Tuesday, October 4, 2011

October 2-4



"Please leave us alone."

--Comment by reader Mudassar.R regarding the article, "US wants long-term collaboration with Pakistan: Munter," The Express Tribune (Pakistan); image from

CONFERENCE

Building Bridges: The Tools of Public Diplomacy: The Association for Public Diplomacy Scholars (APDS) is a graduate-student organization at Syracuse University (SU) that aims to increase awareness of public diplomacy efforts worldwide. Each year APDS provides the SU campus with an academic journal, regular speakers series and an annual symposium. This year’s symposium focuses on the various tools of the public diplomacy field with a special focus on the implementation of those tools in the Middle East. Taking place on October 27-28, this symposium will expand the SU community’s concept of public diplomacy and reinforce the field’s multidisciplinary nature.

"I am an old scholar, better-looking now than when I was young. That's what sitting on your ass does to your face."

--Leonard Cohen

PD RESOURCES

Bruce Gregory, Public Diplomacy: Books, Articles, Websites #58

International "communications" from Twitter:

Ann Stock@AnnatState view full profile →

U.S. Department of State http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/biog/145328.htm
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Stock image from

Note: Assistant Secretary Stock assumed the authorities of the Under Secretary of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs on July 8, 2011, following the departure of Under Secretary Judith McHale.

PUBLIC DIPLOMACY

American policy in shambles, leaders confused‎ - Farrukh Saleem, The News International: "Over the past decade America’s security-related direct overt aid and military reimbursements to Pakistan have amounted to $14.615 billion. On September 22, Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Armed Services Committee of the United States Senate that the Haqqani Network is ‘a strategic arm of Pakistan’s Inter- Services Intelligence Agency (ISI)’. First carrots then sticks. Over the past four years, Mullen undertook 27 visits to Pakistan. On September 22, Admiral Mullen made public accusations against the ISI. First private diplomacy, then public diplomacy. To be certain, President Obama, Secretary Clinton, Secretary Panetta and Admiral Mullen are all in one team. As a team they use a whole host of tools including carrots, sticks, private diplomacy, public diplomacy, good cop, bad cop and the media. ... The American team, utilizing all its cut-and-dried tools, always offering a ‘combination of rewards and punishments’, is manoeuvring to induce a particular

behaviour-coaxing Pakistani generals to weaken Afghan fighters so that America can negotiate with the fighters from a position of strength. And, extract an honourable exit out of the jaws of an impending defeat. All this is a clear indication that powers within the Obama administration are not on the same page and the administration, as a consequence, is confused. ... For US policymakers the writing on the wall is that all their carrots, all their sticks and all their good cop, bad cop tactics would not be sufficient to make Pakistani generals compromise on what the generals have determined to be their ‘strategic interests’. In that sense, America’s Pakistan policy is in shambles."  Image from

This is Yousuf Gilani's finest hour‎ - M K Bhadrakumar, Rediff: "Think of it: [Pakistan PM Yousuf] Gilani is dictating today that Pakistan’s dialogue with the US will be 'on the basis of equality and mutual trust.' Then he turns around and tells Afghan President Hamid Karzai not to sit in his palace and sulk but to come out and try to make the best out of a bad situation. He has obtained a formal assurance, meanwhile, from the US that there is no question of American soldiers stepping foot in Waziristan.

He got Admiral Mike Mullen to bactrack on his own words regarding the nexus between Pakistan and the Haqqani network, and he got the White House and State Department spokesmen certify the admiral’s humble retraction. On top of it all, President Barack Obama has personally stepped in to apply the balm on Pakistan’s injured pride. But what takes the breath away is that Pakistan has presented the US with an ‘exit strategy’ in Afghanistan that the latter simply cannot afford to turn down - deal directly with the Haqqani clan. The beauty of this political coup is that it will now be the turn of the US to go the extra league to secure Pakistan’s ‘legitimate interests’ in Afghanistan so that the American interests can also be, inter alia, safeguarded. The tectonic shift in the public diplomacy by the US ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter (and his Australian colleague) speaks volumes of the sense of gratitude and relief in Washington. This is Gilani’s finest hour." Image from

Public diplomacy‎ - PakistanToday.com.pk: Public perceptions are an actionable variable, through spin, but only to an extent. Crucial are the other variables, on which the [Pakistani] president, despite his government’s recent show of petulance to the Americans, has no actual control. ... Pakistan, like every other state, has to watch out for itself. But whereas the security establishment wants a seat at the post-American Afghanistan table, our political government, indeed almost our entire mainstream political class, wants something else. They realise that the costs that come with this strategy vastly outweigh any possible benefit that a say in Afghanistan would yield us. Do we risk tearing our very own social fabric to the already immoral end of wanting to control another country? No op-eds, no ads in the Wall Street Journal can begin to affect those variables. Change will come, if at all, from other quarters."

Another Step In The Wrong Direction - Roy Antoun, revolutimes.com: "Drones operate principally as a psychological scare tactic designed to exterminate threats from an altitude non-detectable by ground units and extremely difficult to identify by any radar. Drones sometimes hit wrong targets, kill civilians and attack without warning. In other words, imagine strolling down a sidewalk and, by random, an individual beside you is maimed or shot yet there is no shooter, no one with a gun and no military personnel around you.

