Friday, November 4, 2011

November 4

“Working for the Foreign Service is almost too much fun.”

--U.S. Department of State Diplomat in Residence at Duke Stephen Kelly; image from


President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts - Office of the Press Secretary, The White House: "Today [November 4], President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key Administration posts: ... •

Tara D. Sonenshine - Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy, Department of State." Via MA on Twitter. Sonenshine image from. On Sonenshine, see.

Real Afghan Success Stories: With U.S. Help, Repatriated Stories are Rebuilding Afghanistan's Precious Human Resources - MMD Newswire: "Stories from Afghanistan's rich, centuries-old oral tradition have helped teach reading and thinking skills to U.S. children since 1998. Now they're being employed for the same purposes in the country of their origin - much to the delight of millions of Afghans, and thanks to a generous grant from the U.S. government. In 1998, Hoopoe Books (, a division of the U.S. educational nonprofit Institute for the Study of Human Knowledge (, which is based in Los Altos, Calif., began publishing a series of illustrated children's stories from the storytelling tradition of Afghanistan, collected and retold by the Afghan author and educator Idries Shah. Hoopoe provides these books along with a literacy curriculum aligned to Head Start and other U.S. educational standards. To date, more than 600,000 Hoopoe books have been distributed in the U.S., used in schools and educational agencies across the country. The stories won awards and were featured in a lecture at the Library of Congress, and one was selected for the Library's 2002 Christmas list. The media and educators alike noted how ideal these stories

were for encouraging thinking skills and perceptions, peaceful negotiation rather than confrontation, and social-emotional development. This led Hoopoe to launch a project to 'repatriate' the stories to Afghanistan, to develop these core skills in Afghan children and revitalize a storytelling tradition disrupted by over three decades of conflict. The project will help to curb the influence of extremism, which is incompatible with the thought patterns developed through familiarity with these tales. In addition, the stories will form a bridge between the more conservative elders who may well remember them, and the younger generation who so badly need to become literate in order to fully participate in a modern Afghanistan. With the support of the Afghan Ministry of Education, since 2009 Hoopoe has distributed books and ancillary materials to libraries, schools and orphanages throughout Afghanistan in collaboration with Khatiz Organization for Rehabilitation (KOR), an Afghan NGO. There are six titles currently available in Pashto and Dari, the two principal languages of Afghanistan, and four more on the way. The books are distributed through KOR and other NGOs, as well as by many members of U.S. Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) working throughout the country who had heard about the books and were eager to help get them into the hands of Afghan children. Feedback shows that when these children receive a Hoopoe book, they share it with friends and family, thus allowing literacy to spread organically. In the summer of 2010, Hoopoe's Books for Afghanistan program came to the attention of the U.S. Embassy in Kabul. In 2011 this resulted in a Public Diplomacy Grant award of $4.5 million from the U.S. Department of State to print and distribute 2,580,000 books - 1,730,000 copies of these tales in bilingual Dari/Pashto editions, 736,000 copies in English editions, and 114,000 Teacher Guides for use with the six books in all three languages, plus audio versions of the six stories in Dari, Pashto and English in cassette or CD format, and professional development training for 250 teachers." Image from

Public Schedule for November 4, 2011 – U.S. Department of State: "ASSISTANT SECRETARY ANN STOCK (R): 9:30 a.m. Assistant Secretary Stock (R) delivers remarks at the Bizot Group Meeting, at the National Gallery of Art. (MEDIA DETERMINED BY HOST) 2:00 p.m. Assistant Secretary Stock (R) delivers remarks at the 100,000 Strong Advisory Committee Meeting, at the Department of State. (CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE)"

