Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Another milestone in California's decline -- The LA teacher strike

Christian Whiton, Fox News

image from
Christian Whiton [JB - see] was a senior advisor in the Donald Trump and George W. Bush administrations. He is a senior fellow for strategy and public diplomacy [JB emphasis] at the Center for the National Interest and the author of “Smart Power: Between Diplomacy and War.”

Public Diplomacy Disrupted: Six Imperatives for Practicing Soft Power

Jian (Jay) Wang, uscpublicdiplomacy.org

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Public diplomacy [JB emphasis] encompasses a range of ways for nations to engage with their foreign publics in search of improved understanding and desired relationships. It creates soft power, an indispensable currency in contemporary global affairs.
But profound and influential societal changes are disrupting public diplomacy. As the practice is essentially a set of communication-centric activities, we see several overarching transformative, interwoven trends along every key aspect of the enterprise.
First and foremost, the broader geo-political and geo-economic context for communication on the global stage is changing. On the one hand, the rise of China and other major emerging economies are engendering tectonic power shifts in world affairs. On the other, there is sharpening domestic discord, especially in the West, on the nature and extent of a nation’s global engagement and commitment. In the meantime, according to a 2017 McKinsey report, global economic growth in the coming decade will mainly come from regional markets, including India, China, Africa, and Southeast Asia (ICASA). So uncertainties abound as the global political and economic order evolves.

The disruptions are so sweeping that there is no existing playbook to guide the practice.

Likewise, the audiences for public diplomacy are also changing. Much of the change is a result of basic demographic shifts, from population ageing in developed economies to youth bulge in developing countries. The overall audience is becoming more urban, and the population mix in many Western nations is undergoing ethnic re-mapping due to massive migration. We now have more people than ever in human history joining the global middle class, and they turn to digital platforms for news and information, and social interaction. We also face an impassioned public at home and abroad. In this respect, what’s old is new again. The rising populist fervor in many parts of the world is only the latest manifestation of the tensions between the two fundamental human forces of interests and passions in social decision and human action.
Admittedly, digital technology is transforming the tools and platforms for public diplomacy. Digitalization and advanced analytics are changing the way people seek information and stay connected; AI and automation are revolutionizing communication placements with precise targeting. The acceleration of digital technology has dissolved the boundaries between domestic and abroad, making the interaction of national concerns and international engagement ever more dynamic and interdependent.
Another important aspect of the disruption is that the stakeholder communities on the global scene have broadened. Non-state actors and diverse institutions, such as cities, multinational businesses and civil society organizations, are increasingly engaged in confronting local and global challenges. Not only have these stakeholder communities for public diplomacy expanded, but they are also empowered by digital technology.
In short, these conditions and dynamics point to the basic reality of growing diplomatic fluidity and a fast-changing communication landscape for public diplomacy. Indeed, the disruptions are so sweeping that there is no existing playbook to guide the practice. And they compel us to rethink the key components of the practice in at least the following six areas.

1. Making public diplomacy more strategic through a deeper understanding of “theory of change”

While the digital space provides us with voluminous observational data in terms of people’s online behavior, the bigger challenge is to develop a firm grasp on the psychological underpinnings of communication behavior in this networked environment, including motivations, incentives and preferences for communication. To design effective public diplomacy programs, it becomes ever more important to delve deeper into the underlying logic of communication given the sprawling complexity of the information eco-system.

2. Striking a balance between the digital and the physical

As one’s digital life interacts ever more with the physical realm in this tech-dominated environment, we need to not only build a distinct digital voice and digital identity in public diplomacy efforts, but also to maintain the human touch through direct person-to-person contact. After all, physical presence represents a more elemental form of communication and a transcultural human condition.

3. Communicating across platforms with authenticity and directness

Contemporary public diplomacy demands communication approaches on a range of platforms that are compelling in content, style and placement. In this age of information abundance and mobility, communication attributes, such as transparency, authenticity, exclusivity and convenience, are elevated to greater prominence.

4. Taking a network view

Nowadays, individuals and organizations can easily develop horizontal or vertical networks of interactions, with the potential to reach a large and even a global audience. Focusing on relationships rather than merely messages, a network approach allows us to see a nation’s position in its operational environment, and to identify and mobilize key influencers both online and offline to achieve scaled and sustained impact.

5. Driving toward performance and accountability

We need to put a stronger emphasis on accountability in public diplomacy efforts; that is, defining and assessing the effectiveness and efficiency of programs and activities. For any organized practice, it is crucial to develop credible and efficient means to capture and evaluate impact that will help inform strategic planning and operational innovation.

6. Investing in public diplomacy reskilling and upskilling

Capacity building is essential to advancing public diplomacy, especially in key functional areas, including visual and social storytelling, integrative community management, information architecture, and analytics and impact. The skills and capabilities required for effective global engagement need to be constantly reexamined and refreshed based on the evolving assessment of current and future practices.
The fundamental impact of globalization, societal changes and digital technology is reshaping the practice of public diplomacy. The communication task that underlies public diplomacy work is getting far more challenging. While much is uncertain and unsettled, we lay out these six areas to underscore the importance of reconfiguring our framework and to inspire new thinking and experimentation for practicing soft power.

Workshop on Disinformation and Propaganda for Hungarian Students


Type: Workshop
Audience: Private
Organizer: Center for Media, Data and Society
Address: Central European University
Category: Hungarian Media
Academic Area: Hungarian Media; Journalism
Monday, February 25, 2019 - 10:00am

Add to Calendar

Monday, February 25, 2019 - 10:00am to Wednesday, February 27, 2019 - 5:00pm

  • Do you wonder how much of the news you consume is fake?
  • Are you interested in how the media works and how the news ends up on our newsfeed?
  • Would you like to know how to recognize misinformation and what you can do to fight disinformation?
  • Would you like to learn how (dis)information is produced and disseminated? 
  • Do you want to discuss these issues with international experts?

About the workshop

The goal of the workshop is to discuss the topic of disinformation in the context of the state of the media with participation of Hungarian and international experts on the topic. The workshop will be highly interactive and will have a strong practical component: developing participants` skills to recognize and fight disinformation. As part of the project, you will be asked to produce a post/podcast/visualization/film etc. on the topic of “disinformation”: how it appears in your context and how it affects your life. We will provide mentorship to support your ideas, and publish the best outputs. The best project(s) will be awarded with a trip to visit a media outlet in London.

Participants` accommodation in Budapest, train and local travel expenses will be covered by the project.

Application process:

Please apply with an idea: a question or topic you would like to investigate related to disinformation in any format that is close to your heart (it could be a podcast, a blog post, an infographic, a video or anything else). Tell us your idea in no more than 150 words and send it along with your CV and a short (200-word) cover letter including why you would like to attend the workshop to cmds@ceu.edu. All three application documents should be in English. Questions should be addressed to cmds@ceu.edu.

Eligible applicants are Hungarian students at BA or MA level, preference will be given to students studying outside Budapest.

The deadline for applications is February 11.

The program is funded by the Public Diplomacy [JB emphasis] Small Grants Program of the U.S. Embassy Budapest Public Affairs Section of the Department of State to be organized by the Center for Media, Data and Society at the School of Public Policy of Central European University in Budapest, Hungary.


