Sunday, August 21, 2011

August 21

"No people come into possession of a culture without having paid a heavy price for it."

--James A. Baldwin; Baldwin image from


Have Sri Lanka’s foreign affairs ‘pundits’ heard of widely-read Huffington Post which Disseminate ‘Tamil misery’? - Daya Gamage, Asian Tribune: "Sri Lanka’s overseas public diplomacy or its public affairs program has not identified in advance the most influential media outlets in Western capitals, especially the epicenter of Western diplomacy Washington, to reach them and make them knowledgeable of the country’s current atmosphere and situation."

Patriarch seeks reconciliation for Abkhazia and South Ossetia - Etuna Tsotniashvili, "On the 19th anniversary of the start of the war in Abkhazia, the Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia and Mitropolite of Tskhum Abkhazia Ilia II supported Abkhazian and Ossetian reconciliation with Georgia. As Ilia II stated at the Sunday sermon, Abkhazians and Georgians should stand together in order not to lose against the enemy. ... A number of events dedicated to the 19th anniversary of the beginning of war were held in Georgia. Leader of Free Democrats opposition political party Irakli Alasania arrived on Sunday at Enguri Bridge at the administrative borderline between occupied Abkhazia and the rest of Georgia. Alasania

had been visiting Samegrelo Region in the western part of the country for a few days. ... Alasania also presented his views of returning the lost territories and stressed the significance of public diplomacy and economic strength in resolving the problem." Alasania image from

Time to rest, reflect - Life is Trinidad and Tobago: "On behalf of all its readers, this column wants to wish the honourable Prime Minister and all nationals affected by dengue fever,

speedy recovery and recuperation. ... Two of the apparent distinct and emerging characteristics of her [the PM's] administration include the subtle and selective discriminatory employment practices based on political allegiance allegedly practiced by some of her leading officials—quite contrary to the Constitution and equal opportunities practices—and the sporadic outbursts from some of her advisors. They clearly need 'mouth tonic' with ill-timed communiqu├ęs devoid of careful reflection and analysis, reflecting more stilts of self exaltation, and perhaps lack of training, maturity, sensitivity in public diplomacy, communications, dispute resolution and conflict mediation skills. In hindsight, what may create concerns in the public domain is perhaps the scope, weight, and substance of prime ministerial decisions in the selection of those who ought to advise her with clinical political precision." Image from


Native Deen - Islamic Music during Ramadan - "Native Deen is a hip-hop, R and B group that looks to teach and inspire Muslim youth through music. During the holy month of Ramadan the group was asked to visit Indonesia to perform and spread their message. Surabaya, Indonesia. In the framework of the holy month of Ramadan, the U.S. Consulate in Surabaya and Medan are also U.S. Embassy in Jakarta create a series of activities that include inviting Ramadan Nasyid music group 'Native Deen' to Indonesia from 10 to 20 August 2011. They will visit the city of Jakarta, Pontianak, Surabaya, and Malang. Native Deen is an inspiring one that began with three Muslim youth possessing unique talents and a passion to spread the uplifting message of Islam. Originally solo artists and active participants of their communities searching for creative ways to educate and inspire Muslim youth, today Native Deen has become a fusion of Hip-hop and R&B flavors, thrilling fans with their eclectic and unique combinations of lyrics, rhythms and sounds.

The trio made up of Joshua Salaam, Abdul-Malik Ahmad and Naeem Muhammad came together in 2000 and has embarked upon a professional career in the music industry together in order to highlight issues confronting Muslims living in America. Now, there are 3 more members, Tariqh Lowther, Sherwin Thwaites, and Shawn Thwaites, who accompanies them play the instruments. These three young African-American men who were raised as Muslims in America have emerged as one of the leading Islamic Nasheed groups and have inspired an international fan base. ... Native Deen will hold workshops, discussions, media interviews, and feature public performances in Jakarta, Pontianak, Surabaya, and Malang in order to support the U.S. Embassy cultural diplomacy and mutual understanding between the United States and Indonesia. ... By having this program series, the U.S. mission to Indonesia is to develop a constructive dialogue through mutual understanding and reach out to young people of Indonesia. 'We hope this program will develop cooperation in the fields of arts and culture in the future between Indonesia and the U.S. as part of the Comprehensive Partnership between two countries,' said U.S. Consul General for Surabaya, Kristen F. Bauer." Image from article, with caption: Native Deen members, Abdul Malik Ahmad (right) and Joshua Salaam (left) looked at workshops and discussed with students at the American Corner, Airlangga University.

