"I warned her to expect bad cellphone reception and rats and urine on the subway."
--Mei Fong, formerly a China correspondent for the Wall Street Journal, currently a lecturer at USC's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, giving advice to a Chinese student who had won a full scholarship to Columbia; image from
Connecting Dots – Tara, Policies and People - RS Zaharna, Batttles2Bridges: "[T]he full text of [under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs] Tara [Soneshine]’s remarks at her swearing-in ceremony ... includ[es] the great quote: ‘Policy is about people. Without a deeper understanding of foreign publics, our policies are just flying blind’ … What I personally like about Tara’s original quote is the idea that people do matter in
However at the people level, it is not that abstract or complex. When people are negatively affected by
Journalists brave attacks, death in much of the world - Gene Policinski, ncnewspress.com: "The U.S. Department of State has launched an online 'Free the Press' campaign, highlighting individual journalists who face government threats worldwide, ranging from imprisonment to house arrest to travel bans. 'Media freedom is oxygen' for societies, Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Tara D. Sonenshine told a group of international journalists in discussing the campaign. 'It’s the moral equivalent of oxygen – it is how a society breathes, and it is a key pillar of building civil societies.'”
Cultural Diplomacy - Wall Street Journal: "Ellsworth Kelly: 'I wanted to give something to China, as well as the U.S.,' Kelly says of his installation 'Beijing Panels,' which hangs outside the U.S. Embassy in China.
'It's good for our embassies to have great American art. We're all patriotic, and that's why we do this.'" Image (one of 14) from article. Via manIC
Midway Update - PR Fulbright in Poland: "On May 1, I will have been here in Poznań for three months of my 6-month fellowship -- the midway point. I'm not as far along with my research project as I'd hoped, but we've made good progress in the last couple weeks, with the coming few weeks likely to be quite busy with project activities. ... Graduate PR Seminar[:] Also on Tuesday, I met for two hours in a formal seminar with graduate PR students here at the university.
I spoke on the roles of functions of PR in the U.S. and the similarities and differences between U.S. and Polish practice. I also discussed emerging trends and responsibilities for PR such as public diplomacy, crisis communication, issues management, development communication and corporate social responsibility. The students challenged me with some thoughtful questions and clearly have a deep understanding of the nuances and subtleties of contemporary PR practice as well as an appreciation for its theoretical underpinnings." Image from entry, with caption: Exchanging gifts with Poznań University of Economics Rektor Dr. Marian Gorynia
Broadcasting Board of Governors could use strategy lessons from Castro and Chavez -
BBG Watcher, USG Broadcasts/BBG Watch: "If VOA Spanish reductions are now implemented, America’s communication with the 19 Spanish-speaking countries in Central and Latin America would be severely curtailed at a critical time despite some glaring facts affecting U.S. national security."
Image from entry, with caption: Revolution monument in Managua
Using Taxpayer Dollars, BBG Agency Battles Against U.S. Citizen Employees - BBG Watcher, USG Broadcasts/BBG Watch: "The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), a federal agency whose top executives use such terms as 'old white guys' and 'cute high school intern,' is in trouble for discriminating against U.S. citizens."
Old Friends of the Chinese People in Hanover: Wen’s Wonder Weapon --
Angela Merkel and Wen Jiabao opened the Hannover Messe (Hanover Fair) last Sunday (April 22) - justrecently.wordpress.com: "Wen Jiabao would stay at Kastens Hotel Luisenhof, Hanover’s Neue Presse informed its readers on April 21 (Saturday). There, he would also receive
former chancellors Helmut Schmidt and Gerhard Schröder. Neither of the two had to travel very far – Schmidt lives in Hamburg, and Hanover is Schröder’s home town. ... Even if Chinese public diplomacy doesn’t work too well on the German public yet, Beijing does have a strong asset in place in this country. The Neue Presse frontpage of last week bears testimony to that. Schmidt may not roll over like a pet Panda – but he is doing a great job anyway." Image from article
Just Published: Real Time Diplomacy: Power and Politics in the Social Media Era – CPD Announcement, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "CPD Director Philip Seib’s new book, Real-Time Diplomacy: Politics and Power in the Social Media Era (Palgrave Macmillan) offers
insights into one of the most important challenges of the 21st century: How can policymakers shift away from being mere spectators and address the political realities of a social-media-oriented society?” Via LJB by email. Image from entry
Ad Pioneer Charlotte Beers to Speak at Inforum's 50th Annual Meeting: May 17 Dearborn Event to Celebrate a Half Century of Progress, Focus on What's Next - Inforum, sacbee.com: "If your goal is to be an agent for real change, it's good to be the boss. That's the message Charlotte Beers – one of the first female corporate leaders and one of the most influential figures in American advertising – has for American women. Nicknamed ‘the queen of Madison Avenue,’ Beers is the legendary advertising CEO of Ogilvy and Mather and Tatham-Laird and Kudner. She graced the cover of Fortune magazine as one of
In China, blame for the USC victims: Hateful comments toward two Chinese graduate students killed near the campus spotlight the growing divide between haves and have-nots in China - Mei Fong, latimes.com: Even as many Americans make the mistake of viewing China as a monolithic superpower, the Chinese, too, tend toward one-sided views of America. America the imperialist oppressor; America the violent.
