Exchanges Connect is an international online community managed by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational & Cultural Affairs that highlights first-person stories about cultures, commonalities, and exchange program experiences. Image from Exchange Connect.
Cultural Diplomacy as a Listening Project? (November 8)
Was strategic dialogue a success? - Mohammad Jamil, pakobserver.net: "The term strategic dialogue denotes that there is no strategic partnership and efforts are being made to evolve such partnership. But the problem is that despite being allies in war on terror, Pakistan and America are at cross purposes, as there are differences over interests, objectives and goals. ... By announcing military aid of $2 billion for Pakistan, which has yet to be approved by the US Congress, the United States is pressuring Pakistan to allow more CIA officers into the country to expand US secret operations aimed at eliminating militant havens near the Afghan border, as reported by an American newspaper on Saturday.
During the ministerial-level bilateral Strategic Dialogue that was launched in Washington on March 24-25, 2010, thirteen separate working groups were formed on agriculture; communications and public diplomacy; defense; economics and finance; education; energy; health; law enforcement and counter-terrorism; market access; science and technology; security, strategic stability and nonproliferation; water; and women’s empowerment had met." Image from
Unequal partners: American and Pakistan – a huge gulf in between - Uday Shanker, GreaterKashmir.com (press release): "Two things stood out as the U S Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi spoke at a joint press conference in Washington D C after their meeting at the conclusion of the third round of strategic dialogue between the two nations. One, the United States doesn’t treat Pakistan as an equal and, secondly, there is a vast trust deficit between the two. ... First thing that was noticed by everyone was that while Hillary Clinton was addressing Qureshi as (Foreign ) Minister, Qureshi was profusely using the prefix of 'Madam'. It is in the Asian culture to address women with respect, but when it is a matter of public diplomacy, there should have been some sense of equality. It was not there. 'Thank you, Madam Secretary. Thank you for the leadership you have provided. Thank you for the understanding and thank you for the friendship that you have extended. Working with you has been indeed a wonderful experience,' he said as if Washington was doing a great favour to Islamabad."
US Embassy Local Grants Program in Afghanistan - fundsforngos.org: "The U.S. Embassy Kabul Public Affairs Section (PAS) of the U.S. Department of State is pleased to announce funding is available through the embassy’s Public Diplomacy Grants program. 1. Expand media engagement. 2. Build communication capacity of the Afghan people and government. 3. Counter extremist voices that recruit, mislead, and exploit. 4. Strengthen people-to-people ties to deepen the partnership between communities within Afghanistan and between
Afghanistan and the United States. Funding is available for projects that increase the scope, capacity, and participation of civil society in building up the media and communications sectors in Afghanistan, that serve to support and develop Afghan voices and new leaders capable of contradicting extremism, and that support civil society and boost institutional capacity. The deadline to apply is 4 November 2010." Image: U.S. Embassy Kabul from
Remarks to Participants in the Edward R. Murrow Program for Journalists - Judith A. McHale Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs DuPont Hotel Washington, DC October 25, 2010 - U.S. Department of State: "On behalf of the Department of State, I am very pleased to officially welcome you to the United States as participants in the fifth Edward R. Murrow Program for Journalists. We are honored and excited to have you here – 150 talented journalists representing the full spectrum of news media around the world. ... Edward R. Murrow was one of the great figures in the history of American journalism. He pioneered broadcast journalism, from his radio reports on London rooftops during World War II to his courageous television reporting on some of our most difficult political issues in the 1950s. He demonstrated that the 'new media' of his time could be used to provide serious, accurate, and timely news coverage to the American people. Murrow also believed in the importance of international engagement and understanding, from his pre-journalism years as Assistant Director for the Institute of International Education to his leadership of American public diplomacy as Director of the United States Information Agency under President John F. Kennedy."