Sustainability Showcase Series Returns For Spring Semester

Cassady Potts, onwardstate.com

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The Council of Sustainable Leaders [JB: see] is expanding its fall Sustainability Showcase Series to host 12 more weekly events throughout the spring semester.
Each session addresses the broad theme: “What is your ‘Big Idea’ that will advance sustainability in the 21st century?” Although sustainability is often associated with environmental concerns, speakers cover a variety of topics ranging from building dream communities to communicating during an age of post-truth media tribalism to yes, llamas.
Presentations are held on Fridays from 12-1:30 p.m. in various locations in the HUB. Guests who RSVP will be provided lunch.  ...
Although the series​ has already resumed for the spring semester, there are still plenty of speakers to look forward to: ...
  • February 1: Laurie Mulvey, executive director of World in Conversation Center for Public Diplomacy: “Moving from Object to Subject​” in 132 HUB ...

Artsakh people's will 'crucial to future peace efforts' - analyst

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No effort towards preparing the Armenian and Azerbaijani societies for peace will yield any result without the will of the Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) people, a Yerevan-based political analyst said today, commenting on the statement released by the international mediators (after the meeting between the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan).

Speaking to Tert.am, Narek Minasyan also agreed that the European Union has invested considerable time and effort in the recent years in establishing a dialogue between the two countries' peoples.

“The concept of public diplomacy used to be essentially widespread, as they implemented programs for many years in an effort to pave the way to a dialogue between the two sides. The absence of a dialogue creates a breeding ground for a [hate] propaganda in Azerbaijan,” he said.

Minasyan also regretted to note that the legislative crackdown on the civil society in Azerbaijan deprived many citizens of that country of having an active engagement in different civil society programs.

“As they kept facing persecution, those peacebuilding organizations refused to establish any cooperation with Armenia,” he said, noting that the Armenian society never faced the kind of restrictions.

Minasyan further highlighted the differences between the Armenian and Azerbaijani societies, describing Azerbaijan as an “authoritarian organization” conducting an intensive state propaganda.

“Even in the past couple of months, we do not see [positive] signals in the rhetoric and language of Azerbaijani officials. We observe elements of military rhetoric by Azerbaijan, as they won’t abandon their former approaches to make their choice of words sound constructive a little bit. I think Armenia did voice its concerns at the [official] meetings. We cannot also rule out the possibility that this kind of wording [in the co-chairs’ statement] was made possible based on Armenia’s persistent calls, causing the sides to eventually arrive at an agreement that this is simply necessary,” he added.

Minasyan emphasized the urgent need of revising rhetoric as a key effort towards realizing the idea of preparing societies for peace.

“Without that, the process would be virtually impossible, whereas the Armenians of Artsakh - who are initially the aggrieved party - feel more sensitive about that. So the co-chairs need to embark on serious efforts to work with the society of Artsakh. It is also important to consider the will the Artsakh people. Without that, no step towards preparing for peace is likely to have any success,” he added.

'The Ambassador' reality show star running for Knesset

jpost.com, January 22

Former deputy mayor of Tel Aviv Mehereta Baruch-Ron, 2019.
Baruch-Ron image from article

She made the trek from Ethiopian at the age of ten, and as and adult became deputy mayor of Tel Aviv. Now she's running for Knesset.

In the 2004 reality TV show The Ambassador, young Israeli contestants competed over the right to defend the Jewish state in public diplomacy [JB emphasis] around the world.

Since then, its judges Nachman Shai and Yaakov Peri became Knesset members and the winner of the contest, Eytan Schwartz, ran unsuccessfully for the Knesset with Labor. Now the second-place finisher, Mehereta Baruch-Ron, is joining the fray, announcing Tuesday that she is seeking a Knesset seat with the Meretz Party.

Baruch-Ron, 44, was born in Seramle, Ethiopia, and at age 10 made a difficult journey by foot into Sudan, where she was airlifted to Israel without her family. She went from being illiterate to earning two degrees and then becoming the first Ethiopian-born deputy mayor of Tel Aviv, a post she has held for six years. ...

Review Article: Australia’s use of international education as public diplomacy in China: foreign policy or domestic agenda?

Bradley McConachie, Australian Journal of International Affairs

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This research utilises expert interviews to investigate why the Australian Government funds the New Colombo Plan (NCP) and the Australian Studies Centres (ASCs) as public diplomacy [JB emphasis] in China. The ASCs have grown with no increase in funding, however, the academics view themselves as facilitators of Australian Studies not an arm of public diplomacy, despite their work contributing toward positive Australia-China relations. Evaluating the efficacy of the ASC’s contribution to public diplomacy  is fraught with risk. Some suggest that political activism may backfire when governments explicitly outline their soft power strategies. As the NCP has no longitudinal measurements, this research is an initial review of short-term achievements. However, the external survey with 16% return rate, and just over 50% response rate indicating an intention to act as ambassadors for the program, requires review by the funding department. The opportunity for the Government to send a positive message to China and the strong people-to-people networks fostered by the two programs’ participants have the potential to influence the nexus between Australian foreign policy, international education as public diplomacy and public engagement with foreign policy. This alone, should be sufficient to justify continued funding, or in the case of the ASCs, increased funding.

KEYWORDS: Public diplomacy, foreign policy, international education, China, Australia, scholarships

Success through science diplomacy: Using science to get ahead in world politics

policyforum.net; original article contains links

To strengthen its global and regional influence, Australia should focus on science diplomacy within the Korean peninsula, Olga Krasnyak writes.

About the Author

Olga Krasnyak

Dr Olga Krasnyak is a researcher in diplomatic studies at Underwood International College, Yonsei Univesity, where she teaches a number of courses majoring in international studies. She is the author of National styles in science, diplomacy, and science diplomacy (Leiden, Boston: Brill 2018).
Science diplomacy is not a tool limited to major powers. Middle powers, too, can go beyond simple military and economic strategies, and use their scientific prowess when asserting their position amongst their peers.

In my recent monograph, I analysed past and present examples of science diplomacy practised by major powers, while identifying important structural elements and projecting their future implications. In many cases, middle and smaller powers don’t play a crucial part in these initiatives; they are involved from the sidelines and sometimes even put at a disadvantage.

Some middle powers, however, are capable of initiating and pursuing their own science diplomacy strategies. Spain is a leading expert in such matters and has already made it a primary strategy of its foreign policy.

Australia – one of the most advanced middle powers – also has all the necessary instruments to implement a science diplomacy strategy. It boasts a well-developed scientific cohort as well as an effective education system and an experienced diplomatic corps. The Lowy Institute’s global diplomacy index 2017 ranks Australia 28th out of 60 countries – a good effort considering its demography, geography, and geopolitical stances.

One area where Australia has the potential to use science diplomacy is to build its influence over the Korean peninsula.

Though economically and technologically advanced, South Korea outsources its R&D primarily to its chaebols – large industrial conglomerates. Ultimately, such decisions deter its scientific influence from spreading throughout the world. Traditional competition between major North Asian powers hasn’t helped either. This gives Australia the opportunity to form a partnership with South Korea through specific scientific collaboration.

South Korea wishes to increase its international influence but has had trouble moving past K-pop and electronic digital devices. As a result, it has undertaken research projects in the Arctic, the Antarctic, and the Southern Ocean. And just as matters involving the Arctic might be of concern to the Arctic Five, matters involving the Southern Continent and Ocean should be of interest to Australia.

