Wednesday, June 26, 2013

June 25-26

"When the Internet first came, I thought it was just the beacon of freedom."

--Steve Wozniak, Apple cofounder; image from


Is anyone speaking? - John Brown, Notes and Essays: "Some are not upset by th[e] disappearance of the spoken word between persons in the 'non-virtual,' world, seeing this extinction of down-to-earth conversation as yet another part of an uncontrollable Darwinian evolution -- mankind's 'adaptation' to the brave cyberspace world of universal interconnectivity . ... Others, in defense of the importance of face-to-face conversation -- what speaking, in its fullest sense, is about -- would suggest that sharing words directly with other human beings, be they colleagues, friends, or a lover, is, indeed, what makes us, perhaps more than anything else, human -- and thus what the humanities should nurture and protect."


Top U.S. public diplomacy official seeks to explain ‘return on investment’ - "The State Department needs to 'do a better job' of explaining to Americans what it does overseas, as well as the 'return on investment' in America’s diplomatic activities, Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy Tara Sonenshine says on this week’s episode of  'Conversations with Nicholas Kralev.' 'After all, the taxpayer is the Board of Governors here,' Sonenshine says.

She compares public diplomacy to 'a giant extension cord wrapping around the world' that 'takes U.S. policies, ideals and values and extends them to actual citizens' of other countries. Sonenshine, who leaves her post July 1 after less than 15 months in it, also talks about why getting public diplomacy right has been a challenge for Washington, and about comforting the family of Anne Smedinghoff, 25, when her body was brought home from Afghanistan, where she was killed in April while serving as a public diplomacy officer."  Watch the full episode." Image from

Remarks at the Higher Education Dialogue 2013 Kick-Off - John Kerry, Secretary of State; Secretary for Higher Education, MHRD Ashok Thakur; and Minister for Human Resource Development Dr. M. Mangapati Pallam Raju, New Delhi, India, June 25, 2013 - Newsroom America Feeds: "MINISTER RAJU: President Obama and our Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, have rightly described the relationship between India and the United States as the defining partnership of the 21st century. Education and knowledge is a pillar – is a key pillar of the India-U.S. strategic partnership. The partnership offers a huge opportunity to use and share the experience and best practices in the development of institutions of higher learning and research as also building the capacity of global skill sets to our mutual advantage. ... Based on the U.S. experience of community colleges, we have embarked to develop community colleges across the length and breadth of the country. I appreciate the enthusiastic participation of our very strong U.S. term lead by Under Secretary Tara Sonenshine in an international seminar on community colleagues earlier this year, which helped crystalize our strategy for institutionalizing the community colleges in India. We would like to debut teams of (inaudible) community colleges in the U.S. and also would like the institutional-level cooperation for capacity development support. ... SECRETARY KERRY: ... I want to particularly thank and recognize the work of our Under Secretary of State Tara Sonenshine for her work in this effort. This dialogue marks her last diplomatic engagement before she ends her distinguished career as Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, and I want to thank her for her leadership on this effort, and I wish her continued success. And I think everybody here would join me in expressing our appreciation for this wonderful final chapter for her as a public diplomacy leader. Thank you, Tara, very, very much. (Applause.)"

The Power of Half the Sky: During her recent trip to India, U.S. Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Tara Sonenshine stresses the importance of education to empower women and girls [June 11] - "Each woman and girl deserves the opportunity to benefit from the three C’s—community, connections, and confidence. Confidence is built through exposure to other cultures and other languages and the support of other women showing you what is possible.

Through relationships with other women, women fulfill Margaret Mead’s blessing that a small group of thoughtful citizens can change the world. I look forward to working with U.S. Ambassador Nancy Powell, and so many committed women in India, on joint projects that bring out the best of our two nations." Sonenshine image from entry

A public diplomacy speech on Global Health Security - tuyetmy, "During June 16-18, 2013, the Honorable Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services visited Vietnam and gave a public diplomacy speech on Global Health Security at the Hanoi Medical University. ... Through the Health Agreement between the U.S – Vietnam, a foundation has been established to strengthen Vietnam’s efforts to detect and effectively respond to public health emergencies and prevent global health threats, such as avian influenza and HIV/AIDS.

