Monday, July 24, 2017

USC Center on Public Diplomacy - CPD Weekly (July 21)

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Jul 21, 2017 via email

YouTube says it will redirect people searching for "violent extremist propaganda" and offer them videos that denounce terrorism. People searching for certain terms relating to the so-called Islamic State group will be offered playlists of videos "debunking its mythology". Read More...
“I hope we have made Afghanistan and the people of Afghanistan proud,” Azizi said. Of that there was no question. The Afghan ambassador, Hamdullah Mohib, said greeting the robotics team at Dulles International Airport was the “proudest moment of my career”. He described the girls as symbols of a new Afghanistan emerging from the shadow of America’s longest war. Read More...
Minister for Defence and National Security Ratu Inoke Kubuabola yesterday met with the Australian Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Concetta Fierravanti-Wells. [...] “Fiji will pursue the establishment of the Regional Peacekeeping and HADR Centre and we hope development partners will join our efforts and look at a specific component of the model to support.” Read More...
Crowdsourcing support can become a process where new ideas are mined and become part of a policy package for difficult relationships. [...] It has been said again and again that this is the age of digital diplomacy. For diplomacy to be digital requires, as one ambassador has said, that “we do things differently and develop new skills – the secrecy and exclusivity of the diplomatic bag no longer applies. Read More...
More parts of the north-east will be dancing to an international beat this summer when a major festival spreads its influence further than ever. Musicians from 18 countries spread rights across the globe are due to arrive later this month as part of the Aberdeen International Youth Festival (AIYF). Read More...
The Bureau of Foreign Trade and Taiwan External Trade Development announced that the Taiwan Excellence logo, the mark of outstanding Taiwanese achievements, will appear on the jerseys of the Italian volleyball team, Top Volley Latina. This season the entire team will wear the Taiwan Excellence emblem on their jersey. The move supports the success of Huang Pei-hong, the only Taiwanese member of this international team and promotes Taiwanese recognition through sports. Read More...

Jul 20, 2017

The first ever opera festival in the Arab world debuted yesterday, and it took place in Amman. [...] In a statement to The Jordan Times, Barhoum said, “Throughout my career, I have been blessed to work with people from around the globe. Through my music and art, I have realized the importance of cross-cultural connections, and I have seen first-hand how music provides an important bridge that unites cultures from all over the world. With music, we speak one language; a language we can all understand without interpreters.” Read More...
A New York theatre venue is hosting nine prominent playwrights from Georgia for a festival premiering their plays within the ongoing Georgian-American Theatre Feast in the city. [...] The Georgian-American Theatre Feast is the latest event run by Red Lab Productions, an international collective with focus on holding performance arts events in promotion of cultural diplomacy. Read More...
In postwar France, two men had a bold, even utopian idea: a peace-loving network of ‘world cities’. [...] The symbol of the global city remains an effective one. As the idea of globalisation falters and tensions between nations ratchet up once more, is the world ready to revisit the older idea of global cities? Read More...
The World Bank is working with the UK Government to set up the London Centre for Global Disaster Protection (LCGDP). [...] The centre has been established in partnership with the World Bank and Germany in a bid to grow the role of insurance in mitigating damage caused by natural catastrophes in less economically developed economies (LEDCs) and encourage countries to better manage risk. Read More...
The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars Railway, an important section in the middle of the modern Silk Road, will soon be fully commissioned, increasing connectivity among Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey. [...] Once the railway will be fully operational, all three countries will mutually benefit from improved trade and economic relations and gain additional Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) through the new railway connecting Europe and Asia. Read More...
Egypt sent a cargo of medical aid including medicines and other medical supplies to neighboring conflict-stricken Libya, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Thursday. [...] Hosting several meetings between Libyan rival factions, Egypt is keen on reaching a political settlement to restore security and stability to the war-torn neighboring country whose chaotic conditions pose a threat to the Egyptian western borders with eastern Libya. Read More...