It's a view that Qu's and Wu's tragedy unfortunately reinforces. But there is also another dimension to the Chinese view of America. It is a country many admire as a place of hope and possibilities and opportunity, the land that created Steve Jobs and Jeremy Lin. This is the America that draws ever-growing numbers of Chinese students, who then take home a view of the United States that refutes the stereotypes. Such an exercise of informal diplomacy on a grand scale cannot help but change U.S.-China relations. It may even change the world. Image from article, with caption: USC President C. L. Max Nikias bows before images of victims Ying Wu and Ming Qu before eulogizing the slain engineering students during a memorial service in the Shrine Auditorium. The Chinese students were shot to death while sitting in their parked car near the campus earlier this month.
U.S. Is Seeing Positive Signs From China - Mark Landler and Steven Lee Myers, New York Times: When China suddenly began cutting back its purchases of oil from Iran in the last month, officials in the Obama administration were guardedly optimistic, seeing the move as the latest in a string of encouraging signs from Beijing on sensitive security issues like Syria and North Korea, as well as on politically fraught economic issues like China’s exchange rate. As with so many signals from Beijing, though, its underlying motives for reducing its imports of Iranian oil remain a mystery: Are the Chinese embracing Western sanctions? Or, as some experts suspect, are they trying to extract a better price from one of their main suppliers of crude? The answer is probably a bit of both, according to senior administration officials who acknowledge that they do not know for certain.
Elite Afghan soldier kills U.S. special forces mentor - Ismail Sameem, reuters.com: An elite Afghan soldier shot dead an American mentor and his translator at a U.S. base, Afghan officials said on Friday, in the first rogue shooting blamed on the country's new and closely vetted special forces. At least 18 foreign soldiers have died this year in 11 incidents of so-called green on blue shootings, which are an increasing worry for both NATO and Afghan commanders, eroding trust as Western combat troops look to leave the country in 2014.
The latest shooting will be of grave concern to both sides, at it is the first involving a member of Afghanistan's new special forces, which undergo rigorous vetting as part of their selection into the country's top anti-insurgent force. Image from
Embassy to Nowhere – Peter Van Buren, We Meant Well: Designed in 2003 as a symbol of America the Conqueror, the Baghdad embassy included buildings for an international school that never opened. A lawn was planted to beautify the embassy, outdoor water-misters installed to cool the air. Even the stark reality of the desert was not allowed to interfere with our plans. Instead, our failure to resolve the demons unleashed by the fall of Saddam crushed us.
U.S. to remove 9,000 Marines from Japanese island of Okinawa - AP, USA Today: About 9,000 U.S. Marines stationed on the Japanese island of Okinawa will be moved to the U.S. territory of Guam and other locations in the Asia-Pacific, including Hawaii, under a U.S.-Japan agreement announced Thursday. The move is part of a broader arrangement designed to tamp down tensions in the U.S.-Japan defense alliance stemming in part from opposition in Okinawa to what many view as a burdensome U.S. military presence.
Give Annan's Syria Plan a Chance - Marc Lynch, Foreign policy: The United States should continue to support these efforts to demilitarize the conflict. It should continue to maintain the hard-won international consensus at the Security Council and push Syria's allies who have supported the current track to pressure Damascus to comply.
