Friday, October 12, 2012

October 11-12

"The greatness of America lies not in being more enlightened than any other nation, but rather in her ability to repair her faults."

--Alexis de Tocqueville; image from


The Center for Global Engagement


How Belt-Conscious Inside-the-Beltway Americans "Eat" - John Brown, Notes and Essays: "In a world where so many people (including in the USA) long for a decent meal, what does ... disrespect for food, among the 'DC foreign-policy elite,' say about its views about what keeps us humans alive, if not civilized?"


U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission (BPC) Holds Third Sub-Working Group Meeting on Mass Media - "Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Tara Sonenshine opened the third session of the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission (BPC) Sub-Working Group on Mass Media in Washington, D.C. Bureau of International Information Programs Coordinator Dawn L. McCall will co-chair the October 11-12 meeting between U.S. and Russian media professionals, along with Mr. Mikhail Gusman, First Deputy Director General of ITAR-TASS.

Delegates will continue to explore the sub-working group’s three main themes: the Business of Media; the Evolving Practice and Profession of Journalism; and New Media Technologies. These themes will be encompassed in discussions on ethics, entrepreneurship and education, respectively, as well as the expanding role of social media. The U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission is the premier forum between the two countries to strengthen relations on government and society. President Obama and President Medvedev established the BPC in July 2009 to reset U.S.-Russia relations and pursue foreign policy goals of common interest to the American and Russian people. The BPC framework includes 20 working groups, including one on Education, Culture, Sports and Media (ECSM). Two previous mass media sub-working group meetings were held in Boston and Moscow in 2011." Image from

Americans! U.S. Government Supports Dictatorship in Russia, Says Protester Against Mass Dismissal of Radio Liberty Journalists - BBGWatcher, USG Broadcasts/BBG Watch: "Several individual Russian protesters appeared Wednesday near the U.S. Embassy in Moscow with signs condemning the mass firing of Radio Liberty (Radio Svoboda) journalists and cancellation of many of the U.S. government-funded station’s human rights programs. A larger demonstration against the decisions of the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s American management was held in front of the embassy Tuesday.

RFE/RL executives report to the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), a federal agency that gets its funding from the U.S. Congress. Acting without any warning and using security guards, RFE/RL executives suddenly prevented about 40 journalists, web editors and other staffers — almost the entire staff of the station’s Moscow bureau — from continuing their programs and posting reports online. They were called into a law firm office in Moscow and told they would either be fired or they could sign separation agreements and receive severance pay. Some journalists resigned in protest. They were prevented from saying good bye to their listeners and website visitors. Their firing brought a storm of protests from prominent Russian human rights leaders and opposition political figures like Mikhail Gorbachev. ... The Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Tara Sonenshine represents Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is an ex officio BBG member, at BBG meetings. She would be the most likely official to raise concerns about any damage to America’s reputation and public diplomacy in Russia. ... [S]ome BBG members, particularly Ambassador Victor Ashe, are said to be appalled by the treatment of Radio Liberty employees in Moscow and the public diplomacy crisis the mass firing and the cancellation of human rights programs have produced in Russia." Image from article, with caption: Protesters at US Embassy Moscow Demanding the Return of Fired Radio Liberty Journalists

Public Schedule for October 11, 2012 - U.S. Department of State: "UNDER SECRETARY FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS TARA SONENSHINE 9:00 a.m. Under Secretary Sonenshine participates in the U.S.-Russia Presidential Bilateral Commission Sub-Working Group Meeting, at the Department of State. (CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE)"

Remarks to the Marshall Legacy Institute - Tara Sonenshine, Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, Washington, DC, October 10, 2012 - U.S. Department of State: "Now, what is

public diplomacy? I can explain that best by telling you what it does: It works to empower people –through programs, educational and cultural exchanges and public-private partnership efforts like the ones we celebrate tonight – so those people can forge their own futures, restore their voices, restart their lives, rebuild their communities and economies."  Image from

Inaugural US-Poland Business Week October 10-12 - "The first ever US-Poland Business Week will be held in New York on October 10-12. In order to deepen economic collaboration between United States and Poland, business partners from both countries will attend a series of conferences and debates. ... The US-Poland Business Week primarily focuses on the business community and serves as an additional platform for economic dialogue and an exchange of experience. The event, mostly business-like in character, enriched with elements of cultural promotion, will constitute a comprehensive approach to the promotion of Poland with the use of various public diplomacy, economic, and cultural instruments."

