Thursday, April 14, 2011

April 13-14

"I cannot talk about soft power and hope to get re-elected."

--A friend of Harvard scholar Joseph F. Nye, Jr.; image from


US public diplomacy and the Arab uprisings - Marc Lynch, Foreign Policy: "The empowerment of Arab publics through months of uprisings and popular protests is driving a structural change in the texture of regional politics which has only begun to unfold. ... One implication of this is that the burden on U.S. public diplomacy has never been greater. As the role of publics expands, it becomes ever more urgent that the U.S. better understand them and effectively engage with them across a far wider spectrum (it's incomprehensible that Congress wants to slash funding for these functions at precisely the time they are most needed). ... I would point to three areas where the administration can claim some real vindication in its approach to engagement with the Muslim world. First, and largely unrecognized, its focus on building up networks around areas of common interest with Muslim youth, entrepreneurs, and technology (among others) meant that the administration had points of contact with key individuals in those groups outside the mainstream of political activists

and traditional civil society. ... second, the uprisings demonstrate the wisdom of the administration's efforts to downgrade the 'war of ideas' and to deal with the Muslim communities of the world through a lens not defined by terrorism and al-Qaeda. ... Third, the administration got Libya, Egypt and Tunisia right. But there's also a lot on the other side of the ledger. While the engagement networks and activities described above offer some pockets of progress, overall U.S. public diplomacy in the region remains distressingly weak. The retail-level, local engagement can only be one part of the overall strategy, and needs to be synched up with stronger macro-level engagement and communications. I'm not sure why there has been so little progress after two years, but I see very little evidence of sustained, coherent, broad engagement with Arab publics. ... The initial Arab enthusiasm for Western intervention can not be sustained indefinitely, and will likely evaporate completely if there is an escalation to Western troops on the ground. ... And the administration will constantly struggle to balance between its relationship with Arab regimes and its efforts to align itself with the empowered Arab public."  Image from

The War on Soft Power: Even the U.S. military doesn't want to cut the State Department and foreign aid budget. So why is Congress playing a dangerous game with America's global influence?  - Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Foreign Policy: "Today, the United States spends about 500 times more on its military than it does on broadcasting and exchanges combined. Congress cuts shortwave broadcasts to save the equivalent of one hour of the defense budget.

Is that smart? ... Diplomacy and foreign assistance are often underfunded and neglected, in part because of the difficulty of demonstrating their short-term impact on critical challenges. The payoffs for exchange and assistance programs is often measured in decades, not weeks or months. American foreign-policy institutions and personnel, moreover, are fractured and compartmentalized, and there is not an adequate interagency process for developing and funding a smart-power strategy. Many official instruments of soft or attractive power -- public diplomacy, broadcasting, exchange programs, development assistance, disaster relief, military-to-military contacts -- are scattered around the government, and there is no overarching strategy or budget that even tries to integrate them. The obstacles to integrating America's soft- and hard-power tool kit have deep roots, and the Obama administration is only beginning to overcome them, by creating a second deputy at State, reinvigorating USAID, and working with the Office of Management and Budget. ... Foggy Bottom faces cuts across the board. Congress needs to be serious about deficit reduction, and it also needs to be serious about foreign policy." Image from

Analysts Defend a Soft Touch in US Policy - Ali, The POMED Wire, Project on Middle East Democracy: "In two similar pieces, George Washington University professor Marc Lynch and Harvard University professor Joseph S. Nye, lament budget cuts to State and Foreign Operations, defending the efficacy of soft power. While never mentioning the Middle East explicitly, Nye defends the relevant instruments of soft power, the term he coined: 'public diplomacy, broadcasting, exchange programs, development assistance, disaster relief, military-to-military contacts.' He argues for an overarching governmental structure to coordinate these similarly minded efforts. Lynch focuses on public diplomacy particularly. Lynch vindicates the Obama administration’s use of it in the Middle East, and applauds the administration’s early focus on youth, entrepreneurs and technology. This, he argues, gave it important out-of-the-mainstream contacts in the region during the protests. However, he faults the lack of a macro public diplomacy policy for the administration’s failure to better convey its 'finely calibrated' positions on Libya and Egypt."

