Saturday, November 23, 2013

November 23

"The historian Richard Hofstadter said that the U.S. is the only country in history that believes it was born perfect and strives for improvement."

--Historian Robert Dallek; image from


The third Public Diplomacy Council/USC  "First Monday" Forum, "Public Diplomacy as a Global Phenomenon: The Baltic States." The following distinguished diplomats will speak about their country's public diplomacy and how it is planned and implemented in the United States: Maria Belovas, Press and Cultural Officer, Embassy of Estonia; Jurijs Pogrebņaks Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Latvia; Simonas Satunas, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Lithuania. Date/Time:

Monday, December 2
The American Foreign Service Association (AFSA)
2101 E Street NW
Washington DC (Foggy Bottom metro).
12:00-1:00 PM

For more information, including about attendance, please contact:


“Opportunities for International and Intercultural Relations to Enhance Cross  and Trans Continental Cooperation” – A Lecture by the ICD [Institute for Cultural Diplomacy] Advisory Board Member, H. E. Amb. Elena Poptodorova, Ambassador of Bulgaria

to the USA Washington D.C. Summit on Cross Continental Cooperation (Washington D.C., November 4th - 7th, 2013) - Poptodorova image from entyr

Public diplomacy head ng Iran, nasa bansa para patatagin ang ugnayan ng PHL at Iran [incomprehensible sic - JB] - al Affairs, Government of India Co Sponsored by: West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation."


Social Advocacy and Politics: Twitter Diplomacy [November 19] - Alan Rosenblatt, "When negotiations over the future of Iran’s nuclear program broke down last week, the question of why they did loomed in everyone’s mind. In response, Secretary of State Kerry offered some weak explanation that Iranian negotiators had to get approval from higher ups back at home. Kerry’s comments were a deflection from blaming the French for putting the kibosh on the agreement. Rather than deflecting from the French, Senator John McCain, in a rare move for a conservative Republican, complimented the French for their bravery in stopping the agreement, proclaiming, 'Vive la France!' (Brings back images of the Maginot Line.) In response to Kerry and McCain’s efforts to 'spin” the collapse of the talks, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif took to Twitter in order to place the blame squarely on the U.S. for gutting the text of the agreement in the last few hours. With this, the negotiations took a very public turn.

Public diplomacy, not the kind where embassies engage the people of the host country, but the conduct of negotiations between countries on social media, is a brave new world for international relations. The notion of moving negotiations out of backrooms and into the sunlight is intriguing, to say the least. In previous installments of this column, I raised the argument that allowing the terrorists behind the mall siege in Kenya to use Twitter unfettered, instead of shutting them down, would have given us more intelligence for taking them down. Can sunshine on diplomatic negotiations also have positive effects?" Image from entry

Dances on quick sands: The US and the Arab Spring (1 of 7) - Khaled Mansour, "US policy regarding the Syrian upheaval has been largely limited to humanitarian aid, diplomatic sanctions and public diplomacy, feeling content to have finally stripped the regime of its chemical arsenal in exchange for not launching a massive US aerial attack. The US basically left the Assad regime to continue its murderous confrontations with the weakened secular opposition as well as the jihadis who now flock to Syria."

Four Lessons Learned from Serving In Government - Tara Sonenshine, "Public diplomacy is about communicating—including lessons learned. So here are a few lessons I have learned from serving in high level positions in government: 1. The first is about idealism vs. realism—how to blend them. You come into government very idealistic and you go home very realistic.

But the truth is that the first and last lesson I keep learning is about BLENDING BOTH—meaning that you have to blend ideals and aspirations with what is doable. ... So the first lesson is: Strive to accommodate creativity and realism and not see them as a trade off. You can do BOTH. ... 2. The second lesson I learned, not only from State, but from 35 years of working on global issues is that we cannot fix others if we don’t fix ourselves. ... 3. The third lesson I learned is that individuals matter; however, the best way to empower individuals is through teams - but TEAM WORK is hard. ... 4. The last lesson I learned is that to LEAD, you also have to FOLLOW, and listen carefully to those journeying with you or behind you." Image from entry, with caption: Tara Sonenshine, former Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, delivering the Second Annual Walter Roberts Lectures at GWU, Jan. 2013.

