Monday, November 14, 2011

November 14


--President Richard M. Nixon's characterization of career diplomats, which also notes that "some of the very best ambassadors have been non-career ambassadors who have made substantial contributions"; image from


More foreign students studying in USA - Mary Beth Marklein, USA Today: "International students and their dependents contributed more than $20 billion to the U.S. economy last year as record numbers of foreigners enrolled in U.S. colleges and universities, reports to be released today show. The numbers of U.S. students earning college credit abroad also is on the rise. The number of international students at U.S. colleges and universities rose 4.7% to 723,277 during the 2010-11 academic year, says an annual report by the Institute of International Education (IIE), which has tracked data since 1949. ... The number of U.S. students earning college credit abroad also increased, by 3.9% in the 2009-10 academic year, the latest year for which data are available, IIE said. The previous year, the number of U.S. students going abroad had dipped slightly for the first time.

State Department officials viewed increases in both directions as evidence that earlier declines were short-term trends. 'Young people who study abroad gain the global skills necessary to create solutions to 21st-century challenges,' said Ann Stock, assistant secretary of State. 'In turn, international students globalize our campuses and communities.' China, the top country of origin for international students, sent 157,558 undergraduate and graduate students to the USA, up 23% from the previous year. Among the top five sending countries, which together account for more than half of all international students, enrollments from South Korea increased by 1.7%. But U.S. schools saw drops from India (down 1%), Canada (2.1%) and Taiwan (7%). ... According to the Commerce Department, international students contribute more than $21 billion to the U.S. economy through tuition and living expenses, which include room and board, supplies, transportation and health insurance and support for dependents." Image from

Diplomacy meets science in Boston - Jed Willard, Public Diplomacy Collaborative, Harvard University and Pierre Dorsaz, swissnex Boston, Boston Globe: "Switzerland is currently among the most aggressive nations in leveraging science, education, and 'entrepreneurial spirit' as instruments of public diplomacy. And it is not coincidental that the country chose the Boston area to establish the world’s first dedicated science consulate in 2000, known today as 'swissnex Boston.' ... International scientific relations were fully integrated into some countries’ diplomatic practices long before the term 'science diplomacy' existed. While serving as US Public Affairs Officer in Saudi Arabia in the 1960s, Ambassador William Rugh: 'organized a number of programs built on the US space program. We showed films of the moon landing, organized lectures by Saudi scientists on the significance of the program, mounted displays in our library and issued a series of press releases during space events. The major program we mounted was a showing of a moon rock that Washington sent to on loan for a few days, that we put on public display and that the ambassador personally showed to the king. One local restaurant changed its name to Apollo Seven. Those were all public diplomacy efforts because we were communicating an American accomplishment to the Saudi public. We did not call them ‘science diplomacy’.' Yet, the Swiss approach to the tactic remains novel. First, the swissnex network relies on a fully integrated public diplomacy strategy, invoking and involving private as well as public achievements. Swiss Universities and flagship tech companies are systematically highlighted by the country’s diplomats to improve the image of Switzerland abroad. This can be seen as a 'nation branding' tactic, incorporating promising researchers and entrepreneurs to play a real role as 'citizen-diplomats' of their nation. ... US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton remarked that 'science diplomacy… is one of our most effective ways of influencing and assisting other nations and creating real bridges between the United States and counterparts.'

As the tactic increases in importance to US public diplomacy, concludes [Swiss] Consul [Pascal] Marmier, 'science hubs like Boston should consciously take advantage of their potential to positively influence America’s global image, and the US as a whole should also use our efforts (and others') to connect back to foreign innovation hubs to tap ideas and connections to continue and grow academic and business successes.' Pierre Dorsaz works as a project leader for swissnex Boston-Consulate of Switzerland, a public diplomacy initiative of the Swiss Government to promote Switzerland’s excellence in Science and higher education and innovation abroad. Follow him @PierreDorsaz or @swissnexBoston." Image from

All-American Muslim - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "The NYTimes had an interesting story on 'All-American Muslim' a reality show on a Muslim-American community in Dearborn.

For what its worth, I would show it on VOA and it will be better public diplomacy than the 'Shared Values' campaign ever was." See also. Image from

Local radio/TV personality will meet and greet at the Voice of America museum near Cincinnati - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting: The museum is in the transmitter building of the old VOA Bethany shortwave transmitting station.

Image from article

Report: China's CCTV will originate six hours of content daily from its new Washington hub - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

How 'digital un-diplomacy' gave Lebanon its Twitter dawn - Faisal J. Abbas, Al-Arabiya: "[I]t should be noted that several Lebanese politicians, most prominently current PM Najeeb Mikati (who opened his Twitter account last September and now has nearly 5,900 followers) have been experimenting with the wonders of the world-wide web for a quite a while.