Advocate reflects on global work - Cecilia Callas, Daily Trojan: "Cynthia L. Hogle, an advocate for women in Afghanistan, discussed her work at a seminar Wednesday hosted by the USC Center on Public Diplomacy. Hogle undertook projects to improve the lives of Afghan women in Maiwand, a village in the Taliban’s home province of Kandahar. Overseas. According to Hogle, the rural village is incredibly poor and women have a literacy rate of only 7 percent. Hogle is an international advisor to the Afghanistan World Foundation and a member of the American Support for Afghanistan Board.

She also worked in Iraq as a public diplomacy officer for the U.S. Department of State and spent nine months in Afghanistan as a human terrain analyst with the United States Army. Hogle spent months acquainting herself with women living in the village and gaining their trust, hoping that she could convince them to organize themselves to work together to progress toward a more gender-equal society." Image from article, with caption: Cynthia L. Hogle, an adviser to the Afghanistan World Foundation, explains her work encouraging Afghan women to speak their minds in a male-dominated society.

Haiti Sings - Darwin Manning, "Ti-Coca and Wanga Nègès, Haiti’s most popular troubadour group . ... has been travelling all over the United States, and is currently in the midst of a 28-day tour sponsored by Center Stage.

Center Stage, according to the U.S. State Department, is a public diplomacy initiative designed to 'bring people together and foster greater understanding.' The program brings inspirational artists from Haiti, Indonesia, and Pakistan to the United States." Image from

NFL games in London, sports diplomacy takes center stage - Michael Duffin, PD News–CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "Public diplomacy practitioners can take several lessons from the success of professional sports diplomacy. First, the product must be good. ... The second lesson is to determine the right amount of exposure for long-term impact. ... A final point is that the newness of the product provides the most potential for impact. ... The best part of sports diplomacy is that it can facilitate dialogue. No matter where I go in the United States, for example, I can initiate dialogue with most people based on the simple premise that they watched the Super Bowl or the NBA Finals. Most Americans, on the other hand, do not share the same taste in sports as the rest of the world. However, thanks to the efforts of American football and European football teams, this is beginning to change."

America’s Effective Engagement Abroad Begins at Home - Cari Guittard, PD News–CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "Beyond our understanding of how America officially engages globally, many Americans lack basic awareness of history, governance, geography and current affairs. ... We can’t expect our diplomats, who are at the frontlines of our global engagement efforts, to do all the heavy lifting. We are all responsible for how America engages with the world. It’s never too late to start paying attention and learning more. The world is watching.

The next generation of Americans is also watching us and will learn from our example. America’s effective engagement abroad begins at home and it starts now." Image from

Don’t Neglect “Old-School” PD - Tony, "This week for class we read Philip Seib’s book 'Real Time Diplomacy: Politics and Power in the Social Media Era'. We also read USIP’s report 'Blogs and Bullets II: New Media after the Arab Spring' and Jillian York’s article 'The Arab Digital Vanguard: How a Decade of Blogging Contributed to a Year of Revolution.' All of these readings try to assess the role of social media in the Arab Spring. Their research confirmed what I had long suspected: yes, social media played a role in the Arab Spring, but it was overhyped, and the role it played is not what one might suspect. Given that internet penetration is still quite low in the affected countries (probably around 20%), this is not surprising. It is not ordinary Egyptians or Tunisians that have easy access to social media, it is those who are well-off and may have international connections. These elites used social media not so much for organizing protests but instead for calling international attention to their cause. For me, this fact highlights the limitations of the internet and social media for use in public diplomacy. In economically prosperous nations such as the US, Western Europe etc. the majority of us have easy access to the internet and use it often. This is not so in many of the countries we need desperately to reach. Going back to my US Embassy in Iraq example from a few weeks back, their facebook page may be a hit among upper class, cosmopolitan Iraqis, but is it reaching the ordinary Iraqis? I don’t think so. While it is important to reach out to the elite (they have the power after all), we cannot neglect the opinions of the majority. The Arab despots tried to do that and look what happened! US public diplomacy must continue to employ its more traditional outreach tools- radio, TV, and of course person to person exchange."

