Sunday, June 5, 2011

June 4-5

“There is no frigate like a book/To take us lands away.”

--Emily Dickinson; Dickinson image from


Christian Solidarity International Urges Obama to Provide Major Funding for Religious Freedom Initiatives in the Middle East - "Dr. John Eibner, CEO of Christian Solidarity International (CSI-USA) ... wrote to President Barack Obama, calling on him to include the protection of religious minorities in

his plan to aid and promote the democratic transformation of the Middle East and North Africa. ... Eibner encouraged President Obama to take the following steps to promote religious freedom in the Middle East and North Africa [inter alia]: ... 4) Dispatch Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, Judith McHale, to the Middle East to ascertain the situation of the non-Muslim minorities." Image from

The Swearing-In of Suzan Johnson Cook, Ambassador-at-Large for Int’l Religious Freedom - Cook: "As Ambassador at Large, I intend to leverage ... all of the diplomatic tools at our disposal to foster greater awareness of religious persecution and increased respect for religious freedom.

I look forward to partnering with our embassies, with my colleagues who manage our public diplomacy, and with other senior officials across the State Department, National Security Council, Defense Department, and the entire interagency, to find creative new ways to advance our ideals and interests." Image from article.

Public Diplomacy and Social Media in Latin America [includes video] - "As mobile phones and social media networks tie together more and more people across the Americas, these new technologies are enabling individuals to connect and communicate within countries and across borders. On March 29, 2011, NDN and the New Policy Institute co-hosted a forum with the Latin America Studies Program of Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) to discuss how these technologies are affecting diplomacy, politics and governance in Latin America.

A keynote speech by Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, Judith McHale addressed how the State Department is advancing US foreign policy in Latin America through increased engagement, including constructive and meaningful people-to-people exchanges, local and regional media outreach and the use of multiple social platforms to establish direct relationships across the region. Following Under Secretary McHale’s speech, a panel discussion explored the impact of social media and other network technologies on governance and civil society in certain Latin American countries, including Cuba, Venezuela and Mexico." Image from

Heritage Foundation sets off the error detector again (re RFE/RL radio in Russian) - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting: Radio Liberty still has extensive Russian radio broadcasts.

State Department official outlines US spending on broadcasts to North Korea - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

VOA’s TV Ashna Signs 5 Year Agreement with Radio Television Afghanistan - Radioactivity: "Voice of America's popular nightly news program TV Ashna will stay on the air in Afghanistan for another five years under the terms of a new contract signed this week by VOA

and Radio Television Afghanistan (RTA), the government broadcasting organization. VOA Director Designate David Ensor told reporters at the signing ceremony in Kabul that he was "delighted that there is a new contract" that extends the partnership between VOA and RTA. Under the agreement, RTA broadcasts the VOA program. ... (VOA Press Release)" Image from

VOA and Radio Free Asia Tibetan services get celebrity endorsement - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Broadcasting Board of Governors will hold its "first ever public meeting" today (webcast available) - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Some Terms diplomacy - Whenslaus Tebay, yomiyepa: [Google translation from Indonesian:] "Public Diplomacy yang dilakukan oleh pemerintah suatu negara terhadap publik send iri maupun masyarakat internasional untuk memperbaiki citra. Public diplomacy has an idea as the efforts undertaken by the government of a state against its own public and the international community to improve the image. Citra buruk yang diperoleh pemerintah Amerika dari kebijakan luar negerinya ke Timur Tengah (misal dengan munculnya istilah standar ganda atau unhonest broker), serta akibat yang dialami seperti diserangnya berbagai fasilitas, properti dan peralatan serta personil militer Amerika oleh 'teroris' sampai pada runtuhnya gedung WTC September 2001, mendorong munculnya gagasan untuk memperbaiki citra tersebut. Bad image obtained by the U.S. government's foreign policy to the Middle East (eg the occurrence of double standards or unhonest broker), as well as attacked suffered due to a variety of facilities, property and equipment as well as American military personnel by 'terrorists' until the collapse of WTC building September 2001, promote initiatives to improve that image. Meskipun diplomasi publik mempunyai dua arah yaitu publik dalam negeri serta publik internasional, yang lebih terkait dengan hubungan internasional adalah yang kedua. Although public diplomacy has two directions of domestic public and international public, which is more related to international relations is the second. Pada saat Amerika 'diserang' (karena sampai sekarang baru dugaan kepada) Usamah bin Ladin Presiden Bush berpidato mengucapkan kalimat—yang tentu saja kemudian diralat sebagai keseleo lidah—bahwa Amerika sedang mengalami 'crusade' alias perang salib, sebuah konotasi perang agama, antara agama Amerika yang notabene Kristen Protestan dengan Islam. At the time of America 'attacked' (because until now only suspected to) Osama bin Laden President Bush gave a speech saying the sentence-which, of course,

