"[R]evolutions like the Arab Spring took place by smart phone."
--Like Giving Birth - Life After Jerusalem: The musings of a Two-Spirit American Indian, Public Diplomacy-coned Foreign Service Officer; image from
Nazis on the Moon: Iron Sky and the Crowdsourced Film. Via NI on Facebook
Tweeting democracy across the Arab world - Guy Golan, english.alarabiya.net: "The Obama administration has time and again expressed its commitment to genuine relationship building with Muslims around the world. Through social media, it launched an ambitious multiplatform public diplomacy campaign that allows for direct two-way communication between the State Department and Muslims. Through videos and blogs, Facebook pages, and mobile phone applications, America can now both talk and listen. It seems like technology is reinventing the very essence of international relations. Yet, recent evidence indicates that launching a successful public diplomacy campaign via social media may be easier said than done. An innovative global digital outreach campaign was recently introduced by the U.S. State Department. Their campaign allowed citizens from across the world to ask Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy, Judith McHale, questions in ten different languages using the #AskUSA Twitter hashtag. This campaign turned out to be a bust. Most of the tweets consisted of either spam or communication from American officials from outside the USA. Yet, the American State Department should not let one failed effort deter them. All relationships both
Great Moments in Public Diplomacy - Peter Van Buren, We Meant Well: "[H]ere is a tremendous example of public diplomacy that dribbled down the Twitter:
Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Tara Sonenshine Meets with Russian Special Presidential Representative for International Cultural Cooperation Mikhail E. Shvydkoy - Media Note, Office of the Spokesperson, US Department of State: "On April 6, Under Secretary Tara Sonenshine welcomed Special Presidential Representative Mikhail Shvydkoy at the State Department to discuss future plans for collaboration in the areas of education, media, sports and professional exchanges. The two senior officials jointly chair the U.S.-Russia Presidential Commission’s Education, Culture, Sports, and Media (ECSM) Working Group. Presidents Obama and Medvedev established the U.S.-Russia Presidential Commission (BPC) in July 2009 to improve coordination between both countries, to address shared challenges, and to explore new opportunities for partnership in areas of mutual interest. The ECSM Working Group is focused on developing personal connections and innovative collaboration to promote new dialogue and understanding between the people of the United States and Russia. Under Secretary Sonenshine took this opportunity to congratulate Special Presidential Representative Shvydkoy on his contributions to the success of the ECSM Working Group. Over the past three years, more than 100 different groups of American musicians, dancers, artists, and writers have introduced Russians to the depth and diversity of U.S. culture as part of the 'American Seasons' in Russia program. U.S. audiences similarly enjoyed the rich heritage of Russian culture through performances and artistic events in the United States.
U.S. public diplomacy chief Tara Sonenshine to vis[i]t the disappearing Voice of America - BBGWatcher, USG Broadcasts/BBG Watch: "The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) and International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB) executives who have embarrassed the Obama Administration by their decision to end Voice of America (VOA) radio broadcasts to Tibet will receive an early visit to VOA from the newly sworn-in Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Tara D. Sonenshine. BBG Watch has learned that the new Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs has accepted an invitation from the BBG to come by the Cohen Building early in her tenure. Tara Sonenshine plans to attend the Board’s meeting this month at the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB), but has also welcomed the chance to visit the agency’s headquarters as well as 'the vaunted home of VOA,' as one BBG official with former links to the State Department described her planned Voice of America visit in an internal email. Tara Sonenshine will see the Voice of America shortly before it may lose many of its broadcasting services, including VOA radio to Tibet, major parts of VOA English and Spanish, VOA Cantonese broadcasts and Internet Cantonese news to China, VOA Georgian radio and several other foreign language news operations. VOA would lose 170 professional front line broadcasters and producers in the proposed budget if it is passed by Congress. VOA faces net cuts totaling $17 million, compared with a reduction of $731,000 for its sister network, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. ...Unlike most top level BBG and IBB executives, Tara Soneshine has extensive public diplomacy experience and is believed to be sensitive to human rights issues. Some who know her believe than she may be more involved in BBG decision making process."