U.S. to Send Visual Artists as Cultural Ambassadors - Kate Taylor, New York Times: "In recent years the State Department has relied on performing artists to act as cultural ambassadors, sending dancers and musicians around the world to show people that America is more than just Hollywood movies, McEverything and two drawn-out wars. But under a new $1 million program being announced this week, the Obama administration is planning to expand its cultural diplomacy programs to include visual artists like painters and sculptors, who will be asked next year to create public art projects in 15 foreign countries. 'To me, visual artists are just as capable as other artists of capturing a dialogue with people,' said Maura M. Pally, a deputy assistant secretary of state who is overseeing this two-year pilot program. The new program, known as smART Power, will be administered by the Bronx Museum of the Arts, which was selected from a dozen institutions to choose the artists. They will be sent to places that include Pakistan, Egypt, Venezuela, China, Nigeria and a Somali refugee camp in Kenya. The museum will put out an open call for proposals early next year; the 15 artists will be selected by a panel of experts put together by the museum. Holly Block,
the museum’s director, said she had no preconceived notion of what projects the artists should undertake. ... Cultural diplomacy, once a staple of American foreign policy during the two decades after World War II, has experienced a resurgence since 2001. That year the State Department’s cultural diplomacy programs had a budget of $1.6 million; in 2010 the budget is $11.75 million. The budget increased 40 percent between 2009 and the current fiscal year. (It is not expected to increase next year.) This year the department initiated a program that sent three American dance companies to do four-week tours in Africa, East Asia and the Pacific, and South America. Ms. Pally said that the program, which was administered by the Brooklyn Academy of Music, was considered a success and would be repeated and expanded next year." Holly Block image from
Arabic literacy program kicks off - waronterrornews.typepad.com: "During a ceremony at AL-Nahrain University, Baghdad, Iraq, Oct. 23, representatives from the Provincial Reconstruction Teams, United States Forces – Iraq, and senior officials from the Government of Iraq gathered to celebrate the beginning of the Arabic Literacy Program. The program, the first of its kind in Iraq, was created as an effort to tackle the major illiteracy problem in Baghdad and began as a Multi-National Forces-Iraq initiative followed up with PRT support. After months of planning, coordinating and training with Iraqi Non-Governmental Organizations,
Government of Iraq officials, United States Forces-Iraq, and PRT representatives, more than 400 literacy centers will be opening their doors this month with the hope of reaching over 20,000 adults. 'We worked with our Iraqi partners to help them find Iraqi solutions to an Iraqi problem – illiteracy. For the cost of a small grant, we were able to give added momentum to an Iraqi-led project that will ultimately teach thousands of Iraqis basic literacy skills,' said Eric Turner, public diplomacy officer, Baghdad Provincial Reconstruction Team." Image: Dr. Nehad al Jaboury, Dr. Falah Ahmed, PRT-B team members and school representatives stand before boxes of My Arabic Library being donated to Baghdad schools from
Alhurra: Today, Tomorrow and Beyond - Brian T. Conniff, Perspectives, Vol. II Issue 10, October 2010, Layalina Productions: "Alhurra is not the same channel that started in 2004. This is reflected in the programs, professional presenters, caliber of guests and how programs are received in the region.
Alhurra has become a reliable source of news and information for indigenous and international media organizations and is consistently cited as a source of news by other media outlets. Having a credible voice in the Middle East is critical to the future of building bridges among cultures and fostering a better understanding of people." Conniff image from article
VOA Must Do a Better Job at Depicting American Life - Helle Dale, Heritage Foundation: "[R]eform of PNN [Voice of America’s Persian News Network] ... underscores just how important U.S. international broadcasting continues to be in closed societies like Iran. ... [T]he competition to define America and what it stands for is ... intense, not just in Iran, but around the world. ... If Iranians are receiving most of their information about the United States from either Hollywood or Iranian propaganda, it is clear that the U.S. government’s public diplomacy institutions have their work cut out for them."
