Tuesday, May 31, 2011
"The purpose in life is not to find yourself. It’s to lose yourself."
--New York Times pundit David Brooks; image from
Nathan And James Curate Art In Embassy Wellington - David Huebner, U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa Blog: "Perhaps the most unexpected and intriguing State Department program I’ve encountered is Art in Embassies. Established in 1964, the Art in Embassies Program is in essence a global museum that exhibits original American works of art in the public rooms of approximately 180 American diplomatic residences worldwide. Assembled by borrowing art from galleries, museums, individual artists, and corporate and private collections, the exhibits play an important role in public diplomacy. How? By exposing international audiences to the diversity, vibrancy, and creative power of American art and culture that they might not otherwise see. My first thought was that Dr McWaine and I were going to have great fun with all this. I have strong views on a variety of art-related issues, and I eagerly started bouncing potential themes off the Doc. My second thought, however, was that choosing the art ourselves would be a lost opportunity. So, instead, we decided to ask a young Kiwi artist and a young American artist to develop a theme together and select the works for us.
That approach seemed to resonate more strongly with the goals of the Program, and it introduced a degree of unpredictability, challenge, and surprise into the process, which I always like to encounter in art. We spent a large amount of time searching for the artists. I emailed the art critic at the L.A. Times, consulted with Jenny Harpur of the Christchurch Art Gallery, spoke with art professors in Auckland and Los Angeles, and trawled studios and galleries. Dr McWaine solicited the views of art patrons. We googled fiendishly. Quite a few excellent prospects materialized. And, as a result, we discovered Aucklander James Brown and Southern Californian Nathan Huff. ... Once the works have been installed at the Residence, Nathan and James will draft an illustrated exhibition booklet reflecting on their theme and interpreting the works that they selected. We will print the booklet here at the Embassy, make it available online, and start scheduling viewings at the Residence." Image from article, with caption: Nathan introducing James to IN-N-OUT Burger, a beloved bit of SoCal culture.
On U.S. politics - defense-and-freedom.blogspot.com: "[T]he behemoth USA is unlikely to turn on Allies or (perceived) threats suddenly and without obvious early indicators. ... There have also been many early indicators for a decoupling from Europe; widespread French-bashing, 'Old Europe' criticism, popular derogatory remarks on different European nationalities and the myth of a Muslim invasion or take-over of Europe are concerning. A complete decoupling may of course create the option of open conflict between European powers and the U.S., something that hasn't extended beyond minor trade wars for generations. A reverse of this with public diplomacy and cultural influence might help to prevent open inter-Atlantic conflict in a generation or two."
Begin Breaks Likud Ranks on INR Radio; Rejects PA State - Gavriel Queenann, Arutz Sheva: "Minister without portfolio Benny Begin (Likud), in an Israel National News Radio interview on Monday, rejected the creation of an Arab state west of the Jordan River saying the right of the Jewish people to their ancestral homeland was 'obvious' and that such a state would become a 'haven of impunity' for terror. ... Begin
conceded Israel starts at a public relations disadvantage due to the vastly greater sums the Arab world pours into its anti-Israel media efforts, but said Israel has a big advantage in its 'hasbara [public relations, ed.] war' because it doesn't have to 'sell lies.' 'It used to be Hasbara was translated 'propaganda,'' Begin explained. 'Now they call it 'public diplomacy,' which is a little nicer. But years ago it was considered by Israelis to be 'propaganda' [and therefore beneath them, ed.] One of the nice things about our 'propaganda' is that we don't have to sell lies. We can suffice ourselves with telling people things as they are. We have to tell them the truth. And we have to ask them to judge. Because once they know the facts they will be able use moral judgment.'" Begin image from
The Arabs and Turkey: Present Challenges and Future Prospects - middle-east-studies.net: "In the spirit of a shared historical legacy, a common geographical reality, and mutual interests that bind Arabs and Turks, the Doha ACRPS held a symposium on May 18 and 19, which was entitled 'Turkey and the Arabs: Present Challenges and Hopes for the Future,' and focused on a number of set themes: historical relations and outlooks for the future, politico-strategic themes, economic relations, and water and energy issues, in addition to the societal aspect