It should also continue to support parallel efforts to pressure Assad and to help strengthen the fragmented and weak Syrian opposition. Economic sanctions and the civil war itself have combined to badly hurt the Syrian economy and to increasingly isolate the Syrian elite. Such efforts should continue and expand, with more targeted sanctions at both unilateral and multilateral efforts. Image from
While Syria burns - Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post: If we are not prepared to intervene, even indirectly by arming and training Syrians who want to liberate themselves, be candid. And then be quiet. Don’t pretend the U.N. is doing anything. Don’t pretend the U.S. is doing anything. And don’t embarrass the nation with an Atrocities Prevention Board. The tragedies of Rwanda, Darfur and now Syria did not result from lack of information or lack of interagency coordination, but from lack of will.
Leadership rankings for federal agencies: The 20 large federal agencies that got the highest leadership scores in the 2011 Federal Employment Viewpoint Survey - Washington Post: No. 4: Department of State. The Department of State, led by Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton, received an overall leadership score of 61.0 out of 100, putting it fourth in the rankings.
What the Secret Service could learn from drunken sailors - Roberto Loiederman, Washington Post: "The stereotype of 'spending like a drunken sailor' is true. We sailors prided ourselves on spending our money foolishly.
Working on a ship headed to Latin America was known as a 'romance run' because it would often end up costing us more than we made. But we didn’t care. We’d give a woman whatever she asked for. If the requested price was steep — like, say, $800 — we’d keep enough for the taxi back to the ship and give her whatever we had. I don’t want to romanticize the seedy life of merchant seamen, but if the Secret Service personnel involved [in a prostitution/alcohol scandal in Colombia] in this scandal had played by the same rules and followed the same ethical standards as the drunken sailors I used to work with, there would have been no confrontation, and they might still have their jobs." Image from
TALIBAN PROPAGANDA WATCH: English sites back online - MILNEWS.ca Blog Tidbits from Both Sides of the Fight
China campaigns against extremist publications - Xinhua, peopledaily.com: Chinese authorities will mount a three-month campaign to crack down on the production and distribution of illegal publications and other forms of propaganda disseminated by the "three evil forces" of terrorism, extremism and separatism. Related government departments should make more efforts to cooperate and share information in order to root out illegal publications, according to a Friday statement issued by the National Office Against Pornographic and Illegal Publications. The statement asks relevant authorities, including those in charge of press and publication administration, public security, transportation and industrial and commercial administration, to scrutinize the publication market and conduct thorough investigations into possible violations. Any cases uncovered during the campaign should be reported to the office and the offenders should be punished in accordance with the law, the statement said. A nationwide crackdown on extremist propaganda, referred to as the "Tianshan Project," began in 2009. The crackdown largely concerns maintaining "ideological security" in northwest China and fighting terrorism, extremism and separatism, the statement said. Government authorities should attach great importance to the campaign and make efforts to ensure national stability, the statement said, adding that measures should be put in place to boost the cultural market for China's ethnic regions.
Steel lies behind Pyongyang's war rhetoric - Donald Kirk, Asia Times: The job of a journalist for the North Korean propaganda machine surely must be one of the more fun-filled gigs in the media business. Imagine the laughs the writers up there must be having as they dream up fresh turns of phrase with which to pillory South Korea's President Lee Myung-bak. "The mischief made by
rat-like Lee Myung-bak reminds one of a rabid dog barking towards the sky," goes one of the lines churned out by Pyongyang's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). Then, as if the "rabid dog" image were not compelling enough, the next sentence mangles the metaphor by calling Lee's utterances "no more than squeaks made by the rat before being killed by all people for its wrong doings." KCNA writers take special pleasure in coming up with new ways to let readers know the bad things that will befall "rat-like Lee and his group" as they "meet the most miserable and disgraceful end for doing such mischief in rat holes as defaming the sun." The great defamation was to besmirch "the Day of the Sun" - the great day celebrating the centennial on April 15 of the birth of Kim Il-sung. The North Korean machine can't seem to get over Lee's practical words of advice - that the North give up the collective farming that's throttling production - and his reminder that the money invested in the birthday party and the launch two days earlier of the rocket that plunged into the Yellow Sea would have fed the North's hungry people for years. Image from
KONY 2012: State Propaganda for a New Generation - truther, theyellowbrickroadfreeblog.wordpress.com: KONY 2012 is a viral sensation that swept the entire world in less than 24 hours. Its main subject is the African rebel leader Joseph Kony, his war crimes and the clearly defined “movement” to stop him. Countless celebrities have endorsed the movement, news sources have reported it and social media is buzzing with it. While the problem of guerrilla warfare and child soldiers has plagued Africa for decades, and severaldocumentaries have already been produced regarding the issue, this particular 29-minute video made managed to obtain mass exposure and support. KONY 2012 is less of a documentary than it is a highly efficient infomercial that is tailor-made for the Facebook generation, using state-of-the-art marketing techniques to make its point. Young people like “underground movements” and want to feel like they are changing the world. KONY 2012 taps into these needs to bring about something that is not “hip” or “underground” at all: A military operation in Uganda.