This is a daily reality for many in Yemen and even Afghanistan. The drones have acted as recruitment tools for al Qaeda. It is very easy to convince a victim to join the organization after witnessing his family’s murder firsthand thanks to American drones. Civilians in Yemen and Afghanistan are not blind to where the attacks are coming from as well, contributing to the anti-American sentiments building in East Africa. While boots may not necessarily be on the ground, UAVs and other drones do inflict severe damage in any public diplomacy efforts the United States is hoping to achieve." Image from

Dale Carnegie of the Middle East - John Feffer, balkansproject.ips-dc.org: "U.S. democracy promotion efforts in the Middle East have been based on a bizarre notion: that U.S. society can serve as a model for the region. Talk about a tough sell. Congress is a bruising rugby scrum, and the U.S. economy is a shambles. U.S. warplanes and drones target Muslims abroad, and Islamophobia permeates the political discourse at home. Washington has supported Arab dictators and stood by Israel through thick and thin. We’re telling the world about the benefits of fruits and vegetables and then turning around to sell what looks like wormy apples and rotten tomatoes. No wonder that U.S. public diplomacy has largely fallen flat in the Middle East. As the U.S. brand sits dusty on the shelves, consumers in the Middle East are eagerly lining up for the competing product: Turkey. Here’s a predominantly Muslim country that has become more democratic even as it raises its religious profile. ... Unlike the United States, Turkey has decided that it will no longer put up with Israel. ... Turkey ... is employing the soft power that we generally associate with superpowers such as the United States or the European Union. Turkish diplomats are working as intermediaries in difficult conflicts; Turkish companies are investing billions of dollars overseas; Turkish schools are being established all over the world. The benefits that accrue to Turkey are enormous. ... Turkey is not all soft power. The Turkish military may have lost much of its political power with the arrest and resignation of a whole tier of generals, but the government still spends more on arms than any other country in the Middle East except Saudi Arabia. ... Turkey ... has become the Dale Carnegie


of the region: winning friends and influencing people for thousands of miles around." Image of Russian translation of Carnegie book from

Iranian Pastor Faces Death Penalty; International Community Weighs In - Sarah Torre, blog.heritage.org: "A young Iranian pastor currently faces the death penalty for refusing to recant his Christian faith. Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani was charged with apostasy for supposedly converting from Islam as a teenager and was sentenced to death last week when he refused to renounce his beliefs

before the Iranian Supreme Court. The international community, including the U.S. State Department, has expressed outrage at Iran’s blatant disregard for human rights and continued oppression of religious freedom. ... The need is great for the international community to speak out against the serious religious oppression of the Iranian government and particularly the looming death of Nadarkhani. The profound importance of religious liberty to upholding other democratic freedoms, as evidenced in America’s own history, should be integrated into U.S. public diplomacy." Nadarkhani image from

Public Schedule for October 4, 2011 - Public Schedule, U.S. Department of State: "COORDINATOR FOR INTERNATIONAL INFORMATION PROGRAMS DAWN MCCALL: Coordinator McCall is on foreign travel to Kyiv and the Crimea, Ukraine and Moscow, Russia through October 5 to co-chair a meeting of the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission Media Subgroup."

US State Dept’s fidgety, persistent efforts to control Al Jazeera - Brenda Norrell, revolutionaryfrontlines.wordpress.com: "The US State Department’s obsession with Al Jazeera, as exposed by Wikileaks in the US diplomatic cables, is a good read for most anyone, especially journalists. Al Jazeera’s top director has already resigned. Still, four years of cables, 2005-2009, reveal how the United States demanded that Al Jazeera pander to US officials and the US perspective. ... The US cables expose the US Ambassadors and US State Department’s persistent,

uncontrollable need to control the media. ... The Wikileaks cables reveal a steady stream of meetings with Al Jazeera, with the US demanding airtime and that their perspective be aired. Al Jazeera broadcasts on the Iraq war and Gaza were high on the US watch list. The US even brought in elite officials like Karen Hughes, US for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, to meet with met with Al Jazeera." Image from article, with caption: Qatar Tribune: The ‘Open Doors’ (Abwab Maftuha) campaign launched by the US Embassy in Qatar last year has paid off in a big way to cater to the personal needs of the Qataris and in enhancing ties between the US and Qatar, according to the outgoing US Ambassador to Qatar HE Joseph Evan LeBaron

According to these two, VOA reports only about the USA and should be reintegrated with US foreign policy - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting: Washington Times, 28 Sept 2011, John Lenczowski: "'The BBG argues that broadcasts will continue to China by Radio Free Asia (RFA). Fine and good. But RFA has a different mission than VOA. It, like Radio Free Europe, is designed to serve as a 'surrogate domestic free press' whose programming concerns developments within China itself - news and information suppressed by the communist regime. The VOA has a separate and equally important mission. It explains U.S. policy and helps foreign audiences understand America. Both missions are essential and cannot effectively be melded into a single station.' Heritage Foundation, 30 Sept 2011, Helle Dale: 'Close congressional oversight would be a good beginning, and the long-term objective should be reintegration of the BBG into the U.S. government’s foreign policy strategy and organization. The firewall of independence from day-to-day political influence that the BBG was designed to represent has too often become a justification for rebuffing legitimate congressional concerns or even State Department priorities. As the BBG moves forward with its strategic review and planning, it is clear now that Congress should be a partner.' [Elliott comment:] If Dr. Lenczowski's description of VOA were true, VOA would have a much smaller audience than it does now. If Mrs. Dale's vision for USIB is fulfilled, even that small audience would disappear. A bit of research would have revealed that VOA's Chinese output is hardly limited to U.S. policy and information about America. VOA Chinese provides extensive coverage about China, and, in fact, has entire programs devoted to the subject.