Jul 19, 2017

July marks the end of BirdLife Malta's 20-month Action for Nature project, an international exchange initiative that has seen a total of 84 youths and leaders participate from Malta, Hungary and Norway to improve the NGO's nature reserves as part of an environmental campaign. Read More...
A Te Arawa cultural group will perform in front hundreds of thousands of people at two festivals in Korea this week. Then in December, Korean cultural performers will take the stage at Rotorua's first Mudtopia Festival. Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Maggie Barry said the two cultural exchanges would have cultural and economic benefits for both countries. Read More...
The exhibition "Splendid world of Indian textiles" will kick off in Bishkek today at 4:00 pm local time, the Embassy of India reports. [...] The exhibition is arranged by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) and organized by the Embassy of India, Bishkek and Ministry of Culture of the Kyrgyz Republic, jointly with Altyn Taj (India – Kyrgyzstan Friendship Society). Read More...
The Google search “Benjamin Netanyahu” yields 16,100,000 results – but “Gal Gadot” yields 20,700,000. [...] It’s no secret that Israel has an image problem. Gadot’s newfound celebrity is possibly the best international publicity for the Jewish state in years, and is a perfect example of soft power. Read More...
At the beginning of the twentieth century, the Serbian literature generally referred to Albanians an uncivilized nation. Such an image of them was created by anti-Albanian politics and propaganda of the ruling regimes, and some well-known writers also succumbed to this. [...] There is a strong desire to raise the level of knowledge about one another, which is worryingly low, and therefore subject to all possible disinformation, stereotypes, conspiracy theories. Read More...
Thailand has been listed among the “ones to watch” in the annual Soft Power 30 report published by Portland Communications on Tuesday. [...] The cuisine, culture and warm hospitality also played a role in attracting international attention, the report said. Read More...

Jul 18, 2017

Careem, a Middle Eastern rival to Uber, has become the first ride-hailing firm to operate in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Dubai-based Careem, whose name is a play on the Arabic word for generous or noble, launched in Ramallah in June, aiming to bring digital simplicity to the Palestinian territory. Read More...
In 2016, over 1.3 billion international tourists spent an estimated US$1.4 trillion. That’s the equivalent of Australia’s gross domestic product, dispersed around the world. [...] Governments can reduce leakage by thinking strategically about procurement, emphasizing local business development, integrating supply chains and investing in education and training to prepare workers for tourism jobs. Read More...
France is this year’s top soft power, according to a report published Tuesday. The Soft Power 30, published by PR firm Portland Communications, ranks countries on their exercise of soft power — the ability to influence others through attraction and likability rather than coercion. Read More...
South Korean—Russian space cooperation is an important landmark in the South Korean contemporary quest to become a global space power. The success of several joint space projects was possible due to cooperation with Russia, an unusual and unlikely partner considering South Korea’s historically close ties to the United States. In view of the circumstances and specifics of such ambitious projects, we look at South Korean—Russian space cooperation through the lens of science diplomacy, distinguishing national diplomatic styles in particular. Read More...
Young amputees in some of the poorest parts of the world will be able to navigate rough terrain to access jobs and opportunities with the help of new, specially developed prosthetic knees, after a non-profit company received a grant from the UK government to develop its design. [...] D-Rev, a development company based in San Francisco, California, has been awarded around $100,000 (£76,280) in UK aid money to develop a polycentric, four-bar knee, which wearers will be able to use over uneven ground. Read More...
The Soap Factory is excited to partner with Kutilvera to bring four emerging and mid-career Minnesota-based artists to Tranås, Sweden, to participate in a month-long residency at their organization. This residency is about time and place, an opportunity to reflect and cultivate ideas through experience and exchange. Artists will be given opportunities to learn about their host city, meet other artists, and space to work independently or collaboratively in their studios. Read More...
Japan on July 17 pledged US$1 billion (S$1.37 billion) over the next two years to back the United Nations' development agenda, raising its profile as one of the world's largest foreign aid donors. Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida told a meeting at the UN that the funding will go to help children and youth worldwide, in particular to promote education, health, disaster response and gender equality. Read More...

Jul 17, 2017

For the last day of her state visit to the UK, which included an official farewell to The Queen and Prince Phillip at Buckingham Palace followed by a tour of the Francis Crick Institute, Letizia wore an ivory prom-style skirt by one of the UK's best-loved high street labels, Topshop. [...] Diplomatic dressing is a favored sartorial tactic of many of the world's most high-profile women, who use their style choices to pay tribute to the places and countries they visit. Read More...
Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities is now issuing visitor’s passes for foreigners to visit all archaeological sites and museums in Cairo and Giza governorates. [...] The Annual Visitors Pass, meanwhile, includes all open archaeological sites and museums across Egypt, with several options available. The first is for foreign diplomats and foreigners who work in international and multinational companies in Egypt. Belarus would like to see the diaspora more involved in the country's development, Belarusian Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei said at the opening of the 7th Congress of the Belarusians of the World in Minsk on 15 July, BelTA has... Read More...
The organizers of one of the biggest draws at the Edinburgh festival, the military tattoo, are hoping to expand worldwide, eventually holding the event across Asia, the Middle East and North and South America. [...] The tattoo, which began in 1950 and is a charity, has become a showcase for British forces and their counterparts from around the world and been a sellout for the last two decades, attracting audiences of about 220,000 at the event and 100 million on television. Read More...
Luke Dalla Bona, a former Sault resident currently living and working in Ecuador, has a plan to help a small South American community prosper by getting a completely natural product on the market. [...] After the earthquake took a painful bite out of Agua Blanca’s tourism revenue, the villagers, Dalla Bona said, decided to pursue bottling of natural shampoo, using the surrounding forest as a resource. Read More...
Mercer County will host five judges from Mongolia later this month to learn the ins and outs of the U.S. legal system. [...] Jamkhandi said host families are a significant ingredient of U.S.-sponsored exchange programs, allowing international professionals a “unique perspective of American life and culture. More importantly, home stays foster friendships, a key element in people-to-people diplomacy.” Read More...
World Bank Group is considering lending Sri Lanka $100 million to expand higher education including increasing enrollment in priority areas for economic development like science, engineering and mathematics, and promoting innovation. [...] A Finance Ministry statement said the proposed programme aims to increase enrollment in higher education programmes that are important for an aspiring upper middle income country. Read More...

Sunday, July 23, 2017

A Sunday slow-moving media PD-related item: Charlie Chaplin Meets Einstein

Image from, regrettably with no source cited; informed of the quotation (in slightly different words, cited below, by Dr. ZM on linked-in:)

Einstein visited Chaplin in Hollywood in 1931 ... he said to Chaplin: "What I most admire about your art, is your universality. You don't say a word, yet the world understands
you." "It is true", answered Chaplin, "but your glory is even greater: The whole world admires you, even though they don't understand a word of what you say."

Public Diplomacy Council: "Public Diplomacy at the State Level"; see also.
Noble image from
Start Date/Time:
Monday, August 7, 2017 - 12:00

End Date/Time:
Monday, August 7, 2017 - 13:30


Phil Noble is recognized globally as one of the leading experts on uses of the Internet in the civic sector – in politics, media, government and public affairs. If you plan on attending, please RSVP before the event [JB - re the email cited in the above afsa link; its reliability as a communication tool cannot be assured].

Christina Kaiser, Emad Salem

New York Times, July 23, 2017

image of the newlyweds from article
Christina Elizabeth Kaiser and Emad Mohamed Salem were married July 17 in New York. Joey Tai, a staff member of the New York City Clerk’s office, officiated at the Manhattan Marriage Bureau. ...

Mr. Salem, is the vice president and the chief operating officer for Battery Dance
Company, a nonprofit organization in New York that uses the arts for public
diplomacy. ...

Trends and Counter-trends in Digital Diplomacy

Corneliu Bjola,

The fascinating aspect of technological disruption is its remarkable capacity for both destruction and creation. By marginalizing or even abolishing ways in which people do things in a specific field of activity, new technologies create pervasive conditions for active and enduring resistance against them. On the other hand, by laying the groundwork for new opportunities for social engagement, they also stimulate new thinking and innovative practices that reinforce and sustain them in the long term.
The ability of disruptive technologies to entrench themselves in the society much depends, therefore, on how the balance between the trends and counter-trends that they abruptly unleash is ultimately decided.
This observation may prove particularly valuable for understanding the evolution of digital diplomacy and the extent to which the recent adoption of digital technologies by Ministries of Foreign Affairs (MFA) will be able to substantially change the way in which diplomacy is practiced or whether it will have only a marginal effect on its mode of operation.
Two opposing mega-trends are particularly important to consider when examining the transformative potential of digital technologies on diplomatic relations. The first one actively encourages digital adoption and is driven by the process of rapid acceleration of technological disruption. For example, while it took the telephone 75 years to reach 100 million users worldwide, the mobile phone and its most popular app, Facebook, needed only 16 years and 4 ½ years respectively to pass this milestone. Technological acceleration puts significant pressure on MFAs to develop strong capacities for understanding the potential of digital technologies in their activity and for devising strategies to mainstream and tailor them to short and long-term foreign policy objectives. Failure to do so will expose MFAs to the risk of not being able to maintain their ability to meaningfully influence policy outcomes in the international arena. Three areas are more likely to invite closer scrutiny by MFAs as the rate of technological disruption accelerates:
  • From institutional-based to ecosystem approaches: as the success or failure of technological innovations is largely dependent on the quality of the broader ecosystem that supports them, MFAs would need to better understand the technological context in which they operate in order to figure out which digital trends to follow and which not. The 3G mobile technology made possible, for instance, the development and spread of social media networks. The 5G technology, which is due to arrive in just a few years, will likely usher in a whole new level of technological disruption, which could lead to the mass adoption of an entire range of tech tools of high relevance for diplomatic activity, such as augmented reality in public diplomacy or artificial intelligence in consular services.
  • From re-action to pro-action: staying ahead of the technological curve will likely require a cognitive shift from following to anticipating and possibly pushing new trends. By swiftly reacting to the rise of social media, MFAs have managed, for instance, to leverage the power of these tools for maximising their role in public diplomacy, crisis communication or diaspora engagement. However, by anticipating new tech trends, they could better operate in an increasingly competitive digital environment by setting rules and standards of digital practice before the others have the chance to do it. Pushing new trends could also prove highly beneficial, as the “first mover” advantage could help digital pioneers secure extra recognition and influence, thus boosting their ‘soft power’ credentials as diplomatic leaders and innovators.
  • From centralisation to networks: a dense digital environment with a high rate of technological innovation favours and rewards creativity and experimentation over hierarchy and procedures. This means that in order to adapt more effectively to technological challenges, MFAs would need to relax the constraints underpinning institutional centralization and encourage instead forms and modes of digital interaction tailored to the specific profile of its constitutive diplomatic networks. Diplomatic missions to international organisations would benefit, for instance, from close collaborative efforts aimed at exploring and testing the potential of digital technologies in multilateral contexts. Similarly, embassies and consulates based in conflict-risk regions could share experiences and best practices regarding the use of digital technologies in crisis situations.

The second mega-trend works in the different direction by building resistance against the use of digital technologies. Unlike the case above, where MFAs are concerned about the risk of missing out on potential opportunities created by technological breakthroughs, this counter-driver raises questions about whether the costs of ‘going digital’ may not actually exceed its benefits. Paradoxically, it is the success of digitisation that may plant the seeds for the rise of a powerful counter-trend to MFAs’ efforts to further integrate and institutionalise digital technologies in their work. Emotional contagion, algorithmic determinism and policy fragmentation are three ways in which this counter-trend is more likely to manifest itself:
  • From fact-based reasoning to emotional commodification: diplomatic engagement requires a minimum level of shared understanding and mutual openness in order to work. Such possibility arguably dissipates when emotions overwhelmingly frame and dominate the discourse by which opinions are formed online, and when facts are pushed into a secondary or marginal position. When this happens, MFAs end up “preaching to the choir” of sympathetic online followers, failing thus to reach constituencies outside the self-reinforcing “bubble” of like-minded followers.
  • From relationship-building to algorithmic broadcast: a significant part of MFAs’ interest in digital technologies lies with their capacities to reach out to online influencers and develop flexible networks of engagement with and across a variety of constituencies. This ability could be severely tested and even compromised by the growing use of algorithms as instruments of conversation monitoring, agenda setting and message dissemination. Recent studies have shown that up to 15 percent of Twitter accounts are in fact bots rather than people, and this number is bound to increase in the future. The moment that AI entities overtake humans in the population of digital users, the possibility of MFAs to develop meaningful relationships with online publics drastically decreases.
  • From digital integration to policy fragmentation: It is also important to remind ourselves that digital diplomacy is not supposed to be an end in itself, but rather to serve clearly defined foreign policy objectives. The disruptive character of technological breakthroughs may lead, however, at least in the initial stage, to a decoupling of digital diplomacy from foreign policy. Quick adoption of digital tools without an overarching strategy of how they should be used in support of certain foreign policy objectives is likely to create problems of policy coordination and implementation. The risk for MFAs in this case is to find themselves consuming valuable resources on multiple mini digital campaigns with no clear direction or strategic compass to follow.
To conclude, the future of digital diplomacy lies with the ability of MFAs to exploit the opportunities generated by technological disruption, while guarding itself against the potential pitfalls its early success might create.
If technological acceleration will be seen as an opportunity for ecosystem-based, pro-active, and network-oriented adaptation, then digital diplomacy is likely to penetrate the deep core of the diplomatic DNA.
If, on the other hand, digitization will fail to restrain emotional contagion, algorithmic determinism and policy fragmentation, then MFAs will likely slow down their efforts of integration of digital technologies in their work.
A previous version of this article was included in the 2017 report of the SoftPower30 Index