A Fire Bell in the Public Diplomacy Night - Jake, Diplomatic Studs: A collection of unique perspectives on current public diplomacy issues: "By cutting the State Department budget significantly, the Great Budget Compromise of 2011 may be the beginning of the end of American soft power. For the GOP, the State Department cuts are only partially balanced budget. That party has always been a skeptic of State because diplomacy, public or not, does not conform to their view of a muscular foreign policy.

Public diplomacy is especially suspect because, to them, American greatness should be self-evident To try to explain or promote America abroad implicitly contradicts that self-evidence. Your Correspondent believes equally in America's greatness, if not exceptional greatness. However, reasonable people recognize that those with completely different life experiences may not share that view. One of the jobs of U.S. public diplomacy, soft power, or whatever you call it, is to introduce foreigners to our country so that can make judgments about us based on something other than local orthodoxies." Image from

Project Fence Mending: Raising Awareness of the September 11th Attacks in Afghanistan - nlemar, "The goal of Project Fence Mending is to inform the Afghans living in the Helmand and Kandahar provinces who are unaware, about the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001 on America. Consequently, this project will then create an opportunity for understanding amongst Afghans as to why coalition forces are in Afghanistan thereby eliminating tensions and fostering cooperation in the region. ... The Public Diplomacy being conducted in various regions of Afghanistan, however, is

limited and for all intents and purposes, ineffective. Among the information being transferred to the Afghan population include leaflets being dropped that explains to them how the Taliban are dangerous and are creating an unsafe future for their women and children. Providing information such as this to people who not already know, but vividly can recall first hand experiences enduring great hardships throughout the duration of the Taliban regime is feeble and worthless. Alternatively, many Afghans don’t trust Americans and their motives in the country. ... In a strategic effort to raise awareness on the September 11th 2001 terrorist attacks, the U.S. Department of State in Afghanistan, will be implementing a three step project in collaboration with three different partners. The first step will consist of information being provided by Afghan based organizations to Afghans living in the Helmand and Kandahar provinces. These organizations will create an understanding as to why coalition forces are in Afghanistan and shed light on America. The second step will consist of an American based organization assisting with reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan and thereby supporting the positive information on America being provided by the Afghan based NGO’s. The third and final step will consist of an evaluation to determine the success of the campaign."

Obama Circumvents State Department, Supports Plan to Give BBG $10 Million - Rob Bluey, "Over the past few years, Congress has given the State Department a total of $50 million to advance Internet freedom, including $30 million as part of the fiscal 2010 spending bill. But when the bulk of that money went unspent for more than 18 months — and requests from the BBG were unanswered — lawmakers decided to get involved. Chief among them was Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), who authored a report about public diplomacy toward China in the age of the Internet. Lugar’s report concluded 'the BBG is perfectly placed to serve as the lead U.S. government agency in assisting [Internet Censorship Circumvention Technology] efforts.' That sentiment resonated among fellow lawmakers, prompting House Republicans to include the language in the spending deal."

13 April, 2011, SoS Clinton and Staff Schedules -

"US FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS JUDITH MCHALE: 9:00 a.m. Under Secretary McHale delivers remarks as part of the 10th Annual Vital Voices Global Leadership Awards Conference, at the Meridian International Center. (CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE)" Image from

Talking to the Obama Administration - "Former Cambodian Minister of Women's Affairs Mu Sochua met with a senior U.S. official this morning at a gathering of international women leaders in Washington, DC. She asked Under-Secretary for Public Diplomacy Judith McHale how the U.S. nurtures grassroots movements, especially in reaction to the revolutions in the Middle East. Under-Secretary McHale said, 'I took this job because I felt our government was not communicating to people in the marketplace. The world has changed and people have an expectation to be part of the dialogue.' She added that the U.S. government was using new social media, especially Twitter, to understand what issues are most important to people on the ground. [']We have to strengthen those ties. Before, if you were not part of the economic or political life of your country, we would miss you. But now we are listening and we are learning. We have to have a conversation with people at every level of society.'