Not only that, it urges the participants of the movement to order stuff, to wear bracelets that are associated with an online profile and to record their actions in social media. This makes KONY 2012 the first artificially created movement that is fully track-able, monitor-able and quantifiable by those who engendered it. In other words, what appears to be a movement “from the people” is actually a new way for the elite to advance its agenda. Always studying, analyzing and exploiting the most effective ways to persuade public opinion, KONY 2012 appears to be an attempt to test out the effectiveness of a “viral” propaganda campaign. By creating this “movement” and making young people actually DEMAND the U.S. government intervene in Africa, the masterminds behind this campaign would manage the impossible: Reversing the propaganda model in order to make it emanate from the people. By doing so, the elite’s agenda is not only accepted by the masses, it is perceived as a victory by them. Image from article
Cinecittà: Celebrating 75 Years of the Venerable Italian Studios - Nate Rawlings and Yumi Goto, entertainment.time.com: Few film studios can claim to have seen as much history as Cinecittà, which has been the hub of Italian cinema for seven decades. Founded by Benito Mussolini in 1937 to film propaganda, Cinecittà was the site of 300 films in its first six years. During World War II, the Germans looted the studios, and from 1945 to 1947, Cinecittà
was a displaced persons camp, but in the 1950s, American production companies in need of a cheap studio turned to southeast
10 Important Life Lessons You Learn From Living Abroad - Whitney Cox, bootsnall.com. Via PK on facebook
Map Shows Drone Use Throughout U.S.- Bethany Whitfield, flyingmag.com: Curious if there are drones operating near you? A quick look at recent data unveiled by the FAA may provide some insight.
As a result of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation earlier this year, the agency was forced this week to divulge a list of 63 authorized UAV launch sites scattered across the country. The sites span 20 different states, and include locations as remote as the approximately 3,000-person town of Otter Tail, Minnesota. As expected, many sites approved for law enforcement agencies and the military made the list, but so did more than two-dozen colleges and universities. Via BC on facebook. Image from article, with caption: U.S. Customs and Border protection Reaper drone
Secret Service Agent’s Plea in Colombia Proved True - Michael S. Schmidt and Eric Schmitt, New York Times: "The agency [Secret Service] plans to bar employees from drinking alcohol beginning 10 hours before their shift, the senior American official said.
The previous cutoff was six hours." Image via JH on facebook
ONE MORE QUOTATION FOR THE DAY
“Notoriously disgraceful conduct is that conduct which, were it to become widely known, would embarrass, discredit, or subject to opprobrium the perpetrator, the Foreign Service, and the United States. Examples of such conduct include but are not limited to the frequenting of prostitutes, engaging in public or promiscuous sexual relations, spousal abuse, neglect or abuse of children, manufacturing or distributing pornography, entering into debts the employee could not pay, or making use of one’s position or immunity to profit or to provide favor to another (see also 5 CFR, Part 2635) or to create
the impression of gaining or giving improper favor. Disqualification of a candidate or discipline of an employee, including separation for cause, is warranted when the potential for opprobrium or contempt should the conduct become public knowledge could be reasonably expected to affect adversely the person’s ability to perform his or her own job or the agency’s ability to carry out its responsibilities. Evaluators must be carefully [sic] to avoid letting personal disapproval of such conduct influence their decisions.”
--From the State Department's 3 FAM 4139.14 Notoriously Disgraceful Conduct; via DiploPundit; image from
Via WMcP on facebook