Thursday, September 21, 2017

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Document in Context
This is part of Federal Register Volume 82, Issue 181 (September 20, 2017)
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Forwarded by LJB re this event:
10:28 AM (6 hours ago)

to ljbjbb

Dear PD Friends,

Writing to invite you to ACPD’s next public meeting, scheduled for Sept 28 from 10:30-12:00p (U.S. Capitol Visitor Center, room 212-10, First St. NE, Washington, DC 20515).

The session will feature a keynote address from Laura Rosenberger, director of The Alliance for Securing Democracy and co-lead on a bipartisan effort to counter Russian disinformation aiming to weaken Western democratic values and institutions. Some may be more familiar with the project's Hamilton 68 dashboard, which tracks Russian influence operations on Twitter.

The meeting will also include a presentation and discussion of key findings from the Commission’s 2017 Comprehensive Annual Report on Public Diplomacy and International Broadcasting, as well as recommendations for improving U.S. government public diplomacy efforts. Copies of the report will be available at the meeting.

This meeting is open to the public, Members and staff of Congress, the State Department, Defense Department, the media, and other governmental and non-governmental organizations. RSVP is required

To attend and make any requests for reasonable accommodation, email Michelle Bowen at by 5 p.m. on Monday, September 25, 2017. Please arrive for the meeting by 10:15 a.m. to have time to clear through security and to allow for a prompt start.

Additional details and RSVP can be found here.

Please let me know if you have any questions! All the best,

Shawn Powers
Executive Director
Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy
U.S. Department of State


Sisi-Netanyahu meeting: Lights, camera and a new era of public diplomacy?

Herb Keinon, Jerusalem Post

Image from article, with caption: "Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (R) speaks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) during their meeting as part of an effort to revive the Middle East peace process ahead of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, U.S., September 19, 2017 in this handout picture courtesy."

The visuals – Netanyahu and Sisi sitting next to each other smiling, shaking hands – is what is important.

NEW YORK – It is not every day that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets leaders of Arab countries publicly and with cameras capturing the moment.

In fact, it has hardly ever happened in the eight years since Netanyahu became prime minister for the second time in 2009. And that is precisely why the 90-minute meeting in New York on Monday evening with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was so significant.

This is truly an example of the importance of the meeting being in the public nature of the meeting itself. In this case the visuals – Netanyahu and Sisi sitting next to each other smiling, shaking hands – is what is important.

Though Netanyahu met twice in secret in 2016 with Sisi – once in Aqaba with then-secretary of state John Kerry and Jordanian King Abdullah, and another time in Cairo with Zionist Union head Isaac Herzog – this was the first time he did so in public.

The last time an Egyptian president shook hands publicly with an Israeli leader was in the days of deposed president Hosni Mubarak.

Netanyahu speaks often, though always amorphously, about Israel’s good cooperation and strong security ties with its Arab neighbors. That is the good news.

The bad news is that those neighbors – including the neighbors like Egypt and Jordan with which Israel has peace treaties – are not willing to take those ties out of the closet and into full public view.

The reason given is that if the leadership of these countries would make the ties public, they would face a wave of angry backlash from their publics not ready for cooperation with Israel.

But this is circular reasoning, because only when the leaders make their meetings with Israelis public will the message filter down to the street and perhaps incrementally change public attitudes toward Israel. This may take long years and a peace deal with the Palestinians, but without positive cues from the top, it will take even longer.

Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other Gulf countries are benefiting from security and intelligence cooperation with Israel as they face with Israel the common enemies of Iran and radical Sunni terrorism. At the same time, however, they have until now not been willing to give Israel something important to it in return – public recognition of those ties.

By meeting Netanyahu publicly, Sisi is acknowledging what everybody knows – that Egypt has an important and significant relationship with Israel.

The fact that he no longer feels the need to hide this may lead others to do the same.

Kyiv Post’s Straight Talk guests brainstorm Ukraine’s brand (PHOTOS)

Kostyantyn Chernichkin,

image (not from article) from

Public officials, business people, artists, academicians, and marketing experts gathered on Sept. 19 at the Fedoriv Hub in Kyiv to discuss what makes Ukraine competitive and how it could be converted into an influx of foreign investment.

