Sunday, October 10, 2010

October 9-10

"[T]he Declaration of Independence is, in effect, a work of propaganda -- or, to put it more politely, an exercise in public diplomacy intended to enlist other countries to the cause."

--BBG Chairman Walter Isaacson (2004); image from


Enduring Leadership: Marshall's Legacy For American Public Diplomacy in the 21st Century - Judith A. McHale Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, The 2010 Frances McNulty Logan Lewis Lecture Lee Chapel in Lexington, VA, U.S. Department of State: "I have a photograph of Secretary Marshall sitting at his desk at the State Department and I like to think he guides our work in public diplomacy as we try to navigate our way through the very complicated world in which we all live. As I reflected on what I might say to you this evening, I thought, of course, about all the challenges which confront us, from the economy to the environment to extremism. But I also thought about all the opportunities which will be available to us if we pursue our national objectives in a spirit of partnership and mutual understanding. This is precisely the approach Secretary Marshall followed in formulating the plan which bears his name and which I believe is the greatest example in our nation's history of Public Diplomacy done right. ... [I]n this age of social networking and borderless economies, of transnational threats and technological promise, when we enter into relationships with those around us and other around the world, we have a much better chance of creating something useful, and maybe even enriching ourselves, through cooperation rather than antagonism.

This was the guiding principle of the Marshall Plan and this is the insight behind President Obama's vision for how America should interact with the world. ... Public diplomacy is a key pillar of the Obama Administration’s approach to foreign policy. Both President Obama and Secretary Clinton recognize that we cannot move our agenda forward without doing a better job of informing, influencing and connecting with billions of people around the world. ... The global challenges we face today require a strategic, multidimensional approach to public diplomacy. Our Government must develop new ways to communicate and engage with foreign publics at all levels of society. ... American public diplomacy has much to gain from a study of George Marshall’s life and achievements, from his deep commitment to national service, to his understanding of the importance of providing strategic leadership for every mission, to appreciation of the need for serious and sustained engagement with others." On the Marshall Plan, see; Marshall image from

Friday, October 8, 2010 - "UNDER SECRETARY FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS JUDITH MCHALE 8:00 a.m. Under Secretary McHale meets with female students from Washington and Lee University and Southern Virginia University, and female cadets from the Virginia Military Institute, in Lexington, Virginia. (CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE) ... 2:00 p.m. Under Secretary McHale delivers remarks to the South and Central Asia Chiefs of Mission Conference, at the Department of State. (CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE)"

Department of State Completes Selection of Deputy Assistant Secretaries for Public Diplomacy - Matt Armstrong, "Congratulations

to the Office of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs: they have their Deputy Assistant Secretaries in place to support the State Department strategic framework for public diplomacy." Image from

Accuracy, Credibility, Citizen Journalism and the Internet - Alex Belida, VOA News Blog/VOA Media Watch: "[W]e here at VOA are deeply appreciative of some of the citizen journalists out there and want to keep working with them. Take for example VOA’s Persian News Network. During last year’s disputed elections in Iran and the ensuing protests, PNN relied on user-supplied content, not just information but video. Importantly, none of it was simply slapped on the air or on-line. Instead, all of it was verified as best as possible by professional journalists and put into proper context. If there were doubts, the material simply wasn’t used. Walter Isaacson, the new Chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, in a recent speech, described this type of collaboration as 'a new form of journalism in which user-generated content and great journalistic insights and credibility are wedded together…' In his remarks, Isaacson went on to say he believes there may be a future role for VOA and the other U.S. international broadcasters in building on-line communities focused on issues of mutual interest and then not just disseminating news but facilitating conversations and sharing information. It won’t be an easy task. ... [T]he new BBG Chairman is concerned about on-line accuracy and credibility. While those are watchwords here at VOA, they are, as Isaacson says, 'not at the moment the strong suit of the Internet.'”

