Monday, October 17, 2011

October 15-October 17

"In Washington, it is said, the easiest way to get more money is to fail."

--Bob Drogin, Los Angeles Times, reviewing  the new book "Top Secret America"; image from


Arab Spring not done till Iran sprung‎ - James Carafano, Washington Examiner: "When Green Revolution's cries for freedom echoed in the streets of Tehran, Obama turned a deaf ear. Instead, his administration downplayed Iran's blatant human rights abuses. From the start, the Iranian government responded to the president's outreach efforts with ridicule, disdain and derision.

Tehran's contempt for Obama has only emboldened its hostility. In February, Iranians hacked the Voice of America website. Iranian intelligence is reported to have penetrated the Voice of America Persian service. And now we learn of the Iranian plot to plant a bomb in Washington to kill the Saudi ambassador to the United States. ... [I]t is time for the administration to expose the regime's horrifying human rights record, and keep up the drumbeat of condemnation. This will require extensive public diplomacy to document and publicize abuses and to aid victims. It also entails stepping up VOA broadcasting and supporting independent Iranian broadcasters outside the country who have proved adept in exposing the regime's corruption and lavish aid to terrorists." Image from

Interview with Aaron Friedberg: Is China going to displace the US?‎ - Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post: "Aaron Friedberg, former deputy assistant for national security affairs and director of policy planning for Vice President Dick Cheney, is author of a new book, 'A Contest for Supremacy: China, America, and the Struggle for Mastery in Asia.' ... [FRIEDBERG:] Our leaders need to continue to be forthright in expressing public disapproval of human rights abuses and in encouraging the leaders of other democratic nations to do the same. Secretary of State [Hillary] Clinton’s suggestion on her first visit to Beijing that the U.S. might ease off on its criticism in order to concentrate on other issues was a major misstep in my view. It is important that China’s leaders not be encouraged in the belief that they can use their newfound clout to silence those who speak out against their mistreatment of their own people. In addition to public diplomacy, the U.S. government should continue to support the development of software that may make it easier for citizens of countries with repressive regimes to access the Internet without fear of surveillance. American companies that actively assist the Chinese government in violating the human rights of its citizens should be subject to public shaming and shareholder pressure if not legal sanctions. The efforts of nongovernmental organizations, universities and other private institutions to promote the emergence of a stronger civil society in China should also be encouraged."

Pleas Unheeded as Students’ U.S. Jobs Soured - Julia Preston, New York Times: "The college student from Moldova was in the United States on a cultural exchange program run for half a century by the federal government, a program designed to build international understanding by providing foreign students with a dream summer of fun in America. So he summoned his best English for the e-mail he sent to the State Department in June. 'Pleas hellp,' wrote the student, Tudor Ureche. He told them about 'the miserable situation in which I’ve found myself cought' since starting a job under the program in a plant packing Hershey’s chocolates near the company’s namesake town in Pennsylvania. Students like Mr. Ureche, who had paid as much as $6,000 to take part in the program, expected a chance to see the best of this country, to make American friends and sightsee, with a summer job to help finance it all. Instead, many students who were placed at the packing plant found themselves working grueling night shifts on speeding production lines, repeatedly lifting boxes weighing as much as 60 pounds and financially drained by low pay and unexpected extra costs for housing and transportation. Their complaints to the contractor running the program on behalf of the State Department were met with threats that they could be sent home. Events this summer at the Hershey

packing plant in Palmyra, Pa., revealed major holes in the State Department’s oversight of its summer work and travel program, the largest and most ambitious of its cultural exchanges. The program, which placed 130,000 foreign students in all sorts of jobs across the country this year, has a large impact in shaping the country’s image for young generations overseas. ... As a cultural exchange, the program is not monitored by labor authorities, said Daniel Costa, an analyst at the Economic Policy Institute in Washington who studies the J-1 program. Unlike the Department of Labor, he said, the State Department does not collect employment data that would show, for example, how many students have been placed in factories like the Palmyra plant, or how recently." Image from

Value Added: An exchange program for entrepreneurs - Thomas Heath, Washington Post: "[A] program called Bpeace (Business Council for Peace), which each year picks up the tab for about a dozen entrepreneurs to travel from Afghanistan to the United States, and sometimes from Rwanda and El Salvador. The visitors spend three weeks learning everything from how to build the legal framework for a partnership, to how to treat customers, to finding investors for their companies.