American Exceptionalism and U.S. Foreign Policy: Public Diplomacy at the End of the Cold War ebook download - "American Exceptionalism and U.S. Foreign Policy: Public Diplomacy at the End of the Cold War ... Review [:] "...covering the regime of George Bush Senior and Bill Clinton's first term...a timely reflection..."--David B. MacDonald, Millennium [;] McEvoy-Levy does a good job of

describing the significance of political rhetoric and identifying major rhetorical themes...-American Political Science Review '[.]About the Author [:] Siobhán McEvoy-Levy is Visiting Assistant Professor, Butler University, and Visiting Fellow, Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame. Image from entry

Product of his environment... - Molly Sisson, Public Diplomacy and Student Exchanges: "J. William Fulbright was many great things--Rhodes Scholar, University of Arkansas President, Congressman for three decades, inspiring orator, author of insightful political books--but he was also a racist. He objected to integrating Arkansas schools, a position he later said was in line with the wishes of his constituents. President Johnson claimed that Fulbright's opposition to the Vietnam War was because 'he didn't think the yellow man cared about freedom as much as the white man' did. There are other little anecdotes, but at the end of the day, Fulbright was a paradox of a man, supporting international goodwill and culture learning abroad but still holding onto his segregationist Jim Crow way of thinking at home."

Greenslade: Rise of PR with decline of journalism "is an assault on democracy" - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting: Elliott comment: "If US international broadcasting is considered just another form of US public diplomacy, then the perception will be that USIB is USPR."

Director of VOA China Branch interviews Jerry Falwell Jr. and "may include" Liberty University in future plans - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

VOA condemns harassment of its reporter in Addis Ababa, and urges Ethiopia to stop jamming VOA broadcasts - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Public Diplomacy is Focus of Japanese Ambassador’s Farewell - Adam Clayton Powell III, PD News–CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "Washington - Ichiro Fujisaki, Japan’s ambassador to the United States, spoke mainly about public diplomacy in one of his final appearances as ambassador here Thursday afternoon. The ambassador, who steps down next month, began by thanking the American people for their assistance during Japan’s nuclear accident last year. Many countries helped, he said, but 'at the top of the list were Americans. Japanese people do not forget.' Fujisaki also discussed the reduced number of Japanese students coming to study in the U.S. Contrary to most reports, he said, the number of Japanese students studying abroad is increasing, except for the United States and the United Kingdom. One reason, according to the ambassador, is the level of English language instruction in his country. To remedy that, he said his government had begun sending 'hundreds' of Japan’s English language instructors to the U.S."

Fool Britannia - "The attempt by PM David Cameron to keep th[e] Olympian 'feel good factor' going on a continuous stream, as well as the attempt to harness history as propaganda by bigging up this 'Britishness' theme, is part of what is known these days as 'Public Diplomacy'. The reality underpinning Britishness has largely vanished but with a vote on Scottish Independence coming, he wants to stress it. Not only that, it is connected to this notion of Britain as a Global Player.

With both New Labour and the Conservatives still committed to 'staying the course' in Afghanistan till 2014, a flourish of kitschy nationalism is, of course, helpful in that ties in with the notion that Britain actual has an independent foreign policy and that the sacrifice has been somehow 'worth it'. The problem is that a considerable number of British people were left cold by the Olympics and disturbed by the fact that this kitschfest involved a massive military presence in London and spurious drivel over 'the legacy', despite the fact it created around 10,000 jobs for local inhabitants whilst ramping up house prices and, along with racketeering, driving out Eastenders from areas as Hackney." Image from

The Maldives - Jagged islands - "Last December the Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP), then in opposition but now in government, issued a pamphlet accusing the then president of trying to 'wipe out Maldivians’ religious identity”.