South Korea currently maintains two scientific stations in the Antarctic but results have been embarrassingly scant. Research and scientific publications measure a country’s activity and success in their respective research regions, but poor results have so far only negatively impacted South Korea’s international clout and ability to – for instance – build coalitions, lobby special interests, and influence other members of the Antarctic Treaty.

This gives Australian researchers the chance to mentor and guide their Korean counterparts towards achieving better research outcomes concerning the relevant theoretical and natural sciences.

Long-term scientific collaboration will help Australia stretch its scientific influence not only over South Korea, but over other emerging scientific powers in the Indo-Pacific as well. Without a doubt, scientific collaboration with other middle and smaller powers falls under science diplomacy – it requires diplomatic assistance and ultimately promotes Australia’s foreign policy agenda.

Scientific engagement with North Korea is also a possibility. Other countries – though very few in number – have already begun to engage with the country. New Zealand birdwatchers, French archaeologists, and British and American volcanologists are all tremendous examples of how collaboration in non-political spheres can help improve and establish bilateral relations.

Building a scientific relationship with North Korea will definitely prove difficult – especially considering Australia’s political and economic limitations – but there’s certainly still a chance. Maritime and ocean preservation policies, forest policies, and climatology are only a few examples of what might help open the door. Such attempts must be accompanied, however, with strategic and direct diplomatic efforts.

‘Science diplomats’ are a relatively new concept and are currently being pioneered by the AAAS’ Center for Science Diplomacy. Australia might join the club of educators to form ties between scientists, diplomats, and politicians, but more importantly to enhance its public policy mechanisms. Educational programs for training science diplomats are still scarce – Australia has a shot at becoming a leader in the field for the Indo-Pacific.

Using digital and public diplomacy (JB emphasis), as well as broader educational campaigns, Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) may well wish to implement training programs for science diplomats. Such efforts could help deepen their understanding of both science diplomacy as a concept and of the country’s foreign diplomacy agendas.

Just as Russia has done for decades, Australia should also consider training North Korean science students and interns. Moreover, South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs may well have it in their interest to consider similar diplomatic training as well.

Australia has a great opportunity to build its profile as a middle power throughout and beyond the region. It is up to DFAT to re-orientate its current trade profile in a more scientific direction.

Amb. Harris Risks Tainting Public Diplomacy with Image of Pressure

koreabizwire.com; see also (1)

U.S. ambassador to South Korea Harry Harris. (Yonhap)
U.S. ambassador to South Korea Harry Harris. (Yonhap)
SEOUL, Jan. 22 (Korea Bizwire) — Harry Harris, the U.S. ambassador to South Korea, has apparently come to the fore in Washington’s call for more money from Seoul for its troops here, potentially taking a toll on Washington’s public diplomacy  [JB emphasis] with its key regional ally. 
The two sides have been in a tug-of-war over how much Seoul should pay for the presence of the 28,500-strong U.S. Forces Korea (USFK).
Despite ten rounds of negotiations led by veteran diplomats last year, they failed to strike a deal.
The Trump administration demands South Korea sharply increase its burden from the current 960 billion won (US$850 million) a year. A related five-year contract expired at the end of 2018.
Amid a protracted stalemate in the talks, Harris visited the presidential office, Cheong Wa Dae, in late December to discuss the issue, according to The Dong-A Ilbo, a Seoul-based daily.
He met with National Security Adviser Chung Eui-yong and asked the government to accept the U.S. offer, the newspaper quoted a government source as saying.
The retired admiral, who once commanded America’s Pacific forces, even said Washington may consider “implementing the South Korea-U.S. Mutual Defense Treaty in a different way,” it reported.
If confirmed, many would view it as de-facto form of pressure or blackmail against Seoul. In particular, doubts are palpable about the Trump administration’s regional security strategy.
The U.S. Embassy in Seoul refused to comment on the matter, citing “confidential diplomatic discussions,” the daily said.
Last week, Harris contributed a special op-ed to another local daily, in which he said South Korea “should do significantly more to share the burden” of defending the country.
As the top U.S. envoy here, it’s natural for him to work for his country’s national interest. But he risks hurting public diplomacy, another key role and mission in Korea.
In fact, his public talk of more taxpayer money for the USFK has raised the eyebrows of at least some people here.
Winning hearts and minds is a tough but very important task, especially for a U.S. ambassador.
Koreans have traditionally been sensitive to the high-handedness of U.S. officials, although anti-American sentiment has considerably lessened compared with previous decades. The impression that the U.S. is putting pressure on South Korea over either economy or alliance issues is inimical to them.
In 2008, then U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Alexander Vershbow sparked public anger with a remark that Koreans need to “learn some more science” in response to massive protests against the imports of American beef amid concerns about mad cow disease.
Many took issue with his attitude in delivering such a public message.
In contrast, his successor, Kathleen Stephens, was beloved by people here for her humble attitude and efforts for public diplomacy.
“It’s true that Amb. Stephens is still remembered as a good ambassador, especially having done a great public diplomacy job,” a South Korean foreign ministry official said, speaking privately to reporters.
The foreign ministry’s spokesman Noh Kyu-duk later confirmed that the ambassador had met with Chung. He would not comment on the details of their discussions.
“Our government is making efforts to reach a reasonable agreement, mutually acceptable, as early as possible on the basis of mutual respect and understanding (with the U.S. ally),” he said at a press briefing.
On Monday, meanwhile, Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha told reporters that there’s a “very big” gap between the allies on sharing USFK costs. She would not reveal how much the U.S. wants.
“It’s difficult to reveal the detailed amount (the U.S. wants), but I tell you clearly that there’s a big difference,” she said after meeting with a group of lawmakers at the National Assembly.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Sweden provides ‘quiet diplomacy’ for U.S. – North Korea talks

John Sjoholm, limacharlienews.com; see also (1)

Image Sweden provides ‘quiet diplomacy’ for U.S. – North Korea talks [Lima Charlie News][Image: REUTERS / Janerik Henriksson]
uncaptioned image from article

A sequestered, off the record meeting in Sweden drives U.S., North Korea, South Korea diplomacy.

At a sequestered conference facility outside of Stockholm top diplomats from North Korea, the U.S. and South Korea are now meeting under the protection of Swedish military and paramilitary forces for a week long off-the-record gathering. The facility and the area around the facility are off-limits for observers, including accredited journalists.

The meeting began on January 19th and is being held at the Hackholmssund Conference Hotel, by the Mälaren Lake, north-west of Stockholm. The area is under lock down by the Swedish paramilitary police force “Nationella Insatsstyrkan” and the Swedish military is conducting training of several of its elite quick response counter-terrorism units in the vicinity.

Sources within Rosenbad, the nerve centre of Swedish politics, tell us that the meeting was initiated and coordinated by the Swedish Foreign Affairs ministry. The same sources tell us that the topics at hand are the future of nuclear weapons in the Korean Peninsula. The results of the meeting are intended to be disclosed during the late-February meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-Un.

Buster Mirow Emitslöf, the Swedish Foreign Affairs ministry’s press communications officer, stated that Choe Son-Hui (North Korea’s vice-Foreign Affairs Minister), Lee Do-Hoon (South Korea’s special representative in matters relating to North Korea), and Stephen E. Biegun (U.S. Special Representative for North Korea) are present during the meeting. Using the “round table” discussion form, the meeting is being held under the guidance of Margot Wallström, Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden and Minister for Foreign Affairs, and Jan Eliasson, former vice General Secretary of the United Nations.