Internet Anti-Censorship: Circumvention Tools - Alex Belida, VOA News Blog/VOA Media Watch: "VOA uses web-based proxy servers to distribute the latest news and information via the web to reach target audiences in countries like China and Iran, where the main VOA web sites are blocked. Since governments like these block access to proxies once
they discover them, the addresses are replaced frequently and new ones sent out in email newsletter to allow users continued uncensored access to the web. VOA also provides links to audiences in countries like China and Iran that enable them to download a special software called Freegate that users can install on their computers to permit them to have direct, uncensored access to the web without the use of special web-based proxies." Image from
BBG strategic review will try to reconcile "unique roles" and "efficiencies" - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting
Hillary Clinton "raised concern" about BBC World Service budget cuts. And more BBCWS update - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting
Afghanistan War: How not to win over hearts and minds - Jean MacKenzie, GlobalPost: "Radio Liberty is giving away 20,000 ... [Chinese-made radios] in Afghanistan in a bid to get more reliable information out to a population that so far relies mainly on word of mouth and rumors spread through mosques, bazaars and mobile phones.
'We hope these radios will help to counter propaganda from the Taliban and other extremists,' said Akbar Ayazi, Radio Liberty’s associate director for broadcasting. Quite possibly the radios will be used as most radios are: to listen to music. But given the Taliban’s restrictions on any form of entertainment, that might just be the most powerful counter-propaganda of all." Image from
Wikileaks crap: Tell me one thing - Thomas E. Ricks, Foreign Policy: [Comment by Cow Cookie:] "Wikileaks and its ilk are a reality we must face in a globalized world. It is counterproductive for the United States to condemn aggressive tactics in one arena and wink at them in another. A much better course would be to tighten security at the source, step up public diplomacy and get ahead of negative narratives by acknowledging realities on the ground."
NATO Honored with Danish Defence Minister's Communication Prize: Recognizes excellence in web-based communications via natochannel.tv and digital distribution via Synaptic Digital's thenewsmarket.com portal - PRNewswire: "NATO, a longtime client of Synaptic Digital, was awarded a Communications prize for its development of web-based communication, including the natochannel.tv, and its coverage of the effort in Afghanistan. The prize was awarded on October 14th by Ms. Gitte Lillelund Bech, Danish Minister of Defense, who presented the Communication Prize to the NATO Public Diplomacy Team."
BBC's quick-fix licence fee deal will have long-term consequences - James Robinson, The Guardian: "[I]t's very unclear who will have ultimate responsibility for the World Service. Who will decide on the priorities? How will the BBC Trust decide between audiences in Accra and Accrington?
What if licence payers object to their money being spent abroad? How long before parts of the domestic BBC feel they are being cut to fund the World Service? Radio 2 or Russian? Will the World Service still be part of Britain's policy for public diplomacy? If so, what role will the Foreign Office have? If not, then what is the justification for spending public money on overseas audiences." Image from
Billionaires for Peace - Nissim Dahan, MidEastYouth.com: "In this clash of civilizations, the clash between parts of the Muslim world and the Western world, the war is being waged on several dimensions by the extremists, but the Western response has been somewhat lacking. The West is being challenged on several fronts, and therefore, has no choice but to respond accordingly. ... We need a vision which will counter the arguments made against us, and which will help us to beat the extremists at their own game. A good vision for us to embrace will be a vision which puts together all the pieces of a possible solution to our most intractable problems—the Economy, the Environment, and Extremism—which packages those pieces in the most compelling and attractive way, and which allows us to sell that vision to the man on the street. We call that vision Selling a Vision of Hope . ... We can use private diplomacy to convince some of the key players in the Middle East that coming together in peace is the only way of staving off some very common existential threats which loom menacingly right around the corner. In addition, however, once we begin selling people on a Vision of Hope, we can use Public Diplomacy to sustain the hope, by launching a series of Public Diplomacy Programs which are specifically designed to prop the vision up and to carry it forward, such as: a program to Empower Women, a Student Exchange, a Cultural Exchange, a Media Campaign, an expanded version of the Peace Corps, and a series of International Conferences."