MENA Mashup: AIPAC, The Grey Lady, Iran, and the P5+1 - CTuttle: [Comment by]: donbacon November 17th, 2013 at 2:31 pm: "One can argue that all foreign policy strategies and tactics, intended to advance the interests of those in power, also involve information strategies designed to influence a domestic audience. The Pentagon called it ‘strategic communications’ and then 'Battle for the Narrative.' State went with ‘public diplomacy.’ [:] 'The mission of American public diplomacy is to support the achievement of U.S. foreign policy goals and objectives, advance national interests, and enhance national security by informing and influencing foreign publics and by expanding and strengthening the relationship between the people and government of the United States and citizens of the rest of the world.' We call it propaganda, which may or may not bear any relation to what actually happened."

Shomron Conference Held in NYC: Hundreds gathered at the West Side Institutional Synagogue in Manhattan for the Israel Advocacy Conference - Larry Domnitch, "Hundreds gathered at the West Side Institutional Synagogue in Manhattan on Sunday, November 17, for the Israel Advocacy Conference.

The event, organized by David Ha’ivri, director of the Shomron Liaison Office which promotes public relations for the Shomron, and Gershon Mesika who heads the Shomron Regional Council, featured a variety of speakers, both Jewish and non-Jewish, representing organizations that assist Jewish communities in the Shomron ... The central theme of the gathering was support Judea and Samaria as an integral part of Israeli advocacy. According to Ha'ivri, more needs to be done to explain the importance of Judea and Samaria as the core issue of Israel advocacy. 'There is so much misinformation, and hasbara (public diplomacy) is not addressing those concerns.'” Image from article, with caption: Pro-Samaria conference in Manhattan

President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts - Maureen Elizabeth Cormack, Nominee for Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Department of State - Office of the Press Secretary, "President Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key Administration posts: ... Maureen Elizabeth Cormack, a career member of the Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor is the Principal Deputy Coordinator of the Bureau of International Information Programs at the Department of State (DOS), a position she has held since June 2011. ... Ms. Cormack has served overseas in various capacities, including as Press Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, Korea, as Deputy Cultural Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Paris, and as the First Consul at the American Presence Post in western France. Ms. Cormack joined the Foreign Service in 1989 and in early assignments served as Director of the American Centers in Kwangju, South Korea and Warsaw, Poland. Prior to joining the Foreign Service, from 1980 to 1985, Ms. Cormack worked for the Ravinia Festival, the summer home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra."

NATO’s Partnerships Before and After the Chicago Summit - Marônková Barbora, "NATO defines the strategic objectives of NATO’s partner relations as following [inter alia]: ... Build confidence, achieve better mutual understanding, including about NATO’s role and activities, in particular though enhanced public diplomacy. ... The added value of NATO’s new partnership policy, as demonstrated in Chicago, is that it can set a new course of action, if need be, and the partnerships become more pragmatic. In addition, the new policy has also the potential to facilitate dialogue and practical cooperation with a broad and diverse set of partners, including those like China or India. Even if these countries have so far limited contacts with NATO (outside few senior official visits and couple of public diplomacy activities such as visits of Indian diplomats or Chinese academics), the variety of topics for discussion and consultations are unlimited. ... Barbora Marônková graduated from the University of Economics, Faculty of International Relations. In 2003, founded the NGO Centre for European and North Atlantic Affairs in Bratislava, Slovakia. She works in NATO Public Diplomacy Division since September 2006, focusing primarily on the Western Balkans."

