"The thing that was weird about Damascus is that you could walk the streets and see people drinking coffee and smoking nargiles in the cafés. Bizarre knowing that three kilometers away people were getting shot."
--Amy Tachco, a 36-year-old Foreign Service Officer (FSO), "when she was asked about leaving Syria as the US Embassy was evacuated" (DiploPundit); image from
Blending Governance and Twitter - Chrystia Freeland, New York Times: "[T]he U.S. State Department’s social media team ... [is] led by Alec Ross, who is the senior advisor on innovation for Hillary Rodham Clinton, the secretary of state. Mr. Ross spearheads the State Department’s enthusiastic social media campaign. As Mr. McFaul [Michael McFaul] the U.S. ambassador to Russia, posted earlier this week, quoting Mrs. Clinton, 'Our ambassadors are blogging and tweeting, and every embassy has a social media presence.' ... Mr. McFaul’s moonlighting role as social media ambassador has particular relevance in Russia, where the government controls much of the traditional media, especially television, and civil society has moved to the Internet in response.
The Empire Fights Back! An Internet Governance Update - Sophia Bekele, circleid.com: "If the United States House of Representatives is now introducing legislation to bar the UN Regulation of the Internet, then it only implies one thing. The Empire is fighting back! It is quite apparent that the U.S. would view UN governance of the Internet as ‘anathema’. The U.S. invented the Internet and its potential as an America public diplomacy tool has grown over the years, to the chagrin of those countries that are clamoring for U.N. oversight of global Internet Governance.
US Hails Qatar as Beacon of Western-Arab Relations - albawaba.com: "
US envoy moves to fast track issuing visas to Nigerians - Victoria Ojeme, vanguardngr.com: "On the fight against corruption in Nigeria, he [The United States of America Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Terence McCulley] said: 'We have a variety of programmes to build capacity of the EFCC. We saluted the nomination of Chairman Ibrahim Lamorde. For a year and half, we tried to raise nomination because we recognized that the EFCC had not been able to fulfill its mandate. “We have a variety of training programmes in place to build the capacity of EFCC workers. Chairman Lamorde is going to Washington in a week’s time to have similar discussion with law enforcement and other agencies. At every opportunity, we talk about the need to address the problem of corruption. It is a dialogue we carry out at the highest level of this government and we recognize there is a problem. But I think we are deploying resources to assist the government of Nigeria to address this problem and it is part of our public diplomacy message.'” On EFCC, see.
From the Trenches - Janet Steele, takefiveblog.org: “'You are an unofficial representative of the American people.' These were the words of Richard Gong, the head of the Public Affairs Section at the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia. It was September 1997, and I had just started what I hoped would be an exciting year as a Fulbrighter. I’d been awarded a position as a Senior Scholar at the University of Indonesia, where I would be teaching in the graduate program of the American Studies department. You could also say that this was the start of my career in public diplomacy. ... My start in public diplomacy may have been somewhat accidental, but I’ve been engaged in it for the past fifteen years. I’ve been a speaker-specialist in
US Border Patrol Turns to the Air Waves – mattkupfer, mediaviolence2012: Blog for Media and Violence class at Brandeis University: “Our discussion of illegal immigration on Tuesday reminded me of these two articles, one from a Latin American organization and one from the BBC. They describes a 2005 – 2009 (?) campaign by the US Border Patrol to deter would-be illegal immigrants from leaving Mexico by buying airtime and playing anti-immigration ballads on Mexican radio stations.
America and promote the idea that choosing to remain in Mexico is a manly act. Though, officially, the border patrol claims the media campaign was a success, most people say any decrease in the number of illegal border crossings had to do with economic issues, not these songs. I, for one, am very skeptical of songs as cautionary tales. Many forms of folk music contain sad songs about lost love or ballads detailing lurid murders and the punishments faced by the killers. I don’t think people actually look to these songs for practical guidance, instead encountering them simply as good stories. Nonetheless, the article presents an interesting example of how the government can use the media to spread propaganda/public diplomacy without you knowing it.” Image from
What’s the Best Way To Foment Unrest in a Foreign Country? A how-to guide for the aspiring fomentor - Brian Palmer, Slate: “When
Retired general says North Koreans who receive US food aid should also receive a radio to listen to RFA and VOA - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting
Ghanaian children well informed about US politics thanks to international radio [including VOA - JB] - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting
UK Royal family: a discourse on public diplomacy - bf041, Public and Cultural Diplomacy 2: A group blog by students at London Metropolitan University: "The perception that public diplomacy can be a tool for both domestic as well as foreign audience is never more evident than the campaign by the royal family since the death of Princess of Wales. ... The Royals have recognised the benefit of strong public relations (PR) in improving their image. PR has traditionally been used extensively by firms as a strategy in order to recognise brand loyalty, capture new consumers and identify long term profits.
The situation on the Korean peninsula Chinese table concerns and anxiety - oibaby.org: "Three foreign minister listened to the China, Japan and South Korea cooperation ShenFengJi secretary-general of the secretariat of the report of The Three Kingdoms cooperation good momentum and expressed his satisfaction with the secretariat.