VOA must provide news and information about China, or, otherwise, it would not have an audience in China. RFA, of course, also provides news and information about China. It was founded on the incorrect premise that VOA does not do so. The result is a great deal of duplication between VOA and RFA. A possible solution would be to force VOA and RFA to stick to their nominal specialties, but that would force the Chinese audience to tune to two stations to get all the news. BBC World Service, with a smaller budget, has a larger audience than all of USIB combined. It manages to provide news about its target countries, the world, and Britain, 'effectively melded into a single station.' As for Mrs. Dale's 'reintegration of the BBG into the U.S. government’s foreign policy strategy and organization,' an overseas example of this type of structure would be China Radio International. CRI is firmly in line with Chinese foreign policy. It also has a very small audience to show for all of its costly media investments. The audience for international broadcasting seeks credible news above all else. The status quo, for now preserved by Congress, is inadequate to the problem of tiny audiences for USIB in China, caused by massive Chinese interdiction efforts, and more so by the vast and competitive domestic media environment of China. More about this in my strategy paper about US international broadcasting to China." Image from article

Not exactly news, but Alhurra and VOA Persian News Network make use of social media - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting: "Amid all this social media frenzy, overlooked is the fact that international broadcasters were soliciting, and receiving, and using comments, questions, suggestions, and feedback from the audience decades before the internet came along. This was via international airmail, a miraculous and underrated means of communication. Some listeners used to send me audio cassettes, excerpts of which which were sometimes inserted into my weekly VOA program."

VOA Korean reporter travels to North Korea, where officials tell him "VOA is very important" - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

In OPM job satisfaction survey, response rate from BBG is up, but satisfaction ratings are still near bottom - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Freedom of speech in Fiji ‎ - Jenny Hayward-Jones, Lowy Interpreter: "Conducting opinion polls in countries without democracy and freedom of speech is hardly new or controversial. The highly respected US-based Pew Research Center has conducted opinion polls as part of its Global Attitudes Project in 57 countries since 2002,

including in China, Pakistan, Egypt, Jordan and Russia, none of which has a proud reputation for encouraging freedom of expression and a free media. Rather than labeling these polls as ridiculous, the US State Department uses the data to inform its public diplomacy. The Lowy Institute itself conducted an opinion poll in China in 2009. Reporters with Borders recently labeled China the 'world's biggest prison for journalists, bloggers and cyber-dissidents', and ranked it 168 out of 178 countries in a 2011 index for press freedom." Image from

Blogger Blogpreneur Nusantara Indonesia - rosis.net: [Google translation from the Indonesian] "For political terms alone, the world was shocked perblogan Indonesia diplomatic cable leaked to the release of embassy United States (U.S.) in Jakarta by WikiLeaks. Dalam dokumen tersebut diungkapkan kalau blogger di Indonesia (secara langsung maupun tidak langsung) telah dimanfaatkan untuk kepentingan AS. In the document disclosed that the bloggers in Indonesia (directly or indirectly) has been utilized for U.S. interests. Kawat diplomtaik tersebut kurang lebih mengungkapkan bagaimana strategi AS dalam memanfaatkan media social untuk kepentingan AS. Diplomtaik wire is more or less reveals how the U.S. strategy in using social media to U.S. interests. Strategi itu sendiri dinamakan Public Diplomacy 2.0. The strategy is named Public Diplomacy 2.0."

Nations are exploiting power of 'weiplomacy' - Qin Zhongwei, China Daily: "The world became a smaller and flatter place thanks to the Internet. But with the emergence of Weibo, the micro blog, cyberspace has again become multidimensional, as Weibo has been chosen as the most effective and immediate platform for people to say not only who they are, but also how they got that way. The micro blog frenzy continues to expand, spreading to the Chinese and foreign embassies in China. In the West, it's called 'twitplomacy' - after Twitter.


In China, 'weiplomacy' has come into being in this country with nearly 500 million netizens and 195 million micro-bloggers. So far, a large number of foreign embassies and international organizations in Beijing have registered their accounts on China's various micro blog service providers. The list of nations includes the United States, Japan, India, Thailand, Belgium and many others, covering nearly all the major continents. ... [T]hese micro blogs have become an unofficial platform for the foreign missions to release and update official news that they want to reach the public. ... The up-to-the-minute news and messages these embassies post show that the micro blog has become the medium of choice for foreign diplomatic agencies to conduct public diplomacy. While diplomatic events and news conferences, for example, were previously open only to diplomats and journalists, times have changed. Anyone interested in diplomacy can now become involved with the help of these modern media. ... 'Public diplomacy no longer solely depends on official channels. The communication forms will become increasingly diversified, digitalized and public-oriented in the future,' said Yu Guoming, a communications professor at Renmin University of China." Image from article, with caption: The micro blog services launched by various foreign embassies in China.

Children of Greek nationals could solve Istanbul Greek school problem - Ariana Ferentinou, Hurriyet Daily News: "It is already more than a month since the Turkish government made the historic decision to restore property taken from minority foundations through a dubious 1936 law to these communities. This impressive shift in the approach of the official Turkish state, which mainly affects the Greek, Armenian, Jewish and Syriac minorities, was hailed as a major step toward making the members of the religious minorities in Turkey feel as equal partners with the rest of society. This new decree, duly hailed as a “revolutionary” step, was announced by the Turkish prime minister himself during the last “iftar” dinner on the Aug. 28 in the presence of the religious leaders of all historical minorities in Turkey in the gardens of the Istanbul Archaeological Museum.