Artist Rep's Allen Nause returns from Pakistan with perspectives on cultural diplomacy and collaboration - The Oregonian: "Nause

was invited by the Pakistan National Council for Arts, working through the U.S. Department of State, to spend six weeks in the capital, Islamabad, as well as the big population centers of Lahore and Karachi. In addition to directing the show [Neil Simon's classic comedy, 'The Odd Couple'], he led acting workshops and speeches." See also. Nause image from

State Department announces exchange of athletes with physical disabilities - Steven Carter, Dallas Disability Examiner: "The U.S. State Department, in recognizing the need for inclusiveness in the world of sports and people-to-people exchanges, has announced today that it will bring 14 athletes from Kazakhstan to the United States to participate in an inaugural exchange for athletes with physical disabilities. The exchange which will last 10-days, includes male and female sitting volleyball players that will participate in clinics and games with their American counterparts in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, including with the U.S. Men and Women’s Sitting Volleyball teams and USA Volleyball. Sitting volleyball is a Paralympic sport for both men and women. Oklahoma City is, of course, only a couple of hours north of Dallas, and may be worth a short drive to experience the cultural diplomacy."

World Art Managers Find New Funding Models In D.C. - Elizabeth Blair, NPR: "Cultural diplomacy usually comes in the form of a traveling art exhibit or a celebrity visit to a war-torn country. But there's a deeper kind of diplomacy taking place at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. For the past four summers,

arts managers from around the world have been coming to D.C. for training on how to improve their organizations back home." Image from article, with caption: Kennedy Center fellow Reem Kassem recently used her Kennedy connections to help organize an outdoor arts festival in Alexandria, Egypt.

A new language for Western opera: Chinese - Chi-Chi Zhang, "20 young foreign vocalists [were] in Beijing this summer to learn how to sing opera in a new language: Mandarin. It's a daunting task that culminated Thursday night with a performance at the National Center for Performing Arts, the country's premier opera house. China may be better known for its traditional Peking Opera, but a new generation of composers favors Western-style operas in Chinese. So the government, in a bid at cultural diplomacy, organized the monthlong

training program — dubbed 'I Sing Beijing' — with help from the Colorado-based Asian Performing Arts Council and other overseas groups. ... The participants were selected from 200 applicants from around the world. None spoke Chinese when they started. ... As China's economy grows, so does investment in the arts. Local leaders are eager to build performing arts centers as a symbol that their city has arrived. The country boasts about 50 today, with more than 100 expected to be built in the next decade. ... For the Americans [participating], the growing market in China contrasts with the shaky one at home. 'Funding for the arts is being cut in the U.S., and China is seen as a greener pasture for a lot of us,' [US Mezzo-soprano Maria] McDaniel said. 'I definitely can see myself singing again in China one day.' Beijing recently announced plans to promote the global tour of a Chinese trio of tenors, including Dai Yuqiang, one of China's most famous tenors and a favorite of the late Luciano Pavarotti. 'Cultural influence is a form of soft power,' said Kang Wei, chairman of the Beijing Performing Arts Group, which is co-sponsoring the tour. 'Although it is not political it can still create a lasting effect.'" Image from article, with caption: In this July 28, 2011 photo, opera singers, from right to left, Julia Metzler, Gabriele Mangione, and Melisa Bonetti sing a Mandarin song during "I Sing Beijing" program's visit to a local factory in Beijing, China.

Soft Power Smackdown! Confucius Institute vs. Taiwan Academy - Aries Poon, Wall Street Journal: "At the same time as Taiwan is moving to defend itself against China’s rising military power, the island is also planning a counteroffensive against the mainland’s push for greater soft power. In a move that appears inspired by the global spread of Beijing-sponsored Confucius Institutes, Taiwan’s government recently unveiled a plan to open cultural centers abroad. The first of the centers – known collectively as the 'Taiwan Academy' — will kick off in New York, Los Angeles and Houston this fall, followed by more in Europe and Asia, according to Taiwan’s Government Information Office. In the face of China’s growing dominance in international politics and its assertion of sovereignty over Taiwan, Taipei has resorted to what it calls 'cultural diplomacy' to further the island’s interests abroad. The Academy plan has been designed along those lines, with the network of cultural centers intended as a tool to promote Taiwanese-flavored Mandarin and traditional Chinese characters, and also sponsor research on Taiwan-related topics."