Brazil Springs A WikiLeak... Assange Tags Newsman As Media Mole - Eric Ehrmann, Huffington Post: "With a London court ruling that media activist Julian Assange must now return to Sweden to face charges of sex crimes, the WikiLeaks founder has made his last dance a Samba, outing Brazil's most trusted newscaster as what some local media are cal[l]ing an informant, even suggesting the journalist in question was an agent of the CIA, in place to promote US policy and business deals. According to a confidential state department cable published by Jornal do Brasil and other online media, the person of interest is William 'Bill' Waack. The 59-year-old Waack moderated a crucial presidential debate in last year's election and has been an anchor with Globo TV and the SBT network owned by billionaire Silvio Santos. Waack did a high profile interview with secretary of state Hillary Clinton that set the stage for president Barack Obama's 36-hour visit to Brazil and later helped facilitate the objectives of U.S. businesses and policymakers during the tour in March. ... Because Waack is a media icon in Brazil his reputation is unlikely to be damaged by a WikiLeak. But the outing is a reminder to press freedom and open internet advocates of how U.S. public diplomacy folded into local media culture can construct political reality in emerging democracies that can change the outcome in the ballot box."

Youth Ambassadors 2012 - John Matel, World-Wide-Matel: “We announced this year’s winners for Youth Ambassadors in São Paulo on Friday last. This program keeps getting bigger and better. It attracts an ever larger pool of highly-qualified candidates (this year 7500); pulls in more cooperating institutions (now 64 partners in the recruitment and screening process); and is acting like a magnet pulling in resources from the private sector." See also

P2P Engagement through music: American Music Abroad - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "As I had mentioned before, some of the details concerning my new job were being embargoed. Embargo gone, and I am pleased to announce on this fair blog, among other places, that American Voices will be partnering with the US State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs on the American Music Abroad program.

We are administering the cultural diplomacy program, and are helping to arrange auditions and touring for approximately ten American roots music ensembles. All sorts of American genres are up for the tour, including hip hop, jazz, blues, bluegrass, zydeco and even indie rock and punk. Public diplomacy is always of the finest sort when accompanied by a bluegrass banjo. In short, if you are in an ensemble that plays any kind of American music, do be sure to audition and possibly become the next American cultural diplomacy ambassador! More details about that coming soon." Image from

The U.S.-Canada National Security Relationship - Eric S. Morse, "Canada and the U.S. operate in a rapid and continuously changing threat environment ­– acts of terrorism, economics and finance, natural disasters, pandemics, and catastrophic terrorism.

National security involves all of these events supplemented by notions of history, culture, and tradition, public diplomacy, and military concerns." Image from article

Ambassador Nirupama Rao, India’s new woman in Washington - Emily Wax, Washington Post: "Nirupama Rao, the new Indian ambassador to the United States, knew she wanted to be a diplomat from the time she was a teenager in Bangalore, listening to Joan Baez and strumming her guitar. Her uncle, who served in the Indian foreign service in Japan and Washington, was a cherished pen pal. He brought her Japanese books and John F. Kennedy postage stamps. ... Rao hopes to open a large cultural center in Washington so that Americans can learn more about both ancient and modern Indian traditions. ‘There’s a real hunger

for cultural exchange, and the countries are very excited to know each other,’ she said, sipping tea beneath a temple painting and chatting about her plans to travel around the United States, including small-town America, visiting Indian companies doing business here. She also hopes to catch some folk music concerts and sample some of the food that has appeared on the fast-food landscape since her last U.S. posting. ‘Tell me,’ she says, ‘is Chipotle like an Indian kathi roll? I suspect I may like it!’” Rao image from article

Opening the lines of communication - Tan Yingzi, "To help foreign countries improve the understanding of China, the Chinese government is making great efforts to enhance its public diplomacy skills, a senior Chinese official said Thursday. Wang Guoqing, vice-minister of China's State Council Information Office, held a talk with several top American experts on China and US media representatives to discuss how China can improve its communication with American public. The meeting in Washington was hosted by China Daily USA, which started distributing its paper in the US in 2009 and now delivers to nine major American cities. ... Ambassador Charles Freeman, who was the interpreter for President Richard Nixon during visit to China his 1972, advised Wang's agency to have more exchanges with international visitors and hold regular meetings with public diplomacy experts. He also suggested that Chinese investors in the US engage more with local media, telling how they benefit the local communities."