Bpeace continues to work with these foreign entrepreneurs over a period of years, helping them to build a business. ... When businesses are creating jobs in a community, people are earning income, they have hope for the future and they are less likely to join groups that are disruptive,” said Toni Maloney, Bpeace’s chief executive. ... Her nonprofit organization has a $1.2 million budget. About 15 percent comes from the State Department and the rest from fundraising." Image  from

Reserve Family Sparks Afghan Literacy Project - Donna Miles, American Forces Press Service: "Army 1st Lt. Michael O’Neill was deployed to Afghanistan when his family asked what they could send him to help the Afghan children. Little did O’Neill realize at the time that his request for children’s books would be instrumental in launching an innovative literacy initiative that’s been embraced by the State Department and Afghan national government.

... O’Neill’s company commander authorized commander’s emergency response program funds to buy a second allotment of books. But the bigger step came when the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, at the Panjshir provincial reconstruction team director’s urging, helped the book publisher apply for a public diplomacy grant so they could purchase even more. The State Department approved the grant to buy 2.4 million native-language books, as well as training materials for teachers to use them. 'So the project went beyond just handing out books,' O’Neill said. 'It actually evolved into a program for education.'” Image from article, with caption: Army 1st Lt. Michael O’Neill, an Army Reserve civil affairs officer who deployed in 2010 to Afghanistan, reads Afghan children native-language books provided through the 'Operation: Read it Again!' campaign his family initiated.

New US envoy meets Ratu Epeli‎ - Ioane Burese, Fiji Times: "The new resident ambassador of the United States to Fiji has acknowledged her new role as American envoy to Fiji. In an Information Ministry statement, Frankie Reed, who is also accredited to Nauru, Tonga, Tuvalu and Kiribati, said she was honoured to take up this new post.

The new envoy, who presented her credentials to President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau at Government House on Friday, comes with a lot of experience given her academic achievements as well as work history, according to the statement. Ms Reed is responsible for the bilateral relationships with the countries she will serve and collaborate with multilateral organisations, and promote regional public diplomacy activities, environmental programs and policies, the National Export Initiative, and defence-related relationships on a daily basis." Image from article, with caption: His Excellency the President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau and the US Ambassador Frankie Reed

Vive L'Union - Don H. Doyle, New York Times: "Bigelow [John Bigelow, the American consul general to France during the US Civil War] was a veteran New York newspaper man and savvy Republican Party operative. Though nominally a diplomat,

his real task in Paris was to counteract anti-Union sentiment; fellow agents had been sent to London, Rome and other European capitals. All were charged with giving 'a right direction to public sentiment' by making himself acquainted with the leading men of the national press. Today we would call this 'public diplomacy,' though, of necessity, they operated largely in secret." Bigelow image from article

Report: Difficulties for an Alhurra journalist in Iraqi Kurdistan - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Radio Sawa FM relay in Benghazi, Libya, signs on - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting.
Image from article

In non-reciprocity news, two English channels of China's CCTV now available 24/7 in Washington - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

China not yet getting its message across - Alistair M Michie, China Daily: "During the past three decades China has made great advances in public diplomacy and it is emerging as a vital tool for the country. Obvious highlights are the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2010 Shanghai Expo. But the financial crisis in Europe and the United States means there is a need for urgency in boosting China's public diplomacy. The economic weakness of Europe and the US greatly increases the risk that their populations will take a negative view of China as they struggle with unemployment and economic austerity. ... Should these negative views toward China take a firm grip in Europe and the US then they could create a demand for anti-globalization that could throttle free trade. Such trends could be very dangerous and damaging to China and could halt progress towards a peaceful and sustainable world. Public diplomacy provides a way of countering these negative trends and can vastly boost the positive understanding of China worldwide. Presented in the right way Chinese public diplomacy could communicate the hope and confidence needed to lift Europe and the US out of their financial crisis. China has a great story to tell. But polls show the message is not getting across.

Websites now dominate information distribution inside China. That is also the case outside of China. But, it is very difficult to find websites in English about Chinese provinces, cities or major cultural attractions that make an impact oversea. Where there are websites, almost all lack a design that appeals to foreign cultural tastes. Many sites make assumptions about knowledge of Chinese culture that foreigners simply do not possess. ... If China is to successfully use public diplomacy two issues need to be addressed. The first is that there is a vast lack of Chinese international communications skills. ... The second issue is that China has become greatly dependent on foreign communications groups. Research shows that there are only two Chinese controlled communications companies with any global reach. ... Understanding how foreign people think and how the Western media behaves is a critical step in successful public diplomacy. That is why I have long been an admirer of Sun Tzu's vital but simple message: understand how the other side thinks. The key principle of public diplomacy should be to learn what your target audience knows about you, then devise a strategy to carry their thinking to where you want them to be." Image from

India Blog Series: An Introduction - Maya Babla, CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "This December, a group of seven graduate students from the Master of Public Diplomacy program at USC’s Annenberg School for Communication  and Journalism will embark on a journey to India.

