Saturday, November 17, 2012

November 15-17

(sent from an Internet cafe in Dubrovnik, Croatia)

"Les voyages forment la jeunesse."

--French proverb


Reflections on Diplomacy: 192 – Don’t blame the e-Messenger - Aldo Matteucci, "Electronic means will be useful instruments in disseminating information, raising awareness, and all the humdrum things that make up 'public diplomacy': earthshaking they are not (at least as one can tell at the moment). ... The US policy in the Middle East has favored the status quo at any price. Banking on enduring disconnect between one’s words and acts no longer works in a world of Twitter and Facebook. ... What I regret

is the enormous time invested in 'managing' the 'breaking event' – the viral phenomenon of electronic communications – rather than focusing on the root causes. But then, we do tend to blame the messenger – don’t we all?"

Developing Djibouti: An American Imperative - Saleem Ali, "[T]he US should totally rebuild the civilian airport terminal in Djibouti with USAID funds since that is the most proximate connection to their own military base and is desperately in need of renovation. As the development of Dubai shows, airports can be essential catalysts in promoting international investment.

The public diplomacy impact of this could also be enormous at a small fraction of the hundreds of millions of dollars being invested in the military base next to the airport." Image from entry, with caption: Minor American development investment: A Coca Cola Sign at a decrepit commercial plaza on road to Lake Assal, Djibouti

From USC to Afghanistan... - Mahtab Farid, "What do you consider to be your country/organization's biggest public diplomacy challenge?

I think the biggest challenge the world faces right now is doing public diplomacy in undemocratic nations. ... The CPD Summer Institute in Public Diplomacy was an amazing hands-on training with a diverse group of experts and practitioners from around the world." Image from entry, with caption: 2009 USC Public Diplomacy Executive Program

US international broadcasting entities reach 175 million weekly, down 12 million from previous year's estimate - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting.

Image from entry

Cuban-based producer of TV Martí program remains in detention - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting.

Image from entry

Broadcasting Board of Governors November meeting canceled, but Strategy and Budget Committee is webcast today [November 15] 1900 UTC -

Chinese Domestic Debates On Public Diplomacy - Maria Wey-Shen Siow, "Summary: Maria Wey-Shen Siow, East Asia Bureau Chief of Channel NewsAsia based in Beijing, explains that 'Overall, there is widespread acknowledgement of the importance and necessity of public diplomacy and soft power in explaining China to the rest of the world.'"

Public Diplomacy made it into the pantheon of Chinese party rhetoric - Falk Hartig, PD News–CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "Overall it seems that both soft power and public and cultural diplomacy are very much seen as concepts to support the overall development of China domestically and internationally and therefore should help the CCP to stay in power."

Israel vs Hamas: Social media is the new battleground - "The hostilities between Israel and Hamas have found a new battleground: social media. The Israeli Defence Forces and Hamas militants have exchanged fiery tweets throughout the fighting in a separate war to influence public opinion. Shortly after it launched its campaign Wednesday by killing Hamas' top military commander Ahmed Jabari, the Israeli military's media office announced a 'widespread campaign on terror sites and  operatives in the #Gaza Strip' on its Twitter account. It then posted a 10-second black-and-white video of the airstrike on its official YouTube page. Google, which owns YouTube, removed the video for a time early Thursday, but reconsidered and restored it. Israeli Defence Forces and Hamas militants have exchanged fiery tweets throughout the fighting in a separate war. ... The Israeli military's media office Twitter account, which gained more than 50,000 followers in just 24 hours, is just one of various online platforms used to relay real-time information to the public, sometimes even before it is conveyed to reporters. The IDF news desk's email signature reads like a catalog for new media platforms, including links to its YouTube channel, Facebook page and Flickr photo albums. The military also just opened a Tumblr account in English and plans to launch one in Spanish. Following the assassination, the military tweeted a graphically designed photograph of Jabari, with a red backdrop and capitalised block letters reading 'ELIMINATED,' drawing both celebration and fierce criticism from a range of users. Throughout the operation, the military and its supporters have tweeted with the hashtag 'IsraelUnderFire,' while many Palestinians have tweeted with a separate hashtag 'GazaUnderAttack.' ... Military spokeswoman Lt Col Avital Leibovich said that in the four years since Israel and Hamas last dueled, an 'additional war zone' developed on the internet. ... Leibovich is also the head of a two-month-old 'Interactive Media' branch of the IDF, staffed with around 30 soldiers trained in writing and graphic-design skills. As an indicator of the significance of the department to the military, Leibovich said she'll be leaving her current spokeswoman's post in February to focus solely on running the interactive branch. The Hamas media wing has dramatically improved its outreach from the days when their loyalists used to scrawl graffiti on walls in the Gaza Strip.

