Image from, with caption: New survey of U.S. public diplomacy released on eve of Presidential Inauguration: Dan Whitman (center) moderates the launch of the Council's book "Nontraditional U.S. Public Diplomacy: Past, Present and Future." Deborah Trent, the editor, looks on from the left. To Whitman's right are PDC Vice President Rob Albro, a chapter author, and Ambassador Cynthia Efird, PDC Board member, who commented on the book. The venue was First Monday Forum, co-sponsored by the University of Southern California and the American Foreign Service Association.
Thursday, January 5th 2017
Nika Daniella Ankou
Following up on a prior post, here are the abstracts of each chapter in the PDC’s latest book--
Deborah L. Trent
2. Public Diplomacy: Can It Be Defined?
Anthony C. E. Quainton
Since soft power became fashionable over a decade ago, academics and practitioners have been struggling to define exactly what they mean when they speak and write about public diplomacy. In what sense is it public? In what sense is it diplomatic? And what are the publics which are being targeted and who are the diplomats who carry out the function. Answering those questions would be hard enough were it not for confusion with the military’s strategic communication, the private sector’s public relations, the enemy’s propaganda, and every one’s public affairs. This chapter investigates these distinctions. It argues that a clear identification of target publics , a familiarity of the appropriate tools of the digital age, and an awareness that the responsibility for public diplomacy extends far beyond the traditional confines of the Department of State are all essential for achieving the fundamental goal of understanding, informing, and influencing foreign audiences and decision makers.
3. Janus-Faced Public Diplomacy: Creel and Lippmann During The Great War
During World War I, the U.S. government informed and educated foreign public opinion about the United States on an unprecedented scale. Two ambitious journalists – George Creel and Walter Lippmann – played key roles in this effort by the Woodrow Wilson Administration. Creel was chairman of the Committee on Public Information (1917-1919) and Lippmann, who advised White House confidant Colonel Edward M. House on international affairs, drafted parts of the president’s “Fourteen Points” speech (1918), America’s plans for the post-War world. Despite their shared interests, Creel and Lippmann, of quite different personalities and backgrounds, had their own approaches on how to influence hearts and minds overseas. Creel focused on the heart, Lippmann on the mind. These two approaches, not always mutually exclusive, reflect an emotional/intellectual tension that still exists in American public diplomacy today.
4. The Uses and Abuses of Public Diplomacy: Winning and Losing Hearts and Minds
This essay focuses on some of the unconventional purposes that American public diplomacy has been asked to serve over the years. Particular attention is paid to extreme cases in which the job went beyond influencing attitudes toward our own country to persuading to foreign audiences to support—or resist— their own governments. This is obviously a much trickier, more controversial assignment, whether we call it public diplomacy or include it under the category of nation-building, democracy promotion, counter insurgency, or, as some would have it, subversion. As Clausewitz wrote about war, defining your political goal comes first, strategy follows. The same should be true for our public diplomacy. This essay identifies some lessons that might be drawn from analyzing cases in which public diplomacy helped achieve a vital national objective (Thailand in the late 1960s, Eastern Europe during the Cold War) and others where we failed (South Vietnam) or may do so (Iraq, Afghanistan).
5. America’s Image Abroad: The UNESCO Cultural Diversity Convention and U.S. Motion Picture Exports
On October 20, 2005, over the strong objections of the United States, the UNESCO General Conference near-unanimously adopted the Canadian-French initiative for a Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (“Convention”). The Convention’s objectives, which could be interpreted to exclude a broad and undefined range of cultural goods and services from WTO trade rules, revealed strong anti-Hollywood sentiment abroad, based in large part on the overwhelming presence of U.S. films in foreign markets. To obtain a perspective on this oft-neglected negotiation, and help resolve longstanding tensions over U.S. motion picture exports, an issue that has resurfaced in the current U.S.-EU Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) negotiations, the chapter’s conclusion recommends a shift from traditional U.S. “outreach” public diplomacy programs involving U.S. films to one which recognizes both the artistic and commercial importance of providing filmmakers outside the United States the opportunity to be heard, an approach that demonstrates both interest in, and respect for, the cultural output of others.
6. Diplomacy and the Efficacy of Transnational Applied Cultural Networks
This chapter considers the potential of transnational applied cultural networks for the work of cultural diplomacy. It identifies these networks as part of a wider collaborative turn in international affairs, and examines some limits of the ways networks have been theorized for the practice of diplomacy. Using cases from Haiti and China, this chapter goes on to describe more constructive approaches to the role of cultural networks, at once incorporating appreciation for the variable distribution of cultural content and meanings through these networks and for the ways network participation helps to build shared cultural knowledge across often challenging geopolitical frontiers.
7. Public Diplomacy Engages Religious Communities, Actors, and Organizations: A Belated and Transformative Marriage
Kovach documents positive developments over the last two administrations in incorporating religious engagement more centrally in U.S. diplomacy and public diplomacy. He describes the emerging structure at State, talks about nodes of resistance in our overly rational bureaucratic culture and zeroes in on training to overcome that endemic resistance. He discusses the excellent regulatory framework for such engagement and advocates for a diplomacy more engaged with faith leaders and religious civil society through examples from his own career experience.
8. Non-Traditional Public Diplomacy in the Iraq-Afghan Wars Or The Ups and Downs of Strategic Communicators
Following the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington on September 11, 2001, the United States engaged in military actions in Iraq and Afghanistan. These engagements produced a need for a new kind of public diplomacy that could bridge the vast gaps of understanding between U.S. troops and the local populations of those countries. "Strategic engagement” became the term used by the Pentagon for the harmonization of military action and public diplomacy messaging. A number of programs was undertaken by the U.S. Department of State (the traditional home of U.S. public diplomacy since 1999) and the Pentagon for this purpose. It created an interagency rivalry between the two departments in Washington. In the field, the results were not stellar either, but as new generations of terrorists are continue to launch attacks against the United States and its allies, the need is clearly still there to reach and communicate with publics in the Arab world to counter violent Islamic extremism.
9. Cultural Diplomacy Partnerships: Cracking the Credibility Nut with Inclusive Participation
Deborah L. Trent
Information and communication technologies increase opportunities for widening audience outreach and engagement in cultural diplomacy programs in the arts and humanities. However, greater numbers of non-governmental and private-sector actors, and their interests and demands, magnify the challenge to strengthen U.S. government credibility among program participants and audiences. This chapter examines the challenge of mounting and sustaining credible, cost-effective public-private partnerships (PPPs) in cultural diplomacy. The analysis draws on discussion during the session on cultural diplomacy and partnerships at the 2013 Public Diplomacy Council Fall Forum. That session and other narrative dialogues demonstrate the capacity of PPPs to boost policy and program credibility. This chapter suggests that U.S. credibility and impact can be enhanced with socially inclusive participation of core-to-peripheral stakeholder groups in PPPs. In turn, more inclusive, participatory administration of policy and programs yield more potential advocates and sources of public and private sector support.
10. International Education and Public diplomacy: Technology, MOOCs, and Transforming Engagement
This chapter explores the U.S. Department of State's recent turn to technological platforms for education and cultural diplomacy activities, through examples that demonstrate how perceptions of technological capacity within the organization result in new forms of public diplomacy practice and strategy and potentially new stores of soft power. In particular, the chapter examines the work of the Education and Cultural Affairs (ECA) bureau's "Collaboratory" unit, which offers pilot programs in collaborative technologies that leverage social media and video platforms for new and hybrid programs, such as the "MOOC Camp" initiative, Google Hangouts, as well as the use of social media groups to sustain connections among exchange program alumni. The purpose of the chapter is to ascertain how some logics of public diplomacy are transformed by the material context of technology, while others endure. New and social media technology is argued to extend the relationship-building aspects of educational and cultural diplomacy, though how such technology has become integrated into the over-arching strategy of public diplomacy remains a work in progress.
11. Funding International Scientific Research Activities as Opportunities for Public Diplomacy
This chapter explores the future opportunities for science diplomacy given the growing interest in global science collaboration in the academic research community. Focus is primarily on research relationships supported by NSF programs, and one example of a program that led to agencies' development of programs to aid complementary research efforts. The case example is the NSF Partnerships for International Research and Education (PIRE) program, and the ensuing USAID Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research (PEER). Finally, the new research platform of the European Union, Horizon 2020, and its opening to non-EU researchers is featured, with examination of the possible implications for public diplomacy.
12. Turning Point
The point of departure for this chapter is the major juncture (hence the title) in the practice of public diplomacy represented by the year 2001 and the subsequent "War On Terror." Comparable to the turning point World War I represented in military and political affairs, a century later public diplomacy is at a crucial turning point. Not only did a remarkable period of invention, innovation and development in communication technology occur just in the decades immediately before and after 2001, but the extremist adversary posed new challenges to American public diplomacy. The U.S. military, sensing a gap, assumed entirely new roles and responsibilities with regard to civilian populations well beyond war zones. Lessons learned, ambassadors and public diplomacy officers must step up to a new, whole-of-government leadership challenge. The author argues that the Department of State is best suited to take control and direct the broad USG communication effort in a foreign country.
Author: Dr. Deborah Trent
Author: Dr. Deborah Trent