Iran took a look at Turkey's Playbook - theHillsbergblog: "Instead of being the polarizing, intimidating power, Iran has recently put on its 'friendly face' in the region. Though it still has traditional rivals such as Saudi Arabia,
I think it is significant that Iran is doing some public diplomacy work. By giving aid and improving relations with other states in the Middle East, its trying to build some friends. Especially with Lebanon, which has recently been somewhat ignored by the United States, it is important that Iran is finally utilizing the friendly Hezbollah power." Image from
China pays a high price in new world order - Pang Zhongying, Global Times: "Branding China as a free rider on the international order not only affects China's relations with the West, but also has strongly negative effects on China's international image. Fighting this argument is a huge public diplomacy problem for China. Yet, so far, the response has only been that China is still a developing country, preoccupied by domestic issues, that can only shoulder limited international duties. As the nation becomes stronger, it will shoulder more responsibilities."
IDF and Chinese army spokesmen to cooperate: Chinese Army officers will take courses at IDF Spokesman's Office facilities - Li-or Averbach, Globes: "The IDF Spokesman's Office will collaborate with the Chinese Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) Spokesman's Office. Sources inform 'Globes' that IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Avi Benayahu and a delegation of officers today returned to Israel from Beijing, where they agreed to review cooperation between the two spokesmen's offices. During the visit, Benayahu spoke to PLA spokesmen about issues in the Middle East and challenges facing the IDF and its units.
He provided the PLA with information on various issues that the IDF Spokesman's Office has to handle. One of the issues that the IDF Spokesman's Office raised is public legitimacy. The sources said that the PLA Spokesman's Office asked for training for spokesmen in urban combat situations, and in public diplomacy." Image from
Time for Aussies to lose 'bogan' chant? - Rory Gibson, The Courier-Mail: "British public diplomacy expert Simon Anholt was in Australia for an international education conference. Anholt runs an annual global survey gauging how countries are perceived by others, and his message for Australia is not good. We are seriously on the nose, dropping from a very high rating as a 'welcoming' country to being seen, in his words, as a 'pariah state'. Much of this stems from the attacks on Indian students in Melbourne over the past two years, with the fallout from the publicity spreading to countries including China, South Korea, Mexico and Brazil."
Yim decorated with Hungarian order - koreaherald.com: "The Hungarian government last week bestowed the Officer’s Cross Order of Merit to the former president of the Korea Foundation for his work in improving cultural and educational ties between the two countries. Yim Sung-joon 'was there from the beginning when we established diplomatic relations,' said Hungarian Ambassador Miklos Lengyel to The Korea Herald. ... Before heading the mission in Seoul, Lengyel, during his parliamentary hearings, explained that he wanted to improve cultural, educational and public diplomacy as well as increase commercial trade between the two nations. “So this is where the role of Mr. Yim is very important,” said Lengyel. As an organization, the Korea Foundation assists foreign missions in Seoul organize cultural events. ... 'When I became the president of the Korea Foundation in 2007, I worked vigorously to enhance stronger cultural, academic and intellectual ties between our two countries,' said Yim."
Image from article: Hungarian Ambassador Miklos Lengyel decorates Hankuk University of Foreign Studies professor and former president of the Korea Foundation Yim Sung-joon with the Officer’s Cross, Order of Merit.
Azerbaijan and Argentina discuss cooperation prospects - Trend News Agency: "Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Worship of Argentina, Hector Timerman received Azerbaijani ambassador to Argentina Mammad Ahmadzadeh, the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry said. ... The issues of bilateral high-level visits, development of cooperation between the two countries in legal, economic, cultural and humanitarian spheres, education were discussed at the meeting. The importance of public diplomacy was also emphasized."