The Vital Voices Global Leadership Network Retreat gathers women parliamentarians, activists and leaders from countries all around the world for a two day retreat to share ideas, stories and strategies towards the promotion of women and their rights. Speaking privately with Under-Secretary McHale, Sochua expressed the dissatisfaction of many Cambodians with their lives. She emphasized the struggles of farmers, union workers, and trade workers. She urged the Under-Secretary to continue her efforts to engage with the people's movement on the ground." Image from article: Mu Sochua speaking with Under-Secretary for Under-Secretary for Public Diplomacy Judith McHale

Under Secretary Judith McHale endorses Connect All Schools Initiative - "On March 24, 2011 iEARN and Adobe Youth Voices Peapod Academy in Redwood City, California, hosted a Skype Conference linking Peapod students with their peers from Karachi and Rawalpindi, Pakistan. The conference call was attended by Judith McHale – the Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs at the US Department of State – who used the opportunity to support the Connect All Schools initiative. 'One of the things that both President Obama and Secretary Clinton have asked us to do is to find new ways to bring people in the United States closer to people all over the world so that we could learn about each other and listen to each other with the view that if we do that we will become closer together and we will work together to solve problems', said McHale. 'So I think this project of connecting every school is terrific, because the more young people can learn about each other, talk to each other and just become friends, better off we are going to be'."

Priorities for U.S. Assistance in the Western Hemisphere
- Testimony Arturo Valenzuela Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs Testimony Before the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Washington, DC April 13, 2011, U.S. Department of State: Valenzuela: "In FY 2010, we invested more than 1.2 million dollars to promote racial equality, social inclusion, and youth/civil society empowerment for indigenous peoples and people of African descent.

Under bilateral agreements like the Action Plans with Brazil and Colombia, we provide technical assistance and expand on public diplomacy programs, like academic exchanges, to promote equality and access to opportunity. We are building on this work in 2012, leveraging host country support and inter-agency coordination to promote the strengthening of democratic institutions, economic opportunities, cultural preservation, and access to education for historically excluded groups." Image from

Breaking News: Gambia: US Embassy Shed Light On The Alleged GFA/Rush Soccer Club Gambia Human Smuggling - Pa Nderry M’Bai, US Embassy Gambia's’s Public Affairs officer Tula C. Orum: "[E]very year the U.S. government releases a Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report. It is the U.S. Government’s principal diplomatic tool to engage foreign governments on human trafficking. It is also the world’s most comprehensive resource of governmental anti-human trafficking efforts and reflects the U.S. Government’s commitment to global leadership on this key human rights and law enforcement issue. It represents an updated, global look at the nature and scope of trafficking in persons and the broad range of government actions to confront and eliminate it. The U.S. Government uses the TIP Report to engage in public diplomacy to encourage partnership in creating and implementing laws and policies to combat trafficking and to target resources on prevention, protection and prosecution programs. Worldwide, the report is used by international organizations, foreign governments, and nongovernmental organizations alike as a tool to examine where resources are most needed."

Mixed feelings on the U.S. image - Molly Sisson, Public Diplomacy and Student Exchanges: Experiences of American Fulbright Grantees in the UK and Turkey, and their counterparts in the US: "One of my big questions that keeps coming up: do student exchanges like Fulbright even matter any more? 1) America is actually globally popular now--no image crisis to resolve, no 'hearts and minds' to win over 2) Students can go abroad without the help of the State Dept.--international study just isn't as special and expensive as it used to be 3) The internet gives us the tools to interact with foreign publics and communicate globally without even going abroad.

I feel like such a traitor saying these things, though, because all of the literature sings the praises of the Fulbright Program and student exchange. It will create mutual understanding and world peace, it doesn't cost that much compared to what we spend on defense, etc. And on a personal level, I don't think it should be abolished. I think it's still nice that we spend taxpayer dollars on international education, even though students could just take out loans like I'm doing. But when the annual budget is being drawn up, how do you decide between something that's 'nice' to do, and something that should be prioritised?" Image from

Sport as a diplomatic tool - selita, Public and Cultural Diplomacy C: A reflective group blog by students on the Public and Cultural Diplomacy module at London Metropolitan University: "To disseminate American values in a gentle way, the United States for several years has used its high-level athletes, to gain sympathy in targeted countries."

Speech to the European Union Member State Ambassadors to London - Douglas Alexander, Douglas Alexander MP, Labour's Shadow Foreign Secretary, said in a speech to the EU Member State Ambassadors to London at the Hungarian Embassy today: "My concern is to ensure the sustainability of the international community’s position for the long term, while maximising the pressure and deepening the isolation of the Gaddafi regime. What do I mean by a sustainable international position? Firstly, by staying to the letter and spirit of Resolution 1973. There is no mandate and little appetite to go beyond it at present. Secondly, by continuing to share the operational burden, not only amongst countries represented in this room but with Arab countries too. Thirdly, by taking the public diplomacy seriously. In different times and, admittedly, in different circumstances, my good friend former NATO Secretary General George Roberston said of the Kosovo conflict: 'We ran a military campaign and in parallel we ran an information campaign. Both were professional and focused but it was, to my mind, the information campaign which won it.'"