It was a well-planned step of public diplomacy which won a lot of praise both domestically and internationally and was also used as a counterargument to the heavy criticism from Brussels about the state of human rights in Turkey. However, while the improvement of their legal and financial status, as well as their feeling of being treated as equals are of great importance, the religious minorities in Turkey do have to face additional difficulties which should be taken into account if their prosperity and future in Turkey is to be secured." Istanbul Archeology Museum image from

International workshop in İstanbul puts Arab Spring on agenda - todayszaman.com: "An international workshop in İstanbul has put the Arab Spring on the agenda as it will discuss the transition from dictatorship to democracy with the attendance of high-ranking participants from more than 50 countries including Europe, the US, the Arab Spring region and Turkey. The Arab Spring-oriented workshop is scheduled to convene on Thursday to discuss and analyze the developments that have paved the way for the Arab Spring, as well as the current conditions and the possible direction the developments may take in the future. The two-day-long event is to be co-hosted by the Public Diplomacy Coordinator’s Office and the Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding of Georgetown University (ACMCU), to produce solid suggestions for the nations of the Arab Spring to obtain the democracy have been aiming for."

Revolt In Syria: An Alternative View From Iran ‎- Maysam Behravesh, Eurasia Review: "A key component of Tehran’s regional public diplomacy, which gained momentum after the outbreak of popular uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), has been its extensive efforts to project itself as a revolutionary proponent of the downtrodden, the oppressed, the disenfranchised, or the dispossessed of the region. Iran’s unwavering support for Damascus in the face of the latter’s

growing brutalization of protesters and civilians undermines this very strategy and dilutes the Iranian government’s costly campaign to win the 'hearts and minds' of regional nations. The shift of attitude among some of senior Iranian officials towards the Assad regime also indicates their mounting reservations and doubts as to its survival." Image from

Broadcasting from London: Inside the FCO - Ren’s Micro Diplomacy: "The Foreign & Commonwealth Office is only open to the public twice per year.

I was lucky enough to be there for Open House London. With plenty of staff available to interact with the public and answer questions, it was a fantastic public diplomacy/affairs event." Candace Ren image from article

Thor - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "After watching the surprisingly good Captain America, I returned to the previous Marvel movie Thor. Thor had received some good reviews when it came out, and was directed by Keneth Branaugh so I thought it might be promising. ... There

are some good PD themes related to learning to listen ... .  I heard a Clintonian refrain throughout the movie about people being more impressed with the power of example more than the example of power. ... On the whole, I give the move a C+." Image from article

Meet Our New Public Diplomacy Fellow, Mary Jeffers - "Our new Public Diplomacy Fellow, Mary Jeffers, came to the School of Media and Public Affairs to fulfill a desire to reimmerse herself in academia and share her experiences as a Public Affairs Officer with the Department of State. After working in public diplomacy since 1985, Jeffers certainly has much expertise she is eager to share. Most recently, Jeffers spent the last three years at the U.S. Embassy in Morocco. ... In the early 2000s,

Jeffers took a post in Uganda. Currently, Jeffers is working with GW's Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication on a number of events for this semester, including a conference to be held on campus in November called 'The Last Three Feet.' She will be co-moderating a discussion with public diplomacy practitioners about public diplomacy strategies overseas, specifically those 'last three feet' that make the critical difference in America’s image abroad. In the spring, Jeffers will teach an advanced course on public diplomacy, pulling from her time abroad to enhance the lessons." Image from article, with caption: Mary Jeffers, center, in Morocco with high school students in an English language program.

Meet the newest member of BrandHaiti Professor Bernard Simonin - brand-haiti.org: "Professor Bernard Simonin is the Executive Director of Marketing for BrandHaiti and a member of our Board of Directors. He has been a faculty member at Tufts University since 1999. He is Professor of Marketing and International Business at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and a Faculty Affiliate at the Public Diplomacy Collaborative at Harvard Kennedy School where he is a lead research

er on the topic of nation branding and public diplomacy. His research interest in brand and knowledge management spans the fields of strategy and management, international business, and marketing. His award-winning work is widely cited and has been published in leading scholarly journals. Beyond strategic alliances, organization learning and knowledge management, his current research touches on nation branding and public diplomacy, and all aspects of brand management including in the public and nonprofit sectors." Simonin image from article

USC Annenberg Center on Public Diplomacy Advisory board … - therectorgroup.com: "Gary Knell, Center on Public Diplomacy advisory board member and CEO of Sesame Workshop, has been named the new president and CEO of NPR."

La corsa repubblicana alla Casa Bianca: ne rimarrà soltanto uno - Enrico Cellini, meridianionline.org: "Enrico Cellini [:]

Laureato in Scienze Internazionali e Diplomatiche all’universita’ di Bologna con una tesi sulla public diplomacy americana. Romagnolo errante, e’ stato avvistato alla University of Denver, all’ambasciata italiana a Washington ed all’UNRIC di Bruxelles." Cellini image from his blog

Financial PR Pioneer Pincus Dies at 78 - Jack O'Dwyer, O'Dwyer's PR News: [subscription]. From google entry: "[Theodore H. Pincus] also has been a leading advocate of more open, responsive US government public diplomacy policies."

CULTURAL DIPLOMACY (September 25-October 3)

US tries 'friendship song' diplomacy in Pakistan - Claire Truscott, AFP: "Pakistan and the United States set aside an escalating row over proxy warfare for a night of musical fusion by the moonlit shores of a lake, hoping to cement public friendships, and all that jazz. In Washington, the White House exacerbated tensions with more demands that Islamabad clamp down on the Al-Qaeda-linked network blamed for attacks on US targets in Kabul, but in the Pakistani capital, diplomats trod a softer path. Hosting a concert by the shores of Rawal Lake, the US embassy brought together America's 'Ari Roland Jazz Quartet'

and Pakistani rock band 'Fuzon', capping the night with the 'world premiere' of a special friendship song. ... While political and military harmony elude the fragile anti-terror alliance, the musical pairing was a relative success, if only to a converted audience of hundreds, mostly the country's Western-educated elite. 'If you look around people here, if they look in their hearts they like their (Americans') lifestyle. We love fun, we love the people of America. Its their policies that people here are a bit sensitive and emotional (about),' said 32-year-old rapper Waleed Mehdi. ... By the end of the night, revellers were up dancing, enthused by a rousing mix of patriotic Pakistani anthemns such as 'Jazba Janoon', penned for the cricket World Cup, and US classics such as Louis Armstrong's 'Wonderful World'. 'What we try to do is look beyond the politics of the moment, look beyond the relationship between our governments and try to make stronger relationships between our people,' US public affairs official Mark Davidson told the crowd. ... But in a possible nod to the trials and tribulations of managing the latest diplomatic crisis, [U.S. Ambassador Cameron] Munter did not attend the concert. Plans for him to play piano in a personal show of cultural diplomacy did not materialise. Instead on Tuesday, he met with Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari." Image from

