Monday, August 20, 2018

Preliminary Thoughts on "The Vanishing Act of American Public Diplomacy (PD)"

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One of the great wonders/temptations? about the Internet -- for all its faults -- is that one can share "inchoate thoughts" with known/unknown persons of potentially similar/dissimilar interests -- and even the public at large.

So here are my inchoate thoughts for a draft article, "The Vanishing Act of American Public Diplomacy (PD)."

As I think about such a piece, here are my very preliminary, non-footnoted points (check my PD blog for my references):

--PD as a term -- It first appeared in the 19th century in The London Times (January 1856); thank you, scholar Nicholas Cull -- was "formalised" (Americanized?) in the mid-1960s by Dean Edmund Gullion of the Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy:
Even beyond the organ of the Government set up to handle information about the United States and to explain our policies, what is important today is the interaction of groups, peoples, and cultures beyond national borders, influencing the way groups and peoples in other countries think about foreign affairs, react to our policies, and affect the policies of their respective governments.

To connote this activity, we at the Fletcher School tried to find a name. I would have liked to call it “propaganda.” It seemed like the nearest thing in the pure interpretation of the word to what we were doing. But “propaganda” has always a pejorative connotation in this country. To describe the whole range of communications, information, and propaganda, we hit upon “public diplomacy."
--PD thus became, to some, a "gentle" -- "gentleman's"? -- non-physically violent USA to "fight" Soviet lies/disinformation during the Cold War, with, of course, recurring to the use of words (and especially images) not arms (especially nuclear weapons, which would have blown up both God-believing capitalists and atheistic communists).

--With the end of the Cold War, PD and the "executive agency" that ran it, The United States Information Agency (USIA, founded at the height of the Cold War, 1953), was considered anachronistic by inside-the-beltway political functionaries/bean-counters (on both sides of the Democratic-Republican "divide").

--Since, as scholar Francis Fukuyama essentially argued, America had triumphed over communism, thus bringing about the "end of history" -- the phrase (not his, actually) used by Fukuyama that made him famous -- and the indubitable victory of the West. (Why waste money on defeated commies?).

--This perspective led (directly/indirectly?) -- among the minor bureaucratic/political turf wars that characterize the imperial capital -- to the "consolidation," in the late 90s, of the USIA into the State Department, thanks to a deal, I guess mostly budget-related (not important enough, on Capitol Hill, I guess, about "who's  REALLY trying, to s--- me), between a Republican senator and the Secretary of State, a politically-savvy lady serving in the Clinton Administration, born in by-then "liberated" Eastern Europe (Madeline Albright's country of birth, no longer in existence, was known as Czechoslovakia).


--With the War on Terror after 9/11, "public diplomacy" was again in the headlines. Hear USA diplomat Richard Holbrooke proclaim:
How could a mass murderer who publicly praised the terrorists of Sept. 11 be winning the hearts and minds of anyone? How can a man in a cave outcommunicate the world's leading communications society?
What was needed to offset terrorists, Holbrooke wrote,
was “public diplomacy, or public affairs, or psychological warfare, or – if you really want to be blunt – propaganda.”
There were doubts about Holbrooke and propaganda, eloquently put by a 
by US admiral Michael Mullen:
To put it simply, we need to worry a lot less about how to communicate our actions and much more about what our actions communicate.
I also hope we learn to be more humble, to listen more. Because what we are after in the end—or should be after—are actions that speak for themselves, that speak for us.

--Meanwhile, in our Trumpian Error (no typo), US public diplomacy lies dormant at the State Department/White House, since (during?) the Obama years, whose last Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, former Time editor Richard Stengel (his "news" magazine was once referred to, by a scholar, as "canned information") admitted (was it a faux pas on his part?), when he was no longer in this position that:
Basically every country creates their own narrative story and, you know, my old job at the State Department was what people used to joke as the chief propagandist job. We haven’t talked about propaganda. Propaganda — I’m not against propaganda. Every country does it, and they have to do it to their own population, and I don’t necessarily think it’s that awful ..."
--Today, The position of Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs is "officially" vacant; but of course there is an "Acting" Secretary, Heather Nauert (image from)

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--And USA venerable academic institutions such as the USC Center on Public Diplomacy are endlessly coming up with other terms to describe (avoid using?) what they're supposedly teaching/researching about -- "public diplomacy." (Charitably put, realizing, of course, that times have changed since the Cold War and its aftermath). Just check the USC website ... A latest term from USC PD is "border diplomacy" (another, earlier one, is great one: "skateboard diplomacy"). Talk about a USA PD "vanishing act"! Has PD become a "passé expression" among the USA professariat and its understandably anxious job-searching students, who perhaps fear that, in a job interview (except maybe at the State Department or slave-paying DC "think tanks" that exploit "interns") why a USA bottom-line business would be interested in an potential employee -- with  the term "public diplomacy"on his/her bio -- in "hiring her/him"? "Sorry, the interviewer asks bluntly, ''but what the hell is public diplomacy? ... Are you sure
you added a "l" (in "public") on your bio?