The meeting is expected to last until Tuesday, January 22nd, with sources stating that all participants are “cautiously optimistic” about potential diplomatic advances in the sensitive discussions. Lima Charlie News reached out to Margot Wallström on January 20th who responded “no comment” clarifying that “it is a matter of establishing confidence and trust between all parties.”

Image Security outside of meeting facility near Stockholm, Sweden, Sunday, Jan. 20, 2019 [ANDERS WIKLUND /TT / via AP]
Image from article: Security outside of meeting facility near Stockholm, Sweden, Sunday, Jan. 20, 2019

“Tyst Diplomati”

Sweden has in recent years been seen as helping American diplomatic interests by playing the pseudo-unbiased role of a behind-the-scenes mediator for sensitive matters.

Sweden has long championed a particular branch of “preventive diplomacy” that is referred to as “quiet diplomacy”, or “tyst diplomati” in Swedish. This approach stands in contrast with what is referred to as “gunboat diplomacy” or “public diplomacy[JB emphasis]. Gunboat diplomacy relies primarily on being able to enact the unspoken, or spoken threat of military force, whereas public diplomacy  relies on creating world pressure to forward a particular dogma or interest. Quiet diplomacy, in turn, seeks to establish trust and the ability to speak freely about each side’s goals and interests. The hope is that by being able to keep off-the-record conversations, clarity and true mutual interests can be established between discoursing parties.

Quiet diplomacy is backed rather by intelligence assets, knowing more about the true state of the participants in any negotiations than what is generally known. Sweden’s behind-the-scenes role in recent international diplomacy has largely been attributed to the fact that Sweden has maintained not just diplomatic connections with a lot of politically turbulent third-world nations, but also economics ties. This is apparent when one looks at the customer base for many of Sweden’s recently sold Signal Intelligence (SIGINT) systems as well as its low-profile armament sales to the third world.

[Twitter image/message from article]

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Swedish MFA
We spent two years at the centre of global diplomacy. And yes, it is possible to make a real difference.
Check out how! #SwedeninUNSC @UNhttp://www.swemfa.se/global-cooperation-and-a-strong-un/ …

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As part of this policy, Sweden has retained diplomatic presentation in North Korea since 1975, longer than any western nation. Sweden has often sold equipment to North Korea at a loss or neglected to collect payments, all in the name of retaining positive relations with the North Korean dictatorship. Sweden also carries out limited consular functions for the United States, Canada and Australia in North Korea. For the past 55 years Sweden, along with Switzerland, has been part of the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) security detachment.

As such, Sweden has pitched itself in a diplomatic laissez-faire fashion to the western world to negotiate with extremist nations on behalf of western interests. As part of this, Sweden carried out a series of behind-the-scenes talks with the North Korean leadership that helped get three Americans who had been held in North Korean captivity since 2017 released. This, in turn, helped facilitate the summer 2018 North Korea–United States summit in Singapore.

It is, however, important to note that the particular brand of diplomacy that Sweden has become famous for can often result in prolonged negotiations with a public perception quickly being created that very little is actually being accomplished, or that the negotiations have even broken down. For example, Sweden is also presently engaged in quiet diplomacy negotiations between the warring parties of the Yemen Civil War conflict. A cease fire agreement was brokered during negotiations in Stockholm earlier this year, but it only lasted mere minutes before it was shattered.

The Grounds

The Hackholmssund Conference Hotel has long been a popular spot for diplomatic and business off-the-record negotiations. It is owned by Midroc Real Estate AB, which in turn is owned by the Ethiopian-Saudi businessman Mohammed Hussein Al Amoudi. Al Amoudi remains under house arrest at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Riyadh since November 4th, 2017 when Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered his arrest as part of the 2017 Saudi purge. The conference hotel was bought by Midroc in 1994 and underwent extensive refurbishment from 1995-1996 using specifications from al Amoudi himself.

The hotel features a private boat dock, helicopter landing area, and has an enhanced security profile. The hotel had blast protective walls and blast and bulletproof glass installed on both the inside walls and the outside facade. Access to the hotel grounds is also designed with a tactical advantage in mind, with access routes being easily controlled and observed from specific security vantage points.

The hotel grounds also feature two private houses, one of which is known as the “executive house” and is often used by al Amoudi during his visits.

John Sjoholm is Lima Charlie’s Middle East Bureau Chief and founder of the consulting organization Erudite Group. He is a seasoned Middle East connoisseur, with a past in the Swedish Army’s Special Forces branch and the Security Contracting industry. He studied religion and languages in Sana’a, Yemen, and Cairo, Egypt. He lived and operated extensively in the Middle East between 2005-2012 as part of regional stabilizing projects, and currently resides in Lebanon. Follow John on Twitter @JohnSjoholmLC

Share Vacancy notice : Contract Agent FG IV post within EU INTCEN/Hybrid Fusion Cell EEAS Headquarters


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The closing date for the submission of applications is 1st February 2019 at 18.00 (CET). Late applications will not be accepted.

The European External Action Service (EEAS) supports the work of the High Representative in her tasks of conducting the EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy and chairing the Foreign Affairs Council. It also supports the High Representative in her capacity as Vice President of the Commission with regard to her responsibilities within the Commission in the external relations field including the coordination of other aspects of the EU’s external action. The EEAS works in close cooperation with Member States, the Council and relevant services of the European Commission.

The EU Hybrid Fusion Cell was established in 2016 as an initiative of the Joint Communication on Countering Hybrid threats. It is incorporated into the analysis division of EU INTCEN, which, along with the EU Military Staff Intelligence Directorate and under the framework of the Single Intelligence Analysis Capacity (SIAC), provides analysis and early warning to the EEAS, the Commission, the Council and Member States. The primary aim of the EU Hybrid Fusion Cell is to analyse, share and exchange information on hybrid threats within multiple networks across the EU institutions and the Member States. Supported by the geographical and thematic sections of SIAC, the Hybrid Fusion Cell analyses a wide range of hybrid threats and their originators. Disinformation campaigns are one area of focus of the dedicated team.

On 5 December 2018 the College of the European Commission adopted an Action Plan against disinformation (JOIN(2018) 36 final), which was presented jointly by the Commission and the High Representative. The plan outlines concrete actions to bolster EU capabilities to detect, analyse and expose disinformation and strengthen coordinated and joint responses between the Union and Member States. In this context, EEAS will strengthen its Strategic Communications capacity, and in particular the Stratcom Task Forces for East, South and Western Balkans and EU's Hybrid Fusion Cell. This will be done bearing in mind the growing scale and importance of disinformation activities in those regions and the need to raise awareness about the adverse impact of disinformation. The Task Forces will also step up proactive strategic communications in the EU's neighborhood and continue supporting independent media in cooperation with the relevant Commission services.