Like Giving Birth - Life After Jerusalem: The musings of a Two-Spirit American Indian, Public Diplomacy-coned Foreign Service Officer: "I have finally, as of this week, given birth the the baby I have been carrying since shortly after my arrival at post. Get off the floor...it isn't THAT kind of baby! No, what I have given birth to is a project that we are calling a Mobile American Corner. The Mobile American Corner builds on the idea of a traditional American Corner in that it contains information about the United States and our diplomatic mission to share with overseas audiences. Where the Mobile American Corner differs, however is that it is an original mobile platform (designed for iPad but soon accessible via iPhone and Android) application through which the Embassy puts this kind of extensive information on the U.S. into the hands of the user along with an invitation to actually participate in the Embassy’s public diplomacy. The Mobile American Corner is well-suited to Estonia, a tech savvy and well-wired country that gave birth to such innovations as Skype and is a world leader in e-governance. Our goal has been to broaden our reach among these internet savvy consumers by creating an interesting, interactive format that would keep users engaged for hours exploring and engaging the United States. ... Our goal is for this app to be available to all embassies around the globe...but wait, there is more. We also want anyone to be able to download it free. Because revolutions like the Arab Spring took place by smart phone. And when people seeking democracy want inspiration, we want them to have to look no further than the American Corner...in their pocket."
With U.S. Absent, China and Qatar step-in at UNESCO - Matt Armstrong, MountainRunner: "The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, or [sic] UNESCO, was established over six decades ago to be the public diplomacy organization of the West, countering the influences and false promises of Communism. Last year, the
Module 9 Climate Change Diplomacy Team10 - Loylyn Daiselle Jones Walton, Our Perspectives: The Community Blog for GEOG 030: Geographic Perspectives on Sustainability and Human-Environment Systems: "The United States has compromised abilities and should not be conducting climate change policy the way they have been due to shifts that are likened to the coercive actions in corruptible diplomacy- demands with powerplay manipulations, means hidden in shifts of urgency, noncompliance followed by threats, and uses of incentives as bait.
SAGE plan now available for download - Matt Armstrong, MountainRunner: "Last week was the public release of the SAGE plan, entitled 'Creating an Independent International Strategic Communication Organization for
Stress on culture has limitations - Zhang Xiaoling, China Daily: "With its rapidly growing economy, China has been cultivating its image around the world as an attractive, rising power that is non-threatening and non-confrontational. China's endeavor to promote its soft power involves shifting the focus from purely economic cooperation to other more subtle areas such as culture. To that end, China has been investing boldly in public diplomacy, including launching multi-language satellite TV channels and websites, staging heritage exhibitions and art performances overseas, sponsoring students from other nations to study in China and paying for Chinese-language programs abroad. The most outstanding achievement is its spread of Confucius Institutes (CIs) since the establishment of the first one in 2004. By the end of 2010, there were 322 Confucius Institutes and 369 Confucius classrooms established in 96 countries.
Pruning and clipping foreign affairs - Colin Robertson, ottawacitizen.com: "The last decade in the Foreign Service has been difficult. The divorce and then remarriage of trade and foreign affairs was followed by a series of so-called 'transformations' that put process ahead of policy development and delivery. Bulking up on bean-counters and senior management at headquarters in the post-Gomery [on Gomery, see - JB] wave of accountability did not advance our diplomatic game. You don’t do diplomacy out of your basement, as Jean Chrétien once astutely observed. An entertainment budget is another important tool for doing business. Throwing public diplomacy under the bus was unforgivable and the senior bureaucrats of that period have much to answer for in terms of speaking 'truth to power.' Where once we led, today we are behind in our application of public diplomacy. Globalization is obliging diplomats and diplomacy to adapt and re-examine how they do business. The contemporary diplomat is equally comfortable in jeans relying on a laptop and GPS-equipped BlackBerry, as Daryl Copeland has observed in Guerrilla Diplomacy."
The Israeli Family Project: the next steps - Chami Zemach, il-family.com: "Since we started working on The Israeli Family Project we understood that our money will not be enough for full-funding this journey and of course not for the next stages of the project. We knew we must get some help, someone or somewhat that can join hands with us and take care of the financial part of the project. We always thought that the best way to fund a public diplomacy project will be by using private money. This is what we looked for all the way since we started. Now, is the conclusion is that we were wrong ? It is hard to tell yet. We must continue and find the one reason to say that we were not wrong. Unfortunately, this did not happen yet, but who ever knows us know that we never give up and that eventually we will find the way to move this project to the next level where we will make it a leading program for bringing people to know Israel much better. ... We already started to make programs for after August 1st. We would like to go bigger with The Israeli Family Project and start recruit and train Israeli Families that will join The Israeli Family Project and will make new journeys of Israeli Hasbara. This may be the most beautiful project in Public Diplomacy ever ! Don’t forget, if you know any Russian Oligarch or any other Billionaire, don’t forget to tell them to call us."