Three party discusses The Three Kingdoms cooperation, to strengthen economic and trade, said the financial, energy conservation and environmental protection, weather, disaster prevention disaster relief, cooperation, concluded the China, Japan and South Korea investment agreement as soon as possible, an early start of the China, Japan and South Korea free trade negotiation, speed up the China, Japan and South Korea circular economy demonstration base construction, actively develop cultural exchanges and public diplomacy." Image from
The Future of Public Diplomacy, a USC conference - Matt Armstrong, MountainRunner: "The phrase 'public diplomacy' is variously viewed as a concept, a bureaucracy, and/or a practice. The community craves to see the word 'diplomacy' follow the word 'public' and debates when the phrase does and does not appear. Is it something defined by the objective ... ? Is it defined by means, by the actor? Is the term 'public diplomacy' itself problematic and self-limiting, suggesting an adversarial bureaucratic relationship with other agencies, a use of the softest of 'soft power' to 'win hearts' and be 'liked', or activities that 'influence' rather than merely 'inform', or all of the above?"
Two WUSTL Students Named Truman Scholars - Maggie Broderbund, universitycity.patch.com: “
Two Washington University in St. Louis
and eventually work as a diplomat for the United States Foreign Service. Fluent in French as well as Arabic, Lynch hopes to use his language skills and education to serve in the Middle East and Georgetown University North Africa. ‘I’d like to work in the public diplomacy sphere, strengthening and repairing our often-troubled relations with Arabs in the region,’ he said. Kiefer [Joy Z. Kiefer, PhD, assistant dean in the College of Arts and Sciences, director of undergraduate research and WUSTL’s Truman scholarship representative] says Lynch is able to command the respect of his peers on campus as well as of faculty and global partners through his mature presence and keen intellect. ‘From the moment I met Ethan, I was struck by his passion and commitment to make a change in the area of public diplomacy,’ Kiefer said. ‘Ethan is a born leader: charismatic and hard-working with strong values and a remarkable ability to coalesce people around a common goal.’” Image from article
Game of Thrones in IR perspective - Paul Rockower, Levantine: “Foreign Affairs has a great piece on Game of Thrones in an IR context. Luv it. ... I haven't found much of a pd angle for the show. Definitely little use for soft power, as we got a rebuke to the notion that ‘information is power’ with a reminding dictum from Cersei Lannister in the first episode of the second season that ‘power is power.’ Prof. Pat James at USC teaches a class on IR and Middle Earth; maybe a Game of Thrones class could be in the offing.”
Obama’s lack of passion in supporting freedom - Fred Hiatt, Washington Post: Two decades ago, as the Iron Curtain shredded, the United States led a Western alliance that jumped at the chance to consolidate democracy from Slovakia to Estonia. The chance to nurture democracy in the heart of the Islamic world has not elicited a comparable response. This is consistent with Obama’s record elsewhere.
America’s new data centre makes UK surveillance plans seem petty - Alice Ross, thebureauinvestigates.com: In the small town of
U.S. policy on Iraq questioned as influence wanes, Maliki consolidates power - Liz Sly, Washington Post: On the face of it, Iraq’s first springtime since American troops withdrew in December is turning into the most peaceful and promising the country has witnessed in a decade, offering what U.S. and some Iraqi officials say amounts to a vindication of President Obama’s Iraq policy.
Status of Afghan women threatens Hillary Clinton's legacy: Thesecretary of State has devoted herself to the issue, but gains made may bereversed as Afghanistan's conservatives become more powerful in the West's wake - Paul Richter, Los Angeles Times: In the final months of her tenure as secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton is fighting a long retreat on a cause close to her heart, and to her legacy — the status of Afghan women.
Lifting sanctions on Burma’s regime would be a mistake - Tom Andrews, Washington Post: The writer, a former U.S. representative from Maine, is president of United to End Genocide.
The Myth of America's Decline: Washington now has added China, India, Brazil and Turkey to its speed-dial, along with Europe and Japan. But it will remain the chairman of a larger board - Walter Russell Mead, Wall Street Journal: The world balance of power is changing. Countries like China, India, Turkey and Brazil are heard from more frequently and on a wider range of subjects. The European Union's most ambitious global project—creating a universal treaty to reduce carbon emissions—has collapsed, and EU expansion has slowed to a crawl as Europe turns inward to deal with its debt crisis. Japan has ceded its place as the largest economy in Asia to China and appears increasingly on the defensive in the region as China's hard and soft power grow. The international chattering class has a label for these changes: American decline.
Foundation Files Reveal Insights on Culture – Sam Roberts, New York Times: A relatively obscure Ford Foundation official named W. McNeil Lowry had the last word in deciding which artists, writers and performers would receive grants from the Ford Foundation, the richest private source of cultural largess at the time. That made him the nation’s unofficial mentor in chief during much of the 1950s and ’60s, a cultural figure of remarkable influence who was virtually unknown to most of the public. This month letters to and from Mr. Lowry as well as thousands of other Ford Foundation records, films, oral histories and unpublished reports were opened to researchers at the Rockefeller Archive Center in Sleepy Hollow, N.Y., where they will now be housed.
CNN to Broadcast N Korea Missile Launch - Tom McGregor, dallasblog.com: The North Korean regime has granted CNN broadcasting rights to air live footage of the launching of a long-range missile. NBC and AP reporters have been invited as well to help with North Korean propaganda efforts.
An Initial Propaganda Offering - Will free speech win out over censorship in China, or is the government about to reassert its control over media and public opinion? - Tom Orlik, Wall Street Journal: The People’s Daily Online Co. Ltd. website is displayed on a computer in Beijing, China, on Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2012. The initial public offering of People’s Daily Online, the website of the Communist Party’s mouthpiece newspaper, gives investors an opportunity to take a view. The state-owned news website is selling a minority stake in a Shanghai listing that is planned for mid-April. It is aiming to raise 527 million yuan ($83.5 million) to upgrade its technology and improve its editorial team. The company certainly needs some polishing. The People’s Daily website ranks as the 39th most visited in China, according to Web-information company Alexa.