Zarif and the Pursuit of Rights and Respect - Mansour Farhang,
“'An ambassador is an honest gentleman sent to lie abroad for the good of his country.' The endurance of this remark by Sir Henry Wotton, a 17th century English diplomat, is due to the fact that it contains an element of truth. Politically astute diplomats, however, know the limits of such practice.

They are aware that credibility cannot be sacrificed if they are to be effective in what they do. Mr. Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister, has produced a YouTube video in which he asks all countries, particularly his negotiating partners in Geneva, to trust the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program. To the extent that this appeal is viewed as public diplomacy intended to facilitate a negotiated settlement of the nuclear dispute, his initiative is welcome. The problem with Zarif’s performance in the video is that he goes far beyond what 'an honest gentleman' must do to serve his country. Indeed, the disconnect between his claims and the reality inside Iran today demands a response." Image from entry, with caption: Mansour Farhang, professor of political science at Bennington College

Iran's cyber posture - Open Briefing: "A number of ... foot soldier-type cyber battalions have come online within the paramilitary Basij volunteer force, organised around the Basij Cyberspace Council.

According to reports, members of the latter engage in massive pro-regime public diplomacy campaigns as well as the tracking and removal of anti-regime content." Image from entry, with caption: Iran launches the Cyber Police force

“We have met the enemy and he is us” - "Attending a conference of public diplomacy professionals and academics last week at the U.S. State Department, a particular comment made by a participant during one of the main sessions struck me. He described the positive outcome of a recent YES Program exchange from Indonesia (if memory serves) with the students describing to him their delight in learning that Americans are not as violent, profane and promiscuous as they have been led to believe from U.S. television and movie exports to their country. Given the small scale of the YES Program (hundreds of secondary students each year) competing with the Hollywood juggernaut, he came to the unavoidable, pessimistic conclusion cribbed from Walt Kelly:

"The most depressing aspect of this observation was not that he was necessarily right but that it passed without comment or rebuttal from the audience made up of diplomats, academics, policy-makers and students of public diplomacy. That is, his opinion — that American culture is a political weakness and strategic liability — has become the fixed, conventional wisdom of the governing class. This is as dangerous and backwards as it is also plainly wrong. The obvious shame and embarrassment many of our diplomats, scholars and others share about our culture — which hundreds of millions of real people consume and enjoy around the world without coercion — demonstrate an elitism that blinds them to what is in fact a strategic asset. And it keeps them from recognizing and harnessing an extraordinary delivery vehicle for American culture, values and democracy, a mechanism feared and repressed by regimes we stand against." Image from entry, with caption: Walt Kelly, via Language Log, University of Pennsylvania

Maybe Mark Scott isn’t the national security expert he thinks. Update: Or the diplomat - Andrew Bolt, ABC managing director Mark Scott explains why his ABC decided to publish stolen intelligence information marked 'top secret':  Yes, I appreciate that the release of some of this material might be embarrassing and ... might cause some difficulties with the Australian-Indonesian relationship in the short term. 'Might merely be 'embarrassing' and cause just 'some difficulties'? Mark Scott’s talent as a judge of our national security interests may not be as good as he fancies it to be . ... Remember how Mark Scott argued that Labor should leave the Australia Network, broadcasting into Indonesia, in the ABC’s hands because the ABC was better at 'diplomacy than, say, News Corp?  ['] [A] public broadcaster, like the ABC, gives us the best possible means – with Radio Australia and Australia Network – of representing Australia’s international interests through broadcasting… It’s worth asking if the entrepreneurial talent, daring and risk that give you an edge in commercial media are also the right credentials for the world of public diplomacy....I am confident that, when Australia’s reputation is at stake, international broadcasting by an energetic, independent public broadcaster owned by the Australian people, is the right way to continue. And I am confident that the job of advancing Australia’s international interests is in not just the most efficient and effective, but the safest possible hands. ['] Really? The ABC that revealed to Indonesia we tapped the President’s phone and which attacks our own Prime Minister for being an oaf who won’t say sorry is 'advancing Australia’s international interests'? Is an organisation which has our public diplomacy in 'the safest possible hands'? Strip the Australia Network from the ABC, as was recommended by a tender process twice overturned by Labor. And then get really serious about the ABC’s failure to live by its charter."

Grand commission on truth and reconciliation - Srinath Fernando, "It is indeed a remarkable feat that the Rajapaksa administration was able to hold CHOGM 2013 despite mounting criticism from across the world. The success of holding CHOGM 2013 was owing to diplomacy by Foreign Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris. Canada and India had different attitudes as decisions to not attend CHOGM had been made under domestic compulsions. The pro-separatist lobbies in these countries are hyperactive and there is a massive propaganda effort to tarnish the image of Sri Lanka. High Commissioner in London Chris Nonis had a very good interview with CNN and was able to provide a balanced and diplomatic response to probing questions from the anchor. Rebuilding the battered image of Sri Lanka would be a mammoth task and requires a holistic approach to public diplomacy. Sri Lanka needs people of the calibre of Chris Nonis."

Text of the Speech delivered by I and B Minister Shri Manish Tewari at the 3rd Asian Forum on Global Governance - "The Mahatma and India's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, chose pathways and modes of government that were unique in the newly liberated colonies. If we have been able to lift three hundred million people out of poverty and send a mission to mars it is because, of the leadership that shaped this countries destiny in its formative years. India now like other countries again stands at a cusp. We seek new ideas, we seek new solutions. We seek them from you and from within from our young leaders. We have heard you over these last ten days and we will learn from you. I must congratulate the Public Diplomacy Division of the Ministry of External Affairs for their support to this venture which is truly outstanding."

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 the European 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).

How Diplomats Work With Organized People - Maciej J. Bartkowski, Insights into World Affairs:
"I have recently had a pleasure of joining Ambassador Jeremy Kinsman on stage at Ryerson University to discuss civil resistance, democratic transitions and the role of diplomats in assisting nonviolent movements.  Those who have not had a chance to participate in the meeting can now view the Centre for International Governance and Innovation’s podcast 'Inside the Issues' where Amb. Kinsman discusses the third edition of A Diplomat’s Handbook for Democracy Development Support.  He eloquently explains there why and how the international community, including diplomats must and can work with the mobilized societies of non-democracies. ... The third edition

of A Diplomat’s Handbook updates the existing and introduces several new case studies, among others, Zambia, Tunisia, Egypt, Russia, Cuba, China that offers variety of examples of how diplomats have worked with nonviolent activists. Since- as Kinsman argues – 'no two situations are the same' and 'each country’s trajectory toward democracy is sui generis' it is imperative to learn from individual cases. At the same time, this learning informs the content of the diplomats’ 'toolbox' that they as well as other external actors can use to work more effectively with mobilized citizenries around the world.
Kinsman concludes with an important observation that the effectiveness of diplomats while working with the civil society of the host country depends on the quality of their own democracy at home. One cannot talk authentically about inclusivity and pluralism if these values are not practiced or are practiced badly at diplomat’s home country.  Public diplomacy is an 'exemplary' undertaking, according to Kinsman, whereby domestic actions of a civil society to perfect its democratic practices bear on the scope and quality of what its diplomats can push for vis-à-vis non-democracies and their societies." Image from

Ambassador Kelly talks about careers in diplomatic service - Haley Henschel, "For Chicago native Ian Kelly, the term 'home' isn’t restricted to just one location in the world. Since embarking upon a career as a Foreign Service officer nearly 30 years ago, Kelly has lived in a different country, chosen by the government, every three years. His job has taken him to such places as Russia, Turkey and Italy, where he’s worked with diplomats and embassies to analyze and interpret various aspects of culture with other countries. Kelly, currently the U.S. Department of State’s Midwest Diplomat in Residence, recently visited the University of Wisconsin­–Madison campus, where he participated in several sessions to promote careers with the State Department. He told students that this line of work, while sometimes challenging, can be exciting and rewarding for those interested in travel, 'a lot of intellectual situation,' and holding a variety of jobs. Kelly began his Foreign Service career after earning his master’s degree in Russian at Northwestern University. 'I took a student group over to…the Soviet Union,' he says, 'And it was a very difficult time in U.S.-Russian relations. I had worked very closely with the embassy and the consulate, because our students were having some problems and pressure put on them, there were even some legal problems. So I got to know the work of the Foreign Service and decided this is what I wanted to do.' He took the Foreign Service Officer Exam (FSOT), passing it on the second try. Since then, he says, 'I’ve spent most of my time in central and eastern Europe, served twice in the … former Soviet Union, a couple times in Vienna … I was ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.' He also served as an official State Department spokesman, which included regular morning meetings with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. While Kelly enjoys the perks of a diplomatic career, such as rubbing elbows with public figures and being provided with housing when he travels, having a family while serving as a Foreign Service Officer can be difficult. 'It’s not like deciding to work in Milwaukee instead of Madison,' he says. 'With this, you move every three years and you can live all over the world.' According to Kelly, someone opting for a Foreign Service career must choose between two categories—Foreign Service Specialist and Foreign Service Officer—both of which require serving more than half the person’s service overseas. Foreign Service Specialists work in embassies as the security officers, the medical officers, the nurses, the financial officers, human resources officers—a lot of the administrative work, Kelly says. Prospective Foreign Service Specialists do not require testing and may apply at Those who aspire to be a Foreign Service Officer, like Kelly, must take the FSOT, a series of tests that includes ACT-style questions, short essay questions, interviews and an all-day oral assessment. The passing rate for the FSOT is 'two to three percent,' Kelly says, but the test is designed to be extensive to 'show how your background, your character, your interpersonal skills and your motivation' are suited for successful diplomatic career. Foreign Service Officers may choose from among five career paths—public diplomacy officer, political officer, economic officer, management officer and consular officer. Kelly, who took the path of public diplomacy, explains further: 'We divide public diplomacy into culture and press. Culture does student exchanges, cultural presentations, speaker programs. I spent the first half of my career doing culture and the second half of my career doing press.' Political and economic officers deal with either political or financial and trade issues, respectively, and analyze and negotiate these issues with other countries, Kelly says. Management officers administer embassies and have 'diplomatic functions' outside the embassy, and consular officers deal with visas, passports and legal issues.

As the Midwest Diplomat in Residence, currently stationed at the University of Illinois, Kelly is 'responsible for recruiting and outreach in the Midwest for five states.' He recommends that students interested in a Foreign Service career apply for an internship at an embassy (either in Washington, D.C., or abroad). 'I think it’s a fantastic program, especially if you get an internship in an embassy overseas,' he says. 'You work side-by-side with diplomats and get a really good taste of what life is like in the Foreign Service.' He also encourages students to participate in fellowship programs, which offer students a snapshot of life as a Foreign Service Officer or Specialist, plus two years of graduate school paid for by the program and 'limited appointment in the Foreign Service for five years' after completing the fellowship. When recruiting students for these programs, Kelly looks for three key qualities: drive, passion for the field and the ability to fluently speak a language besides English. 'You want to make sure that this person really is ready to come out and work, really interested in international affairs and what an embassy does…I look for motivation and just seriousness, seriousness of purpose,' he says, adding, 'Cultural adaptability is one of the big things we look for in a Foreign Service Officer.' He suggests that those who are interested in Foreign Service Specialist positions sign up for email alerts about State Department job postings. While Foreign Service work can often be challenging, Kelly feels consistently stimulated by the tasks his job presents him. 'It’s a career choice that you really have to reflect very seriously on,” he says, adding, 'Nobody had to push me out to go overseas. The most interesting work is overseas.'” Kelly image from entry

Cyber-Developments in International Relations: Impacts on an Evolving World - "The American Graduate School in Paris invites submissions for its 9th annual AGS Graduate Student Conference. This year’s theme covers an emerging topic in today’s world with the incorporation of advance technological developments, under the heading 'Cyber-Developments in International Relations: Impacts on an Evolving World.' ... Possible Sub-Themes with Examples of Directions include (but are not limited to): ... The incorporation of public diplomacy for soft power enhancement."

Croatian ambassador - "Zvonimir Frka-Petešic, currently head of the public diplomacy service at Croatia's foreign and European affairs ministry, has been appointed Croatia's ambassador to Morocco."

Loussapatz: The Dawn 1009-2013-11-23‏ - Seta's Armenian Blog: "Vartan Gregorian (Վարդան Գրիգորեան); born April 8, 1934 is an Iran-born Armenian-American academic, serving as the president of Carnegie Corporation of New York. ... Gregorian is on the advisory board of USC Center on Public Diplomacy."

Multilateral Cooperation in Promoting a Safe and Secure Global Internet - Natalija Gelvanovska, "Written in conjunction with: ... Ievgeniia Viatchaninova, Consultant, TWICT, Public Diplomacy Program Graduate 2013, Syracuse University and Fulbright Foreign Student Fellow 2011-2013."


Soft power in action (WP1300) - "Date: Monday 3 - Wednesday 5 February, 2014 Location: Wiston House [:] As soft power becomes increasingly the core of 21st century diplomacy, the 7th Wilton Park roundtable meeting in the public diplomacy series will consider how nations are individually and collectively using soft power to influence and persuade others to support their national and international agendas. The meeting will bring together perspectives from across the national and international spectrum of public diplomacy practitioners and policy makers, communications specialists, business, media, think-tanks, academics, non-governmental organisations and other experts. Through frank and off the record discussion under the Wilton Park protocol, participants will share best practice, innovative approaches, challenges and opportunities and seek ways in which to enhance future cooperation towards collective solutions for foreign policy problems. ... The cost of participation is £1460. This covers 2 nights accommodation and all meals during the meeting and attendance at all sessions." Wiston House image from entry

Schedule for the 9th K2K Forum - Centre for Studies in International relations and Development: "9th K2K Forum 21-22 November 2013 Venue: The Gateway Hotel, Opposite Ruby Hospital, EM Bypass Strengthening Regional Economic Cooperation and Promoting Cultural Ties Organised by: Centre for Studies in International Relations and Development (CSIRD) in collaboration with Institute of Foreign Policy Studies (IFPS), University of Calcutta. Sponsored by: Public Diplomacy, Ministry of Extern


On Syria and Iran, U.S. and Russia Can Work Together: Only cooperation between Moscow and Washington can solve the Middle East's most vexing problems - Madeleine Albright, Igor Ivanov, Foreign Policy: We urge Presidents Obama and Putin to seize the opportunity created by their joint initiative on Syrian chemical weapons and the prospect of resolving the Iran nuclear problem to resume regular summit-level meetings and to map out an ambitious yet realistic agenda for both countries. Via HS on Facebook

Who will defend the West? - Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post: Iran’s intransigence on keeping its enrichment and quest for a nuclear-weapons capability comes as a surprise to no other than U.S. negotiator Wendy Sherman, Secretary of State John Kerry and President Obama. One, however, expects the other shoe to drop — for the Obama administration to drop any semblance of respect for the insistence of the “international community” that Iran give up its stockpile, cease enriching and destroy its weapons program.


How (and how much) the 50 states do drugs, in 5 maps - Aaron Blake, Washington Post: Above is a 2008 study, from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, of how many people 12 or older say they have used illicit drugs in the past year. States on the West Coast in the Northeast had the highest use rates.

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