Secretary Kathleen Sebelius emphasized that that the US and Vietnamese health sectors enjoyed close collaboration through the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, especially in the fight against HIV/AIDS and emerging pandemics like SARS and avian flu. She said that her country is committed to working with Vietnam to combat emerging epidemics, especially infectious diseases, and to promote the transfer of technology to fight HIV/AIDS." Image from entry

We Meant Well Update: US Fails to Pay Afghan Contractors, Loses Hearts and Minds - Peter Van Buren, We Meant Well: "[C]ontractors for the U.S. government, clearly seen by the Afghans as one in the same as the U.S. government, are stiffing their Afghan partners. Whether through bureaucracy or as outright theft, and with the dullard-like lack of oversight by State, DoD and USAID, the very programs designed to win over the hearts and minds of the Afghan people are having just the opposite effect." See also.

Advancing Disability Rights Worldwide Through Exchanges [2013-05-30] - Judith E. Heumann, "President Obama has proclaimed that international disability rights should be at the heart of our nation’s foreign policy.  The State Department has put that declaration to work in our public diplomacy efforts around the world in many of our exchange programs. Just this week, I had the pleasure of meeting with 34 disability rights advocates from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, the Philippines, Tajikistan, and Uganda who were in the United States as part of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affair’s Empower program.  They had the opportunity to work side-by-side with disability rights advocates here in the United States, in month-long fellowships ranging from the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities in Chicago, to the American School for the Deaf in Connecticut, to the Assistive Technology Resource Centers in Hawaii.  They were able to experience first-hand the diversity of the United States, and the work being done to protect and promote the rights of persons with disabilities across the country.

Disability-inclusive diplomacy efforts like the Empower program put persons with disabilities at the core of work being done to promote the rights of persons with disabilities around the world. ... The Empower program is one example of the work the State Department is doing to promote disability-inclusive diplomacy.  It is my hope and expectation that those who participate leave the United States having made friends who will continue to work with them as they return to their countries.  Together, our combined efforts are improving the lives of the more than one billion disabled people around the world. About the Author: Judith Heumann serves as Special Advisor on International Disability Rights at the U.S. Department of State." Image from entry

7 Trending Topics in Federal Government Contracting - Brittany Alexander, "The State Department’s social media presence vastly dwarfs that

of other countries using internet-based tools for public diplomacy efforts, according to a new report by a Canadian think tank. Read more: NextGov." Image from entry

What Would the Sultan Think? Save the Legation [June 2]- "The mail gets to us slowly here in the medina, so I am only now able to comment on the excellent December 2012 article by Dr. Jane Loeffler on 'Beyond the Fortress Embassy.' As the director since summer 2010 of TALIM, the Tangier American Legation Institute for Moroccan Studies, I have come to appreciate what Ambassador Barbara Bodine, quoted in the article, calls 'embassies integrated with their surroundings and culture.' ... As a living embodiment of citizen public diplomacy, the Legation is also a symbol of America's engagement with the Arab, African, and Muslim worlds, dating back to the very beginning of our country (Sultan Sidi Abderrahman recognized 'the Americans' as Moroccan partners in December 1777, when George Washington was hunkering down in Valley Forge).

OBO, the Fund to Conserve, and historic preservationists would do well to band together to 'Save the Legation Pavilion,' perhaps a rallying cry for 2013. What could be more important than to save this example of America's diplomatic heritage - from a time when 'fortress embassy' meant a solid oak door and a deadbolt lock - in such a crucial region of the world. Sultan Moulay Suleiman, our benefactor in 1821, would expect nothing less of the United States. Gerald Loftus Tangier, Morocco."  Image from article, with caption: Legation Pavilion by Terry Connor

Hillary’s Turn: Every secretary of state, we’re told, is going to be different from those who came before, but traditional demands inevitably take precedence [review of The Secretary: A Journey With Hillary Clinton From Beirut to the Heart of American Power By Kim Ghattas • Times Books • 2013] - James Mann, "Clinton wasn’t close to the President. When she started the job, she had little experience in diplomacy. Almost inevitably, Clinton, her staff, and the reporters covering her turned her profile as politician into the defining feature of her role as secretary of state. As she crisscrossed the globe, Clinton hosted town meetings, met with civic groups, gave speeches, held press conferences, and sat for interview after interview. In truth, some of her predecessors had undertaken such activities, too; the concept of public diplomacy has taken on ever-greater importance in foreign policy over the past two decades. But it’s fair to say that none of her predecessors did as many public events as Clinton. ... The public sphere was Clinton’s own realm, the one she had lived in for decades. Ghattas’s book describes well the talents she brought to this part of the job. “If there was one thing Hillary didn’t need to learn, it was how to be in the limelight,” Ghattas writes. “She seamlessly fit into the role of a popular secretary of state, reveling in the attention of her foreign counterparts, attention that came with none of the bitter sniping of American politics.” Behind Clinton stood the retinue that Ghattas calls Hillaryland: the coterie of aides she had accumulated during her political campaigns, such as her chief of staff Cheryl Mills, who was shown in recent congressional investigations to have tried to manage the political fallout from the attack on the consulate in Benghazi. ... If Clinton runs for President, it will no doubt be tempting for her aides and supporters to hype her modest accomplishments as secretary of state. That would be a mistake, not least because it would be succumbing to having her judged by an unfair standard. ... The far better argument, from Clinton’s own point of view, would be that her four years running the State Department amounted to the best imaginable on-the-job training for anyone who wants to run foreign policy as President of the United States. ... In February, after Clinton left the State Department, it took almost no time for supporters of her successor, John Kerry, to explain that he would not be the same sort of secretary as Clinton. She had engaged in 'odometer diplomacy,' one unnamed official sniffed to Politico."

