Monday, October 12, 2009

October 11-12

“I’m a believer in Original Sin. I find people profoundly bad and irresistibly funny.”

--Joe Orton, the working-class playwright whose short, steep rise to fame began in 1963 and ended four years later when he was murdered by his boyfriend Kenneth Halliwell; cited in Times Literary Supplement, September 11, 2009, p. 18; image from


The PD Theory of Relativity – Paul Rockower, Levantine: "Case in point of the value of PD comes in Obama's Nobel Prize. Obama is a variable of PD Squared, and its value equals a Nobel Prize (and $1.4 million dollars). Enhanced PD equals hope, change and the admiration of billions around the globe for the United States, as quantified in the Anholt Nation Branding Index. For me, the Anholt Index is proof enough that Obama deserves the Nobel.

Simply put, an America that is re-engaged with the world as a force for peace is easily worth a peace prize by my calculations." Image from

US reviews Kerry-Lugar aftermath - Sami Abrahim - The News International: "US officials have started reviewing the Pakistani reaction to the Kerry-Lugar Bill with a view 'to addressing concerns expressed by our Pakistani partners' but are alarmed at how 'falsehoods and myths' determined the discussion over the bill in Pakistan. … 'We have learnt a few lessons here about how to improve our public diplomacy and anticipate that anything, we do will be seen negatively in Pakistan so we should be prepared. But we hope the government, the opposition and the media have also learnt something. Created crises, motivated by hatred of some government leaders should not rock the boat and risk depriving your country of much-needed resources,' a Senate staffer emphasised."

The Mighty Joe Biden - Today With President Barack Obama: "Biden has been long advocating a Pakistan strategy:

[According to Newsweek] The four part plan he laid out included large, unconditional financial support for non-security projects such as schools, roads, clinics, etc; conditioning of security aid on performance; support for judicial, political, and good government reforms; and finally and increase in public diplomacy and high impact support." Image from

flawed concept, failed state – Scott, Blue Contrarian: "[T]he Pakistanis need to embark upon an urgent round of public diplomacy to convince tribal leaders that foreign elements are the real threat, and that Islamabad has no designs on the tribal areas. Whether they can cut through the layers of mistrust and establish their bona fides on this issue is an open question."

Strategic policy and execution - Michael Kuser, Sunday’s Zaman: "PR is a branch of marketing. Now your PR rep on the move understands the way the system works, understands the zing of the boardroom lingo. … Often you will find the same mental gymnastics being played among the intelligentsia, the intellectuals who talk and write about heady stuff like nation building and spreading democracy. I found one such example in the current issue of Foreign Policy magazine, where two political science professors, Peter Katzenstein of Cornell and Jeffrey W. Legro of the University of Virginia, published an article called 'Think Again: America's Image.'

… After a whole article full of linguistic contortions, here is their punchy conclusion: 'Improving standing requires moving beyond public diplomacy. The problem is not just communication but policy execution.'” Image from

Dubai School of Government hosts creator of The 99, The 99, Islamic world's first superheroes - AME info: "Titled 'The 99: How the Private Sector Can Succeed in Public Diplomacy,' the event came as part of a series of lectures designed to stimulate debate on public policy in the region. It was attended by a number of leading business figures, academics, government officials and researchers in Dubai. Dr Al-Mutawa is the founder and CEO of Kuwait-based Teshkeel Media Group, publishers of the award-winning comic book series THE 99. The superheroes are seen as global ambassadors for a tolerant Islam and a successful public diplomacy tool, and do not incorporate any religious content in the storylines. Forbes magazine has named THE 99 as one of the 'Top 20 Trends Sweeping the Globe.'"

Young Arab Leaders launches Third Arab and American Business Fellowship - AME Info:

"Young Arab Leaders (YAL), the pan-Arab platform for providing Arab youth with employment opportunities via quality education, training and entrepreneurship, and Business for Diplomatic Action (BDA), America's leading private-sector led public diplomacy initiative, have launched in New York the 2009 Arab and American Business Fellowship (AABF), the business executives' exchange program." Image from

Papandreou: a holdall of peace - Ariana Ferentinou - Hurriyet Daily News: "The symbolic value of George Papandreou’s visit to Istanbul became apparent from the moment he touched the floor of the Ataturk airport. … The obvious precedent with the Hillary Clinton’s successful public diplomacy visit to Turkey a few months ago with her 'direct appeal to all the Turks' and her appearance on an all women TV show, cannot be overlooked."