Image from article, with caption: Wang Guoqing, vice-minister of State Council Information Office (SCIO), led a panel discussion of public diplomacy hosted by China Daily USA in Washington on Thursday. From left: Guo Weimin, director general of the Press Bureau of SCIO; Chi Wang, co-chairman of the US-China Policy Foundation; Chas Freeman, former US ambassador to Saudi Arabia and Chinese interpreter for former president Richard Nixon; Wang Guoqing; Mary Jordan, Pulitzer-Prize-winning journalist of the Washington Post; James Sasser, former US ambassador to China; and Larry Lee, president of China Daily USA

The Fiasco over UNESCO - Grant Rumley, "Earlier this week, the Palestinian Authority expanded its platform of seeking acceptance in international organizations by appealing to the UN’s Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The Palestinians were accepted, in a vote of 107-14, and given full membership status. Much like their September application to the UN’s general assembly, this new modus operandi from Ramallah deviates from past avenues in the peace process. ... The US’s history with UNESCO is shaky at best. During the Reagan years the US withdrew from the organization, citing the belief that it was corrupt and 'anti-American.' It was George W. Bush who returned America to the fold in 2002, saying the US was 'committed to the values of UNESCO.' After Monday’s vote, the Obama administration quickly withdrew from the organization, taking its 80+ million dollars of annual donations with it, or roughly 20% of UNESCO’s budget. ... The US’s move to rejoin UNESCO was part of a public-diplomacy effort by the Bush Administration and the State department to de-radicalize possible extremists in the Middle East and gain leverage into Muslim communities. By withdrawing support and money for programs that promote literacy, education, and women’s rights, the US loses credibility in the region and promotes the widespread stigma that the US sides with Israel over the Palestinians, while UNESCO loses nearly a quarter of its operating budget." See also (via PK).

VOL. VII NO. 22, October 21-November 03, 2011 - The Layalina Review on Public Diplomacy and Arab Media:

"UNESCO’s Divisive Decision UNESCO’s decision to recognize Palestine as a full member, despite the US opposition, has prompted the US government to cut its funding for the organization which provided 22% of UNESCO’s budget.

A New Mindset in the Region As Tunisia holds its first free elections, Egypt and Jordan take significant strides toward reform, signifying the changing atmosphere in the region after the Arab Spring. However, while progress is being made in some places, US-Syria relations continue to deteriorate.

Iraq: The End of a Long Story President Obama recently announced that the remaining 39,000 US troops in Iraq will be withdrawn by the end of the year, ending the US military presence that began there in 2003. The media, however, has vowed to continue to monitor the situation in Iraq after US withdrawal.

Gaddafi’s Death Prompts UN Probe and Transition Challenges After months of violence in Libya, leader Muammar Gaddafi was captured and killed although specific details regarding his death have yet to be determined. As many Libyans celebrate a Gaddafi-free Libya, the mystery surrounding his capture has prompted a UN investigation.

New Beginnings in Tunisia Tunisia held its first free elections on October 23, following the ouster of former president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. Tunisians elected the Islamist An-Nahda Party to govern, which raised concerns of an Islamist takeover of the government.

Repressive Media Practices Act as Roadblock in Egypt In Egypt, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), led by General Mohammed Tantawi, has failed to bring about a swift transition from dictatorship to democracy. In addition, SCAF has retained tight control of the media as people demand increased media freedoms.

Tomorrow’s Middle East Entrepreneurs International organizations, such as Booz and Company, are looking to guide start-up companies in the Middle East and North Africa in order to teach and encourage entrepreneurship among the Arab youth, at a time when underemployment and unemployment plague the region.

Al-Jazeera in the Spotlight  Lawrence Pintak of the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication praised new media in bringing about waves of change in the MENA region in 2011 during a talk at Washington State University. Journalists have also praised Al-Jazeera for its role in broadcasting footage of the revolutionary events." Image from

Guest Post: Parched – Thirsty for Sustainable Aid - Emily Chin, Ren's Microdiplomacy: "In Rwanda, even with its struggles to reach as many Rwandans as possible with fresh water, the U.S. government is now able to shift its focus to long-term stability, water security, and development. While USAID is still present, supporting efforts to build and maintain clean water systems, other United States agencies – including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Defense, Peace Corps, and State Department – are also present as partners, rather than humanitarian relief 20.