--And meanwhile, again, as many American dips and academics in our social media age change the adjective before the noun (hey, we're "digital," not "public") other nations are trumpeting  their version of "public diplomacy" (just read the non-USA news: South Korea, Japan, China, India; Ethiopia; but so far as I can tell, PD is not a fashion in South America or parts of Europe (Catalonia an exception; but the French have not found [wanted to find?] a way to translate "public diplomacy") ...

Just preliminary thoughts.

Check my nearly daily blogs/references for details.

Canadian Tales

The Consulate General of Canada in Mumbai and Trilogy present a special book reading of “Tokyo Digs a Garden”, an award winning Canadian book.
The reading will be followed by a fun session with Mr. Etienne Lambert, Consul for political/economic/public affairs.
Last, but not the least, two short Canadian animated films will be screened, for everyone’s enjoyment!
About Mr. Etienne Lambert
Mr. Etienne Lambert became Consul for Political, Economic, and Public Affairs in Mumbai in 2018.

He has previously worked on academic relations, education promotion, political/economic analysis, and public affairs files in both Japan and Nigeria. At Headquarters in Ottawa he worked on public diplomacy [JB emphasis] , media relations, G8/G20 summitry, programme management, policy development, advocacy in the United States, security in the Korean Peninsula, and Canada-Japan relations. Etienne is an avid photographer and technology enthusiast. He is married to Erin Popelka, of storytelling fame, and they have two of the cutest cats, Taco and Lilou.
Date: Saturday, August 25, 2018
Time: 11:30 am
Venue: Trilogy Library and Bookstore, Raghuvanshi Mills, Lower Parel (west).  ... 
Age: Children 6 to 12 years of age. ...

Что такое “Публичная дипломатия”? (video)

Chinese NGOs operating in Nepal offer key development model

Umesh Pokharel, Global Times Published: 2018/8/19

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A deal to let 30 Chinese NGOs work in Nepal has generated socio-political interest in the Himalayan nation. The entry of the Chinese organizations following an MoU between China NGO Network for International Exchanges and Social Welfare Council (SWC) of Nepal has drawn international and domestic attention specially because it is being seen as a prominent example of South-South cooperation.

Another interesting aspect is China's changing attitude toward the role of NGOs in diplomacy and global governance.

The deal to send the NGOs to Nepal can be analyzed in light of the "Going Global" strategy formulated by China in 2001 to streamline efforts to promote Chinese investments abroad. Instead of sticking to the Mao-era mind-set of self-reliance, the strategy urged Chinese firms to take benefit of thriving world trade by investing in global markets. The success achieved due to the strategy motivated China to initiate the internationalization of NGOs. Introduction of "Charity law" in 2016 further strengthened it.

This apart, the Belt and Road initiative,which is proposed by President Xi Jinping, also served as a strong catalyst for the Chinese NGOs to venture abroad. The chief purpose of the internationalization of Chinese NGOs, according to Shengjun Zhang, a Chinese scholar, is the people-to-people diplomacy. He mentions in his article, "The Changing Civil Diplomacy" published in The Report of the Chinese Civil Diplomacy (2016), that the next step for Chinese public diplomacy [JB emphasis] is to diversify the types of NGOs engaging in globalization, and to empower government-organized NGOs to play a meaningful role in public diplomacy.

Accordingly, currently Chinese NGOs have gone to a number of African countries such as Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Sudan, Malawi, Zimbabwe and other East Asian nations before they formally entered Nepal.

Chinese NGOs first entered Nepal in 2015 to support earthquake-affected people during the mega-earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale that caused 8,898 people to perish and injured 22,309. China sent its rescue and relief mission a day after the earthquake when the Nepalese government had been unable to decide the next step.

Having seen the situation in Nepal, China continued to support relief and reconstruction following the disaster. A number of Chinese NGO - One Foundation, The Amity Foundation, and China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation, China Social Welfare Foundation - provided humanitarian assistance to earthquake victims. They provided relief materials and tarpaulin during the first phase while corrugated galvanized iron sheets, wire and knots to build temporary shelters were given later. Support to rebuild school buildings was also provided.

Now, the priority of these NGOs has shifted to long-term development as indicated by Wang Xingzui, Vice President of the China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation. During the signing of the general MoU of the organization with the SWC in August 2015, he had indicated that a good amount of money from China is likely to be directed toward fulfilling the Nepalese government's strategy to link relief and recovery initiatives to long-term development.

China's entry into long-term development intervention in African and Asian countries has a symbolic message - the increased possibility of South-South development cooperation which was first articulated in the historic Bandung Conference in 1955, a milestone declaring South-South cooperation as a global political movement. With the emergence of China as a global economy along with rise of a large and expanding group of middle- and low-income countries and their interest in development cooperation has been seen to challenge the one-way model of Western development.