The highlight of these experiments came recently, when Mikati and British Ambassador to Lebanon Tom Fletcher had a live ‘Tweebate’ which sparked a lot of interest and generated a large chunk of headlines globally. Following the event, Mikati tweeted that 'social media is helping build digital diplomacy as a form of parallel public diplomacy'." Mikati image from

Toward a New Era in Cultural Diplomacy - Watanabe Hirotaka: "The Japanese government is encouraging inter-agency cooperation and partnerships with the private sector in a public-diplomacy campaign designed to counteract some of the damage sustained by the Japanese 'brand' since the Great East Japan Earthquake that struck on March 11. Under the 'Cool Japan' action plan, released by the Intellectual Property Strategy Headquarters on March 17 and revised on May 27, the government, spearheaded by its agencies and ministries, intends to promote Japanese culture at public events overseas, including anniversaries (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) and athletic events like the London Olympics (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology), sponsor an international creative-content festival in Japan (Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry) and a Japan-China film and TV week and animation festival (MOFA and METI), and beef up Japan's international broadcasting efforts

(Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications). ... Japan’s new cultural diplomacy is not divided into two separate tracks, with one focused on educational programs introducing the traditional arts, and the other promoting creative-content industries. Rather, it is a single, multifaceted diplomatic undertaking that mobilizes every sector of Japan. ... The key question is what we can do to turn the current fascination with Japan into something more lasting and meaningful than the Japonisme of the nineteenth century. If the government is serious about cultural diplomacy, it must be prepared to tackle this challenge and I sincerely hope that they will do so." Image from article


As U.S. prepares to leave Iraq, Iran's shadow looms large: U.S. military officials warn that Iran will fill the vacuum created after American troops depart. They are recommending several moves in response, including shifting some of those troops to Kuwait - David S. Cloud, Los Angeles Times:

The question now, military officials say, is whether the Obama administration can maintain leverage with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki's government after all U.S. troops depart, or whether Iran will gain greater sway. Image from article

Arab Spring, American winter: The long arc of the Arab Spring may yet bring real reform to the Arab world. But the short term all but guarantees a much less hospitable and forbidding place for America - Aaron David Miller, Los Angeles Times: The long arc of the Arab Spring may yet bring more transparency, accountability, gender equality and, yes, even some semblance of real democracy. But the short term all but guarantees a much less hospitable and forbidding place for America, whose credibility has shrunk.

Our policies, opposed from one end of this region to the other, are unlikely to change. Our capacity to succeed at war and peacemaking — the real measure of respect and admiration (Libya notwithstanding ) — has diminished along with our street cred. We can't solve the Palestinian issue, can't stop Iran from getting the bomb, can't find a way to achieve victories in Iraq and Afghanistan, and we are still caught up in the devil's bargain with Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. Image from article, with caption: Several thousand Egyptians protesters on Sept. 30 shout against the country's military rulers decision to retain the much hated emergency laws used throughout the reign of ousted President Hosni Mubarak to give police almost unquestionable powers to operate at Tahrir Square, the focal point of Egyptian uprising.

North Korea starts using Facebook, Twitter to criticize enemies - The Communist state's main government website has added clickable icons for the US social networking sites, as well as major South Korean web portals, allowing users to spread its message online. The icons were first noticed on articles criticizing the South Korean government - often derided as a US "puppet regime" by the Pyongyang propagandists - suggesting that the primary aim was to spread its criticism of Seoul. While the internet is strictly off-limits for ordinary North Koreans, Kim Jong Il's regime has launched a Twitter feed and posts propaganda footage on YouTube. See also.

Nakhchivan-on-Don 'unrelated' to Azerbaijan's exclave - News.Az: News.Az interviews Azerbaijani historian Ismikhan Osmanli, an expert in the history of the South Caucasus. [Q:] Armenian propaganda, media and historians often say that Armenians were largely forced to flee Nakhchivan. Are these reports close to reality? [A;] You are quite right, Armenians have started to raise the issue of their allegedly mass deportation from Nakhchivan especially recently. Meanwhile, Armenians state that they were the autochthonous aboriginal population, As you know, not far from Rostov-on-Don in Russia there is a Nakhchivan-on-Don (Nakhichevan-on-Don), which is mainly inhabited by Armenians. The name is not used now, following its absorption into the growing city of Rostov, but Armenians do not give up their claims on Azerbaijan and the inseparable part of its territory, Nakhchivan.

To continue claims on Azerbaijan, they have created the Novo-Nakhichevan Eparchy of the Armenian Apostolic Church which unites Armenian parishes in the south of Russia, including the North Caucasus. But this Nakhchivan-on-Don and the Novo-Nakhchivan (Novo-Nakhichevan) Eparchy have nothing to do with the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic. In Soviet times, late Academician Ziya Bunyadov widely researched and exposed Armenian lies about their deportation from Nakhchivan in the territory of Azerbaijan, based on Arabic sources. Uncaptioned image from article

Searching for elegies in ‘Future Lasts Forever’ - Emrah Güler, Having impressed the audience with his debut feature, director Özcan Alper shows that waiting is worth while with his second feature. ‘Gelecek Uzun Sürer’ (Future Lasts Forever) is a harrowing journey into the heart of the war in southeastern Turkey, not through political propaganda but through powerful human stories.

Image from article, with caption: A plot revolving around the Turkish-Kurdish conflict, along with a subplot on the burning topic of the Armenian relocation of the last century, could easily tread on the waters of propaganda, or become didactic.

Power and a passion for posters - Steve McKenna, Yang Pei Ming is an artist who has gathered more than 5000 posters produced by China's Communist Party between 1949 and 1979. It's a collection, he says, no one else in the world can match.

The exhibition space is small – what you'd expect, perhaps, from a basement apartment. Indeed, it takes only a little more than an hour to peruse the exhibits in the handful of rooms. But what a gripping hour it is. Image from article


Since 2006, new homes have dropped about 5 percent in size.

--Robert J. Samuelson, The Washington Post

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