We will visit New Delhi and Mumbai, meeting with a range of stakeholders interested in how this global player is positioning itself to foreign and domestic audiences. Our research will assess the role of each of these actors: public, private, and nonprofit, as well as media and academia—and seeks to understand how they create the public diplomacy ecosystem in India. We will survey a wide range of ‘diplomacies’—from cultural to economic to citizen-powered initiatives—to understand how each of these is contributing to communicating the idea of India. Along the way, we'll be reporting on our findings through the project’s website, India: Inside Out." Image from

India Blog Series: A Migration of People and Perceptions - Jessica Castillo, CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "I am left wondering if a strong positive image of India can be painted through the actions of its municipal planners and local programs; a public diplomacy strategy that capitalizes on the soft power derived from urban innovation and problem solving. If economic growth is most apparent in urban centers, perhaps India could demonstrate its progress by highlighting the efforts it is making to address these urban issues. The potential to improve India’s soft power may rest on its actions at the city level."

How the IFS is finding its soul - T P Sreenivasan, "Every service or institution has a foundation day, which becomes an annual event every year. ... But the Indian Foreign Service, which was created by Independent India without a model from the colonial era, rarely celebrated an IFS Day, though old hands recall an odd cocktail party or a tea get-together hosted by the foreign secretary in certain years. ... The IFS Day celebrations on October 9, 2011 and a decision to mark the day every year are part of an 'IFS spring' ... The IFS spring may well have been an offshoot of the advent of public diplomacy. A ministry, which had prohibited the use of official computers for social media and witnessed a minister falling victim to the temptations of Twitter, today not only has multiple Web sites but also Facebook and Twitter accounts to project its policy. This liberation led to the extension of social media to the needs of the service and its members. A paperless web of information now envelops the service and encourages greater interaction and action. Like blogging turned hackers into commentators and literary geniuses, the New Media has turned retired bureaucrats, who were destined to baby sit their grandchildren in high-rise buildings in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia, into writers, thinkers and even poets."

Video Games for Health and Social Awareness Debut - "Parents now have to take a closer look when they tell their child to stop playing video games: they may be stopping them from learning some very important lessons on subjects like genocide in Darfur, roots of conflict in the Middle East and the impact of global hunger. Expressed through video games

created by the members of Games for Change (G4C) and Games for Health (G4H), these themes are a part of a serious movement to impress social activism and education on a broader audience through new media. The mission of these two organizations to use video games to educate, inform and assist people will be communicated at The Entrepreneur Center Pavilion at the NBC4 Connected Expo, September 16-17, at the Washington Convention Center. ... The expo will also be a platform to display the winner of the Reinventing Public Diplomacy through Games Contest, Peacemaker. In this game, players tackle the role of the Israeli Prime Minister or the Palestinian President solving real world dilemmas with the goal of promoting peace." Image from

Nice Education Programs photos - Reflecta, "The Acting Minister of Higher Education Sarwar Danish, together with NATO Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy Kolinda Grabar and U.S. Embassy Director of Communications and Public Diplomacy Eileen O’Connor, joined university chancellors and others at the Ministry of Higher Education in Kabul to celebrate the progress of the PAS-funded NATO SILK Afghanistan Program on Tuesday, Oct 11, 2011."

NATO Cyber defence competition Announced - "From 10 October to 13 November, we invite you to share with us your views on how the Alliance's role in cyber defence contributes to your security. October 13, 2011 (MMD Newswire) -- 'We want to know how our audiences perceive the link between NATO's work and their own security.

Whether they are cyber defence experts, students in computer science, international law, international relations and other related fields or simply people that are interested in the topic of cyber defence, we would like to have their opinion about NATO impacts their daily lives. This is what this competition is all about.' says Antonella Cerasino, Head, NATO Countries Section in NATO's Public Diplomacy Division in charge of this innovative project." Image from

Scholars assess future of Middle East - Josh Weiner and Patrick McGrath, Tufts Daily: "Academics and policymakers last week discussed future developments in the Middle East in its current time of transition during 'The New Middle East: Challenges and Opportunities' conference. ... The conference began its second day with an introduction by Ambassador William Rugh, the Edward R. Murrow visiting professor of public diplomacy at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy."