Corporate Control and Double Standards: Rafael Correa, the Press, and Whistleblowers - Adam Chimienti, CounterPunch: "Anyone who would have spent some time watching The Revolution Will Not Be Televised would have also learned what President Hugo Chávez, then only a mere three years into his presidency, meant to the millions of impoverished and the historically marginalized majority in Venezuela.

This did not stop the State Department and its allies from focusing on how best to rid Venezuela of its president. (Incidentally, while doing an internship for the State Department in the fall of 2001, I was invited by the Public Diplomacy department to work on ideas on how to get the message out to Venezuelan people about the dangerous nature of President Chávez.) That coup attempt failed, as the one in Ecuador would eight and a half years later, mainly because the people staunchly backed the president of the Republic." Image from

James Glassman to say that Broadcasting Board of Governors is not defunct, to call for putting Voice of America into the State Department - BBGWatcher,"In a testimony prepared for delivery later today [June 26] for a hearing of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs chaired by Rep. Ed Royce (R – CA), former chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) James Glassman is expected to say that the agency in charge of U.S. international broadcasting is not 'defunct' as stated earlier by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. BBG Watch has received an advance text of Glassman’s testimony. In a statement that is likely to raise controversy, Glassman is planning to say that the BBG must be part of the U.S. foreign policy apparatus and to call for putting it back into the State Department.  The BBG’s leading U.S. international broadcaster is the Voice of America (VOA). ... In addition to being a former BBG chairman, Glassman is also a former U.S. Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. During his tenure as BBG chairman, the board voted to end all Voice of America radio and satellite television broadcasts to Russia. The cut happened in 2008, several days before Russia invaded part of the territory of the Republic of Georgia. Glassman refused calls from media freedom and human rights groups to resume VOA broadcasts to Russia and the war zone in Georgia. ... Critics argue that putting BBG with the Voice of America into the State Department would likely make VOA completely ineffective as a credible journalistic enterprise. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, VOA was under State Department’s editorial control. It was viewed then as ineffective in countering Soviet propaganda. Radio Free Europe and later Radio Liberty were established in the 1950s under the CIA but with a much larger measure of editorial independence. They became highly successful as surrogate broadcasters. RFE/RL’s link to CIA was removed by Congress in the early 1970s and the broadcaster continued to be a major source of uncensored news to the Soviet block. Voice of America improved its performance and credibility when its Charter was approved by Congress in 1976 giving VOA editorial independence. International broadcasting experts also point out that contrary to Mr. Glassman assertion, critical parts of BBG are highly disfunctional [sic], including its International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB), consistently rated in the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey as having the worst managers in the federal government."

Change in Lat Am Strategy Powers BBG Global Audience Past 200 Million Weekly - Editor, "While the official 2013 BBG Global Audience Estimate won’t be in for a few months, current tracking shows a strong audience increase – fueled by growth at VOA’s Latin America Division… Midyear tracking of the BBG’s global audience shows its broadcasters collectively reaching 203 million people weekly, representing a 16% climb from official 2012 numbers released in November.

The official 2013 audience estimate will again come in November. And while there will be increases as well as decreases in certain markets as competitive and political changes take place, overall, 2013 looks to beat last year’s estimate of 175 million. Increases in several Middle Eastern countries are part of the increase, but the bulk thus far is coming from Latin America, where VOA’s Lat Am Division has undergone exponential growth — adding some 23 million new viewers and listeners after adjusting its strategy." Image from entry, with caption: Former Director of the VOA Latin America Service Alberto Mascaro, and BBG Office of Strategy and Development’s Oscar Barcelo

Voice of America English is hours late in updating news stories on Facebook, loses to Russia Today and Al Jazeera - BBGWatcher, "Russia’s state supported broadcaster Russia Today (RT) leads U.S.-funded broadcaster Voice of America (VOA) by enormous margins in all audience engagement and other audience counting measures for English-language news reporting on the Snowden spy case and in reporting on practically all other international news stories. The advantage of such broadcasters as Russia Today English and Al Jazeera English over Voice of America English news service is especially evident in social media use.

