Saturday, February 4, 2017

Former USG Public Affairs Officer in Moscow American Embassy Michael Hurley (Facebook comments on public diplomacy)

Hurley image from

Michael J. Hurley [on Facebook; posted here with his kind OK]

First Hurley Facebook message:
Enjoyed reading the Tsvetkova piece --a very theory laden comment on U.S. public diplomacy that seems to be unaware of what we were doing in her own country 2010-12 (I was PAO in Moscow). In accordance with the bilateral Presidential Commission, set up to tackle issues of common interest to our countries, the Cultural issues group (media, sport, culture, education) chose to focus on culture. Our project "American Seasons in Russia" was a yearlong U.S. Embassy generated celebration of the depth and diversity of culture in the U.S. with the purpose of showing Russians something about the U.S. beyond their daily diet of what they saw about us on TV. For this, the Embassy raised $2 million in the private sector and convinced U/S McHale [JB -- see] to match us. The centerpiece was the concerts by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and at least 50 projects to cover the country from Moscow to Vladivostok, among them: Alvin Ailey, Momix, City Dance, Bill Jones and Arnie Zane, Herbie Hancock and Dee Dee Bridgewater, cowboys (Wiley and the Wild West), Indians (Carlos Nakai), Bang On a Can, gospel (Aeolian gospel), bluegrass (Mary McBride and Christine Balfa), zydeco (Jeffrey Broussard), Merce Cunningham Ensemble, Anni Leibovitz, a series of plays by young U.S. playwrights to introduce the plays into the Russian theater repertoire, A Century of American Music on Radio Orfey (a yearlong monthly series of programs on U.S. classical music), and did I mention Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys?
Follow-up Hurley Facebook message:
Michael J. Hurley So it's not just about soft power vs. strategic communication driven by a central power structure in Washington. Sometimes we actually enjoy what we do and require no academic theories to make it happen.

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