One Contract Agent FG IV position for a political analyst to be based within Hybrid Fusion Cell, INTCEN. The Contract Agent work will focus on the analysis of hybrid threats, with particular focus on the disinformation campaigns. He/she will: (a) closely cooperate with dedicated Task Forces for EU's Eastern Neighborhood, Middle East and Northern Africa and Western Balkans in the EEAS Strategic Communications Division when preparing regular assessment and situational reports on hostile disinformation campaigns based on variety of sources (b) coordinate activities of INTCEN with the EU Member States contact points within Rapid Alert System and other European networks (e.g. Election cooperation network) dealing with the analysis of disinformation campaigns, (c) contribute to awareness-raising and advocacy activities to address adverse impact of disinformation, including with international partners.

The expert will be required to work closely with the relevant policy divisions of the EEAS, notably with the divisions dealing with EU neighborhood countries, relevant European Commission services and with EU Delegations in their respective regions.

Functions and Duties:

He/she will assist/contribute to:
  • Research using automatized open-source research/IT tools; 
  • in-depth assessments on hostile disinformation activities; 
  • INTCEN's hybrid threat assessments on information operations/disinformation activities;
  • Preparing analysis reports for the Hybrid Fusion Cell and EEAS Strategic Communications Division;
  • Coordination of counter hostile disinformation activities;
  • Building/maintaining an effective network across institutions, MS, partner states and partner organizations and agencies; 
  • Analysis of the perception of the EU in the Eastern Neighborhood, the Middle East and Northern Africa and Western Balkans regions, monitoring of reporting on EU policies and values/interests in these regions, detection and exposure of hostile disinformation activities and campaigns;
  • Promotion of closer cooperation and synergies between the EEAS and the European Commission in their efforts towards an effective and coordinated response to disinformation campaigns and towards impactful EU strategic communications in the EU's Eastern Neighborhood, the Middle East and Northern Africa and Western Balkans;
  • Work with relevant EU Institutions and bodies on strategic medium-long term activities, including region-wide and individual country communication campaigns, including awareness raising campaigns on disinformation;
  • Supporting EEAS Strategic Communications Division assisting EU Delegations in the neighbourhood developing coherent strategic communications action plans based on information environment assessment and targeted to priority audiences, addressing local perceptions or perception gaps and taking into account vulnerability to disinformation activities;
  • Support to other tasks of the Strategic Communications Division.


Knowledge and Experience:
  • Candidates should be able to demonstrate good knowledge and experience in the following areas: 
  • political analysis and awareness of informational environment in the respective regions; knowledge of the EU's policies and positions towards the countries in the respective regions; 
  • strategic communications and public diplomacy
  • sound background on security in organizations. 
  • Knowledge of EU institutions and decision-making processes, the EU's external action and EU enlargement policies would be an asset.

Linguistic skills: Knowledge of English and French would be an asset.

Knowledge of languages in the respective regions (e.g. Russian, Arabic or one of the languages of the Western Balkans) is an asset.

Communication skills: Capacity to work and communicate (both orally and written) under time constraints in a multilingual international diplomatic environment. Creativity and flexibility.

Interpersonal skills: Teamwork and capacity to coordinate with other teams and multiple stakeholders. Able to proactively establish and maintain an effective network/community of interest.

Intellectual skills: Solid analytical capability as well as excellent drafting and reporting skills. Rapid grasp of problems and capacity to identify issues and solutions.

Computer skills: Microsoft Office software (Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint) required. Understanding of data mining and knowledge of automatized research tools.

Social media skills: Knowledge of Twitter and Facebook, and social media analytics is a key asset.


Candidates for a contract agent FG IV post should:

- (i) have passed a valid EPSO CAST in FG IV ; or
  • - (ii) be registered in the EPSO Permanent CAST in FG IV https://epso.europa.eu/apply/job-offers_en?keyword=&contract=37&grade=All&institution=101&location=All
  • have completed university studies of at least three years attested by a diploma;
  • have the capacity to work in languages of CFSP and external relations necessary for the performance of their duties. Knowledge of other EU languages would be an asset;
  • Be a national of one of the Member States of the European Union and enjoy full rights as a citizen;
  • have technical knowledge on how to use open-source and social media research tools;
  • have a valid security clearance.

Brussels, Belgium


The successful candidate will be required to undergo security vetting if they do not already hold security clearance to an appropriate level (EU SECRET), in accordance with the relevant security provisions.


Contract agent position (Function group IV); renewable contract for a maximum duration of 6 years (with a valid CAST exam). Initial contract: 1 year.

Posted within EU INTCEN, embedded in the EU Hybrid Fusion Cell.


Candidates should send their applications (CV and motivation letter - in English or French) to the mailbox: EEAS-EU-INTCEN-ADMINISTRATION@eeas.europa.eu.

The closing date for the submission of applications is 1st February 2019 at 18.00 (CET). Late applications will not be accepted.

The selection panel will make a pre-selection on the basis of the qualifications and professional experience described in the CV and motivational letter, and will produce a shortlist of eligible candidates who best meet the selection criteria for the post.

The candidate who have been preselected will be invited for an interview by a selection panel. The panel will recommend a shortlist of candidates for a final decision by the Authority Empowered to Conclude Contracts of Employment. The Authority may decide to interview the candidates on the final shortlist before taking this decision.

Indicative starting date: April 2019 in EEAS HQ (Brussels).

[1] Your personal data will be processed in accordance with Regulation (EC) 45/2001b, as implemented by Decision of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Policy and Security Policy of 8 December 2001. The privacy statement is available on EEAS zone (http://intragate.ec.europa.eu/eeas/eeaszone/?q=node/26891 ) and on the EEAS website

( http://eeas.europa.eu/jobs/contract_agents_hq/index_en.htm).

Tom Quiggin, on those who left Canada to become terrorists; Trump vs. Dems, Canada vs. China, & more with

Ogborn image  from
U.S. President Donald Trump made a televised offer to Democrats in Congress, regarding border security and the government shutdown, yesterday. This in the midst of the very public fight between President Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, with Pelosi urging Trump to delay his State of the Union Address and Trump cancelling Pelosi's plan to use a military aircraft for a series of foreign visits, including visiting troops in Afghanistan. Roy [Green] and public diplomacy [JB emphasis] expert William Ogborn cover these topics as well as Brexit and Canada’s relations with China, among other things. ...

Candid talk on relations in challenging time

May Zhou, China Daily USA, Updated: 2019-01-21 22:57

uncaptioned image from article

Some more "personal diplomacy" and people-to-people exchanges was the prescription given by experts and former diplomats for what ails China-US relations.

Forty years since China and the United States established diplomatic ties, much has been gained and will be gained if cooperation is chosen instead of confrontation, people from both countries agreed.

From Thursday to Saturday, some 200 ex-envoys and observers from both countries gathered in Atlanta for a symposium celebrating the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations.

The goal was to conduct candid discussions on finding a new and effective framework for the Sino-American relationship.

The symposium was organized by the Carter Center, the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries and the Institute of American Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Topics included education, perceptions, healthcare cooperation, trade, investment issues, maritime disputes and more.

David Lampton from the Asia Pacific Research Center at Stanford University said that perceptions of China in the US have changed tremendously.

Fundamentally, Americans' perception of China has shifted from it being weak to an image of China "on steroids", and they see current Chinese leaders as much more willing to take risks, Lampton said.

"How to deal with what we see as a very strong partner or adversary? The perceptions may be not correct, may be not permanent, but important," he said.

Jim Leach, a former congressman and president of the National Endowment for the Humanities, cautioned that both the United States and China need to tread carefully.