It was the third Kyiv Post’s Straight Talk public discussion, and it was focused on the brand of Ukraine.

Its panelists included founder and CEO of Fedoriv marketing agency Andriy Fedoriv, head of Public Diplomacy Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Anatoliy Solovey, the State Secretary at the Ministry of Information Policy Artem Bidenko, deputy CEO for foreign economic activity at Ukroboronprom state-run arms producer Dennis Gurak, CEO of the Nemiroff alcohol producer Yuriy Sorochynskiy, and pop singer Ruslana Lyzhychko, who won Eurovision Song Contest in 2004.

The discussion was moderated by Dmytro Fedoruk, a partner at Redcliffe Partners law firm.

2017 Guangdong Public Diplomacy Week starts

Shenzhen Daily

    2017-September-21  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

A foreign guest takes a photo with performers yesterday after a Cantonese opera show which is a part of 2017 Guangdong Public Diplomacy Week. The three-day event will bring series of activities to Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Dongguan cities in Guangdong. China News Service

Michel Barnier’s private Brexit road show


Image from article, with caption: "The EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier."

The EU’s chief negotiator tells audiences a bespoke customs deal sought by UK will take a lot longer than divorce talks.

Barnier’s presentations are part of an ongoing campaign of public diplomacy aimed at maintaining unity on the EU side — and perhaps also laying the groundwork for a future tilt at the European Commission presidency, once Jean-Claude Juncker [JB - see] departs. ... 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

USC Center on Public Diplomacy - CPD Daily (September 18)

PD News Logo
September 18, 2017 via email
MORE than 1,000 British troops are in a race against time to get aid to the Caribbean as yet another hurricane headed towards the batters the region. Royal Marine Commandos and engineers are continuing to gather medical supplies, food, water and building materials to send to the British Virgin Islands (BVIs), Anguilla, and Turks and Caicos after Storm Maria was upgraded to a hurricane overnight. Read More...
With the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics less than five months away, South Korea is accelerating its public diplomacy to promote the South Korea-hosted international sports event where the cultural allure of Korea could be illuminated globally. [...] The ministry is utilizing its 182 overseas diplomatic missions to reach out to the world to promote the sports games. Read More...
A senior delegation of UAE ambassadors has been welcomed by the Juilliard School, a performing arts conservatory. The visit came ahead of the United Nations General Assembly and reflected a shared interest between the UAE and the Juilliard School in the power of the arts in the development of society. During their visit, the ambassadors saw student performances and rehearsals, and reviewed manuscripts from the Juilliard Manuscript Collection, including the original score of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. Read More...
As Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan pointed out in his essay for the 2016 Soft Power 30 report, the concept of soft power is still relatively foreign to many diplomatic services in Latin America, but this is beginning to change. Several countries in the region have started developing their capabilities to tap into, systematize, and project soft power internationally. In conducting foreign policy, public diplomacy is a key instrument for countries to assert their views and leverage soft power assets. Read More...
Every other day or so, Hatem El-Gamasy connects to a news audience nearly halfway around the world, delivering hot takes on American politics, live from New York, but on Egyptian television. When the broadcast ends, he slips out his earpieces, opens the door of his makeshift studio and returns to his day job. Mr. El-Gamasy owns the Lotus Deli in Ridgewood, Queens, a place known for its sandwiches, extensive craft beer selection, and its gracious, friendly owner. But few of his customers — and likely, none of his viewers in Egypt — know that the man making egg sandwiches and... Read More...
Aziz Boolani, CEO Serena hotels, in his introductory remarks, spoke of the initiatives taken by Serena hotels over the past few years and their contribution to the society. The focus was on adventure diplomacy, sports diplomacy and public diplomacy and how Serena has managed to bring these sectors of the corporate and diplomatic community together for a cause. Read More...
A friendship match is held at the headquarters of the United Nations in commemoration of the China-U.S. Ping-Pong diplomacy, 45 years after the Chinese Ping-Pong delegation came to the UN for the first time, in New York September 15, 2017. In 1971 and 1972, U.S. and Chinese table tennis teams exchanged visit after many years of estrangement and antagonism between the two countries, opening the door for the China-U.S. people-to-people contact. Read More...

Saturday, September 16, 2017

CEO outlines BBG’s efforts to confront Russian disinformation abroad

Press Release, BBG; via LJB

image from entry

The Broadcasting Board of Governors’ CEO John F. Lansing testified before the Helsinki Commission today on the escalation of Russian disinformation around the world and the BBG’s response to it.
“Make no mistake the United States is confronted by information warfare, and I don’t use that term lightly,” said Lansing. “The good work of our journalists around the world is an essential element of the national security tool kit through the export of objective, independent, and professional journalism and the universal values of free media and free speech.”
Lansing detailed the February launch of Current Time, a 24/7 Russian-language digital network that aims to reach Russian speakers in Russia, the Russian periphery, and around the world.
Current Time produces daily news shows about the United States and global events (including within Russia), and features reports on business, entrepreneurship, civil society, culture, and corruption. It is distributed in more than 23 countries on 59 satellite, cable, and digital distributors.
Co-chair Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) agreed with Lansing on the effectiveness of the network, “Current Time is a responsible and responsive attempt to get the truth out.”
The hearing, which examined Russia’s efforts to spread disinformation, both domestically and abroad, was chaired by Acting Chairman Cory Gardner (R-CO). Co-Chair Chris Smith (R-NJ), Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Ben Cardin (D-MD), and Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) were among the Commission Members who attended.
In addition to BBG CEO Lansing, the committee heard testimony from Melissa Hooper, Director of Human Rights and Civil Society Programs at Human Rights First and Molly McKew, CEO of Fianna Strategies.
A recording of today’s hearing is available on the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe’s websitenote that the hearing begins six minutes and 22 seconds (00:06:22) into the video.
CEO Lansing’s written testimony is available here.

TRACK II eclectic group of enthusiasts of better US-Russia relations

An ordinary Thursday in St.Petersburg

[Facebook entry posted here with Mr. Iljine's kind ok]
After breakfast with our TRACK II eclectic group of enthusiasts of better US-Russia relations ( )

Consisting on this trip to St.Petersburg of: 

Dulce Murphy – Executive Director, Track Two

Michael Murphy – Co-Founder, Director, Esalen Institute and Executive Director, Center for Theory & Research, Esalen Institute and author (US)

Antonina Bouis – Board member, Track Two, Advisory Board Member, The Hermitage, literary translator (US)

Jean Claude Bouis – writer, editor, photographer, formerly journalist with the Associated Press, New York Times and Standard & Poors (US)

Lizbeth Hasse – Board member, Track Two, lawyer, negotiator, mediator with an international practice in intellectual property, mediation and commercial law; advisor, Heart to Heart (US)

Nic Iljine – International cooperation consultant, author and editor; Advisor to the General Director of the State Hermitage (DE)

Christa Iljine – education expert, editor (DE)

J. Mitchell Johnson – film maker, producer, documentarian working on Fort Ross media project; living in Rostov-on-Don (RU)

Svetlana Johnson – Russian painter living in Rostov-on-Don (RU) 

Evelyn Messinger - Executive Director of CitizensChannel, is a television, Internet and cross-platform media producer (US)

Joe Orrach - actor, dancer and story-teller who works in live theater, television, and film (US)

Ksenia Semenova - journalist, editor and public relations expert. She is currently the Executive Editor of the Russian-language site The Question in Moscow (RU)

Kim Spencer – Founder, Link TV, journalist and film director 

Virginia (Ginger) Thomson – Senior Consultant to Track Two, strategy, development; consultant to technology start-ups and NGO’s (US)

We visited Tom Leary, General Consul of the USA, in the beautiful residence on Grodnensky Pereulok.

His wife Rachel and long term Public Affairs/Culture officer Tatyana Kosmynina were there too and were lively participants of the discussion during our 90 minute visit.

Tom Leary is the most culturally affine US Foreign Office diplomat I have ever met.
In fact this is his second St. Petersburg posting, having served as Public Affairs Officer there from 1999-2001. Following his first St. Petersburg assignment, he served as Press Attaché at the Embassy in Moscow from 2001-2004 and to more exotic places in between. 