Running out of options in Pakistan, US tries to improve relations with jazz music - Sebastian Abbott, Associated Press, startribune.com: "Carrots haven't worked with Pakistan. Neither have sticks. Now the U.S. has enlisted the power of jazz music to improve relations with Pakistanis at a time when the important alliance has hit rock bottom. The Ari Roland Jazz Quartet certainly faced a daunting task. The U.S. has spent billions of dollars over the past 10 years to win Pakistan's support in fighting al-Qaida and Taliban militants and turn around rampant anti-American sentiment in the country. Now, Congress is threatening to cut off funding given the lack of results. The performances are part of a recent stepped-up effort by the U.S. Embassy to sponsor cultural events in Pakistan. Already this year, an American director has staged Neil Simon's play 'The Odd Couple.'

The embassy also plans to bring over a country rock band and a hip hop group as well as American documentary filmmakers who will give workshops to Pakistanis. The jazz quartet from New York City arrived in Pakistan about two weeks ago for a series of concerts and music classes with local musicians. The trip culminated with a live recording of a 'friendship song' with a Pakistani rock band during a concert Tuesday night. But relations between the two countries have been anything but friendly during their trip. ... There was plenty of bilateral good cheer, but the group's performances, which also took place in the cities of Karachi and Lahore, will likely do little to win over Pakistanis. The crowds have been small and largely made up of elite Pakistanis who are more likely to have positive attitudes toward the U.S." Image from

U.S.-Pakistan relations hit rock bottom, send in the jazz quartet  - Peter Hum, blogs.ottawacitizen.com:

"AP's Sebastian Abbot seemed sceptical about the jazz initiative. ... Call me biased, but I wouldn’t be so quick to discount the positive power of jazz. For one thing, beyond the small crowds of elite Pakistanis, the jazz concerts by Roland’s group (which has also played in Vietnam, Bulgaria, Romania and Montenegro, according to YouTube videos) have garnered enthusiastic media coverage . ... History’s shown that jazz (and the arts) are sound elements of cultural diplomacy, dating back to at least the mid-1950s when Dizzy Gillespie toured the Middle East, sponsored by the U.S. State Department. The music resonates easily and deeply abroad. Consider how jazz-crazy Japan has become since its defeat in the Second World War. Long before the fall of the Berlin Wall, jazz has represented freedom in Eastern Europe. And, you should know that the ground in Karachi may be more fertile than we think for jazz to take root: I’d even contend that given their openness to influences from and collaborations with other cultures, jazz musicians — certainly more so than country rockers — makes for the best musical ambassadors." Image from article

Brooklynite and Band Take Jazz Cross Continent‎ - Brooklyn Daily Eagle: "Bennett Paster of Kensington, a member of jazz band Paul Beaudry and Pathways, will soon tour as a musical ambassador to Central and South Asia on behalf of 'The Rhythm Road: American Music Abroad.' The Rhythm Road is a cultural diplomacy program

produced by Jazz at Lincoln Center in partnership with the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State. Each year, it sends 10 ensembles specializing in jazz, blues, urban/ hip hop and other American roots music to tour the world. Image from article, with caption: Bennett Paster, second from left, with Paul Beaudry and Pathways

"Cuba's Youngest Cultural Ambassadors Make Rare U.S. Appearance"‎ - press release, PR Newswire: "La Colmenita, an internationally acclaimed Cuban children's theater group and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, is bringing its high-energy mix of theatrics and song to Washington, New York and San Francisco, with a private performance at the United Nations Oct. 24. The Oct. 15-29 tour, which is sponsored by the New York-based Brownstone Foundation, will give American audiences a unique opportunity to meet some of Cuba's most talented young people, a generation that has been raised in the shadow of a decades-long U.S. embargo. ... During its two-week visit, the cast of La Colmenita looks forward to forging friendships with young Americans. Their visit comes at an important moment in U.S.-Cuba relations, with leaders in both countries acknowledging the importance of cultural diplomacy." See also.

Pop culture the new soft power tool in East Asia diplomacy‎ - Radio Australia: "Countries in East Asia are increasingly looking to pop culture, as an instrument of 'soft power'. And the 'soft power' competition is alive and well in East Asia, with not just financial returns at stake, but also as a positive influence in the attitudes of target or importing countries. Professor Chua Beng-Huat of the National University of Singapore has been looking at Asia's 'soft power' competition. Presenter: Sen Lam Speaker: Professor Chua Beng-Huat, National University of Singapore. Professor Chua was at the University of Melbourne as a MacGeorge Visiting Fellow ... CHUA: If you look at the media culture in the last ten, fifteen years in East Asia, and I will include China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and even Singapore, by virtue of its 75 percent Chinese population, there's actually been two very popular waves of, particularly television drama material - first the Japanese, then the Korean, what we've come to call 'the Korean wave', which includes popular music. In those instances, both Japan and Korea, the government has been very supportive of their popular culture export industry and explicitly formulated foreign policy, part of cultural diplomacy around the popularity of its export product, suggesting that they should maximise the popularity of their television and pop music as a way of influencing the target audience - in this case, predominantly, the ethnic Chinese audience. LAM: So this