Religion and Public Diplomacy - Arvind Kumar, bhagirath-sharpeye.blogspot.com: "Religious leaders should guide their followers in right earnest. Religious leaders must exercise their leadership, and engage in partnership with diplomatic initiatives, to bring about a cessation of violence against humanity, to work to confront and end religious extremism in all its forms, the domination of one religion over another and the domination of one nation over another.
The religious leaders are resourceful in moulding public opinion on vital social issues. Hence they must be actively involved with stakeholders and decision-makers in the global community. And religious leaders must be seen as equal partners and as positive agents of change in 21st century public diplomacy." Image from
Non-violence in the Muslim World: Jeffry Halverson - Nesima Aberra, Conflicted Voices: "I attended a really great lecture series called Voices for Non-violence in the Muslim World, held by ASU’s Consortium for Strategic Communication last week. The CSC is 'an initiative of the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication at Arizona State University. It is composed of an interdisciplinary group of scholars at ASU and partner institutions who are interested in applying knowledge of human communication to issues of countering ideological support for terrorism (CIST), diplomacy and public diplomacy.' The goal of the event was to forward paradigms of nonviolence and show its prevalence in the Muslim world though it’s not often shown that way in the media."
PD-MAP and Political Realism - Public Diplomacy, Networks and Influenc: "I would take away four lessons that provide a counter balance [to] the liberal assumptions that underpin a lot of public diplomacy discourse.
1. Realize that other people/groups/states exist and their interests aren’t the same as yours. The world is different for them. 2. Remember that your truth is probably going to look like ideology or propaganda to other people. 3. Power is ever present and agreements are always based on the distribution of power. 4. Diplomacy (including public diplomacy) is the art of managing difference not of making everyone the same." Image from
Critical Implications of Compliance and Understanding - Graig Hayden, Intermap: "The path to a more effective public diplomacy obviously requires some form of systematic inquiry, data-collection, and assessment. But it can also benefit from a clear-eyed view of its situated-ness in the ideological assumptions that justify such practices in international relations."
Effective Influence & Strategic Communication: Some Conjectured First Principles - Lee Rowland. MountainRunner.us: "We are making progress. Fresh back from the IO Institute's Influence and Propaganda Conference, I am excited by the future of our discipline and the quality work that is being done. The event, hosted in Verona NY by the Association of Old Crows in partnership with the MountainRunner Institute, brought together military practitioners, commanders, academics, media, consultants and others, for a range of talks and discussions relating to propaganda, strategic communication, public diplomacy, information operations (IO) and influence. ... I propose
10 principles for effective influence and strategic communication. I offer them as a set of fundamentals by which influence should be conducted, evaluated and constrained; however, they are open to refinement and criticism. Whilst not immutable, they could help to move forward, to help cohere what we do." Image from
Navy Strategic Communication Workshop - Matt Armstrong, MountainRunner,us: "I’m off to the beautiful Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California to give a lecture tomorrow as part of the Navy Strategic Communication Workshop. ... My talk titled 'The New Information Environment.' I will cover the information-centric “now media” environment of borderless news and audiences, dynamic and voluntary “diasporas” (my favorite depiction of this challenge is the image at right), and the organizational and conceptual confusion that abounds across the Government on the requirements, responsibilities and authorities to be effective in this environment. Of course I’ll talk about Wikileaks, that The New York Times has more Twitter followers than print subscribers, the 'damage' and confusion wrought by the term 'public diplomacy', and other fun topics."
Pentagon's fury driven by exposure of its blood-soaked lies - Robert Fisk, theage.com: WikiLeaks has revealed the brutality in Iraq, and the US military's deceit.
Find a man who'd been tortured and you'd be told it was terrorist propaganda; discover a house full of children killed by an American air strike and that, too, would be terrorist propaganda, or "collateral damage", or a simple phrase: "We have nothing on that." Of course, we all knew hey always did have something. And WikiLeaks' ocean of military memos proves it yet again. Image from
Israel calls Vatican a forum for Arab propaganda - Paddy Agnew, Irish Times: The Vatican's two-week long synod on the Middle East ended on a polemical note this weekend when Israeli deputy foreign minister Danny Ayalon accused the Vatican gathering of having become a “forum for political attacks on Israel in the best history of Arab propaganda”. Mr Ayalon was referring to the synod’s final message, released on Saturday, and to the words used by Msgr Cyril Salim Bustros, a Greek Melkite archbishop from Boston, when explaining the message. Lebanese-born Msgr Bustros, who headed the synod Commission for the Presentation of the Message, said at a Vatican news conference: “The Holy Scriptures cannot be used to justify the return of the Jews to Israel and the displacement of the Palestinians, to justify the occupation by Israel of Palestinian lands . . . We Christians cannot speak of the ‘promised land’ as an exclusive right for a privileged Jewish people. This promise was nullified by Christ. There is no longer a chosen people – all men and women of all countries have become the chosen people.”
Israel’s US propaganda machine at work - Paul J. Balles, redress.cc: Three themes run through most Zionist propaganda: 1. Brainwash the public into believing that Arabs are devils and all Muslims are extremist bombers. 2. Convince the public to believe it's a hate crime to criticize Israel, while propagating guilt for the holocaust. 3. Instil fear in Jews and their supporters that others are out to destroy Israel and Jews.
Leader urges 'insight' against plots - presstv.ir: Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei says despite repeated failures the West continues to plot to distort the facts about Iran. Addressing a gathering of Iranian students and scholars in the holy city of Qom, Ayatollah Khamenei said the global hegemony continues to devise "plots" against the Islamic Republic despite its repeated failures. "Arrogant powers, through their advanced propaganda tools, are trying to distort the fact about the country," the Leader said on Tuesday.
Image from article: Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei
Scholars protest against holding World Philosophy Day in Iran - Payvand Iran News: As Iran prepares to host the 2010 World Philosophy Day in Tehran, academics from around the world are organizing protests against Unesco's choice
of host for this event. The World Philosophy Day began in 2002 at Unesco's headquarters in Paris. Since then it has been held in several other countries including Chile, Turkey and Russia. Iranian protesters maintain that the event is being used as a propaganda exercise for a brutal regime. Image from article
Prosperous Armenia urges to consolidate Armenian nation to neutralize Azerbaijan’s propaganda machine - news.am: "Karabakh peace process entered a new stage, MP from Prosperous Armenia Party (PAP), the newly-appointed Vice Speaker of RA National Assembly Samvel Balasanyan stated at the Armenian Parliament. Aliyev tries to mislead the international community and create an anti-Armenia hysteria both in Azerbaijan and the world,” Balasanyan stressed. According to him, Prosperous Armenia party considers this stance poses a threat to Armenia’s national security. On behalf of PAP, Balasanyan called on taking measures to neutralize Azerbaijani propaganda machine and reveal the true face of Azerbaijan to the world. In that regard, Balasanyan urged to consolidate Armenian nation and the ruling coalition."
Eastern Islam and the 'clash of civilizations': Globalization is giving a harder edge to the softer strain of Islam in East Asia. Meanwhile, China's rising economic activity in the region is importing a glitzy capitalism and fueling consumerism - Robert D. Kaplan, latimes.com: While Americans understandably fret over the rise of an authoritarian China, it is China's dynamic capitalist model that is largely responsible for the consumerism in the Muslim Far East, which is hard to disaggregate from the free flow of ideas in the region. Who will win the battle for the hearts and minds of Muslim East Asia — the extremist Saudis or the materialistic Chinese? We should be rooting for the Chinese.
In Pictures: Weapons of Mass Dissemination -- Images of wartime propaganda from the first half of the twentieth century - theglobeandmail.com: Weapons of Mass Dissemination: The Propaganda of War was an exhibit featured at the Canadian War Museum. It looked at the various techniques used to create wartime propaganda during the first half of the 20th century. Image from article