Tuesday, February 11, 2014

February 11

"American exceptionalism is basically gone."

--New York Times columnist David Brooks


Diplomacy's Public Dimension: Books, Articles, Websites #68‏ - Bruce Gregory: "Intended for teachers of public diplomacy and related courses, here is an update on resources that may be of general interest. Suggestions for future updates are welcome." Gregory image from entry


Kennan Institute Alumni in Russia: An open letter re the decision to halt the Institute's Moscow office - Posted at John Brown, Notes and Essays; see also.



On the Frontlines of Public Diplomacy: A View from a Foreign Service Officer - CPD Conversations in Public Diplomacy, USC Center on Public Diplomacy, February 19, 2014, 5:00PM - 6:00PM: "FSO John Connerley will share his thoughts on the practice of public diplomacy and what it may look like over the next five years. As the current CPD Senior Visiting Fellow for Public Diplomacy, a position sponsored in conjunction with the U.S. Department of State, John will draw on his deep experience to discuss public diplomacy as a career, as well as the class he is teaching this semester at USC on public diplomacy and the BRIC countries."


New CPD Perspectives, “Britain’s International Broadcasting” - USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "CPD is pleased to announce the release of 2014’s first CPD Perspectives on Public Diplomacy. Titled 'Britain’s International Broadcasting,' this edition of Perspectives is a two-part analysis of the BBC’s function as an instrument of British diplomacy."


FACT SHEET: Student and Youth Exchange Programs between the United States and France - whitehouse.gov:  "The United States and France have a long history of cultural exchange, dating back to the connections forged by Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson as two of the United States’ earliest envoys to Paris. Our exchange programs strengthen academic partnerships, promote the value of community service, and spark entrepreneurship and innovation. We put special emphasis on building connections between French and American youth from different backgrounds. Fulbright: In 2013, the Franco-American Commission for Educational Exchange celebrated its 65th anniversary by launching the Fulbright International Educators program, which brings key decision-makers from U.S. academic institutions to France to discuss cooperation and opportunities for student exchange. Since 1948, approximately 20,000 American and French students and scholars have participated in the Fulbright program. ... Youth Ambassadors for Engagement: The U.S. Department of State and the French National Agency for Social Cohesion and Equal Opportunity support the Youth Ambassadors Program, which connects young people working for positive change in their communities. The program reaches a diverse group of French youth ages 16-25 and includes leadership training and a two-week visit to the United States. The Department of State’s Office of the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs has committed $100,000 to expand this program in 2014, increasing the number of French and American participants. Mission Interuniversitaire de Coordination des Echanges Franco-Américains (MICEFA): Through MICEFA, France, with U.S. support, provides need-based scholarships for French students to study at universities in the United States and provides assistance and enrichment activities for American students studying in France. Foreign Language Teaching Assistant Program in France: The French Ministry of National Education funds an international Language Teaching Assistant Program, which offers young graduates from the United States the opportunity to work in France for seven months, teaching English to French students of all ages. Each year, more than 1,100 American citizens and permanent residents teach in public schools across all regions of France. Partner University Fund (PUF): Established in 2007, PUF is a collaboration between the French government and American private and corporate donors to support academic partnerships between French and American institutions of higher education. PUF promotes three-year university academic and research partnerships at the graduate and post-doctoral levels of study and has awarded five grants for the 2013-2016 cycle. This innovative program supports joint research, mobility of professors and students, dual degrees, and shared curricula in all disciplines. U.S.-French High School exchanges: In 2014, the Department of State will provide $50,000 to the French Ministry of National Education 'MOU' program, which promotes exchanges between French and U.S. high schools. In recent years, hundreds of American and French students have forged lasting connections through this program. FLAME (France Los Angeles Media Exchange): In its fourth year, FLAME is a multi-faceted partnership exchange program that creates a unique opportunity for young talents and emerging professionals in the field of digital arts and media production projects, such as animated film, to build transatlantic ties with leading companies in Los Angeles, French partners, and the U.S. Embassy in Paris. This program, supported by the U.S. Department of State, the Region of Ile de France, and corporate donors provides its participants (6-8 per year) wi [sections missing from text] Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellows Summer Institute: Since 2006, the U.S. Embassy in France nominates French students for the Institute. Each session brings together 35 students, ages 16-18, from across Europe together with 10 American participants for an intense four-week trip to the United States focused on leadership and global issues in a transatlantic context.