"Einstein said that splitting the atom has changed everything except the way of our thinking. The problem of mass weapon destruction has grown ever since. There is only one thing in common for all of us: we have to be incredibly cautious," Leach said.

George Hong, a professor and associate vice-president for academic affairs at Fordham University, called for the academic experts to act as impartial spectators and peacemakers. "We must be fair, accurate, objective and not biased. We should be just evaluators and constructive promoters," he said.

Hong also said academic experts should refrain from actively promoting either side's views and avoid confrontation caused by misconception, misunderstanding, misinterpretation and miscommunication.

"If we want to see an enemy, an enemy will be there," he said.

"Given the tough situation today, we need remind ourselves that never say never. Looking back at how the US-China relationship has grown, individual effort can't be underestimated. Public diplomacy [JB emphasis], like ping-pong diplomacy, could play a great role when first-tier diplomacy is in jeopardy," Hong said.

Stephen Orlins, president of the National Committee on US-China Relations, believes that the true threats are the common ones.

"The people of both countries understand that the real crisis of climate changes, economic crisis and pandemics can only be confronted when the United States and China work together," he said.

"After 40 years, China has not become more and more like the US as a lot of Americans expected China to, and they become frustrated. Moreover, many Americans now perceive that China wants to change the US through means such as Confucius institutes and Chinese media, but that perception is not correct," said Liu Yawei, director of the China Program at the Carter Center.

"While America wants China to change its system, China only wants America to change its perception of China," he said.

Contact the writer at mayzhou@chinadailyusa.com

Essex mosque defiantly holds Muslim Shoah heroes exhibit despite boycott calls

jewishnews.timesofisrael.com; article contains additional images; see also (1)

Rabbi Herschel Gluck with Bashir Chaudhry, chairman of the mosque which held the event
Image from article, with caption: chel Gluck with Bashir Chaudhry, chairman of the mosque which held the event

The exhibition demonstrated how Muslim Albanians not only protected their own Jewish citizens, but also offered sanctuary to Jewish refugees who had arrived in Albania and faced deportation to concentration camps. ...

Attendees at the exhibition included Councillor Jas Athwal, Leader of Redbridge Council, Fiyaz Mughal of Faith Matters, Vivian Aisen [JB - see], Director of Public Diplomacy  [JB emphasis] at the Israeli Embassy, Sara Khan, Lead Commissioner for Countering Extremism, and Rabbi Wollenberg who represented the Chief Rabbi. ...

Voice of America's journalists aren't getting paid. But they're still reporting the news

Brian Stelter, CNN Business, January 20, 2019; see also (1)

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New York (CNN Business) Voice of America has been busy for the past month covering the partial government shutdown.

But unlike other major news outlets, many of Voice of America's reporters are working without pay, victims of the shutdown themselves.

The VOA is part of the US Agency for Global Media [JB see], which was known until recently as the Broadcasting Board of Governors. The agency is funded by the government, and beams news coverage around the world through networks like VOA, Radio Free Europe and Radio Martí and on the web.

The offices of the Agency for Global Media are closed. But the newsrooms are open and its reporters are navigating furloughs and lack of pay to keep the news going.

"The two of us who cover the White House have been going back and forth between unpaid working and furlough status," the news organization's White House bureau chief Steve Herman told CNN Business.

Herman was at the White House on Saturday for President Donald Trump's speech about the shutdown.

Speaking on "Reliable Sources" on Sunday, Herman said "it is a bit unusual, of course, to be covering a topic that so personally affects you, but just like any other topic I would be covering, you put that aside and you go ahead you do your job."

Herman was speaking just for himself, not for VOA as a whole. The agency's spokesman did not respond to requests for comment.

"As the partial U.S. government shutdown continues and hundreds of thousands of workers are now furloughed or working without pay, the impact is reaching people across the nation," VOA senior reporter Mariama Diallo said in a TV segment a few days ago.

Diallo did not mention that she and her VOA colleagues aren't being paid either, a reflection of journalists' reluctance to make stories about themselves.

Several VOA journalists explained the situation only on condition of anonymity.

"You can't stop broadcasting, so employees who are responsible for content are defined as emergency employees and have to get to work," a VOA host said.

Reporters, editors, producers, camera operators, and others are "are working and not getting paid."

The USAGM also employs contractors. Some of them are still being paid, "at least for now," one of the staffers said.

"Now that things have dragged on for so long, a few reporters and editors are taking turns getting furloughed for a day here and there," another VOA staffer said on condition of anonymity.

No, I Won’t Take Trump Home to Russia With Me [mentions Voice of America]

Anastasia Edel, The New York Times, Jan. 19, 2019; original article contains links

The American president has changed my relationship with both my old country and my new one.

Image result for voice of america cold war
image (not from article) from
American attitudes toward Russia and Russians have always been hostage to the larger relationship between our nations. During the Reagan years, Russia was the “evil empire,” purveyor of nuclear arms, spies and Hollywood villains. The Russians repaid in kind: At a New Year’s show in the Kremlin Palace that I attended at the tender age of 9, the antagonist was an agent of the “rotting West” sent to steal Soviet children’s gifts.

But there were always counterpoints. Which American intellectual didn’t lose him or herself in “The Brothers Karamazov”? Which Soviet dissident didn’t hope to be shouldered by the American government, the guarantor of human rights, dignity and freedom of conscience? As we listened to the Voice of America on crackling radio transmitters in our tiny Soviet kitchen, devouring the facts that our government concealed — about the war in Afghanistan, the dissidents thrown into mental asylums, the Chernobyl disaster — we couldn’t help but admire America as a moral counterweight. Of all my beliefs assailed by the realities of Donald Trump’s America, this one is the hardest to let go. ...

Washington funded the Voice of America that my family relied on to hear the truth, but today the White House spews falsities, in which the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan becomes a counterterrorist operation. An invitation was extended to a Russian ultranationalist and anti-American bigot, Dmitry Rogozin, to visit an American government agency in the interest of “mutual cooperation.” This week, Oleg Deripaska, an oligarch and another influential Putin insider who once faced credible accusations of extortion, bribery and even murder, secured easing of the sanctions for his companies. And now there is a report — parts of which the special counsel’s office disputes — that the man in the White House may have instructed his lawyer Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about the extent of his business dealings with Russia, which included a prospective penthouse for Mr. Putin, delivered by an American presidential candidate. ...

Anastasia Edel (@aedelwriter) grew up in southern Russia and is the author of “Russia: Putin’s Playground: Empire, Revolution, and the New Tsar.”

