Place Branding and Public Diplomacy 11, 263-275 (November 2015) | doi:10.1057/pb.2015.11
Reconciling controversial national histories with future goals is a common challenge for many countries. Public diplomacy, however, has become a strategy to combat negative perceptions and build international credibility. Research in this area has primarily focused on public diplomacy campaigns’ effects on foreign populations. However, the existing literature has thus far not sufficiently addressed the relationship between public diplomacy and domestic constituencies. This analysis attempts to fill this void in the literature and demonstrate that engagement with a domestic constituency can add credibility to a country’s public diplomacy campaign. As a case study, this article examines the public diplomacy of Poland beginning with its efforts to achieve accession to the European Union, explains the mechanism that connects public diplomacy to the domestic society and analyzes the effects observed from this case – notably the revival of Jewish culture in Polish society. This study also demonstrates reductions in anti-Semitic attitudes among Poles by using survey data acquired throughout the country’s public diplomacy campaign. These findings demonstrate that public diplomacy engagement with a domestic constituency can indeed have remarkable impacts that help build diplomatic credibility and ease international concerns about a country’s past.