Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Menendez Demands State Department Address Falling Rates of Internal Enrollment in U.S. Schools ...

foreign.senate.gov, November 19

Image result for marie royce state department
Image (not from entry) from, under the headline: Marie Royce, wife of O.C. congressman, picked by Trump for State Dept. 

WASHINGTON D.C. – Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today wrote a letter to Marie Royce, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs, to express his concern about the declining number of international students enrolling in U.S. colleges and universities during the Trump Administration. According to a State Department-funded report, enrollment of international students has fallen for the second straight year.

“I worry that the Administration’s aggressive anti-immigration posture and xenophobic orientation - including restricting the issuance of skilled-worker visas, permanent residencies, and seeking to establish a maximum stay period for international students – deters many potential students who have dreams of studying at one of America’s great educational institutions,” wrote the Senator, who has championed fully funding educational and cultural exchange programs. “These programs are critical to sustaining the United States’ global leadership and as a fixture of education, freedom, and openness for the world.”

Citing the 23,000 international students in higher education institutions across the state of New Jersey, Menendez reiterated the important economic and diplomatic contributions that foreign students make to the United States, calling them proven and cost-effective ways for the United States to remain internationally competitive.

The Senator concluded by asking Assistant Secretary Royce to outline what steps the Trump administration is taking to address this alarming decline, counter negative perceptions of the United States and eliminate barriers to study at American colleges and universities.

A copy of the letter can be found here and below:

November 19, 2018

The Honorable Marie Royce

Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs

U.S. Department of State

2201 C Street NW

Washington, D.C. 20520

Assistant Secretary Royce,

I write to express concern regarding a troubling new report showing that the number of international students entering U.S. colleges and universities has fallen for the second straight year. According to the Institute of International Education[1], in a State Department-funded report, the number of new enrollments for the 2017-2018 school year declined by 6.6 percent compared to the 2016-2017 academic year, which itself had seen a 3.3 percent decrease from the year before.

While the State Department has noted that the nearly 1.1 million international students enrolled in American colleges and universities is a record, the data indicates a declining trend of international students choosing to study in the United States. Analysts and anecdotes indicate that new visa restrictions, harsh immigration policies, and perceived antipathy in the United States’ towards foreigners has contributed to this decline. Unfortunately, this tracks with a series of recent international polls which indicate that across the world people have increasingly negative views of the United States. It stands to reason that the President’s repeated disparaging claims about Latin Americans and Latin American countries have contributed to decreased applications from the region.

New Jersey proudly welcomes almost 23,000 international students to higher education institutions across the state. These students not only contribute to meaningful public diplomacy [JB emphasis], they also contribute around $820 million to the local and state economy. Across the entire United States, that number goes up to $42.4 billion.

However, I worry that the Administration’s aggressive anti-immigration posture and xenophobic orientation - including restricting the issuance of skilled-worker visas, permanent residencies, and seeking to establish a maximum stay period for international students – deters many potential students who have dreams of studying at one of America’s great educational institutions.

As you well know, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ work is critical to promoting and strengthening U.S. global leadership. Your programs, which include higher education and exchange programs, are proven and cost-effective ways for the United States to remain internationally competitive, develop American leaders, engage current and future international leaders, build a network of partnerships rooted in shared values, and promote American interests. Results repeatedly show that when international students visiting the United States return to their home countries, they have a better impression of our country, the American people, and our values. Similarly, U.S. students and communities benefit immensely from international exchange students who offer personal windows to the world.

While the President has repeatedly sought to significantly reduce the funding for educational and cultural exchange programs, I was proud to lead a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee urging them to fully fund these initiatives.

Given the importance of these programs, I ask that you outline initiatives your office and the Department more broadly are taking to increase the number of international students coming to the United States, how you plan to counter the increasingly negative perceptions of the U.S., and how you plan to eliminate any unnecessary barriers to studying at our institutions. These programs are critical to sustaining the United States’ global leadership and as a fixture of education, freedom, and openness for the world.


Robert Menendez

Ranking Member


[1] (IIE), I. o (2018). Open Doors 2018. Washington, D.C.: Institute of International Education and the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Juan Pachon 202-224-4651

Inter-parliamentary cooperation has the greatest impact on public diplomacy

iranpress.com; article contains a video of an interview with Ali Reza Rahimi

Image result for Ali Reza Rahimi
Image of Ali Reza Rahimi from

A member of the executive committee of the Iranian parliament (Majlis ), Ali Reza Rahimi has emphasized that inter-parliamentary cooperation, and parliamentary friendship groups have the greatest impact on public diplomacy [underlined by JB].

Iran news: In an exclusive interview with Iran Press on Tuesday, Ali Reza Rahimi said within the Islamic Consultative assembly (the Majlis) parliamentary friendship groups are a part of the structure of the Majlis, and all MPs belong to one or more parliamentary friendship groups. Rahimi added: "All MPs, without exception, belong to at least one parliamentary friendship group."

Rahimi, a member of the executive committee of the Majlis added: "All parliamentary friendship groups have a chairperson, a co-chairperson , and a secretary. In parliaments of other countries we also have parliamentary friendship groups which frequently engage in bilateral discussions with other parliaments and other countries, and sometimes in multilateral discussions between parliamentary friendship groups of several countries, discussing regional issues."

Rahimi who represents a constituency in Tehran added: "Within the Iranian parliament (Majlis) we look at parliamentary friendship groups in a practical way. Members of these groups who often travel abroad to other parliaments, after returning to Tehran present detailed reports of their negotiations abroad and how successful they have been in accomplishing their mission."

He added: "These reports are presented both on the floor of the Majlis, as well as in the relevant parliamentary commission for appraisal and evaluation by other MPs and experts."

Rahimi emphasized that inter-parliamentary cooperation, and parliamentary friendship groups have potentially the greatest influence on public diplomacy of other nations. 

Public Diplomacy [Think Tank]

cga.italiandiplomaticacademy.org/publicdiplomacy/ ; entry contains a translation option and additional illustrations



Public diplomacy [JB emphasis] is a public face of a traditional diplomacy".

Un’attuazione della politica estera attraverso negoziati internazionali e attività professionale, che viene esercitata dai diplomatici. Si distingue dalla diplomazia tradizionale in quanto include l’interazione non solo con i governi, ma in particolare le organizzazioni governative e non. La diplomazia pubblica presuppone un processo di comunicazione aperto, in contrapposizione alla diplomazia tradizionale, le cui caratteristiche erano segretezza ed esclusività.


La diplomazia pubblica non consiste solo nel trasmettere un’informazione in modo neutrale ma è definita esattamente dalla sua intenzione di persuadere. La persuasione è un complesso processo dalla cui interazione emergono la volontà di far accettare le posizioni proposte e modelli comportamentali.


Peculiarità dell’IDA Center for Global Affairs è lo studio e la ricerca sul campo attraverso l’interazione costante con le istituzioni, le università, la società civile e il mondo imprenditoriale. La ricerca, quella pura, è orientata alla definizione di strategie politiche ridando valore alla competenza basata su criteri di affidabilità e credibilità delle fonti. Principali ambiti di competenza e ricerca del Center sono:

- Public Policy Analysis;
- Cultural Diplomacy;
- International Cooperation;
- Academic research.

IDA Center for Global Affairs

IDA Center for Global Affairs partecipa e organizza:

- International Fora;
- Academic research;
sui principali temi delle Relazioni Internazionali.

Italian Diplomatic Academy: preparing the next generation of leaders


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Palazzo Pindemonti, Via Leoncino 5, Verona, Italia
Verona: 045 2069755 - Roma: 069 4809017

PM’s humility admired in Nigeria


PM’s humility

admired in

Hasina image from article

Daily Leadership, one of the most influential Nigerian dailies on Sunday mentioned Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina as one of the world leaders with humble lifestyles, reports UNB.

The daily carried a feature story in its “Unreported” section only on five world leaders titled “World Leaders With Humble Lifestyles,” said Bangladesh High Commissioner to Nigeria M Shameem Ahsan.

It specially mentioned about her modest monthly salary (US$ 800 equivalent to Nigerian Naira 288000) while referring to Forbes’s list of the “World’s Hundred Most Powerful Women” in which Prime Minister was ranked at 59, he said. “Two of the most outstanding achievements of Sheikh Hasina are her leadership roles and success behind the trials of Bangabandhu killers and the persons who committed crimes against humanity in 1971,” the prestigious daily pointedly mentioned. As a part of public diplomacy drive, the High Commissioner recently visited some media houses in Nigeria in recent months including the Office of the Daily Leadership.

Dele Fanimo, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the Daily assured to work closely with the Bangladesh High Commission to create greater understanding between the peoples of the two friendly countries.

Monday, November 19, 2018

[Discussion on US-Russia Public Diplomacy at the annual convention of the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES); from the preliminary program]

Image result for Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies
image from

aseees.org; on the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES), see

[Boston, Sunday, December 9, 10:00-11:45 am ]

14-40 US-Russia Public Diplomacy [JB emphasis] - Tremont, 1

Chair: Jennifer Hudson, U of Texas at Dallas

Papers: Meri Elisabet Herrala, U of Helsinki (Finland)
"Soviet Elite Performers in America in the 1950s and 1960s"

Jennifer Hudson, U of Texas at Dallas
"Cold War Grassroots Diplomacy"

Lyubov A Ginzburg, United Nations
"Performing as Global Citizens: UN Educational Outreach Activities in Studying History and International Relations"

Disc.: William Benton Whisenhunt, College of DuPage

The Trump administration's influence in the Indo-Pacific region

Following the expert seminar addressing China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) organized by the Sasakawa Peace Foundation's (SPF) Japan-US Program, SPF Now had the opportunity to meet with the featured experts to take a closer look at topics ranging from infrastructure investment to great power politics.

Abigail Grace, Research Associate at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), discussed her expectations for the potential implementation of the policies presented in the report "Power Play," which she coauthored, and touched on broader geopolitical shifts in the Indo-Pacific region and around the world. Dr. Kei Koga, Assistant Professor at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, elaborated on his research into the reception of BRI policies in Southeast Asia, the potential role of Japan in the region, and the impressions of the Trump administration and its policies.

Below are excerpts from those two interviews, which were conducted separately. Comments have been arranged according to topic and edited for length and clarity.

Jackie Enzmann, Chief Editor ...

Role of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation and other groups outside of government
Dr. Kei Koga: The confidence toward the Trump administration in Southeast Asia has been decreasing but I don't think Southeast Asia lost all the trust toward the United States. They think of this as just the Trump administration. So in the longer run, maybe the U.S. would go back to its traditional behavior emphasizing the rules-based order through multilateralism. But for the time being, I don't think Southeast Asian countries expect that the U.S. is going to engage in multilateralism.

The biggest concern for Japan is that in the Trump administration, policy changes have been coming up out of the blue. Japan would not know what to expect because even if senior officials between the two negotiate about a particular agenda, it is always possible that President Trump will discuss a new agenda, which was not considered previously. Even though Prime Minister Abe frequently meets with President Trump, I think it is still hard to know what he will demand in the next couple of months. The good news is that U.S.-Japan relations are institutionally strong, so this does not trigger the deterioration of the bilateral relations. Now, the Japanese government has to be patient and try to cultivate a deeper relationship with President Trump. ...
Abigail Grace: I think NGOs can really be helpful in identifying the needs and concerns of populations that are most immediately affected by infrastructure concerns. I think that when one sits in policy positions and is looking for the optimal place to build something on a map, they don't know the people that live there. It's time consuming to go out and do stakeholder interviews and engage with the population. I think NGOs can really be a value added, bridging that gap between communities and policy practitioners.

Regarding public diplomacy [JB emphasis], I think that non-governmental organizations certainly have that additional credibility because they're not speaking on behalf of any government and I think they're more reliable to accurately convey unbiased information by providing fact sheets, literature, and public awareness campaigns. I think that would be something that would be better received by local populations than if it was just solely a government actor.

Dr. Kei Koga: Since SPF has already organized some research projects including the "Power Play" report and also my research project, maybe it would be interesting to include a Chinese counterpart, for example researchers or businessmen. I think that if we talk about BRI, it would be really interesting to see how Chinese counterparts really want to implement the development projects through BRI. Particularly now, Japan and China are having a conversation about BRI, so it would be great to have institutionalized Track 2 [JB - see] forums among the three. SPF deals with a broad range of issues including Japan, China, the U.S., and Southeast Asia, so I think that SPF would be able to play a role. I really enjoyed this research supported by SPF and I expect to continue it over the next couple of months. Through these projects, I hope that Japan, China, and the United States could find a way to cooperate in building infrastructure in Asia and beyond.

[Tweet re Russia and Eurasia Program – U.S-Russia Relations Initiative (Tufts Fletcher School)]


The term was coined here at . So good to have Natalia Burlinova and Oleg Shakirov join to speak on public diplomacy [JB emphasis] and and the role of NGOs in Russian society.