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Notice of Funding Opportunity - US Embassy Kigali


Image result for U.S. EMBASSY KIGALI
US Embassy Kigali image (not from entry) from

Funding Opportunity Title:             U.S. Embassy Kigali PAS Annual Program Statement
Funding Opportunity Number:      PAS-RW-FY19-01
Deadline for Applications:               July 31, 2019
CFDA Number:                                19.040 – Public Diplomacy [JB emphasis] Programs
Total Amount Available:                 $Variable
Maximum for Each Award:            $25,000
The U.S. Embassy Kigali Public Affairs Section (PAS) of the U.S. Department of State is pleased to announce that funding is available through its Public Diplomacy Small Grants Program. This is an Annual Program Statement, outlining our funding priorities, the strategic themes we focus on, and the procedures for submitting requests for funding.  Please carefully follow all instructions below.
Purpose of Small Grants: PAS Kigali invites proposals for programs that strengthen cultural ties between the U.S. and Rwanda through cultural and exchange programming that highlights shared values and promotes bilateral cooperation. All programs must include an American cultural element, or connection with American expert/s, organization/s, or institution/s in a specific field that will promote increased understanding of U.S. policy and perspectives.
Examples of PAS Small Grants Program programs include, but are not limited to:
  • Academic and professional lectures, seminars and speaker programs;
  • Artistic and cultural workshops, joint performances and exhibitions;
  • Cultural heritage conservation and preservation programs;
  • Professional and academic exchanges and programs;
  • Programs to promote vulnerable populations including, girls and women, persons with disabilities, and the LGBTI community;
  • Youth entrepreneurship, empowerment, and/or leadership programs;
  • Programs that build the capacity of Rwandan media.
Priority Program Areas:
  • Advance regional peace and security;
  • Increase bilateral economic growth, trade, and investment;
  • Promote inclusive country-led development;
  • Expand democracy, human rights, media freedom, and access to justice.
Please see https://www.state.gov/documents/organization/284961.pdf  for more information.
Participants and Audiences:
Expertise and established relationships with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that promote inclusion of vulnerable populations and/or local officials in the communities in which the programs will be conducted will be considered favorably.
All programs must include an American cultural element and/or should increase mutual understanding between the United States and Rwanda.
The following types of programs are not eligible for funding:
  • Programs relating to partisan political activity;
  • Charitable or development activities;
  • Construction programs;
  • Fund-raising campaigns;
  • Lobbying for specific legislation or programs
  • Scientific research;
  • Programs intended primarily for the growth or institutional development of the organization; or
  • Programs that duplicate existing programs.
Authorizing legislation, type and year of funding:
The source of funding is FY2019 Public Diplomacy Funding.
Length of performance period: Depending on the needs of the project, performance period may be as short as one day but up to two years.
Number of awards anticipated: Subject to funding availability.
Award amounts: awards may range from a minimum of $2500 to a maximum of $25,000
Total available funding: Variable
Type of Funding:  Fiscal Year 2019 Public Diplomacy Funding
Anticipated program start date:  January 14, 2019 through December 31, 2019.
This notice is subject to availability of funding.
Funding Instrument Type:  Grant, Fixed Amount Award, or Cooperative agreement. Cooperative agreements are different from grants in that PAS staff are more actively involved in the grant implementation.  “Substantial Involvement” will be determined by PAS prior to award notification.
Program Performance Period: Proposed programs should be completed in 24 months or less.
Optional:  PAS will entertain applications for continuation grants funded under these awards beyond the initial budget period on a non-competitive basis subject to availability of funds, satisfactory progress of the program, and a determination that continued funding would be in the best interest of the U.S. Department of State.
  1. Eligible Applicants
The Public Affairs Section encourages applications from all that apply:
  • Registered not-for-profit organizations, including think tanks and civil society/non-governmental organizations with programming experience
  • Civil Society Organizations not yet registered with the Government of Rwanda.
  • Individuals
  • Non-profit or governmental educational institutions
  • Governmental institutions
For-profit or commercial entities are not eligible to apply.  
  1. Cost Sharing or Matching
Cost sharing is not required.
  1. Other Eligibility Requirements
In order to be eligible to receive an award, all organizations must have a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number from Dun & Bradstreet, as well as a valid registration on www.SAM.gov. Please see Section D.3 for information on how to obtain these registrations.  Individuals are not required to have a DUNS number or be registered in SAM.gov.
4.  Address to Request Application Package
Application forms required below are available at rw.usembassy.gov and grants.gov.
  1. Content and Form of Application Submission
Please follow all instructions below carefully. Proposals that do not meet the requirements of this announcement or fail to comply with the stated requirements will be ineligible.
Content of Application
Please ensure:
  • The proposal clearly addresses the goals and objectives of this funding opportunity
  • All documents are in English
  • All budgets are in U.S. dollars
  • All pages are numbered
  • All Microsoft Word documents are single-spaced, 12 point Times New Roman font, with a minimum of 1-inch margins.
The following documents are required:
  1. Mandatory application forms
  • SF-424 (Application for Federal Assistance – organizations)or SF-424-I (Application for Federal Assistance –individuals)
  • SF424A (Budget Information for Non-Construction programs)
  • SF424B (Assurances for Non-Construction programs) or SF-424B (Individual).
  1. Summary Coversheet: Cover sheet stating the applicant name and organization, proposal date, program title, program period proposed start and end date, and brief purpose of the program.
  2. Proposal (6 pages maximum): The proposal should contain sufficient information that anyone not familiar with it would understand exactly what the applicant wants to do. You may use your own proposal format, but it must include all the items below.
  • Proposal Summary: Short narrative that outlines the proposed program, including program objectives and anticipated impact.
  • Introduction to the Organization or Individual applying: A description of past and present operations, showing ability to carry out the program, including information on all previous grants from the U.S. Embassy and/or U.S. government agencies.
  • Problem Statement: Clear, concise and well-supported statement of the problem to be addressed and why the proposed program is needed
  • Program Goals and Objectives:  The “goals” describe what the program is intended to achieve.  What aspect of the relationship between the U.S. and Rwanda will be improved? The “objectives” refer to the intermediate accomplishments on the way to the goals. These should be achievable and measurable.
  • Program Activities: Describe the program activities and how they will help achieve the objectives.
  • Program Methods and Design: A description of how the program is expected to work to solve the stated problem and achieve the goal.
  • Proposed Program Schedule:  The proposed timeline for the program activities.  Include the dates, times, and locations of planned activities and events.
  • Key Personnel: Names, titles, roles and experience/qualifications of key personnel involved in the program.  What proportion of their time will be used in support of this program?
  • Program Partners:  List the names and type of involvement of key partner organizations and sub-awardees.
  • Program Monitoring and Evaluation Plan: This is an important part of successful grants. Throughout the time-frame of the grant, how will the activities be monitored to ensure they are happening in a timely manner, and how will the program be evaluated to make sure it is meeting the goals of the grant?
  • Future Funding or Sustainability Applicant’s plan for continuing the program beyond the grant period, or the availability of other resources, if applicable.
  1. Budget Justification Narrative: After filling out the SF-424A Budget (above), use a separate sheet of paper to describe each of the budget expenses in detail. See section H. Other Information: Guidelines for Budget Submissions below for further information.
  2. Attachments:
  • 1-page CV or resume of key personnel who are proposed for the program
  • Letters of support from program partners describing the roles and responsibilities of each partner
  • Official permission letters, if required for program activities
  1. Unique Entity Identifier and System for Award Management (SAM.gov)
Required Registrations:
All organizations applying for grants (except individuals) must obtain these registrations.  All are free of charge:
  • Unique Identifier Number from Dun & Bradstreet (DUNS number)
  • NCAGE/CAGE code
  • SAM.gov registration
Step 1: Apply for a DUNS number and an NCAGE number (these can be completed simultaneously)