emergence of pop culture, in the soft power competition - is this a fairly recent phenomenon? CHUA: In terms of its explicit formulation in East Asia, it is very new, probably the last five or six years. But the idea of soft power as cultural diplomacy developed somewhere around the early 1960s, particularly by American political scientists, who, entering the Cold War and so on, realised that part of the global competition to win hearts and minds, is through cultural exports and through export of values, rather than hardware of economics and military forces. ... LAM: The Chinese martial arts star, Jet Li, just this month bemoaned the fact that China lacks cultural influence, compared to the United States, or even Japan and South Korea. What do you make of his assessment? CHUA: I think he's basically voicing the general opinion of Chinese officialdom. They realised that in terms of exports and so on, that China suffers from a deficit in cultural exports. Because of the liberalisation of the media industry, there's a huge amount of air time, that needs to be filled in with material, which the Chinese industry is not producing fast enough to do. So you end up with imports from Hong Kong, Japan, Korea. And the only country outside East Asia that exports to China is the US. LAM: And as a form of diplomacy, how effective do you think it is? CHUA: Ah, that's an interesting question, because in fact, the countries that are exporting, so in this case, Japan and Korea, can put in a lot of resources in the development of their own media industry for export. But it has basically no control over how the material is received. And in China, as in every location, there will be an audience for the imported product but the number of consumers of imported pop culture is generally, much, much smaller than the total population. And not only that, the general population can be mobilised to reject the so-called 'cultural invasion' from the outside. LAM: As you say, Chinese consumption power is huge, and China is also an emerging world power now. How do you account for its soft diplomacy, particularly pertaining to pop culture, how do you account for it lagging behind so much, in comparison to Japan, South Korea, the United States? CHUA: Well, I think that primarily because the media industry has been severely controlled by the State until early 1980s, so in a way, the Chinese media industry is now playing 'catch up' and very quickly, I must say, because they do now produce a lot of contemporary urban drama. But the content of the drama is still fairly strenuously regulated in ideological terms, so they still have to heed the party line. And at the same time, the dramas in China still take up quite a lot of local issues, so they're so local, that they're difficult to export. Where they have been successful in exporting, is historical drama and they've been quite successful in doing that, and even that gets picked up even in Korea and in Japan." Image from

Cultures of China: An Exposition – Teshu Singh, eurasiareview.com: "Culture is the bedrock of soft power projection. Keenly aware of this, the People’s Republic of China has started a touring cultural exposition – the ‘Cultures of China’ aimed at North America, Japan and Southeast Asia. The tour was inaugurated on 6 September 2011 in Vancouver and is likely to end by 25 September 2011.This exposition celebrates the centennial of the Xinhai Revolution (1911) showcasing the spotlight on the achievements of Sun Yat-sen. It largely celebrates the PRC’s ethnic diversity through song and dance. ... China

is using its cultural diplomacy to defuse the increasing China threat perception and to promote the peaceful rise of China. Perhaps culture has become the third pillar of the PRC’s diplomacy and it is using culture as a tactful platform to project its soft power. The CCP in its eleventh five year plan called for a longer presence of China at international cultural market and designed a comprehensive approach to popularize Chinese culture worldwide. Thus, one cannot ignore the role of Cultural as a tool of diplomacy in China’s foreign policy which is further evident from the rising craze for learning Mandarin across globe." Image from article

Saudi Arabia brings cultural, religious exotica to India‎ - Times of India: "Sugary dates, Persian calligraphy, colourful contemporary art, henna designs and holy Zamzam water from Mecca are some of the exotic flavours from Saudi Arabia in the culture corridor of the capital this week.A week-long Saudi Arabia cultural showcase - one of the biggest ever in India - is on here from Sep 27-Oct 1 with an arts blitz at the Lalit Kala Akademi. Presented by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), the festival is the first initiative of the cultural wing of the ministry of external affairs to build

better people-to-people bridges between India and Saudi Arabia. ... An 88-member delegation of artists, performers, scholars and officials is representing the kingdom in India. 'The cultural event comprising multiple components is being held in India indicates the growing profile of cultural diplomacy between the two countries. We opened our cultural wing in Riyadh this year and we plan to host Indian cultural events in South Africa. After all this period, there is nothing better than culture to understand each other,' Suresh Goel, the director-general of ICCR, said." Image from article, with caption: Contemporary art movement in Saudi Arabia has seen a rise in the number of abstract compositions in the Islamic monarchy

Twitterati Hanif gets Indian visa, and a 'liar' tag as well‎ - Aditya Kaul, Daily News & Analysis: "It’s a case of exploding ‘tempers’ and ‘missing pages’ here, rather than mangoes. And it’s a thriller in the making, even before Pakistani writer Mohammed Hanif, who authored the best selling A Case of Exploding Mangoes (2008), has landed here. Two days after Hanif’s tweets about India inviting him and then refusing visa, the Indian Council for Cultural Relations said Hanif is lying and his visa got delayed because his passport did not have a page where it could be stamped. ... ICCR is involved in cultural diplomacy and has the task of promoting India as a soft power. ICCR is supporting the Kovalam Literary festival, to be held from October 1-2 in Thiruvananthapuram. It’s the ICCR that is facilitating Hanif’s visit. 'And if his file had been lost how would he have got his visa,' Goel [director general, ICCR, Suresh Kumar Goel] said. Hanif was granted visa on Wednesday."