2 Car Bombs Lead Off Taliban Siege of a British Office - Ray Rivera and Sharifullah Sahakay "KABUL, Afghanistan — Militants attacked a British cultural relations agency in a residential neighborhood of Kabul early Friday, setting off huge car bomb explosions

and killing at least eight people in a standoff with the police that lasted several hours while agency employees hid inside, British and Afghan officials said. At least one international soldier was among the dead, officials said. ... In Kabul, Afghan and coalition quick-reaction forces rescued the three trapped employees about five hours after the siege began, British officials said. The agency, the British Council, conducts cultural diplomacy by promoting education, culture and the arts in countries across the world. The compound housed both offices and living quarters for its foreign staff members, all of whom survived, British officials said." Image from article, with caption: Pedestrians near the British Council building in Kabul, Afghanistan, sought cover as soldiers fought off a handful of gunmen in the center on Friday.

A political arts discussion with broad strokes - Ben Eltham, "Yesterday, the government released the National Cultural Policy Discussion Paper. ... Arts Minister Simon Crean has indicated this discussion paper will now form the basis for a second round of submissions and consultations, with the new policy to be rolled out after next year’s federal budget. 'I’m really keen that this not be seen as a marginal policy, but connected to the mainstream,'Crean told Crikey in a phone interview. He identified several important areas driving the policy development process, notably Australia’s indigenous peoples which he claims 'underpin our values' . ... Some of the goals [of the discussion paper] really appear to be several quite different ideas mashed into one, such as the final goal which combines arts education agendas with cultural diplomacy and even arts philanthropy."

Vietnamese circus artists shine in Cuba - "Vietnamese circus artists won the Grand Prix prize and a bronze medal at the International Circus Festival 2011 in the Cuban capital of Havana which closed on Aug. 14. The Grand Prix

prize was bagged by brothers Giang Quoc Co and Giang Quoc Nghiep for their performance showing the strength of their arms. The performance also won the audience’s popular award. The victory marked Vietnamese circus artists’ impressive return to Cuba after 20 years. ... Vu Hop, head of the Vietnamese delegation, said the festival offered a chance to promote the land and people of Vietnam to international friends. On the occasion, the Vietnamese Embassy in Cuba organised a get-together to cheer for the victory, during which Vietnamese Ambassador to Cuba Vu Chi Cong highlighted contributions of the circus sector to the country’s cultural diplomacy." Image from article, with caption: The "Power of the arms" show.

National security, public order always optimum goal, minister says
- VietNamNet Bridge: "The Ministry of Public Security in the coming time will work harder for stronger national security and public order, minister Tran Dai Quang told press agencies. ... Security and defense security will be closely connected with politic diplomacy, as well as economic and cultural diplomacy, he said."

Gilani directs CDA to provide land for opening of AHAN outlet at Saidpur village - "Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani has directed the Capital Development Authority to urgently provide one outlet to 'Aik Huner Aik Nagar (AHAN)', a subsidiary of the Ministry of Production, at Siadpur village, situated in the proximity of the capital city, to market exclusively products of AHAN under their brand as a part of poverty alleviation initiative for the rural artisans. ... The Prime Minister also directed that the Board of Directors of the AHAN should be constituted at the earliest and the selection of the members must justify their expertise in the fields of history of artifacts, knowledge of entrepreneurship and the marketing. The Prime Minister also directed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to arrange exhibitions of the products of AHAN during the President’s and Prime Minister’s visits to foreign countries. ... The Foreign Minister ... called upon AHAN to ensure quality and competitiveness in their products because these imperatives not only ensure the sustainability and also generate a lot of good will both for the country and the products so interlinked with the soft image of the country. She observed that quality products in the international market optimize the cultural diplomacy, which is the finest form diplomacy."

A life in museums - Saraswathy Nagarajan, "Museologist [George Jacob] has designed and set up museums on myriad themes in 11 countries during his 24-year career.

His passion for India's living heritage and cultural wealth makes him a keen advocate of museums to preserve, conserve, and showcase the social, cultural, and artistic wealth of the country. ... [George Jacob:] [L]ike the treasure of King Tut, some ... exhibits must be assembled for a travelling exhibition. That would be India's best step forward in cultural diplomacy. It would make a statement about enhancing the country's presence and reinforcing faith in our living tradition." Jacob image from article

British High Commission welcomes Sir Willard - "Sir Willard [White] will be performing at a concert organised by the Art Foundation, to be held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel, New Kingston, on Sunday. While the Arts Foundation and EMC [Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts]

were grateful to the British High Commission for hosting the reception, for the High Commission it was also cultural diplomacy - finding ways to develop on arts and culture in Jamaica as it is related to the youths." Sir Willard image from article


On the home front, reminders of the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq come in small doses - Greg Jaffe, Washington Post: After almost 10 years of fighting, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq surface on the home front in fleeting, sentimental and sanitized glimpses. Troops often question why more ­have not answered the call to duty and why their sacrifices are so poorly understood by the people they serve.