Hamas' militant wing keeps a frequently updated Facebook page and a multilanguage website. They tend to update reporters of rocket fire through an SMS distribution list. ... Israel's ministry of public diplomacy also started a 'Special Operations Centre,' a virtual situation room of sorts, working with Israeli bloggers and volunteers to 'get Israeli's message out to the world virtually, to Arabs as well, through social media and other web platforms,' said spokesman Gal Ilan. Tamir Sheafer, chair of the political communication program at Hebrew University, said the embrace of social media by both sides indicates recognition that 'you don't win conflicts like this one on the ground; you win it through public opinion.' But the use of social media for public diplomacy is also a double-edged sword, says Natan Sachs, a fellow at the Brookings Institute in Washington. 'On the one hand, Israel has gotten better in conveying their messages to the public, but on the flip side, we're seeing flippant remarks. Twitter accounts can be used carelessly and there's a danger of overplaying things, which they might be doing,' he said. 'They also might be falling into the trap of thinking they have their public relations covered, but really, it's their policy and not their tweets that matters at the end of the day,' Sachs added.'" Image from article, with caption: Israeli Defence Forces and Hamas militants have exchanged fiery tweets throughout the fighting in a separate war.

Live Tweeting Gaza: The IDF Speaks Up - David Mandel, PD News–CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "During a discussion being held in a class taught by Professor Mai’a Cross, my peers and I debated the potential utility of a public diplomacy campaign intended to minimize the damage of the United States’ use of drones in its counterterrorism activities. The first point made was one that has been frequently taught by Nick Cull: PD will not work if the underlying policy is bad or unpopular.

We recommend that no Hamas operatives, whether low level or senior leaders, show their faces above ground in the days ahead.

And it need not be said that drones are unpopular. ... Without realizing it, an unpopular military decided to use Twitter to broadcast, explain, and inform about its use of missiles to assassinate terrorist leaders in a hostile environment. Yes, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) live-tweeted its self-described 'widespread campaign on terror sites and operatives.' The result is striking in its bluntness. It’s also expansively detailed, worrisome, haunting, morally grey and maybe brilliant." Image from entry

European Film Festival Activities Kicks Off - "The European Film Festival activities were launched yesterday at a press conference hosted at the European Union Delegation. The festival brings together more than 14 countries with 20 films from England, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Turkey, Switzerland, Sweden, Holland, Italy, Poland, Austria and Sudan. The press conference was attended by European diplomats, cultural attaches and Sudanese director Taghreed El Sanhouri. ... Ambassador Abdel Azzeim Al Sheikh, Director of Cultural Cooperation at the [Sudanese?] Ministry of Foreign Affairs stressed the importance of cultural cooperation and that Sudan's diversity gives it a big potential to host a cultural diplomacy. He welcomed the festival goals and called it a public to public diplomacy."


"Here’s a photo of just part of the U.S.-built facility at the Baghdad Airport. Everything you see was carted to Iraq with your tax dollars, put up and maintained with your tax dollars, and then simply abandoned along with your tax dollars when the Iraq War got boring for the U.S."

--Peter Van Buren, We Meant Well

No comments: