Wednesday, June 8, 2016

International Education Exchanges as a Public Diplomacy Instrument

Jane Wanjira Waithaka and Patrick Maluki,

Education as a public diplomacy tool is a long term investment and it yields its returns in the long term; the results are not realized in the short run as with other public diplomacy tools like the media. The investment in international education has to be done to enhance mutual knowledge (for all the parties concerned) of each other’s societies and complement and add onto all the knowledge that had been acquired earlier on. Unfortunately, education sector providers have short term commercial priorities; partly because they have to be competitive and post profits and partly due to the incoherent nature of most governments’ policies that are deficient in their strategic public diplomacy initiatives. The education providers therefore have a challenge trying to balance the commercial and public diplomacy interests; as most nations lack clear cut policies on public diplomacy for the education providers and hence no incentives are in place for
the said education providers. For education to be used as a public diplomacy tool effectively, there need to exist a real attraction for one another’s programmes for the concerned parties. There also requires being a good connectivity between the concerned parties. The programs have to appeal to the personal and shared aspirations of the individuals concerned; for the individuals to be inspired to cross boundaries. ...

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