Royal Opera House All Set To Dazzle The World: The ROHM will be a cultural and artistic icon that will change the cultural landscape of the region, writes David Solomon - omantribune.com: "At long last, the Royal Opera House Muscat, is ready to emerge on Muscat’s perennially lively and amazing cultural landscape, like some beautiful and ethereal apparition, (but which is all too real), or perhaps like an elusive and bewitching prima donna, all set for it eagerly-awaited debut on October 14.

Thereafter, until the end of December, 2011, a series of exquisite and exclusively artistic cultural events, showcasing world class artistes across different genres of performing arts, will unfold in the most colourful extravaganza of unforgettable and enriching events. A series of concerts, operas, ballets and symphony orchestra performances by the best of the best world class performers are being planned to dazzle the world. These programmes will showcase the rich and diverse artistic and cultural productions; highlight the multidisciplinary nature of the field of performing arts; provide a space for reflection on culture and socio-economic development; foster cultural vitality and unleash talent; promote cultural tourism; and enhance cultural diplomacy." Image from

Korean embassy to host Beautiful Harmony concert‎ - Times of Oman: MUSCAT: The Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Muscat will be hosting an event titled ‘Beautiful Harmony Concert’ by Beautiful Mind Charity Ensemble at the Conference Hall of Sultan Qaboos University at 7pm on October 2. ... The embassy has chosen Sultan Qaboos University as the venue hoping the concert would be a good chance to introduce Korea’s traditional music and instruments to SQU students in the light of promotion of people-to-people exchange between the two countries. ... . Beautiful Mind Charity (BMC) is a philanthropic organisation that pursues cultural diplomacy aiming to share love with the less privileged sections of the society around the world through diverse cultural activities. It was officially established in Korea on March 13, 2007 with recognition by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. BMC has also established its chapters in the US and Hong Kong." See also.

Rude Food: Neighbourhood watch‎ - Hindustan Times: "I am not sure if I should be talking about this but a television channel is planning a massive food show that pitches a team of Pakistani chefs versus an Indian team.

The show will probably be telecast early next year if all goes according to plan though, when it comes to India-Pakistan issues, nothing ever seems to go according to plan. I have some involvement in the show and I have been sitting with the channel’s programmers to try and tweak the format. One thing that has struck us quite clearly is how little we know about each other’s cuisines. Indians imagine that Pakistanis eat the same food as us and that’s probably true. But who is us? Do they actually eat the same food as people in southern India? Have most Pakistanis ever seen a dosa? Do they know what bhel puri is?

Have they any experience of the joys of Indian vegetarian cuisine? ... If the show does take off (and I always say ‘if’ for fear that I will jinx it by giving too much away before we start shooting) then I imagine that both sides will discover that we have many misconceptions about each other’s cuisines. It is my hope that the show will work as some form of cultural diplomacy." Images from article

Mashhad to host intl. conference on religious tourism‎ - Tehran Times: "Scholars and researchers from 20 countries are coming to Iran to attend the first international conference on religion and the culture of pilgrimage running for two days on October 6 and 7. Organized by the Islamic Culture and Relations Organization (ICRO), the conference will be held in Mashhad, home to the holy Shrine of Imam Reza (AS), ICRO director Mohammad-Baqer Khorramshad said here on Sunday.

Over 60 literati coming from Russia, Azerbaijan, Syria, Iraq, Indonesia, Malaysia, Britain and England are expected to take part in the event, he added. He said that the conference is arranged to create an opportunity to introduce the Iran of today and the modern Islamic civilization to other countries. A collection of 350 articles have been submitted to the secretariat of the festival reviewing issues such as cultural diplomacy and its role in development of the culture of pilgrimage, Khorramshad said." Image from article, with caption: A pilgrim recites from a book of supplications in the courtyard of the holy shrine of Imam Reza (AS) in Mashhad on October 16, 2010.

Cyprus – Russia Gala boost to Radiomarathon - Irina Bykova, Financial Mirror: "The closeness of relations between Cyprus and Russia has been developed beyond business and economic cooperation and is extensively complemented by a palette of cultural events held with the participation of leading Russian artists and emerging talents. During the past five years, the Cyprus – Russia Gala has been marked as one of the most

significant cultural events, and has its unique place on the annual calendar of events with an exclusive live entertainment programme with diverse performance and fine dining. ... The 5th Anniversary Cyprus – Russia Gala was organised by London based Ensemble Productions, a company that specialises in cultural events including the annual Russian Winter Festival in Trafalgar Square, the Operalia Festival in Central Asia, Days of Hong Kong in Russia, the Russian New Year Festival in Verbier, Switzerland, and the Arab-Russian Gala in Dubai, among others. ... Olga Balakleets, Ensemble Productions Director [:] ... 'I came to the idea to create a kind of cultural platform that will bring together leading artists of both countries. The Cyprus – Russa Gala became a public and cultural diplomacy event and from the beginning in 2007 received great support and grew to be highly recognized.'" Image from article

Caught and Social: Batman stars suffer daylight rubbery ‎- Luke Blackall, The Independent: "Today’s rock is no good for Noel [:] Noel Gallagher does his bit for cultural diplomacy as he promotes his solo album High Flying Birds inMilan. In a recent interview, the singer called his former band Oasis 'the last great, traditional rock’n'roll band'. Describing the present state of rock’n’roll as 'really f***ing bad now', he told NME what was needed was a certain 'someone somewhere like Ian Brown, Liam [Gallagher] or Bobby Gillespie, or a songwriter like me who can retell the story.' Presumably that person will also need his gift for modesty."