While Russia Today posts numerous video news reports on YouTube and updates its Facebook page religiously, VOA is often hours late in sending news stories to Facebook and in posting videos on YouTube. VOA English also posts far fewer original news reports and videos than Russia Today. ... Russia Today and Al Jazeera beat VOA English many times over not just on the Snowden story coverage. The VOA English News Division and its English broadcasts have been decimated to such a degree by controversial managers of the International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB) — the administrative arm of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the board and the agency in charge of U.S. international broadcasting — that they are incapable of covering most news in a timely manner. IBB executives have been rated in the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey as being the worst managers in the federal government." Image from entry

U.S. International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy Should Be Bipartisan [May 31] - kalel, "The news that the White House has sought to replace the only Republican currently serving on the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), former U.S. ambassador to Poland Victor Ashe, has made many sit up and pay attention. It is rare that Americans get passionate about the BBG, which oversees all U.S. civilian international broadcasting to the tune of $731 million a year, but has little impact on domestic politics. The context provided by the Obama scandals, however, has made a difference. If the IRS can be used to pursue the President’s critics, and the Justice Department to intimidate reporters, could not the BBG be used as a megaphone for partisan purposes? ... The response to the Victor Ashe fiasco proves that Americans really do want partisanship to stop and understand the importance of bipartisan public diplomacy for U.S. relations with the world. Public diplomacy and international broadcasting funded by the U.S. government have to be both about global understanding and appreciation of the U.S. and its founding ideas, and about reporting the news. U.S. public appreciation and support for these missions would be a great step forward."

EuroMUN 2013: Cultural Diplomacy at its Finest - Fozan Ghali, European Model United Nations (EuroMUN) is one of the largest Model United Nations in continental Europe, held in Maastricht, the Netherlands. This year, the 2013 Secretariat, hosted the largest edition of EuroMUN yet with 620 delegates from over 60 nationalities and over 110 educational institutions. Delegates came from all over Europe, South America, Asia and Africa to join us in simulating some of the most interesting international bodies that exist today. Behind the scenes, preparation for EuroMUN 2013 was well underway since May 20, 2012.

A staff was built, a theme decided upon, and of course committees chosen. The end result: a memorable conference with productive working sessions and an (un)- forgettable social program. ... During the opening ceremony, the Secretariat entertained inspirational speeches by Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic, NATO ASG for Public Diplomacy." Image from entry, with caption: Official EuroMUN 2013 Opening Ceremony

South Korean president puts China ahead of Japan in visiting Beijing: North Korea's nuclear programme and trade relations will be high on the agenda during a three-day state visit that signals Seoul's new priorities - Kim Wall, "The state visit is Park's second since she came to power in February. The first was to the United States last month.

In the past, South Korean leaders have traditionally visited Tokyo before Beijing. Park, who is fluent in Putonghua and reportedly fascinated by Chinese culture, may be the person to achieve a new bilateral rapprochement. The Korean news service Yonhap reported that she would deliver parts of her speeches in Chinese during her visit. The move would almost certainly spark headlines, as well as win Chinese hearts and minds. 'President Park has a soft spot for China,' said a recent article by China News Service.'This kind of friendly public diplomacy gives a good impression to Chinese people and is extremely important.'" Image from article, with caption: Park Geun-hye meets former Chinese state councillor Tang Jiaxuan in Seoul earlier this month. The South Korean president speaks Putonghua fluently.

Op-ed: A Reality Check for China’s Soft Power Push [May 29] - Liang Pen, "For a country as gigantic and complex as China, public diplomacy is full of contradictions. It is crucial to reassure the world of China’s peaceful rise, but China will not give up its right to use force to assert its territorial claims over disputed areas. It is important to uphold the Chinese value of harmony, but the Chinese government will not abandon its heavy-handed social stability efforts. It is possible to interpret China’s achievements in development as support for the legitimacy of the Chinese Communist Party, but regime change of any kind is simply out of the question.