Foreign Minister N. Kotzias' interview in newspapers, Nea Selida and Fileleftheros of Cyprus (23/07/2017)

image (not from entry) from
N. KOTZIAS: Negotiations require sobriety, patience and persistence. Belief in the case you are being called upon to defend and promote. They are a marathon "battle" on an open field, and not on an indoor 60-metre track. At the same time, one has to understand that the negotiations are not carried out only at the moment when the various parties meet, but also in many other forms, including public diplomacy, meetings with third parties, citizens’ diplomacy. Success also depends on how convinced your own public are of what you are seeking. In other words, negotiations go through many phases, stages and structures. ...

Red Line: Public Diplomacy in the Age of Trump

Wednesday, August 23, 2017 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm, USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism (ASC), 207

uncaptioned image from entry

The United States today has two competing foreign policy visions, driven by deep political divides, that have created serious international uncertainty regarding how America sees its role and responsibilities on the global stage. These competing world views are “Indispensable America” vs. “Fortress America."

Those who embrace “Indispensable America” believe that no major global problem can be solved without the United States, but also that no major global problem can be solved by the United States alone. Conversely, those who support “Fortress America” believe in unilateral action and bilateral trade, viewing multilateralism as constraining and disadvantageous, and cooperation with global partners as transactional.

Join P.J. Crowley, a former Assistant Secretary of State and one of America’s most insightful national security commentators, for a conversation on U.S. domestic politics and the future of America’s global leadership in the age of Trump. Crowley will discuss how U.S. domestic politics shaped the foreign policy and public diplomacy of the Obama administration, how they have influenced the first year of the Trump administration, and what this means for America’s global leadership over the long term.

Crowley reviews in his recent book, Red Line: American Foreign Policy in a Time of Fractured Politics and Failing States, how the expansive view of an exceptional America that won the Cold War and sought to establish a new world order led to the eventual strategic overreach that culminated with the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The resulting Iraq Syndrome influenced America’s electoral choices, narrowed its international ambitions, and lowered the risks and costs its people were willing to shoulder. 

About P.J. Crowley 

P.J. Crowley was the Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs and Spokesman for the U.S. Department of State between 2009 and 2011. He was at the center of the global controversy surrounding the release of classified diplomatic cables by WikiLeaks. He resigned from that position after making public comments critical of the government’s pre-trial treatment of Private First Class Chelsea Manning. Atlantic Magazine named him as one of 21 Brave Thinkers in 2011. During a 30-year government career, Crowley also served on the National Security Council staff at the White House as a special assistant to President Clinton and deputy press secretary between 1997 and 2001. He is a retired Air Force colonel. Crowley is a Professor of Practice [sic] at The George Washington University and appears frequently as a national security commentator on national and global television networks.

RSVP required. To RSVP, please click here.