China's global media charm offensive - Andy Yee, Online Journalism News: "In the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs in early March of this year, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton admitted that her country is losing the 'information war', naming China's CCTV channel ..., along with Al Jazeera and Russia Today, as key rivals. ... Winning the public opinion of a global audience is no easy task however. Ultimately, a reputation for objectiveness is based on credibility, which has to be established over a long period of time. The problem with China's increasingly

international media giants is that they suffer from a lack of credibility, a result of clearly being the official voice of the Chinese government. ... Dazzling public relations is no substitute for credibility, which is key to winning influence in a critical global audience. The tighter a government's grip on communication channels the more detrimental to editorial integrity and objectivity. A better strategy is to loosen the grip on the media and allow a freer environment."  Image from

Perhaps too much sleep is lost over the "seduction, prestige, and omnipresence" of China's international media campaign -  Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting:

"For all the money China is spending, its international broadcasting efforts won't have much impact unless it provides a useful news service. The cost-free availability of Chinese news agency and broadcast products in Africa does merit further study. ... 1) Keep in mind while CRI [state-run China Radio International ] has the USA, Canada Britain, Australia, and New Zealand as target countries, VOA does not. Thus one station has more incentive to broadcast in English than the other. 2) The 'realm of public policy' has nothing to do with why people seek international broadcasting, so lose no sleep over this. 3) CRI might have more 24-hour 'bases,' i.e. full-time FM transmitters and leases, than VOA, but VOA certainly has more affiliates, carrying VOA programming on a part-time basis." Image from

iPropaganda - Peter Martin, "The Chinese government’s official web portal carried news yesterday that the Information Office of the State Council plans to launch an iPad application 'as part of the country’s efforts to build a better international image.' Without doubt, after the year Chinese public diplomacy has had, the country’s international image is in need of some work. The iPad also seems like an interesting an appropriate platform for such efforts. There’s a problem with the content, thoug:The application currently provides digital versions of the 25 white papers published by the State Council from 2005 to 2010 in both Chinese and English. Video clips of press conferences held by the Information Office over the past two years are also available on the application, which includes video-on-demand download and search services. Users can also watch the two films of China’s national image publicity with English voiceovers on the application. This content, as anyone who’s ever tried to read a Chinese government White Paper will know, could hardly be less appealing to anyone – even the most enthusiastic China-watchers. ... These kinds of efforts at digital diplomacy don’t need to fail, as the US State Department’s efforts at digital diplomacy Indonesia show, but they need to offer something of interest to readers. So far, the efforts of the Information Office of the State Council seem like the same old propaganda on a new platform."

China tries its hand at soft power, but continues its repressive policies - Amber Hodgen, Occasionally Clever: A semi-regular blog on public diplomacy: "[C]hina has embraced the idea of Public Diplomacy, with a particular focus on how culture can be used to strengthen its soft power—many scholars like Joseph Nye will argue that today soft power is just as important as hard power. However, it is important to note that no matter how strong a country may promote itself through public diplomacy, public diplomacy does not have the power to make a bad policy look good. If China is really serious about changing its international image, it should first take a hard look at its domestic politics and in the future think twice about jailing the man

[Ai Weiwei is one of China’s 'most prominent artists' and creator of Beijing’s National Stadium (aka 'The Birds Nest' which was created for the 2008 Olympics] who designed one of China’s most prized (not to mention expensive) possessions." Ai Weiwei image from article

Toeing the line - John Garnaut, The Sydney Monday Herald: "Newspapers remain central to Chinese Australian life, as they have been since the gold rush days, but the big money from Beijing is going to the Communist Party's electronic media. 'Overseas Chinese are an important vehicle of 'public diplomacy', 'says Li Hong, chief editor of overseas Chinese news at CRI, one of China's few English-language portals, in an essay published just after the first calls for jasmine protests in China on February 21. 'So there is a feasible and realistic urgency for strengthening propaganda targeting overseas Chinese.' CRI doesn't have a licence to directly operate in Australia, but it has managed to insert its content into every Chinese-language radio station in the country. ... Mak Yin-Ting, head of the Hong Kong journalists' association, says cozy deals between media tycoons and Beijing are now the norm in the reclaimed Chinese territory. She left her high-profile local radio job to join Radio France, she says, because 'I cannot stand the self-censorship'."

Play the Middle East card subtly and deftly - Li Hongmei, People's Daily Online: 'China's "subtle power' is softer and smarter than Joseph Nye's soft power by showing less but achieving more, thanks to the Chinese classical strategic thinking of 'leaving some things undone in order to do other things'. It is actually a time-honored wisdom running through the Chinese culture that encourages people to make a choice between doing what and refraining from doing what, which sets the basic formula for China's foreign policies and also defines its public diplomacy. It is believed that China will inspire the countries with the shared aspiration for democracy and freedom by achieving the goal step-by-step and on the basis of a full development, as democracy can only survive and thrive in the fertile soil of economic prosperity. Excessive enthusiasm and overzealous actions will just spoil things."

Analysts: China Defense White Paper Avoids Controversial Topics - William Ide, Voice of America: "U.S. defense analysts say the bits of information contained in China’s recently released biennial report on its military sheds some light on the country’s growing capability and ambitions. The document, they say, paints a picture of an increasingly confident military, but it does little to address more controversial topics such as weapons systems China is developing, its cyber operations, and its ambitions in space and the South China Sea. ...

Analyst Abe Denmark says that it does not surprise him that China did not discuss controversial issues in the report because Beijing does not believe that military transparency is in its interest. In his view, China's white paper is a benign public diplomacy document that avoids issues that could portray Beijing as being aggressive. Image from article, with caption: Chinese military jet

Deakin University & Rajdhani College organised International Conference: The recent shocks and jolts in Australian-Indian relations have also provided a great sense of opportunity - "Deakin University and Rajdhani College (University of Delhi) organized a two day (8 to 9 April) International Conference on ‘Public Diplomacy in Theory and Practice’ at India International Centre, New Delhi. Public Diplomacy is rapidly becoming the focus of government initiatives, including those by Australian and Indian governments. It is also an expanding field of activity, with both state and non-state actors seeking to communicate with publics overseas. For this reason, public diplomacy warrants more thorough investigation as a phenomenon. This conference explores latest thinking and examples of public diplomacy in action, drawing on practitioners and academics, and in relation to Indian and Australian activities. It is supported by the Australia India Institute and the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India. ... Prof. David Lowe, Director, Alfred Deakin Research Institute said while many countries, including Australia and India, are embracing the idea that public diplomacy is integral to their overseas relations, we are still in a pioneering phase. Do we have the confidence to invite greater official use of social media such as Twitter and Facebook? Do we engage with foreign publics in the broadest way or do we target some groups more than others?' It is generally recognized that for public diplomacy to be most effective the generation of information needs to be for home publics as much as for foreign publics. We need to make our own publics more aware of important relationships overseas. The recent shocks and jolts in Australian-Indian relations have also provided a great sense of opportunity - the opportunity to recapture forgotten ties, outline new connections, and build a richer relationship based on deeper mutual understanding. Public diplomacy might logically play a key role in this process'."

Bringing our citizens home - Rohan Joshi,

The series of uprisings in the Middle East has impacted the lives and security of Indians living in the region. Over 18,000 Indian expatriates have been evacuated by the Government of India via government-owned and private aircraft, military transporters and passenger ferries. ... New Delhi not only evacuated its own citizens, but also assisted its neighbours in the effort. As evacuation efforts intensified, ministry officials, including Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao and staff from the Public Diplomacy Division updated citizens using the social networking website, Twitter, in addition to regular updates on the official website. The ministry’s online presence allowed the government to provide frequent updates on the evacuation effort and address reports of citizens being made to pay for their evacuation." Rao image from

