Monday, August 1, 2011
"[B]efore I could read them for myself I had come to love just the words of them, the words alone. What the words stood for, symbolized, or meant was of very secondary importance — what mattered was the very sound of them as I heard them for the first time on the lips of the remote and quite incomprehensible grown-ups who seemed, for some reason, to be living in my world.”
--Dylan Thomas; image from
Innovating Public Diplomacy For a New Digital World - Jacob Comenetz, The Washington Diplomat: "A seismic shift is under way at the U.S. Department of State as Foggy Bottom increasingly draws on Sillicon Valley expertise to develop tools and strategies for remaining effective — and relevant — in a rapidly innovating world. Though all sections of the State Department are affected, public diplomacy in particular has had to adapt its perspective and overhaul its outreach to stay current in a constantly evolving technological landscape. From basic cell phone and Internet access to social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook, the so-called digital revolution
has fundamentally changed the world as we know it — a world where half the population is under the age of 30. ... While historians likely debate what role cell phones and social media will have on society far into the future, what is already evident is that they are but one facet of a broader generational shift, enabled by new modes of digital communication, that is upending the relationships between people and governments around the globe. As these technologies continually reinvent the ways in which people interact, they will fundamentally redefine the practice of diplomacy. And as the juggernaut of cyber connectivity marches forward, diplomats will need to keep pace if they want to connect with the people who find themselves newly empowered in ways never before possible. Image from article, with caption: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton unveils the Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action (MAMA), which uses mobile cell networks to provide basic health information to vulnerable women around the world — part of Clinton's "21st-century statecraft" vision to transform the U.S. Foreign Service's approach to technology. Via LB
East-West Center is valuable asset to Hawaii and the United States - Charles E. Morrison, staradvertiser.com: "The East-West Center is a Hawaii-based, federally supported institution, long a key part of U.S. outreach to the countries of the Asia and the Pacific and a fixture in Honolulu. When a House committee recently voted to eliminate the 1960 authorizing legislation for the Center, friends and alumni were alarmed, even though few observers believe the bill has any likelihood of becoming law. ... The East-West Center is a public diplomacy institution that works. There are several keys to this: » First, established as a public corporation close
to but outside the government, it has a flexibility, informality and credibility that government programs usually do not have. » Second, our research, exchange and educational activities are group-oriented and directed toward focused learning and problem-solving. The Center was established as a place for people of the region to study and work collaboratively on issues of mutual concern. ... » Third, the Center's headquarters and main interactions are on American soil, so American democratic institutions and values, including personal freedom and community service, are on display not just within the institution but in the surrounding society. Hawaii, as a multicultural, democratic community is a living, attractive model of an effective Asia-Pacific community for our participants." Image from article, with caption: This was the view in May 1971 of the East-West Center’s Japanese garden adjoining the Imin Center-Jefferson Hall.
Is There a US Boycott Promoted By Its Jerusalem Consulate-General? - myrightword.blogspot.com: "The mission of the C-G is defined on p. 1, thus: • The U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem deals primarily with the Palestinian Authority, whereas the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv deals with the Government of Israel. Inherent conflicts of perspective have inhibited coordination in some areas, but cooperation is significantly better than it has been in the past. The two missions should adopt a written clarification of their relations to prevent backsliding. Combining some administrative functions could save resources at both missions. Moreover on pages 17-18, in the section entitled 'Public Diplomacy', we read that there are many activities and even physical locations of the C-G but that all are directed solely to Arab residents of the geographical area under the purview of the C-G, such as these: ...The consulate has opened a new program space, 'America House, in East Jerusalem, which is used for meetings, student briefings, film showings, and other events. American officers may not travel to Gaza because of security concerns, but Consulate General Jerusalem maintains a full program of exchanges, English classes, and speaker programs there, coordinated through creative use of digital videoconferencing...The PD section conducts outreach to the West Bank through a program space in Ramallah and American Corners in Salfeet and Jericho...The PD and management sections collaborated to open an America House program space in June 2010 in East Jerusalem. This facility does not have a resident director or wide array of publications but is instead a library space and multipurpose room in a facility operated by AMIDEAST, an American nongovernment organization that conducts Department-sponsored student advising and English classes for students. The location in East Jerusalem is an attractive venue for Palestinians. The PD section...also use the space as a convenient place to meet with contacts from East Jerusalem. Similarly, the consulate general leases a program space in Ramallah to reach West Bank Palestinians who cannot come to Jerusalem without a permit. PD officers work closely in Ramallah with AMIDEAST, which is also active in the West Bank, facilitating an array of official U.S. Government exchange programs...The consulate’s two other West Bank American Corners, in Salfit and Jericho, also make good use of outreach programs...Greater use of social media would be an effective tool in communicating with Palestinian audiences in East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza. A thriving environment for social media flourishes among Palestinians.
Most Palestinians under 30 have Facebook accounts...The PD section plans to expand its use of social media to activate contacts...There's more but the point has been made and that is: There are almost 350,000 Jewish residents in the communities located in the territory for which the C-G is responsible (the almost 300,000 Jews in the newer Jerusalem neighborhoods and within the Old City is another matter). They do not benefit from any of these cultural, social or funding outreach activities and other programs and monies. Jews don't count, other than deserving consular needs like birth registration, visas, etc. In some instances they may even have been harmed . ... I think that is discriminatory." Blogger's image from his blog
VOA executive editor discusses "extraordinary move" to pull story from the VOA Horn of Africa website - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting
Online public diplomacy: When September comes (Part 2) - Andre Oboler, internetengagement.com.au: "This is part two of an article on online public diplomacy and the challenge and opportunity September presents for Israel advocates. In the first part I explained what public diplomacy is and where it comes from. I concluded by noting the need for the involvement of more professionals, better resourcing for the online sphere, and a cultural change in favour of joint projects and greater cooperation between Israel’s supporters. In this continuation of the article I discuss the challenges we will face in more detail, and what we should be doing for online public diplomacy in support of Israel."