Private Exchanges: Thousands of French and American university students participate in study abroad exchange programs each year, and those numbers are increasing. In the 2012/2013 academic year, 8,297 French undergraduate and graduate students studied in the United States. In the 2011/2012 academic year, 17,168 American students studied in France. Additionally, France and the United States have hundreds of sister city relationships that promote people-to-people exchange and connect French and American businesses." Image from

Leave it to the French to make culinary diplomacy difficult - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "With L’affaire Hollande, the White House is left in a bit of culinary diplomacy trickiness with what to do with the empty seat next to French President Hollande.  There is a second interesting tidbit to the story: [']The state dinner has long been one of the most celebrated of presidential affairs, 'an event that also showcases global power and influence,' as the White House Historical Association puts it. The first president to have one for a foreign leader was Ulysses S. Grant, who in 1874 feted King David Kalakaua of the Sandwich Islands, now known as Hawaii.[']"

U.S. Department Of State Announces St. Petersburg Sports Envoy Program - broadcastindia.com: "In conjunction with the 2014 Winter Olympics, the U.S. Department of State announces a figure skating Sports Envoy program, February 15–18 in St. Petersburg, Russia, featuring reigning Olympic champion Evan Lysacek and 2010 Winter Olympian Rachael Flatt. Sports exchanges are a key component of the U.S.–Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission’s efforts to strengthen relationships between the people of the United States and Russia. The duo will celebrate the 140th anniversary of modern figure skating introduced in Russia by American skater and ballet dancer, Jackson Haines. Lysacek will travel to St. Petersburg from Sochi, where he is working as an Olympic analyst. The 2010 gold medalist last served as a Sports Envoy on behalf of the United States in Belarus and Sweden in 2012. He will be accompanied by Flatt, a Stanford University student who competed in the Vancouver Games in 2010. While in Sochi, Lysacek and Flatt will conduct clinics with local youth athletes of all skill levels and abilities, and will engage university audiences on healthy living, the spirit of the Olympics, and the ability of sports to bring together people regardless of culture or background. Since 2003, the State Department has brought nearly 1,000 athletes from more than 60 countries to the United States to participate in sports visitor programs while sending over 220 U.S. athletes to more than 50 countries on sports envoy programs. By overseeing the State Department’s sports diplomacy programming, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs involves traditionally underrepresented audiences. To learn more about the U.S. Department of State’s celebration of the 2014 Winter Olympics and sports diplomacy, please enjoy Olympic Figure Skater and U.S. State Department Senior Advisor for Public Diplomacy Michele Kwan’s video address here: http://www.youtube.com/watch v=iZ0scaW0qdw."

Prioritizing Education Offers Powerful Return on Investment for Caravan to Class - PRWeb: "[T]the 9/11 Commission similarly concluded in its 2004 report that eliminating al-Qaida as the greatest threat to U.S. security will ultimately require 'prevailing in the longer term over the ideology that gives rise to Islamist terrorism.' Waging a war of ideas is hardly a new idea, and something the U.S. government navigated for decades during the Cold War, but seems to be lagging in now. This approach, involving public diplomacy, strategic communications, and leveraging information technology, is arguably cheaper, subtler, and more complex than physical warfare. At the most basic level, it begins with education – a fundamental factor in a nation’s security and quality of life. ... Caravan to Class is a U.S.-based nonprofit that builds schools in the Malian Sahara and assists in their early years of operations with supplies, nutrition and teachers’ salaries until the schools can be self-sufficient."