Gay McDonald: Senior Lecturer School of Art History and Art Education at University of New South Wales - theconversation.edu.au: "Gay McDonald's Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the Smithsonian Institution enabled her to continue research on the French involvement in the launch of American art, design and architecture in postwar France. ... She is

currently completing research on ... the role of the art museum in advancing official foreign policy objectives via the 'soft' channels of cultural diplomacy (international circulating exhibitions)." McDonald image from article

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Death of al-Qaeda cleric puts wrench in propaganda machineBy Jim Michaels, usatoday.com: As al-Qaeda's military capabilities have declined, it has become increasingly dependent on its message to stay in the global spotlight, a strategy undermined by the death of one of its chief propagandists, terrorism experts say. Propaganda has long been a priority of al-Qaeda and its affiliates, but its role has grown in prominence. "It was out of necessity," said Jarret Brachman,

a terrorism analyst and author of the book Global Jihadism. "If they couldn't do anything, they could talk about it." The killing of cleric Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen on Friday by a U.S. drone struck a blow to al-Qaeda's messaging ability. The drone strike also killed Samir Khan, editor of al-Qaeda's Inspire, a colorful online magazine that carried lengthy articles and sophisticated graphics. Khan, like al-Awlaki, was a U.S. citizen whose messages were often directed at Muslims in the United States and Europe. Image from

Don't give up on Pakistan: Is Islamabad backing terrorists? Even if it is, the alliance is crucial to both countries - Editorial, latimes.com: The fallout from last week's explosive Senate testimony by Adm. Michael G. Mullen, outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in which he called the militant Haqqani network "a veritable arm" of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency is still causing damage at home and in Pakistan.

Both countries will suffer if it leads to a breakdown in relations. Image from article, with caption: A supporter holds a placard during an anti-U.S. rally with nearly 300 others in Lahore, Pakistan on Sept. 28

Why 2012 Will Shake Up Asia and the World: Can Washington Move from Pacific Power to Pacific Partner? - John Feffer, TomDispatch: Isn’t it time for America to gracefully acknowledge that its years as the Pacific superpower are over and think creatively about how to be a pacific partner instead?

Foreign Aid Set to Take a Hit in U.S. Budget Crisis - Steven Lee Myers, New York Times: America’s budget crisis at home is forcing the first significant cuts in overseas aid in nearly two decades, a retrenchment that officials and advocates say reflects the country’s diminishing ability to influence the world. As lawmakers scramble to trim the swelling national debt, both the Republican-controlled House and the Democrat-controlled Senate have proposed slashing financing for the State Department and its related aid agencies at a time of desperate humanitarian crises and uncertain political developments.

The proposals have raised the specter of deep cuts in food and medicine for Africa, in relief for disaster-affected places like Pakistan and Japan, in political and economic assistance for the new democracies of the Middle East, and even for the Peace Corps. The financial runch threatens to undermine a foreign policy described as “smart power” by President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, one that emphasizes diplomacy and development as a complement to American military power. It also would begin to reverse the increase in foreign aid that President George W. Bush supported after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, as part of an effort to combat the roots of extremism and anti-American sentiment, especially in the most troubled countries. Image from, under the headline: Budget crisis be damned, F$U pays to save Bowden victories and following text: "Amid a budget crisis perhaps more severe than any it has faced in its history, Florida State University has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on consulting and attorney fees relating to the university's on-going academic fraud case, according to documents released to the Orlando Sentinel through public records requests."

Propaganda and Lies: A Collector's Guide - maysaloon.org: One (of several) images, with the caption: This one is a bit simplistic,

and it looks like it was designed by a twelve year old boy. A sword with the Syrian flag as an emblem is embedded into a zionist skull. Oooh, beware, enemies of Syria...from the twelve year old boy and his photoshop skills.

NKorea accuses SKorea of airing propaganda broadcasts via North’s TV frequency - Associated Press, washingtonpost.com

Russia: Racial Propaganda in the State-Owned Media - Will Partlett, globalvoicesonline.org: In 2005, the Pentagon - desperate to capture the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people - paid millions to Iraqi newspapers to ensure that pro-American stories would appear in the Iraqi press. These techniques of misinformation and misdirection are particularly widespread across Russia. Drawing on a rich tradition of “political technology” honed under both the Tsarist and Soviet police states, the Russian media are now rife with paid stories (vbros) planted to advance specific agendas. The smoke and mirrors characterizing Russian public life is often unimaginably difficult for the outsider to decipher. A recent example suggests this phenomenon reaches far further than the release of pictures of politicians in bed with prostitutes or false reports of candidate deaths on the eve of an election. Last Thursday, Vesti FM’s Ksenia Krikheli - a seemingly mild-mannered journalist who normally covers local issues like schools - published an article [ru] on a small Moscow suburb in Liubertsy called Krasnaya Gorka. In an article laced with racial stereotypes and innuendo, Ms. Krikheli reported how local residents were living in fear as their quiet suburb was being transformed into an “African ghetto” overrun by an influx of unruly, violent, and sex-crazed African migrants. Ms. Krikheli described a “local” population unable to sleep and scared to venture onto the streets because of late night African drum playing, African prostitution (women supposedly asking

“3 rubles for sex”), and criminal activity. Image from

AMERICANA (WITH AN AUSTRIAN FLAVOR?)


Image from: Arnold Schwarzenegger likes his likeness - wallowa.com. Caption: Arnold Schwarzenegger (man nearest statue) examines the recently completed bronze of him at TW Bronze in Enterprise. Others on hand at the celebrity body-builder's Sept. 2 inspection of the work include, (front, from left), Lewiston sculptor Ralph Crawford, TW metal tooler Dan McWaters, and TW owner/artisan Tim Parks. For more details, see Ozymandias.

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