VOL. VIII NO. 7 March 23-April 05, 2012 - The Layalina Review on Public Diplomacy and Arab Media
"Pacific Gibraltar" -- Important New Book on Hawaiian History - Kenneth R. Conklin, hawaiireporter.com: "The author, William Michael Morgan (no relation to Senator James T. Morgan of the 1894 Morgan Report), has a Ph.D. in History from Claremont Graduate University. According to information about his book at amazon.com, Dr. Morgan was a Foreign Service officer in the Department of State for more than 30 years, and lived in Japan for 13 years, first as a Marine lieutenant in 1971-72 and then three assignments
Run, [...], Run! - Laura McGinnis, manIC: "The more I think on it, the less convinced I am that Americans have got a lock on running, but that doesn't make it any less suited for public diplomacy. In fact, it may do just the opposite."
Obama’s signal to Iran - David Ignatius, Washington Post: As Iran’s leadership debates its negotiating stance, the squeeze of Western sanctions is becoming tighter. U.S. officials believe that if Iran refuses to negotiate, it will be easier to tighten sanctions even more.
New York Times anti-Iran propaganda ops continue - iranaffairs.com: So Glenn Grenwald and others have already noted that the New York Times continues its role as the official parrot of anonymous government officials when it comes to uncritically passing along their insinuations and accusations of Iranian culpability for US casualties in Afghanistan -- as if the Afghans themselves haven't been fighting foreign occupiers for decades now and would not have any reason to be upset at the burning of Korans -- but I don't think these writers realize that the situation was worse than they thought: had they read the print version of the NY Times, they would have seen that the article implicating Iran in the attacks on US servicemen in Afghanistan was placed on the same page as another article about the latest suicide bombing attack there which included a front page photo of a sort I've never seen in the NY Times before, as far as I can remember, of wounded and bloodied American soldiers splayed out on the sidewalk in Afghanistan. The photo was presumably taken moments after the suicide attack. In fact the
Hersh: U.S. Trained Iranian "Terrorist" Group in Nevada - democracynow.org: Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh has revealed the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command has trained operatives from an Iranian opposition group at a secret site in Nevada. Writing in The New Yorker, Hersh reports JSOC began training the Mujahideen-e-Khalq, or MEK, in 2005, even though the group is listed as a foreign terrorist organization by the State Department. The training included intercepting communications, cryptography, weaponry and small unit tactics. The training is said to have ended before President Obama took office.
Afghanistan: 5 areas of concern after the US leaves: Although the end of the war in Afghanistan is in sight, not everyone is looking forward to it. The total withdrawal of US and NATO forces by 2014 will have profound, direct effects on the country's security, economy, and society. Here are five areas that are likely to see an impact - Arthur Bright, The Christian Science Monitor: Security and the Taliban; security and the
A new doctrine of intervention? - Henry A. Kissinger, Washington Post: We must take care lest, in an era of shortened attention spans, revolutions turn, for the outside world, into a transitory Internet experience — watched intently for a few key moments, then tuned out once the main event is deemed over. The revolution will have to be judged by its destination, not its origin; its outcome, not its proclamations. For the United States, a doctrine of general humanitarian intervention in Middle East revolutions will prove unsustainable unless linked to a concept of American national security. Intervention needs to consider the strategic significance and social cohesion of a country (including the possibility of fracturing its complex sectarian makeup) and evaluate what can plausibly be constructed in place of the old regime. The United States should be prepared to deal with democratically elected Islamist governments. But it is also free to pursue a standard principle of traditional foreign policy — to condition its stance on the alignment of its interests with the actions of the government in question. U.S. conduct during the Arab upheavals has so far avoided making America an obstacle to the revolutionary transformations. This is not a minor achievement. But it is one component of a successful approach. U.S. policy will, in the end, also be judged by whether what emerges from the Arab Spring improves the reformed states’ responsibility toward the international order and humane institutions.
Reflections on Israel and Palestine - Rick Steves, Huffington Post: "I just watched a powerful and courageous documentary called Peace, Propaganda, and the Promised Land. It certainly has its own agenda and doesn't present balanced coverage. Still, it showed me how my understanding of the struggles in the
Al Jazeera: From Media Power To Laughing Stock - Devon DB, globalresearch.ca: Al Jazeera. Many know it as a news station that has quality news coverage, especially with the Middle East, doing in-depth reporting and representing alternative views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in which there is so much pro-Israel propaganda in the West. However, in recent weeks Al Jazeera has proven itself to be a biased news organization that is quickly moving from reputable source to laughing stock. The most damning evidence was the revelation that “Ahmad Ibrahim, who is in charge of the channel’s Syria coverage, is the brother of Anas al-Abdeh, a leading member of the opposition Syrian National Council.” Thus, not only was Al Jazeera spouting lies and propaganda, but they had someone in charge of their Syrian coverage who would be at most completely biased in their reporting or, at the least, have a major conflict of interest.