David Lowe‎ - The Conversation: Professor David Lowe is the Director of the Alfred Deakin Research Institute at Deakin University, and a leader of humanities and social science research that informs policy and practice. ... David

is a historian of international relations and Australia in world affairs. ... He is currently researching and writing on: the uses of history by Australian politicians; Australian involvement in post-war decolonisation, including the Colombo Plan; and the phenomenon of public diplomacy." Lowe image from article

Some thoughts on public choice theory - dkuehn, "I've never worked for the government, but in my immediate circle of family my wife does, my mom and aunt work for local school systems as teachers, my grandad was in the Army and then worked in the veteran's court of appeals, and my grandma worked with military child care centers. Every single one of them was largely motivated by a public spirit. My wife does not come home from work discussing how she wants to obtain more resources for her agency. We worry a little about her pay freeze, but aside from that what she talks about (aside from mundane work drama) is how invested she is in using education as a form of public diplomacy. She works at National Defense University with a department that has mostly foreign officers as student, and she gets very passionate

about how great it is to see Pakistani officers talking with Americans about what's going on over there, and especially about how Pakistani and Indian officers interact and learn to appreciate each other while in classes (my impression is that these two countries form the bulk of the foreign students)." Image from


Taiwan Academies open in 3 US cities - China Post: "The first Taiwan Academies — a brainchild of President Ma Ying-jeou aimed at spreading Chinese culture with unique Taiwanese characteristics throughout the world — were opened in the U.S. cities of New York, Houston and Los Angeles on Friday. First lady Chow Mei-ching and Emile Sheng, minister of the Council for Cultural Affairs, attended the opening ceremony of the Taiwan Academy at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York. ... Sheng noted that to promote cultural diplomacy, his council will add eight cultural centers around the world in addition to the present ones in New York, Paris and Tokyo. ... Analysts have said Taiwan's efforts

are partly in response to the hundreds of Confucius Institutes China has opened in many countries around the world in recent years. The institutes collaborate with overseas universities and schools to teach simplified Chinese, not the traditional characters used in Taiwan. They also promote mainland Chinese culture and understanding." Image from

Mandarin has the edge in Europe's classrooms - Stanley Pignal, Financial Times: "[H]undreds of thousands of students in the West who are opting to learn Mandarin Chinese, often at the expense of traditional languages such as Spanish or German. ... Beijing ... has stepped up the activities of the Confucius Institutes, a network of cultural diplomacy bodies tasked with increasing china’s 'soft power' around the globe. These institutes are often likened to Germany’s Goethe Institute or the Alliance Française but are considerably more aggressive in pushing Beijing’s worldview and shutting down discussion of any topics regarded as politically sensitive such as Tibet or China’s human rights record. 'The Chinese government is supporting a lot of the Chinese teaching in the US . . . that is making a huge difference in Chinese teaching in this country,' said Nancy Rhodes, High quality global journalism requires investment, director of foreign language education the Centre for Applied Linguistics."

11th Hungarian Film Festival in Los Angeles to Open on November 9; Lifetime Award for Hungarian Born Oscar Winner Asc Vilmos Zsigmond - Ray Pride, "Press Statement of the Consulate General of Hungary in Los Angeles[:] "Ambassador Balazs Bokor,

Consul General of Hungary in Los Angeles and Bela Bunyik, President of Bunyik Entertainment officially announced at a press conference today that the Hungarian Film Festival in Los Angeles will be held in November for the 11th times. ... Ambassador Balazs Bokor underlined that presenting the Hungarian cinema in Hollywood is an important task of the cultural diplomacy." Bokor image from

Riding the 'K Wave': Seoul sees role for its well-known pop culture to extend cooperation in East Asia - "Seoul is exploring whether the Korean Wave culture that has captured the hearts and minds of the young generation across the globe, Asia in particular, could be the newest powerful diplomatic tool in community building within East Asia. The phenomenon might serve as a springboard to such an ambitious goal, concluded the sixth Jeju Peace Institute-Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom Joint Workshop on 'East Asian Community Building: Cultural Diplomacy as a Policy Tool of Soft Power', held early this month. Ambassador Joon-gyu Lee, chancellor of the Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security, said cultural diplomacy had become a new pillar in foreign policy since cultural interactions and people-to-people exchanges could improve mutual understanding among different societies and establish a foundation of trust and friendly feeling, thus preventing the spill-over effects of potential political and economic conflicts. 'Cultural diplomacy is an essential way to implement public diplomacy which is related with the concept of soft power - one of the four core strategies announced by the Korean foreign ministry,' said Mr Lee. Korea's other diplomatic strategies included total diplomacy, complex diplomacy, and digital network diplomacy, he said.