Given the state of its politics and expanding strategic ambitions, China’s public diplomacy is sure to be a hard sell. Yet what are the alternatives? If China makes a hard public diplomacy push, its international image may not necessarily improve; but if China gives up on its public diplomacy efforts, will misunderstandings and controversies increase? The answer may lie in a reexamination of soft power. Soft power is not something a government can generate on its own; it comes from a combination of a country’s culture, values, and social institutions that appeal to the rest of the world. Unfortunately, there is little that public diplomacy alone can do to change this." Image from entry, with caption: Students gather on the Great Wall for the 2008 Beijing Olympics Torch Relay Ceremony

‘India Is’ a celebration of Indian youth: Khurshid [June 3] - F wire: "A celebration of the youth of India is how External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid Monday evening described the showcasing of two years of ‘India Is’, the digital initiative platform of the ministry’s public diplomacy division and its rich treasure trove of photographs and visuals on India. ... He added that the India Is platform has given the public diplomacy division a new voice and platform to reach out. 'PDD is reaching out to the big world, and to neighbours, to young people,' he said. ... In his welcome address, Pinak Ranjan Chakravarty, secretary (economic relations) in the ministry, said the platform has grown in stature judging from the increasing number of followers on the social media like Facebook and Twitter. Chakravarty said though the public diplomacy division – which was set up in 2006 – is a recent entrant to the ministry of external affairs, it was a medium to 'enhance India’s conversation with the world'. The ministry has launched the India Is platform in a public-private partnership model, which has proved very fruitful, he added. The India Is Facebook page already has more than 158,000 followers, many from abroad, and its Twitter account has nearly 2,000 followers. All the 2,777 photo entries received from over 18 countries as part of the 2012 contest are on the site on Pinterest, a photograph and video sharing site. ... On YouTube, India Is has a trove of 245 videos made from entries from 40 countries."

Soft Power Pull: India Is Chai, Cricket … And Loads Of Creativity - Manish Chand, "The governments the world over are not particularly known for virile imagination, but the public diplomacy division of India’s external affairs ministry (MEA) has found a perfect platform to launch an inspired dialogue on India. Eponymously named, the ‘India is,’ web-based campaign seeks to engage people from all over the world in a conversation about their idea of India. The multi-media digital contest has now entered its third year, generating a mélange of stunning visuals. Once again, we see a creative transfiguration of the spirit of India through photographs and short films. And going by an overwhelming response, the contest has been fairly successful. The enthusiasm was sincere and palpable at the Taj Mahal hotel in Lutyen’s Delhi, (June 4), where the city’s elite, diplomats and creative spirits turned out in large numbers to fete the winners of a short film contest called 'India is … a visual journey.' The five short films produced by ace film director Anurag Kashyap portray India in all its exuberant diversity and contradictions. The films have been commissioned by YouTube in a joint initiative with India’s Ministry of External Affairs.

'With these five films we are confident that we will be able to inspire more Indians to come forward and participate in this initiative and help us to build the India Brand further globally,' says Riva Das Ganguly, joint secretary in charge of the Public Diplomacy division in the MEA. Amid the celebratory chatter, it may have escaped notice that the venue of the ‘India is’ party was Diwan-e-Am hall in the Taj hotel. History buffs will recall that the Mughal emperors used to hold public audience in such Diwan-a-aams. In a sense, Akbar was among the first practitioners of what we now know as public diplomacy. Public diplomacy is about taking diplomacy beyond governments and businesses and connecting it to ordinary people. 'Our mandate is to go beyond government, businesses and media. Public diplomacy is people-driven. The initiative aims to engage people with the country’s foreign policy initiatives,' says Pinak Chakravarthy, special secretary in charge of public diplomacy in the external affairs ministry." Image from article

David Cameron halts UK migrant bond plan for ‘high risk’ visitors - By Helen Warrell and Roger Blitz in London and James Crabtree in Mumbai, "David Cameron has slammed the brakes on government plans to demand a £3,000 migrant bond from 'high risk' overseas visitors after news of the policy provoked uproar in Delhi and threatened his attempt to boost trade links with India. ... [T] our operators were dismayed at the introduction of any type of deposit system and complained they had not been consulted. 'This doesn’t exactly garland the welcome message we are extending to India and other countries,' said Tom Jenkins, chief executive of the European Tour Operators Association. 'This really seems disproportionate to the threat. It feels the inbound market is being sacrificed to a domestic political agenda.' ... 'It is certainly a stupid move, but it is also extremely bad public diplomacy. It will raise a hue and cry here,' says Brahma Chellaney, a strategic affairs analyst at New Delhi’s Centre for Policy Research think tank. 'It really just doesn’t make any sense. It will have detrimental effect on the UK-India relationship, and it will create a bad image for the UK in India, and also uproar elsewhere in the world.'”