Shirley Temple Black Dies At 85 - Doug Mataconis, outsidethebeltway.com: "Shirley Temple Black, who became one 0f the biggest stars in Hollywood history at a very young age, has passed away at the age of 85. ... After surviving a serious illness

due to complications from childbirth and, later, a mastectomy, Temple evolved into a diplomat. She ran unsuccessfully for Congress from San Mateo County, Calif. She was U.S. representative at the United Nations, ambassador to Ghana, U.S. chief of protocol under President Gerald Ford and President George H.W. Bush’s ambassador to Czechoslovakia. ... [Coment by:] John Burgess says: Tuesday, February 11, 2014 at 10:07 I recall many Temple films on TV, but also as first features in many double-feature kids programs in the 1950s. Shirley Temple Black, as a diplomat, was effective in both Ghana and Czechoslovakia. She was a strong supporter of the now-defunct US Information Agency and clearly saw the role for public diplomacy. At one point, she was being mentioned as a possible head of that agency, in the 1980s, but that never came to pass." Uncaptioned image from entry

Create your own India story - Hindustan Times: "The public diplomacy division of the ministry of external affairs has called for submissions for its India Is Global Video Challenge 2014. Participants will have to send five-minute videos that fall under any of these themes: India is timeless, India is youthful, India is undiscovered. There is no restriction on the number of entries you can submit. The India Is Global Video Challenge 2014 is open to everyone above 18 years of age as of January 15, 2014 and is a registered user of YouTube/Google+. The challenge is open to citizens of all countries. ... For further details, visit http://indiais.org/video/faq.php"

Invited to Intl seminar - Hueiyen News Service, e-pao.ne: "R.K.Shivachandra, President of Indo-Myanmar Fraternal Alliance, has been invited to participate as a resource person in the International Seminar on the theme of 'Indo Myanmar Relations-A new Horizon' to be held at Kolkata on February 8 and 9, 2014.Shivachandra will speak on 'Indo Myanmar Cultural relationship' where he will emphasize with special reference to the cultural relation with Manipur. The seminar is being organised by Institute of Social and Cultural Studies under the aegis of public diplomacy division of Ministry of External Affairs and National Library and Exim Bank."

[Builsiron] Flower of public diplomacy, Korea storytelling: Yisuncheon former visiting professor at Korea University of Foreign National Ledger [Google "translation"] - busan.com: "[G]lobal age story in the world whose citizens have more trust, you want to hear and determine the evaluation and now we have a public diplomacy in the international community about our story, that must be storytelling."

Filipinos back govt on China action: survey - gulf-times.com: "The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has not yet made any change in policies based on the results of the Social Weather Station (SWS) survey that showed Filipinos’ positive response to Manila’s actions against China’s intrusive behaviour in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea). Raul Hernandez, Foreign Affairs spokesman, said the department was 'encouraged' and 'empowered' by the results of the survey, but he admitted that he was unsure how the results will affect their policies. ... The department said the survey was commissioned to help them further fulfill its mandate and enhance public diplomacy. But the survey is observably focused on the country’s issue with China’s growing aggression in the region."

Did the entire Tamil population rebelled to bifurcate Sri Lanka? - Daya Gamage, Asian Tribune: "Letters to the United States Congressmen written and dispatched by Sri Lanka government -commissioned Washington public relations and lobbying firm Thompson Advisory Group (TAG)

to bring attention to Sri Lanka issues and announce the arrival of Sri Lanka presidential secretary Lalith Weeratunga for series of meetings in Capitol Hill gave the impression that the entire Tamil population - 12% in all - rebelled against the Sri Lanka authorities contrary to what Sri Lanka has been endeavoring to communicate to the international community. ... It seems that there are no seasoned and professional diplomats in Sri Lanka's diplomatic mission in Washington to work with TAG instead allowing it, which doesn't seem to have understood what Sri Lanka needs, to act on its own further messing up even the little public diplomacy and strategic communication ability this South Asian nation possesses." Image from entry

“Our” ABC Australia Network: a Soapbox For the Likes of Waleed Aly? - Sheikyer Mami, sheikyermami.com: "Why on earth are we wasting all this money on the ABC’s Australia Network?"

shooting wabbits... - yourdemocracy.net.au: "In launching his unwarranted attack on the ABC, Tony Abbott is repaying debts to the Murdoch media empire

for getting him elected prime minister, writes Matthew N Donovan." Image from entry

Jose’s Sampa cycle and footy tour - smudgersambacycle.org: "I’ve been staying with another fantastic Couchsurfing host Luiz but while he’s been at work I’ve spent most of my two days in Sampa (aka Sao Paulo) cycling around with José Renato Bergo, a very cool local guy with 'fifteen years of experience in directing, producing and coordinating audiovisual media projects', and currently that means making a documentary about city cycling in Brazil.