Statement of Clarification on Remarks by Walter Isaacson - Press Release (October 7), Broadcasting Board of Governors: "In remarks at the 60th anniversary of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty on Sept. 28, Walter Isaacson, Chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, discussed the importance of the journalistic mission of U.S. international broadcasting. He wants to clarify his comment concerning enemies.

He meant to refer to enemies within Afghanistan - those that advocate terrorism. He did not mean to refer to, nor does he consider, that Russia, China, and the other countries or news services he mentioned are enemies of the U.S., and he regrets giving that impression." Image from

Next Broadcasting Board of Governors meeting, 13 October, in Prague, will be webcast - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Chairs appointed to the RFE and RFA boards, each the same as the BBG, but with different chairs - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

RT (Russia Today) is available on cable in Chicago - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

India’s Options in Afghanistan - Team SAI,

"For the US the war seems to have intensified from Afghanistan to a public diplomacy initiative in a West vs Islam debate. ... Whether the US public diplomacy initiatives can ... marginalise the radical Islamic elements across the globe is a tough ask at the best of times, especially now." Image from

Nobel Upsets Chinese Diplomacy - Antoaneta Becker, "Europe delivered a lesson in universal values to outraged Beijing on Friday, awarding the world's most prestigious peace prize to a jailed Chinese dissident, who had boldly called for political reforms in the communist country. The announcement of the Norwegian Nobel Committee provided an upset ending for a week of public diplomacy by China in Europe. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao had toured European capitals showering goodwill and lucrative investment deals for cash-strapped European economies. But if there was ever any speculation that the allure of China's burgeoning market and its development model can make the West forego universal values such as freedom and democracy, it evaporated with the award given to one of China's most courageous dissident Liu Xiaobo."

Liu Xiaobo and China’s poor public diplomacy - Jacques Bigras, "The 2010 Nobel Peace was awarded to Chinese politcal dissident Liu Xiaobo for his 'long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights' in China. The reaction from China’s political leadership was predictable. The Nobel committee’s decision to award the prize to Liu was described by China’s foreign ministry as 'an obscenity against the peace prize' and claimed that Liu’s work was 'diametrically opposed to the aims of the Nobel prize.' Beijing then summoned Norway’s ambassador to protest the decision and threatened that relations between the two countries would suffer as a result of the decision. So desperate was China to prevent the peace prize from being awarded to Liu, that its deputy foreign minister warned the head of the Nobel Institute last summer that awarding the prize to Liu would strain relations between China and Norway." See also (1) (2). Liu Xiaobo image from

Turkey’s public diplomacy efforts start with former foe Greece - Ay┼če Karabat, "The recently established Prime Ministry Directorate of Public Diplomacy organized its first meeting last week in Athens with the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP) in order to turn the two monologs of Turkey and Greece into a dialogue." See also.

Public diplomacy plan fails to utilize non-Hebrew speakers: Government’s latest hasbara campaign focused on involving average Israelis in effort to defend Jewish state abroad remains an exclusively Hebrew affair - Sam Cross, Jerusalem Post: "Despite promises made in February by Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein, the government’s latest hasbara campaign focused on involving average Israelis in the effort to defend the Jewish state abroad has remained an exclusively Hebrew affair. At the time, Edelstein established the Israeli Public Diplomacy Forces to arm locals with the tools to present the world with a positive message regarding the country they love. Central to their initiative was the ministry’s Web site (, which provides key facts about the state.

Since the start of this campaign, North American Jews and Russian olim have asked for translations of the Web site so that they can also participate. On February 24, Edelstein said that an English-language Web site would be ready in April, to accompany the Hebrew-language established about two weeks earlier. That has yet to happen. According to a ministry official, the problems have been bureaucratic. Although the creation of both English and Russian Web sites has been slated for months, the fact that the project must be approved by several ministry officials who are overloaded with work has delayed matters." Image from

Our best game: Chip on my shoulder - Swapan Dasgupta, Usual Suspects: "[T]he Commonwealth as we know it today was created at the behest of India. In 1947, it was both Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel who forcefully insisted that India should remain in the Commonwealth, as an independent republic and without being subservient to the Crown. To them, these connections forged by Empire were an asset. It was the parallel desire of the United Kingdom and the Dominions (Australia, Canada, New Zealand and, interestingly, South Africa) to accommodate India that led to the creation of the Commonwealth. The body may not count for much politically, but it has a formidable reach and is an important element in public diplomacy."

A Meaning Behind Everything - Raja Mujtaba, "Imran Khan’s political agenda can be conceptualized in a fairly simple, plausible, metaphysical, transformational and manifested way: It is setting in process the making of a political revolution in Pakistan. ... A word for Imran Khan’s transformational political education and strategic doctrine of political change: Imran Khan will be well advised to put in place a Post-Flood Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Secretariat, staffed by professionals and volunteers, to prepare rural reconstruction blueprints, plans and programs with implicit deadlines for completion.

This Secretariat should make ready housing maps and comprehensively structured designs to add schooling and health facilities to those communities. This Secretariat will also need a Public Affairs and Public Diplomacy wing, staffed by state-of-the-art expertise, to do pre-damage control of plans by the powers-that-be and political elements that want the political status quo to prevail indefinitely in Pakistan." On Khan, see; image from

Social Diplomacy: This time on the streets… - "As you might already know, I am working as the political communication consultant for project. Turkayfe is a Web 2.0 based online platform that invites people to share their experiences about Turkey with the community. Our main is to brand Turkey through people’s perspectives. Instead of using mass media and mass persuasion methods, we aim to reach a brand image through telling stories about the country. We label our attempt as a social diplomacy project. Even though, mainly utilizes online communication methods, it is important not to forget that social diplomacy is inherently a ‘social’ understanding of public diplomacy, and requires face-time with the target audiences."

Travel as PD - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "My parents have returned from their tour of Taiwan, Hong Kong and China.

Their time in China and the chaos of the modern Chinese riddle have made them staunch Taiwanese nationalists." Image from

Graduate School Fair - Joanna Miller, International Human Rights at the Josef Korbel School: "It was great meeting so many prospective students at the DU Graduate School Fair last night. ... I’ve heard some great concentrations from my fellow students, including Public Diplomacy, Nuclear Ethics, Terrorism and Armed Conflict, International Agriculture, and others. You can get creative!"

The TANK Unofficial ACL Friday Gonzo Blog Recap - CGalis, "Vampire Weekend

were stellar, looking like they had more fun than the crowd. It was my third time to catch the New York foursome, and despite relentless touring and public diplomacy, they sounded reasonably fresh and eager as ever to play various selection from their entire catalogue of two albums." Image from

Lunchtime Quiz: Who Am I? Sports - David K. Israel, "Apparently being an ambassador for public diplomacy is NOT what Brian Boitano would do. posted by Bert on 10-8-2010 at 1:19 pm"


A Library For Guantanamo - Lea Carpenter, "[A]t the Aspen Institute Cultural Diplomacy Seminar in Washington, Virginia Representative Jim Moran spoke with former NEA Chairman (and acclaimed) poet Dana Gioia about the absence of reading options for prisoners at Guantanamo. Moran cited as, in his view, one of our past Administration’s great mistakes: the fact that these young, arguably still impressionable, men are offered only one book when they arrive—the Koran. In Moran’s view, this is a terrible mistake. Why offer them the one book with which they are likely most familiar? Why offer them something that has no chance to challenge or change the Way They See Us? Here we have, as Moran implied,

an excellent potential audience for a low-cost act of cultural diplomacy: reading more about us. ... Moran spoke of a dream for cultural diplomacy. In this dream, all great works of American literature would be translated into all languages. Availability would inspire access. And access might in turn inspire understanding. A compelling complement to Guns and Butter. 'Hearts and minds' is a policy with rich history, but it is one that goes in and out of vogue. The time is now. If there is not a library available to all prisoners we take, whether at Guantanamo or in other security facilities across this country, are we failing to do something that, for very little additional cost, might make a difference?" Moran image from

Cold War Redux‎ - Arezou Rezvani, Neon Tommy: "At the peak of the Cold War the United States adopted a strategy that took American musicians, artists, actors and writers around the globe to promote principles of democracy on which this country was founded, key among them the freedom of expression. The aim was not to deter or dissuade members of Trotsky-esque parties from participation, but to affect the milieu in which such groups were thriving. The cross-cultural exchange brought new ideas to this citizenry, which cultivated a degree of dissent, thereby diminishing the appeal of extremist groups and ideas. ... Although the political landscape of the Cold War bears modest resemblance to the current balance of power structure, the potential and necessity for cross-cultural exchange as a tool to reach mutual understanding and curb extremist-driven threats or attacks is comparable. Cultural diplomacy can highlight hopes, aspirations and freedoms common between countries and religions to make the point that seemingly disparate worlds can in fact meet at an intersection where cultural engagement can take place without Westernization—a fear that has consistently catapulted clerics to power. ... Investing in arts and culture programs including traveling museum exhibitions, community film screenings, concert events, and student exchange programs with the Middle East can leave a tremendous impact on American relations with the global Muslim community. Exploring a group through its past and modern forms of artistic expression can give audiences a deeper understanding of the culture and history Muslims seek to preserve."

GCC Countries Pledge to Enhance Accountability and Transparency Standards Over the Next Three Years - "As part of its launch at the United Nations last week, the Pearl Initiative, a private sector-led program in cooperation with the United Nations Office for Partnerships aimed at improving corporate governance, accountability, and smart CSR practices in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), joined the Blouin Creative Leadership Summit through the participation of Badr Jafar, Executive Director of the Crescent Petroleum Group, and co-founder of the Pearl Initiative. ... On the occasion of Mr. Jafar's participation at the Blouin Creative Leadership Summit, Louise Blouin [Founder and CEO of Louise Blouin Media] said, 'We are honored to have Badr Jafar join us at the Summit and launch the important Pearl Initiative.

The Summit is founded on the precept that in order for us to resolve the pressing issues of today, we must first understand cultural traditions from across the globe, while embracing the power of cultural diplomacy. The Summit was founded in order that world leaders from diverse disciplines could come together to discuss, debate and take action on issues that effect us all across borders and cultures. As such, we welcome Mr. Jafar's essential contribution and the Pearl Initiative.'" Image from

Greece - Deputy FM Kouvelis opens exhibitions within the framework of the Greek BSEC Chairmanship – Results of meeting with Romanian Deputy Culture Minister Cajal - "Within the framework of the Greek Chairmanship of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC), Deputy Foreign Minister Spyros Kouvelis inaugurated the exhibitions 'Europe’s forgotten past – The Danube valley 5000-3500 BC' and 'Greece’s relations with the Balkans in the Neolithic Era', in the presence of Romanian Deputy Culture Minister Irina Cajal, at the Museum of Cycladic Art yesterday evening. Mr. Kouvelis stressed the uniqueness and importance of the exhibition, which looks back – through art – at a forgotten historical era on the European continent. Earlier, Mr. Kouvelis met with Ms. Cajal within the framework of the Greek Chairmanship of the BSEC and the promotion of cultural diplomacy issues, which are an important part of the Greek Chairmanship’s agenda."

Campaign for religious dialogue visits Berlin as Europe terror plot foiled - "As intelligence agencies foil a 'Mumbai style' terror attack in European cities, a delegation from Iman, the inter-faith dialogue campaign group, held high level talks in Berlin aimed at strengthening relations between religious faiths. Iman’s Chairman, Ribal al Assad, led a delegation to meet senior MPs in the German parliament, calling on political and religious leaders to come together in the face of violent extremism. ... Iman also me[t] with the Director of the Institute of Cultural Diplomacy (ICD),

Mark C. Donfried, at the ICD's headquarters in Berlin, where the Berlin International Human Rights Congress was taking place. They discussed the need to promote greater dialogue between the Arab world and Europe to help strengthen international understanding and co-existence." Donfried image from


Why American aid workers in Pakistan need to keep a low profile - Samuel A. Worthington, Washington Post: The work that relief and humanitarian organizations carry out in Pakistan is far from easy or safe. We go to difficult areas and are targets for militants seeking to destroy our lifesaving mission through a campaign of killing, kidnapping and intimidation. Overtly branding our efforts as sponsored by the U.S. government -- as the Obama administration wants us to do -- only makes our jobs harder and more dangerous. NGOs and the Obama administration must work together to find a solution that allows humanitarian workers in the field flexibility to brand or not, according to security conditions on the ground. Samuel A. Worthington

is president of InterAction, an alliance of U.S.-based nongovernmental organizations carrying out international humanitarian and development work. Worthington image from

Unraveling the torture knot: President Obama pledged a return to constitutionality, but the case of Faisal Shahzad shows how difficult that will be and how ambivalent the Obama administration seems to be - Tim Rutten,

Don’t Try Terrorists, Lock Them Up - Jack Goldsmith, New York Times: The administration would save money and time, avoid political headaches and better preserve

intelligence sources and methods if it simply dropped its attempts to prosecute high-level terrorists and relied exclusively on military detention instead. Image from

American civilians donating radios for the Marines to hand out in Afghanistan - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Israel Project launching projects in Latin America‎: New Spanish Media Program to battle anti-Semitic sentiment in Latino community; pro-Israel organization making push in Arab world - Hilary Leila Krieger, Jerusalem Post

North Korea Courts China With Dancing Pandas in Pyongyang Mass Performance - Michael Forsythe, North Korea’s government used one of its most visible propaganda tools -- mass performances in a Pyongyang stadium -- to demonstrate its closeness to China as the Stalinist state embarks on a leadership change. With top leader Kim Jong Il looking on, as many as 50,000 North Korean dancers, acrobats, soldiers and children taking part in the annual Arirang festival

donned panda costumes and clashed cymbals. The performers held up placards forming slogans in Chinese characters such as 'without the Communist Party there would be no new China.' The phrase was also sung, in Chinese, to the tens of thousands of people gathered at Pyongyang’s May Day stadium. China’s influence in the country is evident in Pyongyang, where most cars are of Chinese make, including sedans made by BYD Co., a company 10 percent owned by billionaire Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Even a bathroom sink at the Pyongyang airport is Chinese-made. Image from article: Performers take part in the annual Arirang festival at May Day stadium in Pyongyang.

Inter-Korean propaganda update - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

North Koreans celebrate newly anointed Kim Jong Eun: A military parade

marks the 65th anniversary of the ruling Worker's Party and honors the successor to Kim Jong Il - David Pierson, Los Angeles Times. Image from article

Hanoi throws extravagant 1000th birthday bash‎ - Margie Mason, Associated Press:Draped in red Communist banners and propaganda slogans, Vietnam's capital turned 1,000 years old Sunday in an extravagant ceremony intended to stoke national pride and show the world that this once war-ravaged country has moved beyond its dark history.

More than 30,000 people marched in Vietnam's biggest-ever parade, with goose-stepping soldiers, colorful dragon dancers and 10 military helicopters displaying huge Vietnamese and Communist Party flags. Image from article

Big budget movie 'Iranian propaganda' - Ali Abu Zaid, the executive producer of a Lebanese/Iranian co-production on the 2006 war between Lebanon and Israel, has claimed it is ‘one of the biggest movies ever filmed in Lebanon.’ One of the film's leading actresses, however, has quit, claiming it is a propaganda tool on the part of Iran. The film was jointly funded by Lebanon's Rihanna Group and the Iranian institute Fadak, which aims to spread "Islamic culture", according to its website. It is set in the border village of Aita Shaab, from which Hezbollah fighters crossed into Israel and captured two soldiers in a deadly raid in 2006.

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