Proponents of South-South cooperation believe that it leads to the development of "horizontal partnerships" based on equity, trust, mutual benefit and long-term relations. Unlike the Western model of development, it is to be driven by non-interference in internal affairs, increased sensitivity to specific contexts, equality between partner countries, mutual economic and commercial linkages, including access to dwindling natural resources, and not by charity.

A research article "Nepal: A Development Challenge" by Sarah Kernot published in South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies in 2006 concludes that the last 50 years of developmental cooperation by the West in Nepal has brought minimal results. It also says that despite the implementation of developmental program, the poor have been further marginalized. Based on the finding, the writer questions the validity of international assistance in Nepal's development. Though NGOs have been successful in offering humanitarian assistance, they are criticized for being dependent on overseas funding and for lacking accountability and sustainability over their work. Chinese NGOs have a lesson to learn if they don't want to meet the fate of Western NGOs in Nepal.

Expectations of state and non-state actors in the global community including those in Nepal toward the way Chinese NGOs have gone global are high.

Therefore, China has an additional responsibility to focus on infrastructure development, skill-based training and a program that offers tangible results thereby creating and promoting a unique model of development that fits the South-South cooperation framework.

The author is a development communications professional in Nepal.

Public Relations Intern Jobs - August 2018

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Jo Malone Global Communicaitons Intern

Communications / Public Relations. Jo Malone London is currently recruiting for a PR Trainee to join the Global Communications team at Global Head Office based...

Research Analyst Intern (London)

A recent degree in Economics, Business Studies, International Relations, Politics or other relevant subjects would be beneficial....

Intern - Health Brands

We do much more than traditional pharma public relations; Edelman is the largest independent Public Relations Company in the world....

PR/Communications- Intern

H+K is a public relations and integrated communications agency with 90 offices around the globe. We have a team of 35 Financial and Professional Services...

Communications and Public Diplomacy Adviser

Australian High Commission United Kingdom
£40,867 a year
The Communications & Public Diplomacy Adviser will also support the High Commission’s wider public diplomacy objectives, working on a variety of events and...

Communications and Public Diplomacy Adviser - LE5

London WC2B
£40,867 a year
The Communications & Public Diplomacy Adviser will also support the High Commission’s wider public diplomacy objectives, working on a variety of events and...

Events and Communications Intern

The ideal candidate for this position will have an interest in events, marketing, communications, public relations and social media and a desire to build their...

Global Network Coordinator

Managing our account intern as a direct report. To achieve this, we span— and integrate— a broad range of global practices, including McCann Erickson...

IT Service Management Intern

From finance to customer service, operations to public relations, it takes a wide range of exciting roles to make Eurostar who we are....

Marketing Intern

Robert Manning
Ideally - Degree in Media / Marketing / PR (Public Relations) degree. As the Marketing Intern you will be helping to increase our presence both on line and...

Culture as soft power: Digital branding by Catalonia, the Basque Country and Scotland

Author: Johnson, Melissa A.

Source: Catalan Journal of Communication & Cultural Studies, Volume 10, Number 1, 1 April 2018, pp. 115-123(9)

Publisher: Intellect


The purpose of this article is to emphasize autonomous and separatist regions in the nation branding and public diplomacy [JB emphasis] communication literature, and to highlight how promoting culture can convey soft power. In particular, the short article illuminates the practical aspects of branding: especially the visual element that has received limited attention in prior public diplomacy studies. Examples from government websites of Catalonia, the Basque Country and Scotland are used to illustrate the concepts. The examples counter concerns that nation branding homogenizes global cultures. In fact, emphases on cultures convey distinctive identities. The three regions’ soft power is also generated by communicating ideals such as innovativeness, collaboration, social justice and government transparency. As the Catalan crisis indicated, branding is vital to both international and domestic audiences to achieve public diplomacy goals.

Keywords: branding; culture; diplomacy; government; soft power; visual communication

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: NC State University

Publication date: April 1, 2018

Professor Beril Dedeoğlu: Trump's aggressive attitude not a sustainable policy

Nur Özkan Erbay,

Dedeoğlu says Washington’s failure to support Turkey in matters related to Ankara’s interests lie at the root of the U.S.-Turkey row.
Image from article, with caption: Dedeoğlu says Washington’s failure to support Turkey in matters related to Ankara’s interests lie at the root of the U.S.-Turkey row.

Speaking to the Daily Sabah on the recent crises in Turkish-U.S. relations, Galatasaray University faculty member and former EU Minister Prof. Dr. Beril Dedeoğlu expressed that the U.S. President Donald Trump administration is pursuing the "brinkmanship" policy, which is about punishing other countries for deviating from a set course, against Turkey. ...

[S]he also signified the need for a new public diplomacy [JB emphasis] as the foreign press has a sway on Turkey's agenda. "Our agenda is determined by two factors: Erdoğan's statements and the foreign press. Actually, we should be able to determine what the foreign press writes about us. We should discuss our own wants and demands, not another's. This indicates that our public diplomacy is deficient; we should redesign it immediately," she said. ...