British Taskforce to 'Confront' Extremism - Public Diplomacy and International Communications: Thoughts and comments about public diplomacy, soft power and international communications by Gary Rawnsley: "The British press are now following the creation by the government of a taskforce 'aimed at confronting Islamic extremism and controlling preachers of hate' (The Times, 3 June 2013, p.4). All the reports on this story and the speeches by the senior members of the government responsible for its creation reflect a decidedly belligerent position; the very label 'taskforce' resonates with military symbolism (and reminds me of the use of 'crusade' after 9/11), while the involvement of the security and intelligence forces demonstrates clearly the thinking behind its design. The framing echoes both the disastrously-named War on Terror and Samuel Huntington's Clash of Civilizations.  ... I refer readers back to one of the first blogs I posted in 2011, A Marked Man in America, about the work of a Muslim cleric, Yasir Qadhi, among young members of the Islamic community. I concluded that posting with these words: 'If the US [public diplomacy] and anti-terrorism communities wish to make inroads, they must embrace Qadhi and others like him who can challenge the militant narratives and prevent the radicalisation of the disaffected youth'. I sincerely hope that a British Qadhi has been appointed to the taskforce and can persuade its members to drop their current militaristic and reactive position and consider engagement as a more effective long-term strategy."

Undergrad study in Asia vital to Libs' soft diplomacy: Julia Bishop - "The Coalition's plan to make study in Asia 'a rite of passage' for undergraduates will form part of its foreign policy platform for the election, says deputy leader Julie Bishop. 'It is fundamental to our engagement in Asia, rather than being just an experience for university students. It actually has long-term foreign policy implications,' she said. ... If the Coalition were elected, the brief would guide the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade as the lead agency in setting up the outward mobility program as 'a first-order priority'. 'This will be an initiative of (DFAT albeit assisted by other departments) because it's an integral part of our soft diplomacy, our public diplomacy,' Ms Bishop said. She said the idea was to send students on scholarships to universities throughout the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean region in order to deepen understanding, forge ties, and assist in economic growth and development. A key element is internships with business and non-government organisations throughout the region."

The frightening stupidity of the Israeli government in our fight for our legitimacy - "When it comes to representing Israel against the libels and boycott campaigns, the Israeli Government is not on the battlefield. Their record is a disgrace. Every action taken against us from the Goldstone Report, the Gaza Flotilla, the Muhammed al-Dura case, the Israel apartheid libel, and many others, have been complete failures when it comes to the official Israeli responses. There may be a case to be made that the Israeli Government is not supposed to be active in public diplomacy but to represent Israel, officially, in real diplomacy, government to government. This only partially explains why groups and NGOs find visits to the Israeli Foreign Ministry and Knesset forums so frustratingly vacuous. The Israeli government is not taking the assaults on Israel’s legitimacy seriously. ... For those of us fighting the good fight it seems to us as if our anti-Israel enemy has a bottomless well of funding, and he never sleeps. On the other hand, some Israeli embassies have commercial and military attaches. None have public diplomacy attaches. The Israeli government, it seems, does not officially deal in public diplomacy. It dabbles (badly) from time to time, but it does not professionally have a strategy or game plan."

Gaza is ready for Turkish prime minister, Haniyah says - "Gaza Prime Minister İsmail Haniyah said today the coastal enclave is ready to host Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, a day after Erdoğan said he could make a surprise visit at any time to the Hamas-controlled region. 'Prime Minister Erdoğan won the hearts and minds of every Palestinian with his brave stance in Davos.

I’m telling to the prime minister: Gaza is waiting for you,' Haniyah told a group of Turkish reporters visiting him in his office according to the Turkish Prime Ministry’s public diplomacy account on Twitter." Uncaptioned image from entry

Are Wine and Food The Best Ambassadors? The EU Table is Set for New Member –- Croatia - Jelena Perleta, PD News–CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: Initiatives concerning culinary diplomacy or gastrodiplomacy have only just surfaced in Croatia, but are gaining more and more recognition.

Can culture be owned? - Alexandra Siclait, Public diplomacy student, Syracuse University, Exchange Journal: "If we spent more time seeing ... cultural properties as more cosmopolitan objects and less nationalistic ones, we could begin to see that art is not necessarily made for nations, but for human international interests.

So perhaps instead of nations jealously guarding certain cultural artifacts as private property, it could serve as a trustee for these properties to engage human international interests." Image from entry, with caption: Nok Sculpture

Culture Posts: Five Critical Roles of the Domestic Publics in PD - R.S. Zaharna, PD News–CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "[T]he critical roles played by the domestic public suggest that they are active PD participants."

Presentation: 2013 Forum on Public Diplomacy - Kelsey Suemnicht, "[M]y call to action is one that involves recognizing the strengths and weaknesses of social media and using social media as a supplementary tool in public diplomacy."