Indian Gastrodiplomacy to Help Feed Perceptions of an Emergent India - Paul Rockower, Huffington Post: "As an emergent India is asserting itself within the ever-evolving global power dynamic, India is having a vibrant discussion about public diplomacy and nation-branding, and how to engage in channels of public diplomacy as a means to project its emergence; now is the perfect time for India to start cooking up a gastrodiplomacy campaign. Public diplomacy works to communicate culture and values to foreign publics; gastrodiplomacy uses culinary delights to appeal to global appetites, and thus helps raise a nation's brand awareness and reputation. As this author previously noted in this fair site, Thailand was the first to engage in gastrodiplomacy as foreign policy, while South Korea and Taiwan have also been cooking up culinary diplomacy of late. Meanwhile, Malaysia has been conducting a dynamic Malaysian Kitchen for the World gastrodiplomacy campaign that has combines elements of culinary and cultural diplomacy by showcasing its cuisine and culture in nightmarkets set up in London, New York and Los Angeles. ... Paul Rockower is a gastronomist and graduate of the Master's of Public Diplomacy program at the University of Southern California. Rockower works as a Public Diplomacy Guru with INDIA Future of Change, an organization that conducts Indian public diplomacy and nation branding."

Israel speaks Arabic - Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs: "The Facebook page which was launched in early January, entitled 'Israel speaks Arabic' in Arabic, was opened by the Foreign Ministry's Media and Public Affairs Department and is devoted exclusively to Arabic-speaking audiences. ... The Foreign Ministry maintains over 100 Facebook pages for its diplomatic missions abroad. Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon explained that this is part of the Ministry's wider efforts in the social media and particularly to the Arabic-speaking world. 'It is vital that Israel's voice is heard in every corner of the world and even more so amongst its immediate neighbors,' Ayalon said. 'Facebook provides an unfiltered medium to speak directly to the people without any intermediary.'  'We can see from the feedback

on the page that there is immense interest in Israel and we are slightly surprised by the amount of support we have received thus far, it is encouraging,' continued Ayalon, who recently visited Facebook headquarters in San Francisco as part of integrating Israel's ongoing public diplomacy campaign. ... The page launched in early January and has already amassed over 20,000 fans. The page greets its visitors with a welcome message: 'Hello, welcome to the official Facebook page of the State of Israel in Arabic.' The page is updated regularly and apart from content on the political situation, posts feature Israelis singing in Arabic, videos and pictures of Israel and articles about coexistence in Israel. The Arabic page can be found at the following link:" Image from article

PM Netanyahu launches "Inscribing the Tanakh" website - "Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today (Wednesday 13 April 2011), in cooperation with Communications Minister Moshe Cahlon and Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein, launched the Inscribing the Tanakh website (in Hebrew). ... The launch of the Hebrew website is part of a global project run by the non-profit association, in cooperation with the Foreign Ministry and the Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Ministry, in the framework of which hundreds of thousands of people from around the world, of all faiths, are copying the Bible in their own hand."

'Leaders of 3 big parties should draft diplomatic plan'
- Gil Hoffman, Jerusalem Post: “'The upcoming United Nations General Assembly in September [that is likely to consider recognizing a Palestinian state] requires all of us to do some soul-searching without regard to coalition and opposition or electoral or personal considerations,' Lieberman [Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman] said. 'I think the solution is not a matter of concessions or public diplomacy but in unifying the nation. To translate this bombastic headline into practical language, the leaders of the three largest parties must sit at one table, and not discuss forming a new coalition but rather a proposal for a final-status agreement.'”

Just Journalism Interview: Ghanem Nuseibeh - "Ghanem Nuseibeh is a civil engineer by training but, perhaps owing to his pedigree as a member of one of the oldest and most distinguished Palestinian families, he’s been a close observer of recent Middle East upheavals, writing critically, for instance, about Al Jazeera’s fulsome endorsement of revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia but near-silence on the murder of protestors in Bahrain and Syria. ... GN [']I must first say that I and many Palestinians had very high hopes for Al Jazeera, as the region’s first relatively impartial news channel, working to international journalistic and production standards. One might argue that to be criticised by opposing camps of a certain conflict is an indication of impartiality, which to some degree is correct.

To put things in context, we must remember that Al Jazeera is sponsored by the Qatari government and to a large extent, is an instrument of Qatari public diplomacy. Qatar is one of the West’s leading regional allies, and home to Centcom. Being close to the Qatari state is not necessarily a bad thing. We live in an age when media organisations are invariably inclined to certain political persuasions, and for an organisation like Al Jazeera with such a wide circle of stakeholders, managing everyones expectations is very difficult to achieve. ... One must not forget that Al Jazeera took the level of news reporting in the Arab World to new levels of professionalism. The lack of coverage of Bahrain and Syria has undoubtedly damaged the channel’s image in the Arab street and I think this will take a long time to mend." Nuseibeh image from article