Towards a broader understanding of Public Diplomacy - Madhurjya Kotoky, The Public Diplomacy Blog: "[T]he understanding of Public Diplomacy needs to be broadened and go beyond attractiveness of a nation’s brand, norms and values as explained by Joseph Nye. Perception includes all these and anything other than that. Public Diplomacy is not about charming alone, but also, has a lot to do with shaping and managing perceptions and INFLUENCE. …

Indian policy establishment also need to move from focusing on 'attractiveness' to 'influence' if it’s serious about donning a larger role in the international system. Like global media, other elements like business, non-governmental actors, investment diplomacy et al need to co opted into a broader public diplomacy strategy. China is successfully doing it and results are there for all to see." Image from

'Hassan's boys' shape ri's current diplomacy - Jakarta Post: "'Hassan's boys' … [are] a generation of the country's youngest and brightest diplomats which [Indonesian foreign] minister Hassan has groomed and elevated to fill the void after the old guard … . Mostly in their early 40s, these young diplomats, most of them from class 12 or 13 of the foreign ministry's training school, have now occupied most of the foreign ministry's strategic and prestigious posts inside and outside the country, having leapfrogged over their seniors. … At director level, Kristiarto Suryo Legowo and Ibnu Hadi are capable negotiators, with younger Umar Hadi handling public diplomacy."

Israel Needs a Political FireWall: Recent Assaults on the State's Legitimacy threaten to push Israel toward a Pariah status. Here's a way to push back - Eram Shayshon, Reut Institute: "For more than 60 years, Israel's national security concept was built and updated around its military and security challenges. The issue of the Jewish State's political legitimacy was considered to be permanently off the table following UN General Assembly Resolution 181 (The Partition Plan) in November 1947. The role of Israel's status in the international arena has been underappreciated here [in Israel], and is considered a 'technical' issue of hasbara (public diplomacy). … Breaking th[e] unholy alliance between the hard-core anti-Zionists and 'softer' critics can be achieved through several measures: recapturing international trust, identifying and neutralizing hubs of de-legitimacy, and improving Israel's image through branding. … The project of branding Israel is of strategic importance. The Jewish State is generally associated with war and violence and has little relevance for most people in leading countries."

The attempt to focus on hasbara in terms of defending our actions to the world is wrong, as it reinforces the image of Israel as a conflict-ridden place and has at best only short-lived benefits in terms of international legitimacy. By projecting an image of a modern and vibrant country with relevance beyond the conflict, people could learn to identify with Israel on a more human level. The project of branding Israel, currently conducted by the Foreign Ministry, should be endorsed as a national goal and backed with the appropriate budget." Image from

Next Nobel Peace Prize: Turkey and Armenia? - Monitor's Editorial Board, Christian Science Monitor: "Will the winners of the next Nobel Peace Prize be the leaders of adversaries Turkey and Armenia? … In Zurich, diplomats from both countries – one a Christian nation and the other Muslim – signed an historic agreement Oct. 10 to normalize relations and open their border. … Turkish President Abdullah Gul and Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan apparently want to walk the road to reconciliation. They started a year ago, when Mr. Gul attended a Turkish-Armenian soccer match in Armenia – an unprecedented and highly visible gesture. Mr. Sargsyan has been invited to a match in Turkey next week. But years of quiet discussion among senior opinion makers and intellectuals on both sides preceded this public diplomacy."

The Muse of the Kingdom of Academia - Paul Rockower, Empire Of The Muse: "[P]erhaps I am gaining the net with my education, and learning to fish with the tools of public diplomacy- a fisher of ideas."

Foreign Service Exam - The Pragmatic Econmist: "The big news for this past week was taking the Foreign Service Officer Test (FSOT). ...

To begin with, you have to fill out the application form at least a month in advance of the exam. You have to choose which cone you wish to work in if given the job: Consular, Economic, Management, Political, or Public Diplomacy. I bet you can guess which cone I chose?" Image from


How Helpful Is Cultural Diplomacy? Very Helpful! - Karen Brooks Hopkins, Huffington Post: "I am generally in agreement with most of Michael Kaiser's ideas relating to arts administration, but I believe he is far too narrow-minded in his thinking about cultural diplomacy as delineated in his blog post of Sept. 21. In his post, Michael defines American cultural diplomacy as 'send[ing] performing groups [abroad] to entertain the elite.' Instead of sending artists out into the world to deliver a message about our nation's excellence and diverse cultural values, he proposes sending managers to train foreign arts administrators in fundraising, marketing, and other tools of the American trade. My problem with this approach is threefold: First, Americans are always trying to manage everyone and everything. … Second, American artists can be brilliant, diverse, energetic ambassadors of our nation's ideas, values, and concerns. …Third, touring artists reach huge, diverse audiences, not just the elite. … Cultural diplomacy is an incredibly powerful tool. It allows for the creative energy of a people and a nation to be shared with audiences and communities worldwide, and if given a chance, can promote genuine goodwill and cross-cultural understanding."

Blocked New York Philharmonic Trip To Cuba A Reminder That Relations Still Frosty (VIDEO)

- Nick Miroff, Huffington Post - "The Philharmonic announced Friday it had postponed a historic trip to Havana planned for later this month, after U.S. Treasury Department officials denied travel permission to the orchestra patrons who were financially supporting the performances. … More broadly, the cancelled performances seemed to undercut the Obama administration's recent support for concerts and cultural events as a path to improved bilateral relations. Was the Obama administration cooling down the musical diplomacy? Or was it simply a bureaucratic matter, and a temporary obstacle?" Image from

'Theatre and dance are integral to better learning' - Gibran Ashraf, The News International: "The arrival of Dr Kanta Kochhar Lindgren as the first US cultural envoy to the city heralded the return towards developing cultural diplomacy between US and Pakistan after a period of 30 years. 'It is a double honour, first to be in Pakistan and then to be able to interact with the people here,' Lindgren told The News. 'I think that theatre and dance are integral to better learning. Having said that, theatre is a means for increasing the level of empathy in society, while arts help a person go deeper into an academic subject and get a better understanding of whatever he or she is learning via the tool of role-play,' she said."

Freedom within a Framework: Meet Blossoming Entrepreneur Vani Krishnamurthy (HBS '07) - Kay Fukunaga, Harbus Online: "I meet Vani Krishnamurthy (HBS [Harvard Business School] '07) in New York City's West Village bright and early one rainy Sunday morning.

A former Fulbright Scholar to Chennai, India and a professional Indian classical dancer, Vani recently launched her own entrepreneurial venture after spending four years in management consulting. … In the long-term, Vani is interested in … the creation and management of cultural diplomacy initiatives-using arts, culture, and media to create mutual understanding between nations and people." Image (presumably of Krishnamurthy) from article.

Dave Brubeck to play College of Saint Rose - Jacqueline Trescott, Albany Times Union: "In 1951 he [Brubeck] formed the first Dave Brubeck Quartet. Released in 1959, 'Time Out' was the first jazz album to sell 1 million copies. … Brubeck is … known as an ambassador for jazz. In the 1950s Brubeck played a series of concerts in Eastern Europe that were often called models of cultural diplomacy. 'We've gone back to some of the first countries, the ones under Eisenhower. Recently we went back to Poland, and there were people who kept their ticket stubs and demanded to sit in the same seats,' he said with a deep laugh. Brubeck also recalled performing at the 1988 summit between Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev. 'Both governments were told to put on a list who they wanted. Rather than there be an argument, they both chose me. It was great,' he said."

ICCR regional centre formally opens in Orissa - Report by Dipti Rekha Nanda, Cuttack: India Education Diary: "Ravenshaw University achieved yet another unique distinction for housing the regional centre of the prestigious Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR). The regional centre of ICCR under the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India was formally inaugurated by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in Ravenshaw University on Wednesday evening in presence of ICCR Vice President Bharati Ray and Deputy Director Ajit Gupte.

ICCR was envisaged by the first education minister of independent India and its founder President, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad in 1950 as an organization that would foster and strengthen cultural relations and mutual understanding between India and other nations and peoples. In his inaugural address, Naveen hoped that the centre would immensely help in showcasing the rich cultural heritage of Orissa. Orissa would open up a sea of opportunities for the artistes and performers of the State through this pioneering institution of cultural diplomacy which is first of its kind in Orissa, he expressed." Image from

Time for a Singapore lobby in Delhi: There is a need to develop strategic stakeholders who value enhanced S'pore-India ties - Sinderpal Singh, Business Times: "There is … little reason to doubt the potential, going forward, for a further deepening of ties between India and Singapore. However, the depth and pace at which their linkages develop in the future will hinge on three major factors. … However, an important part of strengthening ties between India and Singapore must involve building constituencies within Indian society that, over time, come to see themselves as having an important stake in enhanced relations between the two countries. One possible avenue through which this process can be pushed forward is the Singapore International Foundation (SIF) and its network of links with the Singapore clubs located in India. A central role of the SIF is 'to reach out to new audiences and friends of Singapore through a public and cultural diplomacy programme'."

דבר המנהל הכללי של איקום בינלאומי מר ג'וליאן אנפרונסMessage From Julien Anfruns: "On 17 September 2009 in Avilטs (Spain), a conference took place on 'Cultural Diplomacy'. I participated in one of the organised panels, which addressed the issue of restitutions of stolen art. …

To set the record straight: The panel, on which I participated in the Cultural Diplomacy Forum with three other panellists, was largely holocaust related, and focused on the restitution of stolen art. I launched the discussion by raising questions regarding possible misunderstanding of definitions with regard to 'what is stolen art?', and 'in which contexts can we speak of stolen objects?'." Image from

The UK Meets Germany: A Forum for Young Leaders
The Local - "The Institute for Cultural Diplomacy ( is currently accepting applications to the next Weeklong Seminar for 'The UK Meets Germany: A Forum for Young Leaders' … What are the aims of the Weeklong Seminar? The Seminars aim to inform the participants about the field of Cultural Diplomacy and its importance today, raise awareness of key issues in the relationship between the UK and Germany, create a network between the Seminar participants, and give the participants creative ideas and support for future initiatives."

The recent tragic events are not about Buganda alone - Norbert Mao, New Vision, Uganda’s Leading Website: “‘Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore do not ask for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee’. I find the lines poignant in the light of the recent riots triggered by the Government’s blocking of the Kabaka’s visit to Kayunga. It will take time for us all to size up the significance of the violent protests but some preliminary conclusions can be made. I have been a witness to a lot of the conversations on the uneasy relations between Buganda and the central Government especially given my attempts at cultural diplomacy over the years and most recently when I went to Kitovu to greet the Kabaka

during the Centennial celebrations of Kitovu Catholic Parish. In Kitovu I went as a self- appointed cultural ambassador holding no brief whatsoever from the traditional leaders from Acholiland. When I approached Kabaka Mutebi’s throne he told me that he had always wished to visit northern Uganda. This has become the key issue of debate for days in the local radio stations. The majority believe that the visit by the Kabaka to Acholiland would be a historic milestone in healing the North-South divide, a breakthrough in national reconciliation. I agree." Image from

Green & Glover: Think you can dance? Stephanie Green, Elizabeth Glover, Washington Times: "Ever since former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, Texas Republican, went on the hit television show 'Dancing With the Stars,' his friends back in Washington have grown some happy feet, too, or so it appeared from our vantage point at the Meridian Ball on Friday night at the old-school glamorous Meridian House in Northwest. The Meridian International Center, which has promoted international understanding through exchange programs and cultural diplomacy since 1960, holds its ball every fall as its largest fundraiser for the year."


Why Obama Deserves His Nobel - Rob Asghar, Huffington Post

Russia praises, Republicans mock Obama's Nobel – AP, USA TODAY

US-Russia missile saga: The pact between Dmitry Medvedev and Barack Obama: - Georgiy Bovt, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev recently thanked US President Barack Obama for shelving missile defence plans in a restrained but almost friendly way, calling the move a “step in the right direction”.

Official propaganda reacted more imaginatively, suggesting that the Americans had “yielded”, and all thanks to our aggressiveness now that we have got off our knees and learnt to be stern. For most Russian politicians and government functionaries, the current “reset” is just another foreign policy tool. We are signing it for purely tactical reasons. We don’t much like the person we’re signing it with. We’ll gain some time – and later we’ll remind him of all this. Image from

Obama's refusal to deploy missile defense system is of propaganda character - Iranian expert, Trend

Ahmadinejad warns of Weapons of Mass MediaPress TV: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says Western powers have used full-fledged psychological tactics as a lever to influence nations against their better judgment. Ahmadinejad said some regimes, including those in Israel, are using propaganda campaigns and psychological tactics as their prime weapon-of-choice against other countries.

US pulls out of two Nuristan outposts, hands Taliban propaganda victory - Bill Roggio, Threat Matrix, Long War Journal: Six days after the deadly battle in the Kamdish district in Nuristan, the US military has withdrawn from the two combat outposts that were attacked.

Projecting America to Asia: Desperate Housewives, Funniest Home Videos, etc - Kim Andrew Elliott discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy.

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