Newsletter, Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training
In February 2008, Berghan Books of Oxford and New York published Practicing Public Diplomacy: A Cold War Odyssey Yale Richmond’s eighth book. In it he details the doings of a U.S. Foreign Service cultural affairs officer in five Cold War hot spots—Germany, Laos, Poland, Austria, and the Soviet Union—and in Washington with the State Department, the Helsinki Commission of the U.S. Congress, and the National Endowment for Democracy.
Part history, part memoir, the book takes readers into the trenches of the Cold War and demonstrates what public diplomacy—communicating directly with the people of other countries—can accomplish, providing examples of what could be done today in countries where anti-Americanism runs high. Harvard’s Joseph S. Nye has written: “It is sometimes said that soft power helped to win the Cold War. To find out what it was like to be on the front lines of these battles, read this fascinating memoir.”
Wilson Dizard, author of Inventing Public Diplomacy, wrote that Richmond “was involved in this subject more directly and over a longer period of time than any other U.S. government official” and his book “documents a critical element in U.S. Cold War relations.”
In his foreword to Practicing Public Diplomacy, former ambassador Jack Matlock writes: “Yale Richmond’s memoir reminds us that pressures to politicize and propagandize official information and cultural exchange policy are nothing new. . . . What the proponents of a propaganda approach to public diplomacy miss is that it just doesn’t work.”
Yale Richmond has forty years of “hands-on” experience in international affairs as a Foreign Service officer, congressional staffer, and foundation program officer. His work involved cultural, educational, information, and scientific exchanges with the Soviet Union and the countries of Eastern Europe, with which he negotiated fourteen intergovernmental agreements. He has devoted his retirement to writing and public speaking. He is the author of numerous magazine and newspaper articles, and one of his books, From Nyet to Da: Understanding the Russians, sold more than 30,000 copies in four editions and was translated into Chinese and Korean editions.