Hallyu or the Korean Wave, which refers to the fast-growing popularity of Korean entertainment and culture through TV dramas, movies, pop music and food around the world, particularly in Japan, China and Southeast Asia, could be a valuable soft-power asset to improve better understanding of Korea and its national brand value, noted the diplomat." Image from

The 'lucky, lazy country' shows how not to win friends in Asia‎ - The Conversation: "[F]ormer diplomat Alison Broinowski of the Australian National University examines our rocky relationship with our Asian neighbours. ... [According to Broinowski] As Australia changes, perceptions in the region will catch up, particularly if we improve our public and cultural diplomacy and our international broadcasting. We have to show that we believe projecting Australia in Asian countries is not a waste of time and money."

Call-Center Diplomacy? - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "Indian companies have been setting up call-centers outside of India, many in the Philippines. I saw this firsthand when I was in Cebu, as I noticed Indians visiting and working at the IT parks. The big question is: will Indian public and cultural diplomacy to the Philippines follow? The

karoke-crazy melodic Filipino society would be a grand match for Bollywood. The Filipino-Indian relationship could be an important one in the coming century, and the Philippines should be a prime target for India's Look East Policy. Perhaps Bollywood can be the bridge." Image from

Ex-Romanian president: Cultural diplomacy can help to overcome contradictions - Trend News Agency: "Former Romanian President Emil Constantinescu believes cultural heritage has always been a difficult subject to discuss. However, dialogue is the primary tool to solve v arious problems and contradictions, he said at the International Humanitarian Forum on the '21st century: hopes and challenges' which

has started in Gulustan palace, in Baku. 'We live in an open world of communication, where different cultures are in a constant close interaction. We can overcome all obstacles through cultural diplomacy alone and we must hope for more,' he said. Constantinescu said that it was time to create the world's 'capitalism with a human face'." Constantinescu image from article

ICHHTO head: World is en route to human awakening - "Vice President and Head of the Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization of the Islamic Republic of Iran Ruhollah Ahmadzadeh Kermani

on Tuesday said the world is fortunately en route to human awakening based on morality and spirituality. He made the remark in a statement delivered by him at the ministerial meeting of the 19TH session of General Assembly of UNWTO, Gyeongju, Republic of Korea on Tuesday. ... [H]e said. [']This session is held at a juncture when the world needs moral values, spirituality, and movement towards justice based on dialogue and cultural diplomacy. Despite the illusions of some domineering states and politicians who think military and political dominancy is vital for peace and security of the world and of course, for their own aims and benefits, they use oppression, violence and intimidation, I should point out that the era of authoritarianism, dominancy and exploitation of other nations has come to its end and theory of war and suppression has totally lost its legitimacy.[']" Ruhollah Ahmadzadeh Kermani image from article


America: With God on our side: Presidential candidates feel no shame in asserting divine purpose in U.S. policies and actions. In this ubiquitous view of American exceptionalism, the nation is not bound by rules to which others must submit - Andrew Bacevich, Los Angeles Times: In the United States, despite a Constitution that mandates the separation of church and state,

religion and politics have become inseparable. To lend authority to their views, presidential aspirants of both parties regularly press God into service. They know what he intends. The Hebrew Bible provides no evidence to support this proposition. Nor do the teachings of Jesus Christ and his disciples. Yet the American Bible incorporates a de facto Third Testament, which validates this assertion of American uniqueness. That testament, fashioned from a carefully tailored rendering of the 20th century, recounts the story of a new chosen people serving as God's instrument of salvation, leading humankind onward to the promised land.

Book review: 'Top Secret America': Dana Priest and William M. Arkin investigate the explosive growth of the country's vast secret world since 9/11 and the staggering waste and ineptitude that have followed - Bob Drogin, Los Angeles Times: In their book, based on several hundred interviews, Priest and Arkin map out a largely invisible parallel universe of more than 1,300 federal agencies, nearly 2,000 private companies and 854,000 people doing "top secret" work. Spending for counter-terrorism, they note, has skyrocketed without members of Congress or anyone else really knowing what works and what does not.

