Sunday, October 20, 2013

October 20

"[W]e live under continual threat of two equally fearful, but seemingly opposed, destinies: unremitting banality and inconceivable terror. It is fantasy, served out in large ratios by the popular arts, which allows most people to cope with these twin specters.”

--Susan Sontag; image from, with caption: Sandra Bullock in “Gravity.”


Development, Public Diplomacy, Datapaloozas, and Hack-A-Thons - "The International Communication Program and Public Diplomacy Council present a discussion of 'Development and Public Diplomacy in the Age of Datapaloozas and Hack-A-Thons, featuring Donald Steinberg, President and CEO of World Learning (formerly Experiment in International Living). The program takes place Tuesday, 22 October at 12:00 pm at American University’s School of International Service, in the Abramson Family Founders Room." Via EH

November 12th Fall Forum Update - Eva Harder, "The Public Diplomacy Council (PDC) is excited to announce key updates regarding the November 12th Fall Forum, 'U.S. Public Diplomacy: A Look to the Past, A Look to the Future.' The all-day conference, held at the U.S. Department of State’s George C. Marshall Conference Center, will feature a keynote speech, a commemoration of USIA and State Department alumni, two morning panels, lunch, six breakout sessions, a third panel, closing remarks, and photo gallery. A proceedings volume will be compiled, edited, and published."


Telling America's Stories - Public Diplomacy Council


U.S. Department of Arts and Culture Website - "The United States Department of Arts and Culture is the nation's newest people-powered department, founded on the truth that art and culture are our most powerful and under-tapped resources for social change, Radically inclusive, useful and sustainable, and vibrantly playful, the USDAC

aims to spark a grassroots, creative change movement, engaging thousands in performing and creating a world rooted in empathy, equity, and social imagination." [PDPBR compiler note: any information re this little-known organization (if it exists at all), cited at, would be appreciated]. See also.


Top 10 Most Beautiful Women Over 55 - Fran Drescher, BloggerOne - "At age 56 Fran Drescher, known as Fran Fine of The Nanny, is a cancer survivor and an outspoken healthcare advocate.

In her book ‘Cancer Schmancer’, Drescher encourages men and women battling cancer and she is noted for her work with the US State Department as a public diplomacy envoy for Women’s Health Issues." Dreshcher image from

Swedes, Dutch and Brits Make Their Public Diplomacy ... Public - Joe Johnson, "Public Affairs Officers from the Swedish, Netherlands and United Kingdom embassies in Washington compared tradecraft yesterday under the rubric 'Can Public Diplomacy Really Be Public? at a panel discussion cosponsored by the Embassy of Sweden and the Public Diplomacy Alumni Association. ... PDAA President Michael Schneider offered a thumbnail sketch of public diplomacy and introduced the panelists: James Barbour, Press Secretary at the British Embassy; Ilse Van Overveld, Counselor for Public Diplomacy at the Royal Netherlands Embassy; and Gabriella Augustsson, Counselor at the Embassy of Sweden.  It turns out they have a lot in common.

Public diplomacy mixed with broadcasting: South Africa's Ubuntu Radio - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting: [Elliott comment:] "South Africa is thus emulating US international broadcasting. Ubuntu Radio is now duplicating some of the work of Channel Africa, and scarce broadcasting and talent resources will be divided between the two.

Furthermore, Ubuntu Radio is an attempt to mix public diplomacy with other content, including something that they claim will be 'news.' A political faction in Washington wants USIB to more like Ubuntu Radio. Instructively, Ubuntu Radio will show us how many listeners will be attracted to a radio station that is essentially an infomercial for the government and its foreign policy." Image from entry; note caption

A review of four books about Cold War (mostly RFE/RL) broadcasting - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting: "H-Net (Michigan State University), October 2013, Friederike Kind-Kovács: "A review of four books about international broadcasting during the Cold War, mostly about Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty: Alexander Badenoch, Andreas Fickers, Christian Henrich-Franke, Airy Curtains in the European Ether: Broadcasting and the Cold War. Richard H. Cummings, Radio Free Europe's 'Crusade for Freedom': Rallying Americans Behind Cold War Broadcasting, 1950–1960. A. Ross Johnson, Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty: The CIA Years and Beyond. A. Ross Johnson, R. Eugene Parta, Cold War Broadcasting: Impact on the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, A Collection of Studies and Documents."

Israel Cranks Up the PR Machine: It’s deploying all its resources to fight the growing world movement against the occupation - Max Blumenthal, The Nation:  "Netanyahu has grown obsessed with Israel’s withering image in the West. Under his guidance, the term 'delegitimization' has become a household word signifying BDS and nearly everything done in the name of exposing Israel’s violations of international law. And thanks to Netanyahu’s instigation, Barack Obama has become the first American president to explicitly pledge to battle the pressure campaign. Groping for a convenient solution to its public relations problems, the Israeli government has turned to hasbara. The literal meaning of this Hebrew word is 'explanation,' but when put into practice, most informed observers recognize it as propaganda. The more the State of Israel relies on force to manage the occupation, the more it feels compelled to deploy hasbara. And the more Western media consumers encounter hasbara, the more likely they are to measure Israel’s grandiose talking points against the routine and petty violence, shocking acts of humiliation and repression that define its treatment of the Palestinians. Under the leadership of Netanyahu—a professional explainer himself, who spent the early years of his political career as a frequent guest on prime-time American news programs perfecting the slickness of the Beltway pundit class—the Israeli government has invested unprecedented resources into hasbara. Once the sole responsibility of the foreign ministry, the task of disseminating hasbara now falls on a special Ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs, led until 2013 by Yuli Edelstein, a right-wing settler and government minister who has called Arabs a 'despicable nation.' (Edelstein is now speaker of the Knesset.) ... Whether they like it or not, every Jewish Israeli citizen is a potential recruit for the national hasbara brigade. ... With $90 million from the municipality of Tel Aviv to promote the city as a gay paradise, and with free trips provided by the tourism ministry for gay Israelis willing to 'conduct public diplomacy activities abroad,' the Brand Israel campaign has increasingly centered on what many international gay activists call 'pinkwashing,' or using the country’s relatively progressive gay rights record to conceal its human rights abuses. ... The lurid hasbara of Brand Israel was directly inspired by corporate PR."

Egyptian Government Hires Israeli-Affiliated Lobbyist Firm To Communicate With DC - "The Glover Park Group, one of America’s largest public affairs companies filed lobbying registration forms with the Department of Justice which show that they will provide services to the Egyptian Government to support the Egyptian government’s communications 'with U.S. government officials, business community, non-governmental audiences and the media” as well as help with 'fostering and facilitating exchanges between the U.S. and Egypt.'

They will also 'provide public diplomacy, strategic communications counsel and government relations services.' While the lead on the account is Joel Johnson, a former senior aide to President Bill Clinton, the company has extensive Israeli and Jewish ties. The managing director of the PR firm is an Israel named Arik Ben-Zvi, who served in the Israel Defense Forces, and senior vice president Jason Boxt formerly served as national deputy political director at AIPAC. One of the reasons the firm was believed to have been hired is that The United States suspended partial foreign aid to Egypt which numerous people have spoken out about including leading Wash, DC based attorney Jay Sekulow." Image from

Israel to work with Ghana’s research institutions - "Israel says it is willing to work with tertiary institutions and research bodies in Ghana to deal with issues of climate change. Ms Sharon Bar-li, Israeli Ambassador to Ghana, said countries that least contributed to climate change were the most affected by it and that climate change presented significant threats to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. She expressed Israel’s readiness to share the wealth of experience it had gained in the mitigation and adaption of climate change with Ghana, a statement issued by Ms Mina Okuru, Public Diplomacy Co-ordinator, said on Friday. ... Ambassador Bar-li ... [said] that over 120 Ghanaians had been trained in Israel through its International Agency for Development Co-operation."

Experts said the Sino-Japanese islands dispute into a protracted war is not easy - Ask a Question,"Hu Jiping: Even diplomatic position somewhat loose, Japan-US military exercises between the need to continue to engage. Including Foreign Secretary personally, Foreign Ministry instructed them to do the publicity of consulates nature. If another accident occurred at sea, then it may be a fuse, it could be an opportunity. Neither the United States and Japan two and good hope, compromise, do not want two wars. United States using the Diaoyu Islands dispute these things are done. Because Japan’s foreign propaganda, including public diplomacy capability is very strong ... because the Japanese public diplomacy done well internationally in many countries, in turn criticize us Chinese."

First World Congress for Hallyu - "The organization behind this First World Congress for Hallyu, the World Association for Hallyu Studies, leaves definitions up to scholars, who are encouraged to explore all possibilities. WAHS itself is structured around the following sections: Humanities and social sciences, Korean language education and culture, Medical science, Hallyu policy and management, Sports science, Entertainment business, Tourism, Textile fashion and beauty science, and Food. So during the two-day event held on Korea University campus, topics reached far beyond the usual suspects (K-pop and K-drama*). As well as beyond WAHS's 18 regional branches, the 125 panel participants representing 24 nations and all continents (even Antartica was mentioned - by Stephen Epstein in his focus 'below the Equator'). The purpose is not to push Hallyu overseas, but 'to advance Hallyu Studies as a multidisciplinary body of knowledge and profession serving the public good' (as the mission statement goes), and ultimately peace and mutual understanding, as WAHS President PARK Gil-sung

pointed out in his wrap-up remarks. ... What started like a classic, digestive post-lunch series of presentations turned into a lively debate on the most relevant topic - Hallyu's sustainability - when KIM Tae-hwan (Korea Foundation) frankly shared his doubts regarding the future of what appears to be an overblown, short-lived fad marketed as an entertainment commodity, and his wish to see people work on more sustainable approaches. Participants also had passionate discussions around the roles of public diplomacy and of a government often accused of fanning the flames of international hype. ... The KCTI [the Korea Culture and Tourism Institute] considers Hallyu as a content by itself, sustainability being only a matter of quality; it's neither in the hands of government, nor a question of public diplomacy, and the leadership is expected from the happy few top content providers." Image from entry

AHC is truly aboard the Crocodile Prize express - Keith Jackson and Friends: PNG ATTITUDE: Words, ideas and issues from the Australia-Papua New Guinea relationship | Site funded and managed by Jackson PR: "A few days ago I spoke to Tim Bryson, the First Secretary (Politics) who has responsibility for public diplomacy. The AHC [Australian High Commission]’s view is that the Crocodile Prize is one of the very few platforms for developing and encouraging PNG writers, young and old. He went on to say that PNG has tremendous writing talent that really needs an outlet like the Crocodile Prize. Not only can the prize identify and foster great PNG writers, it enables PNG voices to be heard by Papua New Guineans and the international community on important cultural, historical and contemporary issues. The AHC also believes that the prize is an investment in the true strength of the PNG-Australia relationship – our people-to-people links – as exemplified through the Australian and PNG connections behind the Crocodile Prize. ... The AHC also contributed K7,000 towards Anthology publication costs and an additional K5,000 in June 2013 to enable the books to be distributed to tertiary institutions throughout PNG. ... Eva Kuson, AHC Public Diplomacy Coordinator, told me that the Commission is happy to provide funding for the printing costs for the 2013 Anthology and will discuss in future what support might be provided in 2014 and beyond. Tim Bryson is leaving PNG shortly and his replacement will be Andrew Gavin, First Secretary Public Affairs. Lorraine Ponifasio is Public Diplomacy Manager."

New solution sketched for Karabakh issue – Marxist Party: A new solution is sketched for the Nagorno-Karabakh issue, and with the scenario of Abkhazia and South Ossetia - "Marxist Party of Armenia leader Davit Hakobyan noted the aforementioned during a press conference on Tuesday ... [:] ... 'I consider our state’s ... issue to

 be the creation of a new diplomatic doctrine. In the language of public diplomacy, the ruling circles [of Armenia] wish to carry out the orders of the Russian elite,' Davit Hakobyan concluded." Haboyan image from article

Conference Report -- Reframing Diplomacy: New Diplomatic History in the Benelux and Beyond - Giles Scott-Smith, "[T]here was a set of papers dealing with the theoretical implications of new diplomatic history, in terms of methodology and subject-matter. This was an eclectic group, ranging from the relevance of economic and technological expertise (Laurence Badel, University of Paris 1, Leonard Laborie, CNRS Paris, and David Burigana, University of Padova) and business diplomacy (Jennifer Kesteleyn, University of Ghent), to the application of prosopography and ‘collective biographies’ for a study of the CSCE negotiations (Angela Romano, LSE, and Martin Brown, Richmond American International University), the relevance of international history for studying public diplomacy (Frank Gerits, EUI Florence), paradiplomacy (Mariano Alvarez, Leiden University), and the obstacles faced in conducting a multinational, multi-organisational study of the Inter-American Highway (Jorrit van den Berk, Radboud University Nijmegen)."

Lawrence Chester Williams - Obituary, "Upon completion of his nine-month [AID] training program, he was assigned to Kaduna Nigeria where he served as the Agency's Field Support Officer. After a two-year tour in Nigeria, he transferred to the US Information Agency in Washington, and was assigned to the Voice of America (VOA).

He served as Administrative Officer at VOA for the European and Soviet program staffs. During his service with USIA [see] he served as a Senior Management Analyst and Regional Executive Officer with the responsibility for servicing all Latin American programs. In addition, he served as Executive Officer ad interim in Mexico, Venezuela, and Vietnam. He served as Administrative Officer for the US Exhibition 'Research and Development USA' that toured the Soviet Union for nearly 2-years. He returned to the Soviet Union in 1976 as Deputy Director of the US Bicentennial Exhibition in Moscow. He was Program Coordinator for the USIA African Affairs Program, and was subsequently assigned as Executive Officer to one of the Agency's largest programs in Brasilia, Brazil. He returned to the U.S. and briefly served on the staff of the Inspector General as a Senior Inspector before retiring in 1988." Via LJB; Williams image from entry


U.S. releases $1.6 billion aid package to Pakistan - Bradley Klapper, Associated Press, Washington Times:  The U.S. has quietly decided to release more than $1.6 billion in military and economic aid to Pakistan that was suspended when relations between the two countries

disintegrated over the covert raid that killed Osama bin Laden and deadly U.S. airstrikes against Pakistani soldiers. Officials and congressional aides said ties have improved enough to allow the money to flow again. Image from

Life in the 21st Century State Department - Peter Van Buren, We Meant Well: Daniel Garrett was a political officer at the U.S. Embassy in Japan 2008-2010. The State Department decided he just wasn’t their kind of guy, and let him go. People considering a career in the Foreign Service should also consider the price they’ll pay. - See more at:

Davutoglu rejects claims about spy chief as ‘black propaganda': Davutoglusaid that the content and timing of a series of news reports about Turkey's intelligence chief, Hakan Fidan, in Western media outlets were important - Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has rejected claims about Turkey's intelligence chief as being “untrue” and a bad example of “black propaganda.” Davutoglu told reporters on Thursday that the content and timing of a series of news reports about Turkey's intelligence chief, Hakan Fidan, in Western media outlets were important. Davutoglu's remarks came on the day that Washington Post columnist David Ignatius cited “knowledgeable sources” in saying the Turkish government had disclosed to Iranian intelligence the identities of up to 10 Iranians who had been meeting inside Turkey with their Mossad case officers. Sources described the Turkish action as a “significant loss of intelligence” and “an effort to slap the Israelis.”

Paul Conroy: “War journalists must avoid being used as propaganda”: The acclaimed war photographer spoke at the Cheltenham Literature Festival about the changing impact of journalism in conflict. Rachael Jolley reports - Rachael Jolley, Journalists have a bigger influence on how war is perceived than in years gone by, said war photographer Paul Conroy at the Cheltenham Literature Festival yesterday. Discussing how journalists and photographers cover wars and the pressures they are under, Conroy, who covered Syria with Sunday Times journalist Marie Colvin, said: “Everything is in the instant now, battles have been influenced by the immediacy of information.” Conroy described how he and Colvin got into Syria using underground tunnels and the assistance of rebels.

They were smuggled into Syria through a 3km scramble down a storm drain, which he described as “the only way”. He added: “The risks were quite high.” He also talked about the attack on the media centre they were operating from, which killed Colvin. Conroy, who was badly injured, was rescued and got out of the war zone so he could be treated. When asked about how newspapers’ tightening budgets were affecting foreign new coverage, Sunday Times associate editor Sean Ryan, who was chairing the event and was Conroy and Colvin’s desk contact, said: “We will always cover the biggest conflicts.” Conroy called for more funding for foreign news coverage from the media in general. The acclaimed war photographer, who also covered the Balkan conflicts, said it was now impossible for journalists to switch from being with one side to covering the other side of a conflict. It had been possible in the 1990s, but this was no longer the case. Because of this journalists had to be wary of how they might be used to put forward a biased or inaccurate picture. “What we realised was that you are open to be used for propaganda. What you have to do is double check and get eye witness accounts.” Image from article, with caption: Paul Conroy at a protest in London last year calling for peace in Syria


Monks in Louisiana win right to sell handcrafted caskets: The Supreme Court allows monks in Louisiana to sell low-cost caskets, a victory for small entrepreneurs against state-enforced economic protectionism - David G. Savage, When the state Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors told the Benedictine monks of St. Joseph Abbey in southern Louisiana they could not sell their handcrafted caskets to the public, the normally peaceful order took the fight to court.

Hurricane Katrina had wiped out the order's traditional income from selling timber, so the brothers decided to market the simple cypress boxes they had long built to bury monks who died. They were priced at $1,500 or $2,000, far less than a funeral home would charge. But the state board, composed mostly of embalmers and funeral home directors, ordered the monks to stop. Their five-year legal battle ended quietly at the Supreme Court last week with a defeat for state-enforced "economic protectionism" and a victory for small entrepreneurs. It is part of a growing trend of successful "economic liberty" cases championed by the Institute for Justice, a libertarian legal group based in Arlington, Va. The ruling "puts the final nail in the coffin for the state board's protectionist and outrageous campaign against the monks," said Scott Bullock, a lawyer for the institute. Image from article, with caption: The monks, makers of handcrafted caskets like those shown above, engaged in a five-year legal battle that ended at the Supreme Court last week. Image from article


Reflections on a Paris Left Behind - Steven Erlanger, New York Times: "Paris is too ordered, too antiseptic and too tightly policed to have much of a louche life beyond bourgeois adulteries. ... It is the Parisians who leave dog excrement

on the sidewalks, who ignore the trash containers. ... With smoking now supposedly banned inside restaurants . ... the streets have become ashtrays . ... Because everyone makes his or her own Paris, one of the great cities for walkers, with small alleys and hidden corners that can feel like personal discoveries and that can be cherished, later, and found again, even if some of the great old and unprintable street names of Paris have been bowdlerized in the antiseptic city." Via PR; image from


Street Workout in Russia [video] - Via NG on Facebook. Comment by a viewer of the video: "Karma Fish · Дзен Буддизма this is not Russia, it's in Kiev."


"What Each Country Leads the World In," Via CC on Facebook


--From: "What is the difference between women and men?"; via KA on Facebook


--Via DM on Facebook

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