China needs public diplomacy strategy for cyberspace - Li Xiguang and Wang Jing, People's Daily Online: Given its lesser standing in terms of international public opinion compared to the West, China should strive for the right to speak in public diplomacy in cyberspace, strengthen the universal participation of the public diplomacy on the Internet, draw attention to innovative means of public diplomacy in cyberspace, formulate a public diplomacy strategy for cyberspace and proactively build up a national brand. ... Overseas publicity through traditional media has become increasingly ineffective and expensive in the information-rich Internet era. It will be far more cost effective to conduct overseas publicity through public diplomacy and word-of-mouth publicity. Word of mouth can help save a lot of money on the advertising costs and is undoubtedly the cheapest publicity tool. The Chinese government used to invest heavily in promotions, advertisements and public relations activities to catch the attention of the world and to improve the country's international image. It should also consider using word of mouth,
Confucius Institutes face uphill battle in development (2) - english.peopledaily.com.cn: "Chinese language teaching is about spreading Chinese language, history and culture. The promotion of Chinese is still sensitive to a certain degree in some neighboring countries due to the impact of certain historical issues. According to sources, although Chinese language learning has seen an upsurge in India and Vietnam in recent years and various colleges and language schools also offer Chinese courses, the Confucius Institute has not yet been able to establish itself in these two neighboring countries. ... Officials from the Embassy of the People's Republic of China in the Republic of India said that currently, the embassy has received dozens of phone calls from local citizens asking about Chinese courses almost every week, and some people have also asked about the Confucius Institute. However, India's official attitude towards the proposal of establishing Confucius Institutes in various major educational institutions has been negative. The establishment of Confucius Institutes is actually a form of public diplomacy. The Confucius Institute can enhance the international influence of China as well as foreigners' understanding towards China. The Confucius Institute can be considered as the one of the best platforms for 'people to people' exchanges between China and foreign countries."
Canada-India Innovation Summit at Ottawa - siliconindia.com: "Toronto: India and Canada will break yet another milestone in their burgeoning ties as they hold the first Canada-India Innovation Summit June 20-21.
Kapil Sibal, minister of communications and information technology, and John Baird, Canadian minister of foreign affairs, will set the tone for the two-day summit at Ottawa's Carleton University. ... Carleton University is also home to the Canada-India Centre of Excellence in Science, Technology, Trade and Policy aimed at raising awareness about bilateral studies and public diplomacy, and develop initiatives to build a better understanding of the two countries." Image from
South Africa - Budget Vote Speech: Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Honorable Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, National Assembly, Tuesday, 31 May 2011 - isria.com: "Our comrade and mentor, Oliver Reginald Tambo reminded us of this purpose of serving our people when he spoke in Lusaka on 1 July 1989. He said: ... '...The fact that we are all here is an expression of the unity of purpose among concerned patriots. It is a portent of the unity of the South African people. It serves also as an example of how South Africans should meet ... as equals, as compatriots, engaged in a common endeavour to create a better future for us all.... It is indeed our collective responsibility to rid our country [and the world] of the cause of conflict, deprivation and disunity...' ... Although much has changed since 1989, the words of OR still echo and carry meaning for the work of our country and especially our Department of International Relations and Cooperation (the DIRCO), it is appropriate then that our head office in Pretoria carries his name. It is not only the name of OR Tambo that we have adopted - our foreign policy objectives are grounded in the philosophy of our glorious movement that brought democracy and justice to our shores. It is our philosophy of togetherness, and the recognition of our interconnectedness, that frames our diplomacy – we are, as South Africans, because we are, as a society of nations. ... Through our Public Diplomacy, the DIRCO has increased its interaction with various sectors of our country, in an effort to ensure that ordinary South African’s can and should be able to associate themselves with our foreign policy."
Egyptian team in Tehran despite spying scam - Adel Moustafa, Egyptian Gazette: "An Iranian diplomat whom Egypt had ... briefly detained and questioned for spying left Cairo on Monday for Tehran on board the same plane carrying an Egyptian public diplomacy delegation seeking a thaw in ties between the two countries."
America’s Misadventures - Review of America’s Misadventures in the Middle East, Chas W. Freeman Jr - Anthony C. E. Quainton, American Diplomacy: "Freeman is a self-conscious and self-proclaimed intellectual. Few American diplomats today would dare to begin an essay with a Latin quotation from Caligula 'oderint dum metuant - Let them hate as long as they fear[.]'
He argues that we must discard Caligula’s dictum and instead return to our traditional respect for the opinions of mankind. For him public diplomacy is a much undervalued and underutilized skill. Throughout this volume his encyclopedic knowledge often shines quoting as he does a wide array of figures from Otto von Bismarck and John Quincy Adams to Woody Allen."
The Fortune Is In The Follow Up - George Kennedy, georgealfredkennedy.com: "Successful follow up must be habit-forming ... . Every successful person I ever encountered in public diplomacy, government and corporate relations, politics, business and sales emphasized the power of relationships – initially – over other factors to include products and services."
JOTW 22-2011 - Ned's Job of the Week: "8.) Press and Public Affairs Officer, British Consulate, New York, New York ... . The successful applicant will report to the Deputy Consul-General and will be responsible for media aspects of the delivery of the UK’s policy and public diplomacy objectives in the New York Consulate’s region."
Russian TV and Code Pink Disrupt Memorial Day Activities - Cliff Kincaid, canadafreepress.com: Adam Kokesh, an American who stars on KGB-TV, otherwise known as RT or Russia Today television, staged a publicity stunt at the Jefferson Memorial on May 28 and is now complaining about his arrest for “dancing.”
His video is getting attention from the media, while his followers are insisting that he was the victim of harsh police tactics. But an examination of the video of his arrest shows that the event was a planned provocation by professional agitators arranged in coordination with Medea Benjamin of Code Pink, who was also arrested. Image from, with caption: Adam Kokesh arrested during an antiwar protest inside a U.S Senate office building, April 27, 2007
Israel's Borders: Religious Right Buys Into Propaganda and Reacts With Fury - goddiscussion.com: Conservatives and the religious right are furious over President Obama's May 19, 2011, speech concerning Israel's borders and the creation of two separate Israeli and Palestine states. According to Fox News and other conservative-leaning reports, Obama said that Israel must return to its 1967 borders or, as Sean Hannity proclaimed, Obama said that Israel must go to pre-1967 borders. Joseph Farah, editor in chief of the conservative news site World Net Daily, and author of The Tea Party Manifesto proclaimed that the tornado that hit Joplin, Missouri, and other devastating storms were the result of "Barack Obama's pledge to return Israel to pre-1967 borders."
This sentiment was echoed in a Christian YouTube video titled "God shows His disdain for Obama's 1967 Borders with Tornados n' Volcanoes," in which he snips out the portion of Obama's speech that included "mutually agreed swaps." According to "firecharger," the author of the video, the Joplin tornado and the Iceland earthquake were the direct result of Obama's alleged attempt to divide Israel. Image from
Israel's PR victory shames news broadcasters - u.tv: For their part, the Israelis have increased their PR effort. These new public relations were designed to co-ordinate specific messages across all information sources, repeated by every Israeli speaker.
Each time a grim visual image appeared, the Israeli explanation would be alongside it. In the US, messages were exhaustively analysed by The Israel Project, a US-based group that, according to Shimon Peres, "has given Israel new tools in the battle to win the hearts and minds of the world." Image from
Israel always needs an existential threat to survive - nl-aid.org: Nima Shirazi, a political commentator from New York City : The negative image of Iran as presented by Western media is nearly impenetrable. The reason for this is simple. Iran is one of the only countries in recent history to have successfully challenged Western imperialism and assert its independence from U.S. hegemony. As a result, it is mercilessly demonized in ways countries with far worse human rights records are not. In the United States, rampant anti-Iran propaganda serves to inure an increasingly militarized American populace to the reality of devastating sanctions which harm the Iranian public, sometimes with lethal consequences in the form of air safety, for example, and the possibility of military assault.
Anti-Pakistan propaganda inundates Afghan channels - Associated Press of Pakistan: Despite all efforts to build healthy working relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan governments, some unseen hand is bent upon vitiating the environment by inundating Afghan media with blatant disinformation, said well-informed sources. According to observers, the Pakistan-bashing campaign has picked up in the aftermath of Osama bin Laden’s killing at Abbottabad. Unknown persons claiming allegiance with shady warlords are regularly appearing on Afghan TV channels and making fake confessions concerning Pakistan’s involvement in anti- US or NATO operations in Afghanistan.
Oksanen in Interviewer Role for Film on Soviet Estonia - news.err.ee: Finnish Estonian author Sofi Oksanen was in town last week,
visiting Tallinn University's library for the making of a documentary film by YLE TV about the KGB and Soviet propaganda in Estonia. Oksanen image from article
More ‘BioShock: Infinite’ Propaganda Artwork Released - gamerant.com: After a long silence, Irrational Games teases
us with a peek at the controversial and politically-charged artwork that’s setting the stage for the drama of ‘Infinite.’ Image from article