We made a joint “tour d’horizon” of our respective activities and we learnt a lot and Tom was very supportive of our activities and goals in spite of the fact that we proclaim “citizen diplomacy” as opposed to governmental.

Next stop, after a quick lunch at “Pushka Inn” was the European University of St.Petersburg We had a look at their sumptuous palazzo building which they have to leave soon by moving to another more modest but more practical building just across the road.

Our interlocutors were:

1. Prof. Veljko Vujachic, Provost

2. Prof. Nikita Lomagin, Vice-Rector for GR, Academic Director of MA ‘Energy Politics in Eurasia’ (ENERPO) 

3. Dr. Maria Trofimova, Dean of Int’l programs

4. Dr. Gevorg Avetikian, Executive Director of MA in Russian and Eurasian Studies (IMARES)

5. Maxim Titov, Director of ENERPO Research Center, former senior officer at IFC.

The theme was a future (maybe May 2018) dialogue round between American and Russian Graduate students on the subject of how the image of a country is formed;

factors like personal experience, media, education, stereotypes, propaganda, influence of parents & friends, Hollywood films etc. Other subjects such as common threats & problems, economic factors, environmental problems, journalist training etc.

Cultural highlight of the evening was the 45 minute solo performance of our Track II activist Joe Orrach in the St.Petersburg Theatre Club expertly managed by the “mother hen” of all the local actors Larissa Romanovna Novikova.

“IN MY CORNER” was written by Joe’s muse & wife Lizbeth Hasse and Joe plays five roles: 

A Puerto Rican kid growing up and playing in the Bronx

Joe is 25

Joe as a strict & unforgiving father at the age of 30 with a strong Puerto Rican accent

Joe’s mother slightly older than 30 speaking with a nasal Bronx accent

Toni Fortupiano, over 60, boxing trainer

It was a pitty that the stage floor was not wooden because that would have enhanced the sound of his tap dancing !

The music was composed by Matt Clark who was at the piano . Dynamic Dan Gonzalez was at the drums, two of which were conjured up in 24 hours by Lifestyle & Design Hedonist Alexey Bezobrazov.

Joe Orrach is an actor, dancer and story-teller who works in live theater, television, and film. His performing career started as a boxer. He was the Welterweight Champion of the US Air Force, he took ballet for his footwork, then became a tap dancer on the streets of NYC.

On stage, Joe has performed with Joan Baez, Bob Hope, the Smothers Brothers, Michael Davis, Liliane Montevecchi, Bill Irwin, David Shiner, Melissa Manchester, and the Cookie Monster, among others.

He has tap danced with such greats as Gregory Hines, Jimmy Slyde and Savion Glover, and old masters including the Nicholas Brothers, Honi Coles, Charles “Cookie” Cook, Chuck Green and Lon Cheney. He has been directed by Woody Allen (Everyone Says I Love You), James Mangold (Copland), Tim Boxell (Valley of the Heart’s Delight), Stefan Haves (Punch Drunk) and David Shiner (Nacht Mund).

With an MFA from University of Southern California’s School of Dramatic Arts, he also enjoys teaching and is known for his skill at helping students find their own voices and stories through rhythm and movement. Joe is currently touring two of his original works IN MY CORNER, a play with an original score by Matt Clark, directed by Jeremiah Chechik, that Joe wrote with Lizbeth Hasse and STReeT/FeaT, an original work for 3 dancers and 3 musicians that premiered in 2015 at Theatre de Suresnes, Paris..

Each year, the Joe Orrach Performance Project (JOPP) under Joe’s leadership reaches hundreds of high school students with programs that help them use their bodies, voices and talents to tell their own stories.

Anyway, after the performance which was widely applauded by the young public we gathered in the Club’s restaurant for drinks and talks with the guests which included many students of ballet & theatre. One expert, Viktor Abramovich Novikov, Artistic Director of the St.Petersburg State Academic V.E.Komissarzhevskaya Drama Theatre told me and Tom Leary that he was stunned by the brilliance of Joe’s performance and that he wants to see him on other stages in Russia’s Northern Cultural Capital !
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