Libya: Swimming against the Tide of NATO's Media Propaganda - If we were to believe the main stream media Tripoli is about to fall and the Rebels are closing in from all sides with their NATO airforce bombing everything that resists their infantery on the ground. The Libyan government on the other hand claims that these

reports are grossly exaggerated from the media working for the NATO countries and Qatar. When you follow twitter it looks as if Jalil and Jabril are already the new kings of Libya, still without any ministers, but they can be provided for by France, Qatar, England and the United States. Image from article

Russia: NATO plans campaign in Syria, tightens noose around Iran - casmii: NATO is planning a military campaign against Syria to help overthrow the regime of President Bashar al-Assad with a long-reaching goal of preparing a beachhead for an attack on Iran, Russia's envoy to NATO Dmitry Rogozin said. The UN Security Council condemned on Wednesday ongoing violence in Syria and urged the country's authorities to stop using force against peaceful protesters, while saying the current situation in the country has not yet called for NATO interference. "[This statement] means that the planning [of the military campaign] is well underway. It could be a logical conclusion of those military and propaganda operations, which have been carried out by certain Western countries against North Africa," Rogozin said in an interview with the Izvestia newspaper published on Friday.

Walkout: Israeli Delegation Agitated Again - A group of Israelis (current and former Israeli Defense Force personnel) are in South Africa on a propaganda tour to our campuses. Their mission has been thwarted and disrupted at every corner. On Monday the 15th of August, the Israeli propaganda project attempted to hold a lecture to "educate" South African students about the Israeli regime. For this event, students from several university organizations came together and specifically chose to stage a walk out - a symbolic and powerful mode of protest.

Azerbaijan changes tactics of anti-Armenian propaganda– expert - Information-Analytic Agency NEWS.amAzerbaijan has some changes in its strategy and tactics of the anti-Armenian propaganda, said Armenian military expert David Jamalyan to a press conference on Friday. The expert reminded that Azerbaijani

Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov suggested that Karabakh Armenians should themselves vote for or against being a part of Azerbaijan. “Now attempts are made to implement this idea in practice, which brings up an interesting situation - anti-Armenian propaganda and hatred are not reduced but they simultaneously introduce an image of a “good Armenian" speaking of peoples’ friendship,” said Jamalyan. Image from article


Geoffrey C. Middlebrook, “The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and American Public Diplomacy during the Reagan Years: Purpose, Policy, Program, and Performance,” PhD Dissertation, University of Hawaii, 1985. “A recurrent tension

in American public diplomacy as conducted by the United States Information Agency (USIA) is the proper relationship between the Agency's "twin pillars": informational programs and educational and cultural programs. The dispute involves issues of incompatibility, as these two sets of activities differ in modality and purpose. Because of these disagreements, institutional structures and organizational patterns have been a constant struggle in American public diplomacy. Concern over the integrity of USIA's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs was heightened with the election of Ronald Reagan to the presidency. Observers initially concluded that the Agency was unduly emphasizing information at the expense of culture and education, and at the same time inappropriately politicizing the latter programs. Congress moved to protect the Bureau, and the result was that it experienced what appeared to be a period of unprecedented enrichment. Nonetheless, there continued to be talk of separating the Bureau from the Agency. This dissertation examines, describes, and evaluates the purposes, policies, programs, and performance of the United States Information Agency's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs during the years 1981 to 1989. More precisely, it seeks to answer three basic research questions: To what extent and in what ways was the Bureau enhanced and/or diminished during the period? What were the essential dynamics at work in this strengthening and/or weakening of the Bureau? What implications do these changes have regarding the optimum institutional location for the Bureau? Based on the evidence, the research conducted herein indicates that: in general the Bureau was enhanced in the areas of budgets, activities, and stature; these changes were the result of a productive conflict that occurred between the executive and legislative branches, at the center of which was the Agency Director, as they negotiated the definition and direction of the Bureau; USIA is presently and for the foreseeable future the best organizational home for the Bureau.” Image from

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