briefed reporters about the meeting. Hasina told the delegation that Bangladesh has a historic relation with China and expressed hope that the friendship between two peoples will be deepened through multi faceted public diplomacy programmes and enhanced people to people contacts."

Image from article: Chen Haosu, president of Chinese Peoples Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, calls on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at her office in the city yesterday

Peace and Conflict - Laura McGinnis, manIC: "It's long been acknowledged that China's human rights track record doesn't exactly mesh with the UDHR [Universal Declaration of Human Rights, of which China is a signatory] philosophy, and this new prize [the receipt, by Liu Xiaobo, of the first Nobel Peace Prize to be won by a Chinese national] is the latest situation to bring that problem into the harsh glare of an international spotlight. China has resisted international pressure in the past, but schisms between words and action can impede public diplomacy and soft power in general by undermining a nation's credibility."

Qatar: Better Public Diplomacy Through Online Translation - Neal Ungerleider, "A new online project aims to bring American and Qatari teenagers together through crowdsourced translation exercises that could have ramifications for public diplomacy. The Clinton Global Initiative

and Qatar Foundation International (QFI) have a unique idea for bridging the American-Arabic cultural gap: An online project aimed at bringing American and Qatari teenagers together through crowdsourced translation exercises. Entitled YALLAH (Youth Allied to Learn, Lead and Help), the program launched on October 1 with a crowdsourced website open to more than 150 participants, all teenage alumni of the QFI's prior exchange, culture and study abroad programs. Non-profits, of course, love acronyms for their programs; 'yallah' means 'let's go' or 'hurry up' in Arabic. ... San Francisco-based non-profit Meedan is responsible for the translation mechanism. The idea is quite simple: English and Arabic writing are automatically translated into the other respective language via computer. Once the automatic translation is complete, site participants restructure the translation for coherence and readability." Image from

This Week in PubHub: The Essential Role of Arts and Culture
- Kyoko Uchida, PubHub, "According to Promoting Public and Private Reinvestment in Cultural Exchange-Based Diplomacy, a new report from the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, arts and culture are also an essential component of public diplomacy. The study reviews the decline of U.S. cultural engagement on the global stage since the 1990s -- of the fifty-one private and corporate foundations that supported international arts exchange in 1994, the report notes, thirty-two no longer do so -- and makes the case for renewed investment in cultural exchange as a means of promoting dialogue and greater mutual understanding. What are your thoughts about the role of arts and culture in the current educational, social, economic, and global environment? Which benefits of arts and culture programming are most important to measure, and how should such measurement be funded? And how, if at all, is the role of foundations with respect to the arts and arts funding changing? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below. And be sure to check out PubHub, where you can browse nearly four hundred additional reports related to arts and culture."

ISA Working Group on Public Diplomacy - Matt Armstrong, "The International Studies Association was founded in 1959 to promote research and education international affairs. Its annual conference is a significant event for relevant academic communities. The next annual conference will be in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, on March 16-19, 2011. More significant for the readers of this blog, the 2011 conference has a new addition: Working Group on Public Diplomacy."

Brookings' Amr to USAID‎ - Josh Rogin, Foreign Policy: "Hady Amr, the founding director of the Brookings Institution Doha Center, will join the United States Agency for International Development, The Cable has confirmed. Amr

has been appointed as deputy assistant administrator in USAID's Middle East bureau. ... Over his long career as an author and analyst on Middle East diplomacy, Amr has managed projects sponsored by the World Bank, the Ford Foundation, the United Nations, USAID, and others, according to his bio on the site of his consulting firm, Amr Group. During the Clinton administration, he helped establish the Near East and South Asia center at the National Defense University. In 2004 he authored 'The Need to Communicate: How to Improve U.S. Public Diplomacy with the Islamic World.'" Amr image from article

New colonel takes command of Air Force Intel Group‎ - Bonnie Heater, The Fort Gordon Signal: "The former strategy director for the Force-Reintegration Cell, NATO International Security Assistant Force, Kabul, Afghanistan took command Oct. 1 of the Air Force 480th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group (Provisional) at Fort Gordon. Lt. Col. Daniel Simpson relinquished command of the 480th I.S.R. Group (Provisional) to Col. Michael Meyer Oct. 1 on Barton Field. ... [Meyer] was an Air Force National Defense Fellow assigned to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence for academic year 2008-2009. During his fellowship, his research focused on cultural intelligence, information operations, and social networking tools for public diplomacy."

President-Elect of the Association of International Education Administrators To Join Bryn Mawr as Senior Advisor for International Initiatives - Bryn Mawr Now: "Bryn Mawr alumna Susan Sutton ’69 will be returning to the College in January as a special consultant. She will serve as the College’s Senior Advisor for International Initiatives, announced Bryn Mawr President Jane McAuliffe today. ... She is ... the president-elect of the Association of International Education Administrators (AIEA), on whose executive board she has served since 2005.

AIEA is the only U.S. professional organization to focus exclusively on the needs and issues facing senior leaders in the field of international education development. The organization has made significant contributions to the growth of international education and outreach, institution building, research collaboration, and public diplomacy." Sutton image from article

Kenya: Home Sweet Home?? - Ryan and Katharine Keith, A World Not Our Own: A Public Diplomacy Blog:

"Katharine Keith said... I always expect to see some strange land and find it just feels like another American city! This is why travel is so good for public diplomacy. It helps you realize that people around the world are much like ourselves!" Image: Ryan and Katharine Keith image from blog

Public Diplomacy in a Changing World (Paperback) - Lists eight recent books on public diplomacy.

Faculty/PDF/Grad St SEMINAR: Fulbright Awards for Research in the US (Nov 15 application deadline) - University of British Columbia: "Visiting Research Chairs •For scholars who wish to conduct research and/or teach at one of the Visiting Research Chairs Program’s partner universities (see for list[1]). $25K USD for one semester + health benefit plan.

[1] 2010/11 Chairs include: North American Studies, Canadian Studies, Transborder Studies, International Business, Creative Writing, Journalism, Law & Society, Public Diplomacy, Canada-U.S. Relations, Humanities/Social Sciences/Sciences. See website for list of participating institutions." Image from

Paid Staff Internship offered at National Council for International Visitors; Washington, DC (10/14/2010) - "Spring 2011 Paid Staff Internship Location: Washington, District of Columbia, 20005-2401, United States Organization: National Council for International Visitors. ... The National Council for International Visitors (NCIV) is a nonprofit organization 501(c)(3) whose mission is to promote excellence in citizen diplomacy, the idea that the individual citizen has the right—even the responsibility— to help shape U.S. foreign relations, as our members phrase it, 'one handshake at a time.' ... *Qualifications: ... Background and interest in citizen diplomacy, public diplomacy, international education and exchange ..."


How can North Korean propaganda fail, with music as "exciting as a volley of multiple launch rocket systems"? - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting


Norway's grassy roofs, Boing Boing

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