Paul Rockower, Adjunct Fellow - Staff and Fellows, "Expertise - public diplomacy, cultural diplomacy, gastrodiplomacy, Pakistan-Israel relations."


After Snowden leak, critics of U.S. spy a chance to return rhetorical fire - Colum Lynch, Washington Post: It may be years before the full cost of Edward Snowden’s intelligence leaks can be measured. But his disclosures about top-secret surveillance programs have already come at a price for the U.S. government: America’s foes have been handed an immensely powerful tool for portraying Washington as a hypocritical proponent of democratic values that it doesn’t abide by at home. Kristinn Hrafnsson, a spokesman for WikiLeaks, which is helping Snowden in his bid for asylum, said the spying revelations have begun to turn international opinion against the United States. German Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger has not pulled any punches. “America has been a different country since the horrible terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001,” she wrote in Der Spiegel Online. “The relationship between freedom and security has shifted, to the detriment of freedom.”

The Age of American Impotence As the Edward Snowden saga illustrates, the Obama administration is running out of foreign influence - Bret Stephens, Wall Street Journal: However the Snowden episode turns out (and don't be surprised if the Russians wind up handing him over in exchange for an unspecified American favor), what it mainly illustrates is that we are living in an age of American impotence.

The Obama administration has decided it wants out from nettlesome foreign entanglements, and now finds itself surprised that it's running out of foreign influence. "America can't do a damn thing against us" was a maxim of the Iranian revolution in its early days when America meant Jimmy Carter. Under President Obama, the new maxim could well be "America won't do a damn thing." Image from

Obama’s torment: U.S. loses secrets, prestige as Russia, China protect Snowden - Dave Boyer, Washington Times: Mr. Obama's foreign policy is based on a "pivot" toward Asia and a "reset" of U.S. relations with Russia, but the failure of China and Russia to cooperate on Mr. Snowden underscores the limits of the president's power.

Senegal press critical of security measures imposed by U. S. for Obama's visit - The Senegalese press is critical of the security measures imposed by the U.S. security services Dakar, the capital of the West African country, for Wednesday's visit by U. S. President Barack Obama. "The U. S. takes control of Senegal," L'Observateur said in its headline, enumerating the security measures in place by Senegalese security services in connivance with their U. S. counterparts. The newspaper disclosed that the measures include "thorough clean-up of Goree commune, prohibition of stopping along the western coast road; Leopold Sedar Senghor airport and its environs given a face-lift; elite commandos to be placed around the airport."

"Yankee paranoia at Radisson (Blu)," another newspaper, Le Populaire, wrote in its headline, referring to the hotel where the U. S. president will stay during his visit. Terming the measures as "security craze," the newspaper paper highlighted other firm instructions such as "formal prohibition for anyone to greet the Americans, to put their hands in the pockets or even to make a telephone call." Image from

Taliban Guns Send a Message About Obama's Peace Process: Last week, the U.S. cheered the opening of a Taliban office in Qatar. On Monday, their fighters attacked in Kabul - Davood Moradian, Wall Street Journal: The U.S. has made enormous sacrifices and investments in helping Afghans to build a peaceful and dignified life. Afghanistan is transforming at all levels, despite continuing challenges, with Afghans now ready to take charge of their own destiny. A "cheap peace" should not be allowed to negate these precious achievements. It will stain America's reputation, and undermine regional stability for another generation.

Taliban attack on Karzai HQ a 'huge propaganda victory' - The Taliban attacked President Hamid Karzai's palace and other targets in Kabul for nearly two hours this morning June 25 in what Sky News describes as "one of the most brazen assaults in the capital" since Karzai

was nearly assassinated in April 2008. In BBC correspondent Bilal Sarwary's estimation the attack was "a huge propaganda victory for the insurgents as they have managed to infiltrate one of the safest places in the country." Image from article

Talk to Iran’s New President. Warily - Dennis B. Ross, New York Times: We can accept Iran’s having civil nuclear power but with restrictions that would make the steps to producing nuclear weapons difficult, as well as quickly detectable.

Is Twitter Becoming A Hotbed Of Jihadist Propaganda? - Stephen Kruiser, PJ Media: Twitter is the new frontier for jihadist propaganda, according to an extensive review of more than 75,000 tweets in a leading counterterrorism journal exclusively reviewed in advance of publication by Fox News. “Twitter has become the main hub for the active dissemination of links guiding users to digital content,” the report found, adding that a new generation of jihadists now engages in attacks after extensive exposure to online propaganda. “These jihadists decided to engage in physical violence after being active within the virtual dominions of al-Qa’ida where exposure to the media had an impact on their personal lives and understanding of religious conduct.”