DUNS application: Organizations must have a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number from Dun & Bradstreet, if your organization does not have one already, you may obtain one by calling 1-866-705-5711 or visiting http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform/displayHomePage.do;jsessionid=81407B1F03F2BDB123DD47D19158B75F.   http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform 
NCAGE application: Application page here https://eportal.nspa.nato.int/AC135Public/scage/CageList.aspx
Instructions for the NCAGE application process:
For help from within the U.S., call 1-888-227-2423
For help from outside the U.S., call 1-269-961-7766
Email NCAGE@dlis.dla.mil for any problems in getting an NCAGE code.
Step 2: After receiving the NCAGE Code, proceed to register in SAM by logging onto: https://www.sam.gov.  SAM registration must be renewed annually.
  1. Submission Dates and Times:
Applications may be submitted for consideration at any time before the closing date of July 31, 2019.  No applications will be accepted after that date. Decisions on applications will be sent out within 30 days of receipt of the proposal.
  1. Other Submission Requirements
Applicants must submit a complete application package with a concise budget that reflects the scope of work as indicated on the proposal. Completed applications should be submitted electronically through KigaliPublicAffairs@state.gov or by submitting a hard copy addressed to:
The Grants Officer
Public Affairs Section
U.S. Embassy Kigali
Kacyiru, Kigali, Rwanda
Each application submitted under this announcement will be evaluated by a committee and rated on the basis of the evaluation criteria outlined below. Applications will be reviewed on the basis of their completeness, coherence, clarity, and attention to detail.
  1. Criteria
Each application will be evaluated and rated on the basis of the evaluation criteria outlined below. The criteria listed are closely related and are considered as a whole in judging the overall quality of an application.
Organizational capacity and record on previous grants: The organization has expertise in its stated field and PAS is confident of its ability to undertake the program.  This includes a financial management system and a bank account.
Quality and Feasibility of the Program Idea – The program idea is well developed, with detail about how program activities will be carried out. The proposal includes a reasonable implementation timeline.
Goals and objectives: Goals and objectives are clearly stated and program approach is likely to provide maximum impact in achieving the proposed results.
Embassy priorities: Applicant has clearly described how stated goals are related to and support U.S. Embassy Kigali’s priority areas or target audiences.
Budget: The budget justification is detailed.  Costs are reasonable in relation to the proposed activities and anticipated results. The budget is realistic, accounting for all necessary expenses to achieve proposed activities.
Monitoring and evaluation plan: Applicant demonstrates it is able to measure program success against key indicators and provide milestones to indicate progress toward goals outlined in the proposal. The program includes output and outcome indicators, and shows how and when those will be measured.
Sustainability: Program activities will continue to have positive impact after the end of the program.
  1. Review and Selection Process
A Grants Review Committee will evaluate all eligible applications.
For any Federal award under a notice of funding opportunity, if the Federal awarding agency anticipates that the total Federal share will be greater than the simplified acquisition threshold on any Federal award under a notice of funding opportunity may include, over the period of performance (see §200.88 Simplified Acquisition Threshold), this section must also inform applicants:
i. That the Federal awarding agency, prior to making a Federal award with a total amount of Federal share greater than the simplified acquisition threshold, is required to review and consider any information about the applicant that is in the designated integrity and performance system accessible through SAM (currently FAPIIS) (see 41 U.S.C. 2313);
ii. That an applicant, at its option, may review information in the designated integrity and performance systems accessible through SAM and comment on any information about itself that a Federal awarding agency previously entered and is currently in the designated integrity and performance system accessible through SAM;
iii. That the Federal awarding agency will consider any comments by the applicant, in addition to the other information in the designated integrity and performance system, in making a judgment about the applicant’s integrity, business ethics, and record of performance under Federal awards when completing the review of risk posed by applicants as described in §200.205 Federal awarding agency review of risk posed by applicants.
  1. Federal Award Notices
The grant award or cooperative agreement will be written, signed, awarded, and administered by the Grants Officer. The assistance award agreement is the authorizing document and it will be provided to the recipient for review and signature by email. The recipient may only start incurring program expenses beginning on the start date shown on the grant award document signed by the Grants Officer.
If a proposal is selected for funding, the Department of State has no obligation to provide any additional future funding. Renewal of an award to increase funding or extend the period of performance is at the discretion of the Department of State.
Issuance of this NOFO does not constitute an award commitment on the part of the U.S. government, nor does it commit the U.S. government to pay for costs incurred in the preparation and submission of proposals. Further, the U.S. government reserves the right to reject any or all proposals received.
Payment Method: Payments will be made by electronic funds transfer in at least two installments, as needed to carry out the program activities. Payment schedules will be determined by the Grants Officer and Grants Officer Representative and specified in the award document, according to program milestones and as needed to carry out the project activities. Payments will be made in at least two installments, as needed to carry out the program activities.
Organizations whose applications will not be funded will also be notified.
  1. Administrative and National Policy Requirements
Terms and Conditions: Before submitting an application, applicants should review all the terms and conditions and required certifications which will apply to this award, to ensure that they will be able to comply.  These include:
2 CFR 2002 CFR 600, Certifications and Assurances, and the Department of State Standard Terms and Conditions, all of which are available at:  https://www.state.gov/m/a/ope/index.htm.
Note the U.S Flag branding and marking requirements in the Standard Terms and Conditions.
  1. Reporting
Reporting Requirements: Recipients will be required to submit financial reports and program reports.  The award document will specify how often these reports must be submitted.
If you have any questions about the grant application process, please contact PAS at: KigaliPublicAffairs@state.gov.
Note:  We do not provide any pre-consultation for application related questions that are addressed in the NOFO. Please refer to rw.usembassy.gov and view “Working with the U.S. Embassy” for more information about federal awards issued by PAS. Once an application has been submitted, State Department officials and staff — both in the Department and at embassies overseas — may not discuss this competition with applicants until the entire proposal review process is completed.
Guidelines for Budget Justification
Personnel: Describe the wages, salaries, and benefits of temporary or permanent staff who will be working directly for the applicant on the program, and the percentage of their time that will be spent on the program.
Travel: Estimate the costs of travel and per diem for this program. If the program involves international travel, include a brief statement of justification for that travel.
Equipment: Describe any machinery, furniture, or other personal property that is required for the program, which has a useful life of more than one year (or a life longer than the duration of the program), and costs at least $5,000 per unit.
Supplies: List and describe all the items and materials, including any computer devices, that are needed for the program. If an item costs more than $5,000 per unit, then put it in the budget under Equipment.
Contractual: Describe goods and services that the applicant plans to acquire through a contract with a vendor.  Also describe any sub-awards to non-profit partners that will help carry out the program activities.
Other Direct Costs: Describe other costs directly associated with the program, which do not fit in the other categories. For example, shipping costs for materials and equipment or applicable taxes. All “Other” or “Miscellaneous” expenses must be itemized and explained.
Indirect Costs:  These are costs that cannot be linked directly to the program activities, such as overhead costs needed to help keep the organization operating.  If your organization has a Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate (NICRA) and includes NICRA charges in the budget, attach a copy of your latest NICRA. Organizations that have never had a NICRA may request indirect costs of 10% of the modified total direct costs as defined in 2 CFR 200.68.
“Cost Sharing” refers to contributions from the organization or other entities other than the U.S. Embassy.  It also includes in-kind contributions such as volunteers’ time and donated venues.
Alcoholic Beverages:  Please note that award funds cannot be used for alcoholic beverages.