Sudan and South wage propaganda war - AFP, Khaleej Times: While guns blazed on the border between Sudan and South Sudan in recent days, the airwaves and newspapers of both countries have fired salvos of their own in an intense propaganda war. Almost two weeks ago the clashes between the neighbours began along their undemarcated and disputed frontier in the most serious unrest since South Sudan gained independence from Khartoum last July, after Africa’s longest war. International fears have mounted of a return to full-blown conflict. But with access to the war zone restricted on the Sudanese side the full extent of recent fighting remains unclear, leaving much of the local media parroting inflammatory government rhetoric.
Azerbaijan to continue struggle unless Karabakh is liberated - "Propaganda in connection with the Nagorno Karabakh problem is the duty of every citizen of Azerbaijan, students, calling themselves the younger generation”. According to APA, the statement came from head of the Department of Political Analysis and Information Support of the Presidential Administration Elnur Aslanov during a speech at the ASAIF forum ‘I am a young ambassador’ in Budapest. He stated the position of Azerbaijan on solution of the conflict: "The only norm that Azerbaijan accepts is that we will continue this propaganda and the struggle unless Nagorno-Karabakh is fully liberated from Armenian occupation.
Urban Exploration | Soviet Propaganda Centre, Bulgaria - Darmon Richter, bohemian-blog.blogspot.com: "I left the Park-Monument of Bulgarian-Soviet Friendship feeling disorientated, awestruck and slightly alarmed, my bare forearms still itching from the fibre glass dust in the tunnels beneath.
This was possibly my strangest experience of urban exploration in
The Third Reichs's Celluloud [sic] War - Randall Bytwerk, Germanpropaganda.blogspot.com: The British edition of the The Third Reichs’s Celluloid War arrived by mail a month or so back. It now is available in the U.S. I recommend the book as a good introduction to the subject. As Garden notes in the introduction, he is writing for a general audience and he does that well. The book provides interesting information
Take a Closer Look at Andover's WWII Stories: The Andover Historical Society is featuring many WWII relics on display this Saturday, April 7, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m - andover.patch.com: This Saturday, April 7, relics of World War II will be on display during an open house event at the Andover Historical Society. View photos, memorabilia, propaganda and more of the World War II era. This one time exhibition will feature a small collection of WWII era objects and archival materials that demonstrate
Visual Art: The Plastic Propaganda Poster Project - cityweekly.net (Salt Lake City): The Plastic Propaganda Poster Project, organized by Laura Sharp Wilson, looks at the subject with posters from artists all over the world. Posters are often thought of as a temporary medium, so it’s an interesting vehicle. But posters are also “plastic” in the sense of being pliable, as the title implies, able to propagate a message. Some of the posters incorporate plastic in the work itself, like Justin Nowak’s “Survival of the Fittest” (pictured), in which a plastic bag shaped like a shark is about to devour smaller fish.
When the Almighty Talks Back - The idea that God responds directly to questions and requests is not fringe among American evangelicals - T.M. Luhrmann, Wall Street Journal: In 2006, the Pew Foundation reported that 26% of Americans said they had had a direct revelation from God. A few years earlier, Gallup reported that about the same number had heard a voice or vision as a result of prayer.
Ending the stigma of jobs outside academia for Ph.D.s - J.A., Princeton Alumni Weekly (April 4, 2012, p. 13): Teaching-job openings for new English Ph.D.'s declined by 45% from 2009 to 2011, said Professor Deborah Nord, director of graduate studies for Princeton English Department.
Wealth or Waste? Rethinking the Value of a Business Major - Wall Street Journal: Undergraduate business majors are a dime a dozen on many college campuses. But according to some, they may be worth even less. More than 20% of U.S. undergraduates are business majors, nearly double the next most common major, social sciences and history.
- Business: 347,985, or 21.7%
- Social sciences and history: 168,500, or 10.5%
- Health professions and related clinical sciences: 120,488, or 7.5%
- Education: 101,708, or 6.4%Psychology: 94,271, or 5.9%
- Visual and performing arts: 89,140, or 5.6%
ONE MORE QUOTATION FOR THE DAY
"Under Acheson, Kennan [on Kennan see -- JB] had become, as he would later say ... a 'court jester' ... 'expected to enliven discussion, privileged to say the shocking things, valued as an intellectual gadfly on hides of slower colleagues, but not to be taken fully seriously when it came to the final, responsible decisions of policy.'"
--Hannah Gurman, The Dissent Papers: The Voices of Diplomats in the Cold War and Beyond (New York: Columbia University Press, 2012), pp. 63-64; image from
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