later revised as a sprained tongue-that America is experiencing 'crusade' crusade aka, a connotation of religious war, between religion that in fact American Protestant Christianity with Islam. Kekeliruan inilah yang kemudian ingin diperbaiki dengan berbagai cara termasuk kalimat bahwa Amerika tidak memusuhi Islam, penerbitan berbagai media yang menggambarkan bahwa umat Islam baik-baik saja di negara paling demokratis di dunia itu, dan seterusnya. The mistake is then to be improved in various ways, including sentences that America is not hostile to Islam, the publication of various media that illustrate that Muslims are fine in most democratic countries in the world, and so on. Informasi tentang Islam di Amerika atau kehidupan beragama di AS ini disebarluaskan melalui USIS (United States Information Service) ke negara-negara yang berkomunitas Muslim berupa film atau buku dan program-program TV seperti VOA (Voice of America). Information about Islam in America or religious life in the U.S. is distributed through the USIS (United States Information Service) to countries that are Muslim communion in the form of books and movies or TV programs such as VOA (Voice of America)." Image from

India's “democratic” foreign policy - M K Bhadrakumar, Indian Punchline: "The fact is, Indian establishment is primarily the opinion-maker in our country when it comes to foreign policy. Our wishy-washy protestations about India being a free country of a billion highly-opinionated people, et al, won’t persuade anyone. Therefore, when it comes to public cogitations about India’s highly sensitive foreign policy issues, the establishment ought to be discreet about orchestrating media opinion in the country. The defence ministry and external affairs ministry can learn a lot from our so-called ’security establishment’ in this delicate art of public diplomacy. Look at the panache behind today’s report signalling to Pakistan that our leadership has indeed noticed and we will reciprocate their pullback from a negative mindset in conducting relations with India! The security establishment appears to be way ahead in sophistication."

Turkey takes care of Ottoman legacy abroad‎ - "In recent years, a growing number of historic buildings in Central Asia, the Balkans, Europe, the Middle East and Africa have been restored and renovated. The restoration and renovation works are not limited to Ottoman heritage alone; Turkey has been carrying out a broad initiative in a large number of different countries in the fields of education, cultural cooperation, energy, commerce, transportation, health, housing and administrative issues as well. The initiative features some humanitarian aid operations, too. Turkey sees this as a tool that will promote friendlier bilateral relations. Various organizations and institutions, including the Turkish Cooperation and Development Agency (TİKA), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Directorate of Religious Affairs (DİB), the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Ministry of National Education are taking part in these projects. While it is possible to refer to a common goal in these initiatives and studies,

there is no working coordination and harmonization between the said institutions. It was even impossible to have the records for these initiatives as a whole as some of these have been held by civil society organizations. In consideration of this problem, the Office of Public Diplomacy, a newly established institution under the supervision of the Office of the Prime Minister, has taken action. The office has drafted a comprehensive report providing details on such initiatives over the past years." Image from article

Serdar Çam new boss of country's development agency - Musa Taşpinar, Today's Zaman: "Serdar Çam, chief of Cabinet to the parliament speaker, has been appointed the new head of the Turkish Cooperation and Development Agency (TİKA) with the related decree being published in the Official Gazette, thus going into force, on Sunday. ... TİKA is widely considered a key public diplomacy instrument for Turkey, with the agency website defining development assistance as 'a significant instrument that allows new avenues for classical diplomacy in economic, social, cultural and humanitarian fields.'”