According to the constitution every Maldivian must be Muslim, but the leaflet accused Mr Nasheed of seeking to build temples, elevate Christians and Jews in public diplomacy, abolish punitive amputations and public floggings (there are dozens each year, mainly of women) and promote the consumption of drugs and alcohol." Image from article

NGOs and US foreign policy goals - As'ad AbuKhalil, The Angry Arab News Service: "Amir sent me this: 'Public diplomacy practitioners must identify partners with the potential to carry the some of the weight of a campaign. Oftentimes, NGOs already on the ground may be carrying out work that is similar or complementary to one's goal. Funding and resources may best be applied to finance or equip their efforts, rather than pursuing a campaign independently.' From page 29, the first paragraph. The New Public Diplomacy Imperative: America's Vital Need to Communicate Strategically. August 2012.' "

Online Learning Course: Public Diplomacy In A Multipolar World - "The United Nations Institute for Training and Research is pleased to announce its newest online course on 'Public Diplomacy in a Multipolar World'. We invite you, your interested colleagues and partners to visit diplomacy for more information and registration for this latest UNITAR e-learning activity. The course is designed for mid to senior-level government officers in ministries preparing public diplomacy strategies and campaigns on a variety of topics. It also targets entry-level and mid-career diplomats working in a multilateral setting or who would like to get more acquainted with public diplomacy. A major challenge for governments is how to develop effective public diplomacy, and optimize the use of their soft power, in a rapidly changing global environment. This course aims to help participants understand what public diplomacy is, how its practice has evolved over time and how the current challenges are being addressed. It will also examine a range of tools and techniques available to public diplomacy practitioners."

“Working in the Foreign Service: Starting an International Career” - "Please join us on Tuesday, October 16 at 11:00 am in the Bryant Hall Recruiting Room [ at the University of Virginia] for a presentation on 'Working in the Foreign Service: Starting an International Career' by Mr. Donald Bishop, a retired Minister-Counselor with the Senior Foreign Service and former Air Force officer. He will be doing a short presentation on working for and applying to the foreign service and his experiences working abroad in public diplomacy."


The Taliban's dark vision: It is time to make it clear in Pakistan and elsewhere that the Taliban's backward version of Islam is contrary to basic human rights - Editorial, The Taliban's campaign continues against women and against anything it sees as smacking of Western influence. On Wednesday, the group issued a statement reiterating its ludicrous opposition to the education of girls and its promise to target anyone else "preaching secularism."

Allowing girls to be schooled is not a Western eccentricity; it is a basic human right that should be protected across the globe. Image from article, with caption: Pakistani civil society activists carry candles to pay tribute to 14-year-old gunshot victim Malala Yousafzai and protest against her assassination attempt in Lahore.

The Taliban's Latest Target: a 14-Year-Old Girl: Too many Pakistanis claim that terrorism is America's problem. The brutal assault on Malala Yousafzai may force them to face the truth - Sadanand Dhume Wall Street Journal: Neither a cessation of U.S. drone strikes in the tribal areas near the border with Afghanistan, nor a Pakistani offer to negotiate in good faith with the Taliban, will assuage the terrorists. If the U.S. disengages militarily from the region, as some Pakistani politicians demand, the result won't be peace but more murder and mayhem.

US app ads help fund Chinese mobile ‘propaganda’ - Robert Andrews, Earlier this year, the Chinese version of Newsweek selected the firm to power its mobile and tablet app ads. The company uses MWave, an advertising firm staffed by former Chinese ad agency sales execs, in its efforts there.

If this mixing of Chinese propaganda and US-style techno-capitalism blends like oil and water, recall, too, that the People’s Daily newspaper, an organ of China’s ruling Communist Part, took its online news operation public in April to raise around 1.55 billion yuan ($245.45 million) to finance improvements to its mobile news service. The publisher, which takes a quarter of its content from Xinhua, wants to retain its influence by catering to a younger generation of citizen that is rapidly adopting mobile and social platforms. Xinhua reports to the Propaganda and Public Information Department in China. Uncaptioned image from article

BBG and Freedom House report is "Exposing the Myth of Mobile Communication Security" in 12 countries - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

New Media, Old Media, and the Syrian Crisis - Sean Aday, In Syria, one of the more interesting ways that new media are playing a role in shaping the information environment is in their use by traditional media, both within the region and across the globe.

This has created an incentive for activists to Activists in Syria use social media to rapidly propagate images.create more credible media, rather than overt propaganda." Image from article

Eating Those Words? - Peter Van Buren, We Meant Well: State does like to hold on to that myth, that its officers are really rough and ready cowboys, always biting the bit to be allowed to engage freely if only those bad boys in Security did not place so many restrictions on them. It is easy to talk the talk, but takes a lot more than that to really walk the walk. Check with murdered Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens.