So as well as showing me around with some fun biking, he’s been filming me and Luis (that’s my bike, for the new blog followers) in all the best looking places in the city centre! ... 
I walked to the nearby British Consulate to meet Barbara Taborda Reis who’s the Communications ... Public Diplomacy Manager and she and colleague Beatriz Correa took some photos and video of me for a press release." Image from entry, with caption: Sampa street art

When Local Becomes Global: Diplomacy In The Concrete Jungle -  Emily Schatzle, Samba Diplomacy: "Researching  Public Diplomacy in São Paulo: "Today, seven Master of Public Diplomacy students are embarking for São Paulo, Brazil. We will arrive tomorrow afternoon, spend Sunday getting acquainted with the city, and will begin our meetings on Monday. Stay tuned for updates on our initial thoughts on São Paulo, photos of the delicious food and caipirinhas we will be enjoying, and most importantly reflections on our first few meetings and public diplomacy lessons.

As students of diplomacy, the logical choice for a research trip in Brazil might seem to be Brasilia. As the capital, Brasilia hosts the country’s diplomatic corps and would certainly make a worthy case study of how diplomacy works in Brazil. While traditional diplomacy will always be worth pursuing, we are not going to Brazil to learn about traditional diplomacy. Rather, we are going to learn about innovations: we want to learn what is different about Brazil, and what this means for public diplomacy in the rest of the world. One of the innovations I will be focusing on is city diplomacy." Image from entry


Delusions Drive (More) U.S. Aid to Afghanistan - Peter Van Buren, We Meant Well: With Afghanistan, it is difficult to find anyone, outside of a few true believers and U.S. government

PR people, who believe the money spent on aid to Afghanistan is not a waste. Image from

Secretary ScarJo - Bret Stephens, Wall Street Journal: the secretary of state IS talking about the effort to boycott Israel not as an affront to the United States and an outrage to decency but as a tide he is powerless to stop and that anyway should get Israel to change its stiff-necked ways. When was the last time the U.S., much less the Europeans, threatened to impose penalties on Palestinians for diplomatic or moral misbehavior?

Use Force to Save Starving Syrians - Danny Postel and Nader Hashemi, New York Times: Mr. Assad’s government and extremist rebels must make a choice: Allow humanitarian aid to flow or be subject to attack.

In Turkey, troubling signs of authoritarianism: The government gave itself the power last week to block Internet sites and track individual users without court review - Editorial, latimes.com: Turkey needs to reverse course, and the U.S. should urge it to do so. Past American alignment with repressive governments has often complicated diplomatic efforts, and contributed to skepticism around the world about how strongly the U.S. supports human rights. Turkey is an important and welcome ally in a turbulent region.

This would be a good time for both countries to show leadership in protecting free expression and the fundamentals of democracy. Image from entry, with caption: Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan gives a press conference after a meeting at the European Parliament in Brussels.

Putin’s Potemkin propaganda project - Rich Lowry, sltrib.com: For Putin, any cost, and any means, was worth the SOcho Olympics. Like the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, these games are priceless political propaganda. By securing them, Putin also bought the tacit cooperation of the global media, which might scoff at the glitches and tsk-tsk at his regime’s anti-gay discrimination, but at the end of the day will always "oooh" and "aaah" at the spectacle of it all and accentuate the positive.

Crippling the Intelligence We Used to Get bin Laden: Obama's directive to protect the privacy of foreigners will make Americans less safe - Mike Pompeo and David B. Rivkin, Jr., Wall Street Journal: Under the Constitution, national security and intelligence are largely the president's responsibility. Because President Obama has decided to recognize a foreign right to privacy, Congress has little ability to check his move. But lawmakers can and should hold him accountable for a directive (PPD-28) that will hobble our foreign-intelligence capabilities, even as the world spies on us and threats to Americans multiply.