The China Factor‎ - Eddie Walsh, The Diplomat: "In 2008, China launched Ship 866, often referred to as the ‘Peace Ark.’ As noted in the Chinese media, this purposely built hospital ship makes China ‘one of the few (countries) in the world that has medical care and emergency rescue capabilities on the high seas while also raising the capability of the Chinese navy to accomplish diversified military missions.’ Last year, the Peace Ark embarked on

its first major mission, an 88-day military humanitarian aid trip to Africa and South Asia. In China’s first overseas humanitarian mission employing a hospital ship, the Peace Ark’s medical staff provided significant aid to its allies and generated positive media coverage for China, including widespread social media coverage, which served as a public diplomacy win for the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN)." Image from article

Public Diplomacy and communications strategy - Madhurjya, The Public Diplomacy Blog: "One of my consistent arguments in this blog is that for public diplomacy to be effective it is important to be backed by an effective communications strategy. What I also mean by this is that not all PD programs can be/necessarily be like a communications campaign, but, there are communications implications (potential?) nonetheless of any PD program."


FS Journal: The Foreign Service Blogosphere 2011 Plus More: Via the Foreign Service Journal by Danielle Derbes – Domani Spero, DiploPundit: The Foreign Service blogosphere has quadrupled in size over the past three years. In early 2008, there were only about 60 active, unofficial blogs. By late 2009, that number had doubled to 120. Today, there are approximately 250 active, unofficial blogs maintained by members of the Foreign Service, retirees and family members.

France bans "follow us on Twitter" from newscasts - Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing: A 1992 French law that prohibits shilling for commercial firms during newscasts has been officially interpreted to mean that newsreaders can no longer mention Facebook or Twitter,

unless the story is about Facebook or Twitter -- that is, "Follow us on Twitter" is off-limits. Image from

Advice for China - Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times: the world is now hyperconnected, and there is no such thing as “local” anymore. Everything now flows instantly from the most remote corners of any country onto this global platform where it gets shared. What the laptop plus the Internet plus the search engine did for Web pages was enable anyone with connectivity to find anything that interests them and what the cellphone plus the Internet plus Facebook are doing is enabling anyone to find anyone who interests them — and then coordinate with them and share grievances and aspirations.

How Europe Lost Faith in Its Own Civilization: Beset by Christian guilt, the Continent won't defend Christians persecuted by Islamists - Frits Bolkestein, Wall Street Journal: The effects of Christian guilt and European self-hatred can be seen around the world, having been picked up by other cultures and used against Europe.

Gaza Flotilla Massacre - ‎Dissident Voice: A detailed analysis of the Israeli terrorist attack against the Gaza Freedom Flotilla 1 year ago on 31 May 2010 in international waters, with a focus on the lies that Israel’s massive propaganda machine spewed after the massacre.

LACMA [Los Angeles County Museum of Art] exhibit 'Gifts of the Sultan' shows the art of gift giving in the Islamic world: The show includes religious, political and personal presents given by royal courts over the centuries - Michael J. Ybarra, Los Angeles Times.

Image from article


"Now we know there's a better gift for [Valentine's Day] than chocolates."

--Lazar Greenfield, president-elect of the American College of Surgeons, in an editorial on the mood-enhacing effects of semen on women after unprotected sex.

He resigned in April. From: Scientific American, June 2011, p. 22; image from

1881: "[T]he year when the anarchist congress in London voted in favour of 'propaganda by deed' (i.e., assassination and terror bombing)"

--The Times Literary Supplement, May 27, 2011, p. 14

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