Turkey's soft power - Faizullah Jan, Terse Words: Reflections of a reticent: "Joseph Nye says that a country's soft power is embedded in its values, culture, and legitimate foreign policy. However, while researching for a paper on 'Turkey's Public Diplomacy' I came across other tools of soft power that gives a certain country an edge over others. In the case of the U.S., its soft power flows from its hard power--a combination which makes it a smart power. Since Turkey has no comparable hard power, it uses other tools to make its power 'smart' -- at least in its sphere of influence. The first tool in its arsenal of Public Diplomacy is its geographic location. Strategically located at the confluence of the East and West, Turkey is in a unique position to work as a bridge between the East and the West. It is in Anatolia where East meets West. Secondly, its modern outlook with a secular democratic political system--especially after Kemal Atatürk made Turkey look Westward--makes it, if not a Western state, at least a look-alike of the West. Thus it made it possible for Turkey to identify itself with the modern world and be a candidate for EU membership. It also became a model for other Muslim countries in many respects. Third, Turkey shares a long history with the Middle East, Caucasus, Central Asia and as far away as Afghanistan. It made things easier for Turkey to reconnect to and prop up its historical and cultural roots in these countries. Turkey has also racial, ethnic and linguistic affinities with many countries in the region, especially Caucasus and Central Asia. These soft power tools or assets have put Turkey in a unique position by raising its stature as a spokesman of the Muslim world, who can talk to the West on their behalf. For the West, this spokesman is not unfamiliar, and also not so different. For the East, Turkey is one of them."

What kind of salvaging operation? - Yusuf Kanli, Hurriyet Daily News: "The İrsen Küçük government has been very fragile since the first day it came to power a year ago. It just underwent a reshuffle last month, and a second reshuffle might be in the offing. The government is so fragile that despite the obvious existence of political will, Prime Minister Küçük is failing in public diplomacy, while the leadership of his own National Unity Party, or UBP, appears to still be under the firm control of its former leader, President Derviş Eroğlu. Without going to election and proving his leadership with a strong electoral victory – if he can get it – Küçük will remain a lame-duck prime minister constantly fearing defection from his party or being compelled to resign after a probable no-confidence vote in Parliament." Above image from

Museveni to speak at Tahrir Square‎ - Henry Mukasa, New Vision: "The Egyptian transitional government has invited President Yoweri Museveni to address Egyptians at Tahrir Square in Cairo. ... El Gendi, a member of the Egyptian People’s Parliament, is also the coordinator of the public diplomacy delegation that met Museveni to discuss matters relating to the River Nile water."

Gagarin's Public Diplomacy Legacy - 50 Years On - Global Chaos, Yelena Osipova: "Even 50 years later, or perhaps especially 50 years later,

Gagarin's flight holds a major public diplomacy potential for Russia, as April 12th (originally, Russia's Cosmonaut Day) is commemorated around the world." Image from article

Russia Today (RT) launches new program hosted by former US Marine - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Angklung Training Activities - Brownie skien (brown skin: "As one means of public diplomacy, cultural arts performances are expected to improve Indonesia's image of the country concerned. Meanwhile, traditional Angklung Musical Instrument has been confirmed by world institutions that take care of the problem of culture, UNESCO, as the 'Cultural Heritage Objects Tak-Man' (Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity).

To introduce and popularize the art Angklung among Chinese citizens and foreign communities living in Guangzhou, the Guangzhou Consulate held an activity 'Training of traditional musical instrument of Indonesia.' This event is planned to last for 4 months from April to July 2011." Image from 

Perwakilan To Organise Wisma Putra International Charity Bazaar 2011‎ - Bernama: "The Ladies Association of the Foreign Ministry (Perwakilan) will organize the two-day Wisma Putra International Charity Bazaar 2011 [in Kuala Lumpur] . ... Wisma Putra said through public diplomacy, the bazaar provided a platform and opportunity for the various foreign embassies and high commissions to promote their culture, tourism and cuisine and also meet the public."