A real class war may be on its way - Harold Meyerson, Washington Post: The United States is the world’s only nation whose lifespan is coterminous with the Industrial Revolution: We were born when growth was born and have long considered it our birthright. More than any other country, we have depended on growth to ease our economic conflicts. America without growth will perforce be a different nation, in which class conflict will be more open, enduring — and necessary. If growth vanishes — or if the wealthy continue to claim so vast a share of our wealth that growth vanishes for everyone but them — then the only path that the 99 percent could take to better their lot would be explicitly redistributive.

Drone flight over Israel marks a propaganda victory for its enemies - John Ray, The question marks and the mysteries over the unmanned and unidentified drone that penetrated deep into Israeli territory lingered rather longer than the aircraft itself. It was downed by an Israeli missile on Saturday but a search for debris apparently revealed few clues.

Only today did Israel finally announce that it was Iranian-made and flown by Tehran’s allies in Hezbollah. That came shortly before a victorious appearance on Lebanese TV by Hezbollah’s leader to hail the mission a "historic step." We have proved we can penetrate Israel’s air defences, Hassan Nasrallah decalared. Even if the drone flew over no secret sites, it still offers Israel’s enemies a propaganda victory. Image from article, with caption: The Israeli Defence Force released video footage claiming to show a small unidentified aircraft shot down in mid-air

Anti-Islam propaganda boomerang on Zionists: US Muslim leader - In an exclusive interview with us, Abdul Alim Musa, Imam of Washington's Masjid al-Islam, noted that the Zionist forces inside the United States and abroad “are heading up a massive anti-Islamic propaganda campaign.” “It’s launched in every arena - the books, the magazines, the television, the radio - and now, billboards and placards in subways and what have you,” he added.

“Every bit of propaganda they have launched against us from Qur’an burning to Fitna movies all of it has backfired and it causes the people of America to want to read the Qur’an more. In America, any time you talk about banning a book or talk about burning it, you make it more popular,” Musa pointed out. The American Muslim figure argued that such anti-Islam propaganda is aimed at countering “the global rise of genuine Islamic aspirations amongst the Muslims, the non-violent and peace-loving Muslim peoples around the world.” Abdul Alim Musa image from article

A Ukrainian Catholic Church Declares Taras Polataiko's Sleeping Beauty Project "Lesbian Propaganda" - Fairytales are make-believe until a subsect of the Ukrainian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church decides to protest them. Ukranian-Canadian artist Taras Polataiko’s experimental performance work “Sleeping Beauty,” a modern-day retelling of

the titular fairytale restaged at the National Museum of Art Ukraine from August 22 to September 9, has been decreed “lesbian propaganda” by the Byzantine Catholic Patriarchate, located in the city of Bryukhovychi, Ukraine. Image from article

Preserving Mao-era propaganda art - For a museum housed in the basement of an apartment in Shanghai, the Chinese name sounds pretty official: the Shanghai Yang Pei Ming Propaganda Poster Art Museum. It’s a name given by the government this March when it finally recognised the efforts of Yang, who unveiled his private collection of posters in one modest room in the building in 2002. The tall, jovial Yang, prefers the name he himself gave: the Shanghai Propaganda Poster Art Centre (SPPAC). Now housed in three large rooms, the museum is a place for both the lover of history and someone who appreciates poster art. Yang began collecting artwork since 1995 during his travels within and outside China. It was around that time that the Chinese government decided to dispose thousands of posters – most used as propaganda for the Party during the reign of Mao Zedong – preserved in libraries and universities across China. “If you have nothing to show, young people will not ask questions,” Yang told me when I met him at the museum, adding: “I am trying to store history and cultural heritage.” There are 6000 artworks in the museum of which around 300 to 400 are on display at a time. The collection of propaganda art is broadly divided into three periods: 1949-57, the initial years after the founding of People’s Republic of China; 1957-65, during and after Mao-led Great Leap Forward era and 1966-76, the years of the Cultural Revolution.

Propaganda Posters and Prequel Comic For Guillermo Del Toro’s “Pacific Rim” - Michael Lee,

Image from entry. On "Pacific Rim," see.


--Via ES on Facebook

No comments: