Sunday, June 14, 2009

June 14

"We did not call it propaganda, for that word, in German hands, had come to be associated with deceit and corruption."

--George Creel, head of the Committee on Public Information (1917-1919); see also John Brown, "Our First Official Propagandist," review of Selling the Great War: The Making of American Propaganda by Alan Axelrod, Foreign Service Journal (June 2009), pp. 76-77; image from


Commentary: President Obama speaks to the world's Muslims - Guy W. Farmer, Nevada Appeal: "President Barrack Obama was his own best public diplomacy practitioner when he spoke to the world's Muslims from Cairo about 10 days ago. His next challenge is to translate his encouraging words into concrete actions and policies designed to improve U.S. relations with Muslim nations, especially those in the war-torn Middle East. Although Obama's speech was very well received at home and abroad, media reaction was decidedly mixed."

Judith McHale at CNAS: Public Diplomacy: A National Security Imperative - Matt Armstrong, MountainRunner: "I found her [Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs] speech to be good and full of promise but as several observers note, it was light on specifics. But, considering she’s been in for two weeks and in the bull pen for only a couple of months (most of which were at a distance from State in contrast to Jim Glassman’s extended, unfortunate, and unnecessary six month lead time during which he was far more engaged), she still needs to pick her battles." McHale image from

Comment on Judith McHale's talk at CNAS – TOX, MountainRunner: "I was less impressed with the new Under Secretary McHale’s prepared and unprepared remarks. She seems very competent and understands complex communications and engagement challenges globally from her previous experience, but that did not shine through yesterday. … She simply does not know the difference with Strategic Communications and Public Diplomacy. She admits that she 'has not looked up the definition of either term'. She can learn it, but it does say something to not have an answer. Your comments are gracious, but the audio record is unavoidable for those not present ( Q&A starting at 20 minute mark). She answered that they were very similar with 'a lot of overlap' on one of the most fundamental questions for the office."

Who Speaks for Islam? - Arab Damsel in (Cultural) Distress: "Dalia Mogahed, Who Speaks for Islam: What a Billion Muslims Really Think, a Muslim-American woman appointed by President Obama to serve on his Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighbourhood Partnerships was in town last week with her research partner and equally renowned Professor John Esposito of Georgetown University. Their visit to the UAE was part of a regional tour to present the findings of their six year survey of Muslims around the world. Last year, their book was published in the United States, and their research is regarded as the largest survey of Muslim public opinion ever done. … So the duo's research couldn't have come at a more critical time. With Obama's new moderate, public-diplomacy centric administration, the results of the survey will only further Obama's argument that our similarities are more marked than our differences." Image from

Manmohan heads to Russia for two summits, set for Zardari meetingGaea News: Comment by noahdavidsimon RT @fantomplanet @bouhammer "What if Obama laid out a media blitz from our Public Diplomacy folks into Iran to say, 'Yes You Can?&qu ..."

RFE/RL and US base unwelcome in Kyrgyzstan - Kim Andrew Elliott discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy

What are the advantages and disadvantages of the use of military deception through the media? – Julian, Voice In The Desert, Crying.. "[W]hile it may be popular notion to view military deception as unethical, immoral and maybe even cowardly, military deception in truth is a very legitimate and important part of war … . [T]he media is an integral part of the military’s apparatus for information warfare, public diplomacy and thereby even in deception strategies. Although the last one is much less acknowledged by either the press or the military, it is undeniable that the press has been at the very least an instrument in this military apparatus. Furthermore deception strategies through the media are extremely subtle and merge at a deep level.” Image from

How the spooks took over the news - Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes?: "The Pentagon has now designated 'information operations' as its fifth 'core competency' alongside land, sea, air and special forces. Since October 2006, every brigade, division and corps in the US military has had its own 'psyop' element producing output for local media. This military activity is linked to the State Department’s campaign of 'public diplomacy' which includes funding radio stations and news websites."

Universal Remembrance Speech of the Hon. Viola Herms Drath Coordinator, International-Consultative-Mechanism-On-Remembrance Before Blue Star Mothers of America, Maryland Chapter, American Legion Post 116 Reisterstown, Maryland Flag Day 2009 - Right Truth Counterterrorism, politics, religion, ...: "It is a great privilege to come before Blue Star Mothers of America to explore the spirit of Universal Remembrance. It is comforting a thought to know that you, America’s Blue Star Mothers, remain tireless in your efforts to fulfill your Congressional mandate, 'to perpetuate the memory of all men and women, who serve our country as members of the Armed Forces.' … Countries do not have permanent enemies. Integral to public diplomacy and incorporating integrated public awareness and educational programmes, I hold Universal Remembrance to be an important venue in advance of understanding, reconciliation and peace. And, perhaps, battlefield realignment."

Israel at the 140 Characters Conference - Daled Amos: What I write only has to go so far...: "During the coming week, New York City will be host to the largest gathering yet devoted to Twitter, the 140 Characters Conference, the brainchild of Jeff Pulver. Among the featured presenters is Consul David Saranga (@DavidSaranga), who will discuss how the microblogging service has changed the face of public diplomacy. He'll talk about how the Consulate has embraced new media and social media technologies over the past few years, culminating (thus far) in our presence on Twitter (@IsraelConsulate)."

Trident contradicts UK non-proliferation stance PA, New Article Sources News: "'The decision to renew the UK’s Trident system

is perceived by some foreign states and some among the British public as appearing to contradict the Government’s declared commitment to strengthening the international nuclear non-proliferation regime,' said today’s report, entitled Global Security: Non-Proliferation. 'We recommend that the Government should intensify its public diplomacy work better to explain the reasons for the Trident renewal decision and to givegreater prominence to its work for multilateral nuclear disarmament and armscontrol.'” See also; image from

Lecture Notes - Basic Concepts in the Study of Foreign Policy - The United States’ Creation of an Informal Empire: "1. Basic concepts in the study of foreign policy.A. The nature of foreign policy.B. The foreign policy process and dynamics.C. The foreign policy instruments: diplomacy, public diplomacy, economic diplomacy, clandestine activities, and coercion."

Dipnote U.S., Canada Celebrate Boundary Waters Treaty Centennial Posted by Suzanne Hall on Jun 13, 2009Still4Hill: The Best and the Brightest: "Suzanne Hall serves as the Public Diplomacy Advisor for Canada and Mexico in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs."


New Voice In Jazz Is 'Blog Supreme'NPR: "In the days before President Barack Obama addressed the Muslim world in Egypt, the U.S. government was already trying a different type of diplomacy. Jazz musicians have long served as official cultural ambassadors for the U.S. State Department. An article about cultural diplomacy was the topic of a recent discussion on NPR's new jazz blog, called A Blog Supreme. NPR music producer and blog editor Patrick Jarenwattananon joins host Liane Hansen to talk about the site." Image from

The arts of diplomacy - Sarah Wolff, The National Muslim Voices, June 9: "Arts & Ideas, a New York City-wide festival celebrating the intellectual and artistic vibrancy of Muslims throughout the world, which runs in New York until next week. The festival’s three main partners – Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), the Asia Society and the Center for Dialogues at New York University – co-ordinated nine days of nearly 30 events, including initiatives ranging from an international relations policy conference to an evening of Sufi chanting ... 'There’s nothing better than a cultural experience to connect people and to channel emotion,' adds BAM’s Hopkins [Karen Brooks Hopkins, BAM’s president]. 'When you do that, you can really break down barriers. Cultural diplomacy is the best diplomacy.'”

Educating Americans about Muslim voices - Vishakha N Desai, Karen Brooks Hopkins and Mustapha Tlili, The Nut Graph: "A 2005 report by the US State Department's Advisory Committee on Cultural Diplomacy called for a new vision of cultural diplomacy that 'can enhance US national security in subtle, wide-ranging and sustainable ways.' … The power of culture resides in its ability to transform perceptions. From 5 to 14 June 2009, New Yorkers are experiencing the rich diversity of Muslim cultures through a city-wide initiative, entitled 'Muslim Voices: Arts and Ideas.' … A companion policy conference has attracted scholars and artists from around the world exploring the relationship between cultural practice and public policy and suggesting new directions for cultural diplomacy. A critical goal of this project is to help break stereotypes and create a more nuanced understanding of Muslim societies." Image from

First-ever Muslim arts festival underway in New York - Associated Press of Pakistan: "A first-ever art festival showcasing the works of Muslim artists from 23 countries, including Pakistan, is underway here drawing large crowds of art lovers. 'Islam is in the air from President Barack Obama’s big speech, to a festival in New York this month of Muslim arts and ideas,' a critic at a popular radio station said Saturday, the opening night of the event. … Through music, dance, film and the visual arts, a global tapestry of Muslim artists are advancing cultural diplomacy. 'I have a feeling that we will get through, if only because we have the tremendous desire to do so,' says Indian actor Naseeruddin Shah."

Alessandro Balteo Yazbeck In Collaboration With Media Farzin At Christopher Grimes Gallery - Christopher Miles, LA Weekly: "A collaboration between a conceptual artist (Balteo Yazbeck) and an art historian (Farzin) doing research on the entanglement of modernist art with Cold War-era geopolitics and corporate maneuvers might sound like a promise of boredom — a seminar in picture frames hung on a wall. But this exhibition, which borrows its title, Cultural Diplomacy: An Art We Neglect, from a 1954 issue of the New York Times Magazine, manages to be utterly compelling. Some of that’s likely because of the presently heightened sense of America’s entanglements, meddling and attempts at repairing its relations with the rest of the world." Image from article: Alessandro Balteo Yazbeck, Detail of Alexander Calder’s performing mobile Orange Fish (1946) at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art (2008)

Bay Area Access to Dance Studies Emily Hite - "The Society of Dance History Scholars (SDHS) and the Dance Critics Association (DCA), the two leading organizations of dance writers, will hold their annual conferences together next week at Stanford University and San Francisco’s ODC Dance Commons. … Clare Croft, one presenter at the conference, is a PhD candidate at the University of Texas at Austin and a critic for the Austin American-Statesman. Her dissertation focuses on U.S. State Department sponsorship of international tours as a form of cultural diplomacy, with a particular interest in dancers’ experiences traveling abroad. For the conference, she will draw from her first chapter, which looks at New York City Ballet’s 1962 tour to the Soviet Union and the impact dancer Arthur Mitchell, celebrated by the Soviet public, had as an African-American man traveling as an official representative of the American government."

A creative strategy - Ayelet Dekel, Jerusalem Post: "Kaiser [Michael Kaiser, president of the Kennedy Center] feels governments can play a positive role in encouraging the arts by 'embracing their culture... in how they treat contributions, help create useful board structures, planning their grants - encourage matching. The British Council has done a wonderful job of exporting British culture in an organized, strategic fashion. I believe the Chinese Ministry of Culture has also been doing a great job more recently. I think that a planned approach to exporting culture is a great help in building visibility abroad. And I believe that arts exports are a central feature of a cultural diplomacy program.'"

India to Increase Cultural Presence OverseasCultural Diplomacy News: "Following the lead of representative cultural institutions such as Allian[ce] Francaise, Goethe Institut and the British Council, the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) has expressed plans to strengthen its presence across the globe by introducing 'cultural cells', as they are called by ICCR Director General Virender Gupta. Culture ranks high in the priorities of the Indian Government, as is reflected by the increase in funding the ICCR has received in this year. … Gupta, a senior Foreign Service officer earlier posted at the Institute of Defense Studies, cites the idea of culture’s importance in conflict resolution as another driving force behind the ICCR’s cultural expansion efforts. 'Culture does not help one find avenues in the immediate sense, it helps resolve conflicts in the long run because dance, music and food have no geographical divides. Cultural diplomacy creates goodwill - it does not just peddle for influence. It carries the message that we want to share and apply to the sub-continent, where almost every nation, barring India, is in turmoil. In fact, South Asia plays an important part in our future bilateral (culture) initiatives. Cultural synergy between nations in conflict is a great healer', he says."

Movers & shakers - The Week: "Former Indian ambassador to the US Lalit Man Singh said it would not be easy for Krishna [India’s External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna] to negotiate with the US non-proliferation establishment. India's neighbourhood presents a challenge. Also, Krishna will have to prepare for the next climate change talks in Copenhagen in December. While it remains to be seen how he juggles his responsibilities, having a colourful and culturally vibrant external affairs minister is certainly an advantage. 'Cultural diplomacy and economic diplomacy are parts of world politics and we have to excel in them,' Man Singh said. Krishna looks cut out for the task."

Riri Riza: Film as a cultural product - Iwan Setiawan, Jakarta Post: "In a statement made available to the media at home, Indonesian Ambassador to the Czech Republic Salim Said stated that cultural diplomacy was key in shaping Indonesia's image abroad, especially in Europe."

Acid Rain: The curious paradox of the beauty of destruction - The Jakarta Post: "Artist Jorge Canale was born and raised in Argentina, where he studied drawing and engraving with Roberto Paez and painting with Demetrio UrruchĂșa. …

With his exhibit 'Acid Rain' on display this month in Jakarta, The Jakarta Post contacted him by email to learn more about his work. … Your exhibition in Jakarta is partly sponsored by the Embassy of Argentina, as part of its cultural exchange program. What role do you think art can play in this kind of cultural diplomacy? I think that art, as an aspect of culture, is also responsible for building bridges between different countries. My exhibition in Jakarta, which was sponsored by the Argentine Embassy and by Tenaris, demonstrates this." Canale image, The Prohibition of Touching Mixed technique on porcelain /0.26mts dia./ 2007 from

Entrepreneurs play important role in cultural diplomacy: – VOV News: "Vietnamese entrepreneurs have played a leading role in national economic development and actively participated in boosting external relations in general and cultural diplomacy in particular. The statement was made by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem at a seminar in Da Nang city on June 10 on cultural diplomacy and the business community."

The world’s most modern coffee processing plant under construction in Dak LakVOV News: "The Trung Nguyen Coffee Group held a groundbreaking ceremony for the world’s most modern coffee processing plant in the central highland province of Dak Lak on June 9. … The event will attract as many as 100 international diplomatic corps and some of Vietnam’s greatest cultural activists, aimed at promoting cultural diplomacy in 2009."


Obama tearing up long-standing pacts - R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr., Washington Times: Mr. Obama has had no experience

in foreign policy in his life. He demands humility in our nation's foreign policy. He ought to demonstrate some humility in his bold demands on Israel. Image from

More Envoys? – Al Kamen, In the Loop, Washington Post: There's chatter that Marc Nathanson, cable and radio mogul and former chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which oversees the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe, Radio and Television Marti, and Radio Free Asia, is the leading contender for that spectacular ambassador's residence in Prague -- despite his strong support for Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential bid. Via

Obama Looses the Manhunters: Charisma and the Imperial Presidency - Tom Engelhardt, TomDispatch: In January when he entered the Oval Office, Barack Obama also inherited the largest embassy on Earth, built in Baghdad by the Bush administration to imperial proportions as a regional command center. It now houses what are politely referred to as 1,000 "diplomats." Recent news reports indicate that such a project wasn't just an aberration of the Bush era. Another embassy, just as gigantic, expected to house "a large military and intelligence contingent," will be constructed by the Obama administration in its new war capital, Islamabad, Pakistan. Once the usual cost overruns are added in, it may turn out be the first billion-dollar embassy.

Terror Box 360 – Editorial, Washington Times: We were shocked to learn about Rendition Guantanamo,

a game developed for Microsoft's Xbox 360. The goal is for the gamer, who plays a Gitmo detainee, to shoot his way out of the U.S. military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, or else be subjected to torture and gruesome scientific experiments. Apparently, some techies think terrorism is child's play. Rendition Guantanamo image from

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