Propaganda for a Peace Deal - algemeiner.com: For more than a week, anyone who gets off of the Jerusalem light rail can’t help but notice the impressive looking posters that feature a large picture of Prime Minister Netanyahu. Each one has a statement above the prime minister’s picture that begins with the words “Without a treaty” and then continues with a potential ramification of not signing a treaty with the Arabs such as “Without a treaty we cannot guarantee a Jewish democratic state” or “Without a treaty we will not succeed in lowering the high cost of living.” Finally, each poster adds the following words of encouragement under the prime minister’s picture, “Bibi, only you can.” The posters themselves are signed by BTI, an acronym for Breaking the Impasse. Not just any old organization, BTI is a group of extremely prominent Israeli and Palestinian businessmen who are trying to pressure their respective leaders into signing an agreement (admittedly, I don’t know if the Arabs are doing their part in this joint venture). With money clearly not an obstacle, BTI members have supposedly laid out a total of one million shekels for the high profile two-week advertising campaign.

Israel starts new propaganda war to beat boycott - theaustralian.com: Israeli spies have been ordered to dig up intelligence showing that supporters of an economic boycott are linked to terrorists and enemy states. The strategy was presented at a ministerial meeting called to discuss how to respond to the growing number of foreign companies refusing to do business with Israeli entities operating in Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank. They are considered illegal under international law.

At the meeting Yuval Steinitz, the Minister for Intelligence and Strategy, outlined a plan for a media blitz against organisations advocating boycotts. His strategy includes intelligence agencies working to expose "their connection to terror organisations and enemy states", the Hebrew-language newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported. Image from entry, with caption: SodaStream's 2014 Super Bowl commercial featuring actress Scarlett Johansson, who has been criticised for promoting the company which manufactures inside Israel’s West Bank.

Nigeria’s anti-gay law demands a response from the West - Editorial, Washington Post: Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa and a major oil producer, is hard to influence. But Britain still delivers hundreds of millions of dollars in development aid, while the United States buys 70 percent of Nigeria’s oil. Both should be aggressively using their leverage to protect the vulnerable gay community in the country. As a starting point, they should let Nigerian President Jonathan know he and his government will be unwelcome in Washington and London until the law is repealed.

“Gay Propaganda” - Tatiana Ermakova, New Yorker: What follows is an excerpt from the book “Gay Propaganda,” a collection of testimonials from L.G.B.T. Russians, edited by Masha Gessen and Joseph Huff-Hannon. The book takes its title from a law signed by Vladimir Putin barring “propaganda” about “nontraditional sexual relations.”

The section below is Tatiana Ermakova’s essay “I had a career in Russia, a nice apartment, friends, family. I sacrificed all that to be with Ana.” Image from entry

Why Russia should ban Michelangelo and Caravaggio's gay 'propaganda': If it follows anti-gay laws shadowing the Sochi Winter Olympics, surely Russia should censor masterpieces in its finest museum - Jonathan Jones, The Guardian. Below image from entry, with caption: Jewel of the Hermitage … Caravaggio's The Lute Player:

US propaganda posters from World War II at the National Maritime Museum - Christopher Allen, theaustralian.com: The works in the small but interesting exhibition of American wartime propaganda posters at the Australian National Maritime Museum are undoubtedly propaganda images, even though no one would doubt the sincerity and patriotic intent of the artists who made them.

Very deliberately, and with skills developed in the advertising industry, they appeal to different groups and offer people different ways to think about their contribution to the war effort. Image from entry


Outgoing Ambassador to the Russian Federation Michael McFaul on Facebook: "Embarrassing to misspell 'embarrassing' on FB!

No more posting in the dark, in the back of my car, with my bad eye sight [sic; see]!" Comment to the Ambassador's remark: "John Green automatic spellchecking really plays it's [sic] dark role in history. we're in danger!" Image from


--From: Eight U.S. states have policies similar to Russia’s ban on gay ‘propaganda’ - Niray Chokshi, Washington Post: Eight states limit speech about homosexuality in ways similar to, though not as far-reaching as, the Russian ban that has received international criticism ahead of the Winter Olympics in Sochi. The states have so-called ”no promo homo” bans—prohibitions on classroom instruction that promotes homosexuality.

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