LA Times and Passé Propaganda on 'Jenin Massacre' - The debunked Palestinian claim of a massacre of "hundreds" is so passé, but that doesn't deter Los Angeles Times entertainment writer John Horn. In April 2002, Palestinian spokespeople alleged that hundreds were killed in the so-called "Jenin massacre." But as early as May 2002, Palestinian officials admitted that 50-some Palestinians, not hundreds, were killed. Commemorating eight years since the "Jenin Massacre," the official WAFA Palestinian news agency referred to the dozens (not hundreds) killed.

“Islamic Science” or Islamic Propaganda? - Bruce Bawer, An exhibition entitled “Sultans of Science: Islamic Science Rediscovered” will open at the Norwegian Museum of Science and Technology (an independent institution, but one that receives considerable financial support from the Norwegian state). According to the museum, “Sultans of Science” is “the largest science exhibition that has ever been seen in Norway.” Although, over the last few years, it has been on display in venues “in New Jersey, South Africa, Toronto, Edmonton, San Jose, Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia,” this marks its first appearance anywhere in Europe. “We are proud to bring this exhibition to Norway and delighted to unfold the knowledge of a great civilization which will be an engaging and educating experience for our visitors,” museum director Hans Weinberger said in a press release.

On its website, the museum invites adults and children alike to come see “Sultans of Science” and thus “get acquainted with an important scientific legacy from Islamic culture.” Singing the praises of “the golden age of Islamic science,” during which “science was encouraged and supported” by “the great Islamic caliphates,” the museum’s website informs us that “the development of European culture was…directly influenced by Islamic culture,” but that the traces of this influence were eventually, and tragically, “erased.” Simply put, the purpose of this show is to acquaint Western audiences with the riches of Islamic science and its immense impact on Western science and technology. In short: a giant tsunami of propaganda is about to hit Norway. Uncaptioned image from article

Report: Soviets spread anti-Israel propaganda to Arabs -- Book by former soviet officer who defected to West reveals that in 1970s, USSR distributed propaganda against Israel, US to Arab countries - Ynet: Titled "Disinformation," the book was written by the former Romanian intelligence chief Lt. Gen Ion Mihail Pacepa, and Ronald Rychlak, a law professor at the University of Mississippi. In the book, the former senior ranking Romanian official reveals the techniques he, like other Communist bloc leaders, used for decades, until he defected to the US in 1978.

Scholar Asserts That Hollywood Avidly Aided Nazis - Jennifer Schuessler, New York Times: The list of institutions and industries that have been accused of whitewashing their links to the Third Reich is long, including various governments, the Vatican, Swiss banks and American corporations like I.B.M., General Motors and DuPont. Now a young historian wants to add a more glamorous name to that roll call: Hollywood. In “The Collaboration: Hollywood’s Pact With Hitler,” Ben Urwand draws on a wealth of previously uncited documents to argue that Hollywood studios, in an effort to protect the German market for their movies, not only acquiesced to Nazi censorship but also actively and enthusiastically cooperated with that regime’s global propaganda effort. In the 1930s “Hollywood is not just collaborating with Nazi Germany,” Mr. Urwand said by telephone from Cambridge, Mass., where he is currently at Harvard’s prestigious Society of Fellows. “It’s also collaborating with Adolf Hitler, the person and human being.” On page after page, he shows studio bosses, many of them Jewish immigrants, cutting films scene by scene to suit Nazi officials; producing material that could be seamlessly repurposed in Nazi propaganda films; and, according to one document, helping to finance the manufacture of German armaments.

New Propaganda Posters For Ender’s Game - Bleeding Cool: According to three new posters for Ender’s Game the next invasion is imminent. Next invasion? There was a previous invasion?

In Ender’s Game we are taken to a distant future where Earth has been attacked by alien forces. The film will take place 70 years after that invasion, and the people on Earth are anticipating another. Image from entry


"infinite richness in a little room"

--What Barabas, in Marlowe's Jew of Malta, pursued; cite in Adam Smyth, "Wrong Rivers," The Times Literary Supplement (June 14, 2013), p.28


The Body-Data Craze - Alissa Quart, Daily Beast: According to a recent nationwide survey for Pew Research Center Internet AND American Life Project, 7 out of 10 people self-track regularly—using everything from human memory to a memory stick—some aspect of health for themselves or for someone else.


--Classic Greek and Latin Theater Masks; Via NB on Facebook

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