Herein, the U.S. proves that it internalized the lessons of partnership in program execution, the need for infrastructure, and how to nurture sustainable development. The media’s calling of the global public to attention – and to action – proved essential in the continuing effort for peace, stability and clean water in Rwanda. Water was America’s door into Rwanda and, with continued international public diplomacy support, a potential means of cooling ethnic tensions, sharing commonalities and experiences, and fostering the growth of the new Rwanda." Image from article

The European External Action Service and Smart Power - Mai’a K. Davis Cross, CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "On 1 December 2010, the European Union (EU) inconspicuously launched the new European External Action Service (EEAS). Much of the world was unaware that anything had changed. But despite its quiet beginnings, the EEAS is actually a major innovation in the field of diplomacy as the first supranational diplomatic service of its kind. ... Rather than being responsible for enacting the policies of just one institution, the EEAS is charged with coordinating, shaping, and enacting the entire body of EU foreign policy, under the command of the EU’s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton. ... Of all the Lisbon Treaty’s innovations, the EEAS

most demonstrates the EU’s commitment to smart power. ... When it comes down to it, statesmen still have the distinct authority to make difficult foreign policy decisions unilaterally and to implement them as quickly as they deem necessary. Of course, member states also have a wealth of soft power resources at the same time, such as programs of educational exchange, cultural promotion, and public diplomacy. The creation of the EEAS shows the political will to bring these various tools of power together, and to set the stage for better coordination of both hard and soft foreign policy strategies." Image from

Metaphors Made Real: "On the Power of National Symbols - Jake Townsend, Huffington Post: "Though the world often measures national power by wealth, influence and military might, it is those nations whose understanding of its own foundational metaphor -- its national identity -- that possesses a form of internal strength that cannot be touched by another nation, no matter its size or might. Our collective national identities, as reinforced by our symbols, provide boundaries that strengthen nations. This power, of course, can be inverted by tyranny: fascist, autocratic and corrupt governments often master the dark art of oppression's visual reinforcement. One need only view the work of North Korea's cynical propaganda machine to see it in action. However, revolution rises when those universal ideals, marked by symbols, bear stark contrast to the inequities of current life. When national identity is subverted, in other words, when those fundamental ideals that make a country who and what it is are negated in the name of power and reinforced symbolically in the built world, the outcome is revolution. Moreover, when a country no longer lives up to those foundational characteristics upon which it was founded, its symbols become empty place holders, awaiting a time when government and citizens live up to a nation's own highest aspirations." Jake Townsend: "Nation branding, communication and public diplomacy consultant; adjunct professor, University of Southern California School of Public Diplomacy."

Diplomat illuminates Foreign Service - Cara Huskey "On Oct. 28, U.S. Department of State Diplomat in Residence at Duke Stephen Kelly came to the university for the Office of Personal and Career Development’s Government Week. The Magnolia Room was filled with students of all ages eager to hear Kelly speak about what it means to pursue a career path in the

U.S. Foreign Service. ... Kelly explained that any U.S. citizen between the ages of 21 and 30-years-old, with or without a college degree, is eligible to take and pass the free exam. An individual can only retake the exam once a year but are not limited beyond that as to how many times they can attempt it. After passing the examination, one must immediately choose which of the five cones or sections to be in: Political, Economics, Public Diplomacy, Administrative (Management) or Consular. Despite the extremely competitive applicant pool, Kelly stressed to students that the Foreign Services accepts students from all majors." Kelly image from article

Connecting Singapore - Eliza.H, "Besides being posted to other Ministries and governmental agencies, overseas opportunities are also available for Information Officers. 'I was very heartened because after I completed my posting at

MEWR, I got an overseas posting to the Singapore Embassy in Washington D.C. to assist with communications, cultural, and public diplomacy duties,' Chour Thong recounts. Chour Thong was the First Secretary (Information) at the Embassy for three years. His main role was to help raise Singapore’s profile in Washington. Thong image from article


