Sunday, November 17, 2013

November 17

"When Blücher [Hannah Arendt’s devoted if wayward husband Heinrich Blücher] tries to leave one morning without kissing her, since 'one should never disturb a great philosopher when they’re [sic] thinking,' she replies, 'but they can’t think without kisses!'”

--From the film, "Hannah Arendt: a film by Margarethe von Trotta," cited in Mark Lilla, "Arendt and Eichmann: The New Truth," New York Review of Books; image from


Arabs Got Talent: American woman sings in Arabic, stuns jury, public -


November 15: Russian Diaspora and Cultural Diplomacy - "The NYU Jordan Center for the Advanced Study of Russia and the Russian American Cultural Heritage Center welcome you to 'Russian Diaspora and Cultural Diplomacy,' a conference on the impact of Russian-Americans. Friday, November 15, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm Hemmerdinger Hall, Silver Center for the Arts and Science 100 Washington Square East The conference, which comes 80 years after the establishment

of U.S.-Russian diplomatic relations, will consider the role of the Russian-American community, through cultural diplomacy, in developing mutual understanding between the two nations.  Attending the conference will be representatives of the Consulate General of Russia in NYC, Rossotrudnichestvo, representatives of local government, the Alexander Gorchakov Public Diplomacy Fund, the governments of the city and state of New York, and representatives of Russian-American community organizations, and the leading centers for the study of Russia in the US." Image from entry


Angela's Ashes - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "As for Angela's Ashes [by Frank McCourt, see], I am almost done and this is my favorite passage to date. Probably because it hits on public diplomacy, and the role of international broadcasting in telling of the world to listeners. ... ['] After the news there is the American Armed Forces Network and it's lovely to hear the American voices easy and cool and here is the music, oh man, the music of Duke Ellington himself telling me take the A train to where Billie Holiday

sings only to me, I can't give you anything but love, baby.  That's the only thing I've plenty of, baby. Oh, Billie, Billie, I want to be in America with you and all that music, where no one has bad teeth, people leave food on their plates, every family has a lavatory, and everyone lives happily ever after.[']" Image from; see/hear video: "I Can't Give You Anything But Love, Baby," YouTube.

Peace: The toughest selling job in the world -- With the Israeli-Palestinian talks in crisis, negotiators need to learn how to craft a deal that their publics will actually buy into. Polling, luckily part of both political cultures, is a key tool. - Colin Irwin, "When it comes to making peace, a problem for the Israelis is a problem for the Palestinians, and a problem for the Palestinians is a problem for the Israelis.

Polling, public opinion research and public diplomacy can all be used to help identify both problems and their solutions, to refine the Final Status Agreement, to win a referendum and to ensure the very best prospects for its full implementation. None of which will be easy. But why make it more difficult than it has to be when we know how to do things so much better?" Image from entry, with caption: Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat (right), with the U.S.' John Kerry (center) and Israel's Tzipi Livni.

From the Salzburg Festival I (Great Shostakovich and Propaganda) - Jens F. Laurson, "Since the unstoppable rise of Gustavo  Dudamel, Venezuela’s Orchestra Academy El Sistema (FESNOJIV) has become a brand. The Simón Bolivar Orchestra (SBO) became its flagship and Dudamel is the brand ambassador. A strong presence at this year’s Salzburg Festival, El Sistema is present with seven branches: four orchestras, a chorus, and two ensembles. The SBO, three genuine youth orchestras—the Teresa Carreño Youth Orchestra, the Youth Orchestra of Caracas, and the National Children’s Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, the Venezuelan Brass Ensemble, the Simón Bolivar String Quartet, and the Simón Bolivar National Youth Choir. ...

 A wonderful concert, rightly rewarded by standing ovations which, had it ended then and there, would have been a subtle victory of culturally diplomacy on the strength of its music-making. But it wasn’t to be. Out came the lazy but effective encores. Out came the choreographed instrument swinging-and-twirling, the coordinated spontaneous swaying and dancing and the clap-along bits. Out came even the propaganda jackets which were finally tossed into the grateful, over-the-moon audience. It was a breathtakingly cynical, and crude display of political instrumentalization, which might have been genuine the first time around, many years back, but is scripted and calculating now. (Even the Red Army Chorus in the Kennedy Center was more subtle, back when they invaded Afghanistan). Let’s assume—for sanity’s sake—that it was all dedicated to the political prisoners in Venezuela, suppressed journalists, and the victims of state-graft and massive government corruption. Alas, it wasn’t, and even more sadly: the audience swallowed it hook, line, and sinker. Image from article, with caption: Youth Orchestra of Caracas in propaganda-action.

Keeping The Memory Alive – International Poster Design Competition  -
 “'Keeping the Memory Alive' is an International Poster Competition funded by the grant program of the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research (ITF). Partnering in the project: Yad  Vashem, Israel, together with the Israel Ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs; Mémorial de la Shoah, France; and theEuropean Shoah Legacy Institute, Czech  Republic, in cooperation with the Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme. The theme for the 2013-14 competition is Journey’s Through the Holocaust. ['] Find out more at (information about the 2013-14 competition is coming soon).

The Israel Defense and Rescue Forces - "The writer

is the vice president of public diplomacy for the Jerusalem Institute of Justice." Image from entry

A moment to correct India’s Lanka policy - M K Bhadrakumar - "On the face of it, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid would have had two constituencies on his mind when he made the strong remarks about India’s Lankan diplomacy once he was airborne from Delhi en route to Colombo to represent India at the Commonwealth heads of governments conference [CHOGM] — a) his distinguished cabinet colleagues and senior party leaders A. K. Antony, P. Chidambaram and Jayanti Natarajan, and/or b) Tamil Nadu leaders Jayalalithaa and M. Karunanidhi. ... Was he afraid of taking up cudgels with grassroots politicians? No, Khurshid  was indulging in public diplomacy. His intended audience was Colombo. Khurshid apparently made a smart estimation that if he projected himself as a foreign minister under siege, that’d impress the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa."

Femmes en Or 2013: la liste des nommées dévoilée ! - "Femme de Média ... Nahida Nakad, Journaliste reporter, Consultante en relations internationales à Public Diplomacy, Auteur de Derrière le voile, un livre de décryptage sur le foulard islamique et la laïcité."

Image from entry

Maxwell Alums Return to Syracuse for the 2013 Public Diplomacy Symposium - On November 1st, Maxwell grads returned to campus to participate in the 2013 Public Diplomacy Symposium.

Images from entry


No new Iran sanctions now: Congress should give negotiations on Tehran's nuclear program more time to bear fruit - Editorial, There is no guarantee that the current negotiations will bear fruit. After feverish speculation about an imminent agreement, high-level talks in Geneva adjourned a week ago without a deal. Still, there are strong indications that the government of President Hassan Rouhani is serious about an arrangement in which Iran would abandon any ambitions to develop nuclear weapons in exchange for relief from existing sanctions. This week the International Atomic Energy Agency reported that Iran's new government has slowed expansion of its nuclear program almost to a halt since August. As Kerry put it, Congress should "calm down" and let the negotiations continue.

The stakes of an Iranian deal - David Ignatius, Netanyahu seems to think that if sanctions have brought Iran to the table and gained concessions, then more sanctions will force Tehran to give up its nuclear program altogether. But administration officials fear that imposing more sanctions at this delicate moment (as Netanyahu is pushing Congress to do) will just blow up the negotiations. The administration thinks that Tehran, rather than surrendering, may accelerate the nuclear program — producing the very result that Israel fears. Better to seek a turn in relations with Iran through diplomacy that can limit its nuclear program, Obama reasons. He’s right.

Something for Barack and Bibi to Talk About - Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times: Secretary of State John Kerry is teeing up not one, but two negotiations that involve the most neuralgic issues facing Israel today: the Iran threat and Palestinian statehood. Israel soon could face two of the hardest strategic choices it’s ever had to make at

the same time: trade West Bank settlements for peace with the Palestinians and trade sanctions on Iran for curbs on its nuclear program. I’d say Obama and Netanyahu better get one of those unlimited minutes plans — or maybe just install a hotline. Image from

How big an Army do we need? Congress is in the mood to cut, but danger lies in slashing recklessly without a real strategy - Michael O'Hanlon, We can indeed cut the Army, but not with reckless abandon, and not in the absence of a strategy.

Dreams of a Different China - Ian Johnson, New York Review of Books: Last November, China’s newly installed leader, Xi Jinping, asked his fellow Chinese to help realize a “Chinese dream” of national rejuvenation. Xi’s definition of China’s dream has caused much discussion. While the slogan seems to directly mimic the term “American dream,” it is almost the antithesis of that dream of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness—personal goals that in Xi’s vision are replaced by a collective, national pursuit.

Why are writers being curbed by NSA surveillance? - David L. Ulin, PEN  American Center’s report “Chilling Effects,”  offers some disturbing data about the effect of government surveillance on free expression and self-censorship in the literary world. Of more than 520 American writers surveyed, 16% have avoided writing or speaking on what they consider controversial topics, and 11% “have considered doing so.” The percentages are even higher when it comes to phone or email conversations and social media, which is increasingly part of the writers’ toolbox.

Sri Lankan diplomat says rights criticism a 'proxy propaganda war' - Susannah Cullinane, CNN: Sri Lanka's high commissioner to Britain has blamed criticism of his country's human rights record on a "proxy propaganda war" being carried out by those who funded the nation's "terrorist conflict."

The prime ministers of Canada, Mauritius and India have withdrawn from the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, or CHOGM, beginning in Colombo on Friday, amid concerns about the rights situation in Sri Lanka after its 26-year civil war with separatist Tamil rebels. Image from


"In The Drowned and the Saved, Primo Levi’s final book on his experiences at Auschwitz, he makes a wise remark about the difficulty of rendering judgment on history.

The historian is pulled in two directions. He is obliged to gather and take into account all relevant material and perspectives; but he is also obliged to render the mass of material into a coherent object of thought and judgment."

--Mark Lilla, "Arendt and Eichmann: The New Truth," New York Review of Books; image from


“The surest way to get a secret into mass circulation is to tell it to Hitchens, swearing him to silence as one does so.”

--Irish-born Alexander Cockburn (deceased) regarding British-American Christopher Hitchens (deceased); both lived in America; image from

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