Tuesday, June 7, 2016

An important note from Hans N. "Tom" Tuch to members of the Public Diplomacy Council (PDC)

[Cited here with Mr. Tuch's kind ok. On the Public Diplomacy Council, see.]


It was a sad day last week when I learned that Fletcher [see] had eliminated the teaching of public diplomacy from its curriculum. This information was confirmed by Bill R[ugh], the long-time Edward R. Murrow fellow, who has been teaching the course and advising students on Foreign Service careers in public diplomacy.

I would think that Ed Gullion, Fletcher's erstwhile dean, had taken several turns in his grave at this news. It was he who claimed to be the creator of the term, "public diplomacy["] [see]; and Fletcher, to the best of my knowledge, became the first institution to promote public diplomacy in its curriculum and to include its study as part of its MALD and PhD programs. It was Gullion who, jointly with USIA [see], established the Murrow Center of Public Diplomacy after the death of USIA's former director, and created the Edward R. Murrow Award for Excellence in Public Diplomacy which Fletcher annually awarded to a senior USIA FSO.

I myself based the content of "Communicating with the World" (St. Martin's Press, 1990), published while I was teaching at Georgetown, on what I had done at Fletcher as the Murrow fellow.  I found my time at Fletcher among the most rewarding experiences during my Foreign Service career.  

I do not know why Dean James Stavridis made the decision to eliminate the teaching of public diplomacy.  I believe that he would understand that public diplomacy is an indispensable element in the conduct of international relations, and the efforts his predecessor, Edmund Gullion, made in promoting it at Fletcher in the name and memory of Edward Murrow, the renown former director of USIA.

I do not know how to reverse the Fletcher decision.  I believe the PDC membership should be apprised of this development, and I would hope that PDC members, especially Fletcher alumni among them, might have an interest and ideas as to how to convince Dean Stavridis to reestablish the public diplomacy program.
Obviously, PDC management should be equally involved. It would have to consult with State's Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy, as the successor of USIA leadership, regarding the reestablishment of the relationship with Fletcher. (USIA management regarded the relationship with Fletcher important, especially, the annual nomination of senior FSOs as candidates for selection by Fletcher to become Edward R. Murrow fellows.)

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