Nation-Building, Our National Pastime [Review of Liberty's Surest Guardian: American Nation-Building From the Founders to Obama by Jeremi Suri] - Robert Kagan, New York Times: The idea that nation-building is something new in American foreign policy, a departure from the good old days of simply killing the bastards, has been widespread for some time. Condoleezza Rice a decade ago also wanted to know why the 82nd Airborne was walking Bosnian kids to school. But in fact American soldiers have been walking kids to school for two centuries. This is the point of Jeremi Suri’s useful new book, “Liberty’s Surest Guardian: American Nation-Building

From the Founders to Obama.” Suri, a professor of history at the University of Texas, Austin, argues not only that Americans have engaged in nation-building throughout their history, but that their impulse to do so springs naturally and inevitably from their character and experience as a people. Having built a single nation out of disparate parts themselves, having solved the problem of competing interests by channeling them through national representative institutions, Americans have continually sought to replicate this experience in foreign lands. Image from


Sent: 10/14/2011

Subj: Fall conference announcement

The Last Three Feet:

New Media, New Approaches and New Challenges for American Public Diplomacy

Edward R. Murrow, the famous electronic journalist and former head of the U.S. Information Agency during John F. Kennedy's presidency, once said in an interview that the critical link between two peoples in international communications was "bridged by the personal contact" in "the last three feet."

On November 3, the Public Diplomacy Council and the George Washington University Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication will present a half-day conference exploring modern-day techniques used by U.S. public diplomacy officials around the world who need to bridge those last three feet on a daily basis.

Two panels of veteran field officers will reflect on their direct experiences in explaining U.S. government policies and American society to audiences around the globe and also on lessons learned from these efforts in some of the world's most conflictive and complex societies.

The event takes place on November 3 in the GW School of Media and Public Affairs' Jack Morton Auditorium located at 805 21st Street NW from 8:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.

Among the speakers:

A former Consul General in Shanghai will discuss how Public Diplomacy officers in China are using traditional programming tools and new social media to communicate daily with millions of Chinese despite frequent obstacles raised by host government organizations.

A recent Public Affairs Officer in Bahrain will address the implications of the "Arab Spring" for PD officials in the region in relaying U.S. policy messages while contending with a flood of misinformation in conventional and social media. She will explore how media can be used as a tool for reconciliation and tolerance in a badly divided small country.

Turkey in recent years, due to its location, Muslim majority, democratic institutions and NATO membership has played an increasing role in regional developments. To address worrisome public opinion trends showing significant mistrust of the United States, Embassy PD practitioners devised New Media programs aimed at informing Turkish youth about American society, policies and values. They produced a series of programs ranging from capitalizing on both nations' story-telling traditions to a film contest emphasizing shared values and a collaboration with Turkish educators on promoting entrepreneurship and innovation among Turkish students. A senior PD officer explains the programs and outcomes to date.

In Brazil, the impact of a ten-year Youth Ambassador Program, a partnership with public and private sector organizations, has become a model for similar program around the globe. The program, which targets Brazilian high school students ages 15-17 who are role models in their communities, will be described by a former U.S. Cultural Attaché in Brasilia. The program emphasizes the importance of public education and civic responsibility beginning in one's youth through community improvement projects and future professional opportunities. The more than 200 participants to date have received internships with American companies and scholarships to perfect their spoken and written English. PD officials make extensive use of the social media in publicizing the competition and the students' daily blogs from their U.S. visit and Twitter comments expand the program's impact.

Michelle Kwan, the holder of the most world skating championships by any American ice skater, is playing a new role as a Department of State Public Diplomacy Envoy. Ms. Kwan has represented the United States in visits to China, Russia, South Korea, Argentina, the Ukraine and Singapore, meeting with students, Special Olympics competitors, government officials and athletes. In an exclusive videotaped interview for "The Last Three Feet" conference, she discusses her experiences in explaining American society, values and institutions to her hosts while listening to their views and questions about the United States.

Other speakers will talk about public diplomacy initiatives in Africa, Pakistan, Indonesia and Iraq.

The forum is open to the press and the public through advance registration. To register please click here and fill out the registration form. If you have any questions about registering for the event, please email

Public Diplomacy Council
1828 L Street, NW, Suite 1150
Washington, D.C., 20036


“You need a president with a plan, which I'm laying out over the next three days, and, clearly, the intent to open up this treasure trove that America's sitting on and getting America independent on the domestic energy side.”

--Texas governor Rick Perry, Republican candidate for president, via Facebook friend

--Image from Sitting on a Gold Mine: with caption: Tennis star Serena Williams