Captain America - Laura McGinnis, manIC: "Americans love a hero whose fight is clear. U.S. foreign policy, as I've observed before in this space, is often swayed by Wilsonian rhetoric toward Rooseveltian hard power politics.
The American people may be leery of hard power ideology, but that doesn't mean they reject hard power altogether. And the comic book realm is a perfect example of this, with its emphasis both on letting might make right -- in the right ideological context. ... [Comment by] Paul Rockower ... Nice review. My own two rupees. http://levantine18.blogspot.com/2011/07/thus-spake-captain-america.html Maybe we can start a PD/FP movie review website?" Image from article
Thus Spake Captain America - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "Working backwards, I went last week to see Captain America with my friend and PD classmate Matt Wallin. ... A thing I liked from the movie included Captain America bristling at his role selling the war, and being a propaganda symbol rather than engaging in the real action. In the end, leading by example did more to create positive change and leadership than symbolized propaganda. A thing I disliked was that the evil spy who killed Capt. America's mentor was a wolf in State Department clothing (I felt this was an unnecessary McCarthyite attack, even if unintentional)."
T minus 30 and counting…ouch! - hogline.wordpress.com: "I’m happy to watch others tread the path I have these past few years. Alexis has arrived to be a new Public Diplomacy officer here in Cotonou. Theresa is taking in information from a fire hose as a new FSO in A-100 class (Intro to the Foreign Service). And, while I was waiting for the gang to gather for happy hour yesterday afternoon, one of the folks who took the Foreign Service Officers’ Test the most recent (and last) time I gave it, has just learned she had passed and was moving on to the next step. ... Blogging about my third career, as a Foreign Service Officer (after broadcasting and computers).
The opinions expressed here are my own, and do not reflect the views of the Embassy, Department of State, or the United States Government. Photo: On R and R in Hawaii"
Fight over debt limit saps financial markets - Adam Shell, USA TODAY: The drawn-out squabbling between Democrats and Republicans over such an important issue has undermined confidence. On Main Street. On Wall Street. And in Corporate America's corner offices. And that's dangerous. The risk is that it could put a chilling effect on risk-taking by investors. Prompt uncertain consumers and businesses to go on the defensive. And hurt the image of America in the eyes of global investors.
Barack Obama the Pessimist: His lack of faith in American exceptionalism has dashed any hope of a 'transformational' presidency - Fouad Ajami, Wall Street Journal: Americans' confident belief in the uniqueness, yes the exceptionalism,
of their country, rested on an essential faith in liberty, and individualism and anti-statism at home, and in the power of our example, and muscle now and then, in foreign lands. Mr. Obama is ill-at-ease with that worldview. Our country has had pessimism on offer and has invariably rejected it. At crucial points in its history, it has remained unshaken in the belief that tomorrow can be better. Image from
Why Canada Is Beating America: It shrank government, and now unemployment and debt are declining - Jason Clemens, Wall Street Journal
Libya: What America's Media Won't Report - Stephen Lendman, indybay.org: America's media staunchly back all US imperial wars, regurgitating officials lies as truths. Moreover, they never explain their illegality or daily crimes of war and against humanity against civilians, as well as non-military related infrastructure and other sites. Nor do they report how NATO bombing prevents targeted nations (including Libya) from providing essential public services, including enough food, medical care, electricity, fuel, and clean water. Nonetheless, America's led Libya war may have backfired. In Tripoli, Middle East/Central Asian analyst Mahdi Nazemroaya told Progressive Radio News Hour listeners that NATO bombing united Libyans behind Gaddafi to save their country.
Explore North Korea with Fotopedia for iPhone - R Chew, newyork.ibtimes.com: The problems with visiting reclusive North Korea is that there are few commercial flights going there. You also need to receive explicit official permission and an entry visa from the Government of North Korea to enter the country. Fotopedia's App on North Korea is then a very convenient way to gain an insight into the people of North Korea.
The App's author is photographer Eric Lafforgue, and he allows us a glimpse into the secretive life of the North Koreans. There are more than 1300 pictures sorted by theme, location, and events. There are many images of propaganda posters, military training, children's athletic corps, and monuments to Kim Jong-il. Image from article
Windows on the War: New exhibition and accompanying book showcases Soviet propaganda from WWII - Yale University Press London: Windows on the War: Soviet TASS Posters at Home and Abroad, 1941–1945 at the Art Institute of Chicago, which focuses on posters designed by the Soviet Union’s TASS news agency to bolster support for the war effort.
Accompanying this groundbreaking exhibition is Yale’s book Windows on the War, which displays these fascinating images, revealing how preeminent artists of the day used unconventional technical and visual means to contribute to the war effort. Image from article
More kids eating calorie-packed takeout food - USA Today: The obesity epidemic is being fueled still further by a growing trend among kids to eat out and bring takeout food home,
University of North Carolina researchers say. Such foods are high in sugar and calories, and their increasing popularity means youngsters are getting more calories than they need, the researchers noted; image from
Hot Real Housewives of Beverly Hills [PHOTOS] - ibtimes.com: The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills is an American reality series for the Bravo cable network. The show premiered on October 14, 2010. The January 20, 2011 finale of the show became the highest rated episode with 4.2 million viewers in their duel prime time telecasts.