American Councils Convenes The Entrepreneurial University Forum: Connecting Russian Technology to U.S. Universities, Companies and Capital - "American Councils for International Education (American Councils) is hosting The Entrepreneurial University Forum today in Washington, D.C. at the University of California Washington Center. This forum, focused on university research in social and economic innovation, is part of a week-long program organized by American Councils

in partnership with the Association of American Universities (AAU), the Association of Leading Russian Universities (ARU), the Russian Ministry of Education and Science and the New Eurasia Foundation, which includes meetings with industry representatives, government agencies, and site visits to AAU member institutions in the Washington area and Research Triangle. ... About American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS Founded in 1974 as an association for area and language professionals, American Councils for International Education advances scholarly research and cross-border learning through the design and implementation of educational programs that are well grounded in key world languages, cultures and regions. American Councils contributes to the creation of new knowledge, broader professional perspectives, and personal and intellectual growth through international training, academic exchange, collaboration in educational development, and public diplomacy." Image from

State Department official to present at Arab Journalism Conference: Phil Frayne will review events sweeping the Middle East - "Chicago/Detroit – U.S. State Department official Phil Frayne will join a panel discussion at the 6th Annual National American Arab Journalism Association convention addressing changes in the Middle East and American foreign policy. Frayne, the Director of the Office of Press and Public Diplomacy for the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, will join professional American Arab journalists George Hishmeh and Ali Younes during the panel which is one of 12 panels that will be presented on Saturday April 30, 2011 during the conference program."

UT Chancellor Honors Top Faculty, Staff and Students - oday: "Anne Buckle, a senior from Fayetteville, Ga., is a double major in music education and international relations with a 4.0 grade point average. Her interest lies in French culture, specifically the United States’ efforts in public diplomacy. She interned with the Office of Western European Affairs in Washington, D.C. and at the U.S. Embassy in Paris."

"What Courses Do I Have to Take to Become an Ambassador?" - "urbangenie says: The path to Ambassador career-wise starts with career as a Foreign Service Officer in the State Department. In order to qualify for a position as a foreign service officer you must apply for one of five career paths (in your case Public Diplomacy) and then you must pass rigorous written and oral examinations. If you pass a foreign language test your likelihood of getting hired improves.

You also must undergo a background and medical fitness check. If your qualifications fit an opening, you may get an appointment (up to five years). At senior level of Public Diplomacy career path, after 16-27 years of service, you qualify for upper level positions such as Ambassador. Good luck with your education. The best part of life is the journey!" Image from


News from the World of Nation Branding - Laura McGinnis, manIC

Behind U.S. condolence payments for Afghan civilians: How did the U.S. kill more than a dozen Afghan civilians, and what did it do to compensate their families? - Editorial, Good for the Pentagon for owning up to its mistakes and for trying to do the right thing by the families of those who have been killed

accidentally or negligently. But 10 years into a long and frustrating war — in which it's increasingly difficult even to envision what victory might look like — we'd gladly trade all the solatia and condolence money in the world for a credible exit strategy. Image from article, with caption: A Predator drone sits at the Kandahar air base in southern Afghanistan in 2009. A Predator drone fired the missile that killed a Marine and a Navy medic in Helmand province last week, according to two Pentagon officials

The Libya Stalemate: What happens when America hedges its bets in a war - Review and Outlook, Wall Street Journal (subscription): NATO's internal debate over Libya has now broken into public view, with Britain and France publicly blaming other members for the slow pace of the bombing campaign. The Brits and French are right, but the real problem here is a military intervention with half-hearted U.S. involvement and incompatible goals. Moammar Gadhafi must be smiling at his luck.


Subj: Exchanges cut by 5.5% in final FY11 approps bill

The House and Senate Appropriations Committees released today details of the continuing resolution that will fund the remainder of FY 2011. In this bill, Department of State international exchange programs will receive a cut of $35 million, or 5.5 per cent, from the FY 2010 enacted level of $635 million, for an appropriations level of $600 million for the remainder of FY 2011. According to the House Appropriations Committee, all non-defense accounts are slated to receive an additional 0.2 per cent across-the-board cut. More detailed information on the cuts included in this bill is available on both the House and Senate Appropriations Committee websites. The House and the Senate both plan to vote on the bill this week.

--Email from Leonard Baldyga

"went to apply for college classes starting in Jan. a worker thier told me to start of with Liberal Arts and then transfer to a four year college, where i will start as a Jr. (they have a contract with the school i’m going to transfer to). but basically i would like to finally become an ambassador. can someone help me in the direction i have to go. i’m thinking Humanites, but i’m not sure if that is how to go about it. try to be specfic please."

--Unnamed, from;  image from

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