Assassination backlash: It's been a banner year for targeted killings, but are they an effective way to fight terrorism? - Andrew Cockburn, Now that assassination

is an official tool of U.S. foreign policy, along with trade embargoes and overseas aid, it is surely time for an open debate on whether it is indeed effective. Surprisingly for some, evidence based on hard numbers demonstrates unequivocally that the answer is no. Image from

For Our Allies, Death From Above - Clive Stafford Smith, New York Times: My mistake had been to see the drone war in Waziristan in terms of abstract legal theory — as a blatantly illegal invasion of Pakistan’s sovereignty, akin to President Richard M. Nixon’s bombing of Cambodia in 1970. But now, the issue has suddenly become very real and personal. Tariq, killed by a drone, was a good kid, and courageous. My warm hand recently touched his in friendship; yet, within three days, his would be cold in death, the rigor mortis inflicted by my government.

Afghan Security Forces Unprepared to Take Over for US, NATO‎ - John Glaser, US officials continue to repeat the line that Afghan forces will soon be ready to take over security of Afghanistan from NATO

by 2014, despite estimates to the contrary from Afghan members of Parliament, US military officers, and Afghan forces themselves. Despite the official US propaganda, Afghan general Amlaqullah Patyani told Reuters ”We have no clue how to operate the weapons that NATO gives us. And even if we did, will the weapons keep coming after 2014?” Image from article

Who lost Iraq?
 - Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post: Obama opposed the war, but when he became commander in chief the terrible price had already been paid in blood and treasure. His obligation was to make something of that sacrifice, to secure the strategic gains that sacrifice had already achieved. He did not, failing at precisely what this administration so flatters itself for doing so well: diplomacy. After years of allegedly clumsy brutish force, Obama was to usher in an era of not hard power, not soft power, but smart power. Which turns out in Iraq to be . . . no power.

Pentagon Indoctrinating U.S. Soldiers With Islamic Propaganda - Jim Kouri, As part of its mission to "win the hearts and minds" of people who despise the United States of America, including those who live in the U.S., the Pentagon released a new military manual

that's sure to please groups such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), an organization some allege is a Fifth-Column for radical Islamic terrorist organizations. According to the blog on the web site of a non-profit watchdog group that investigates government corruption and misconduct, in this new era of rampant political correctness, the U.S. Army has published a special handbook for soldiers that appears to justify Islamic jihad by describing it as the “communal military defense of Islam and Muslims when they are threatened or under attack.” Image from article

Report: Al Jazeera English will open a Chicago bureau, managed by ex-ABC Washington correspondent - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Egypt’s Massacre of Christians - Raymond Ibrahim, Western media coverage of the recent massacre of Coptic Christians in Cairo, Egypt—in which the military killed dozens of Christians and injured some 300—was, as discussed earlier, deplorable.

It merely repeated the false propaganda of the complicit state-run media, without checking facts. Since then, further proofs of the lies and brutality surrounding the massacre have emerged; they are compiled in the following report which consists of facts and videos from Arabic sources—many of which have not appeared in the Western media. Image from

Eritrea and al-Shabaab deny charges of arms running - Eritrea and Islamist group al-Shabaab have denied Kenyan allegations that Asmara is smuggling large quantities of weapons to the militia. The charges are 'mere propaganda that is intended to sanction the mass murder of innocent civilians in Somalia,' said al-Shabaab in a statement to the media on Thursday.

Prosperous Armenia party to push for larger aid for counter-propaganda‎ - Information-Analytic Agency Prosperous Armenia party will stand for increasing the budget of MFA for preparation and distribution of information materials, said the chairman of Parliamentary Commission on European Integration Naira Zohrabyan on Thursday during hearings on state budget of 2011. Addressing to Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandyan, the MP highlighted the need to strengthen measures against propaganda of Baku, who received a new platform for anti-Armenian rhetoric in the UN Security Council.

IMAGES (From Swedish subway system, via SL by email)

AMERICANA: Washington, D.C. Metro system



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