Sunday, December 12, 2010

December 12

"If you are comparing Indian power and Chinese power, India has an advantage because when people think of India around the world, people smile." Image from

--Scholar Nicholas J. Cull

"In the next 100 years, this address [on Tiananmen Square] will be the most important in the world, not Fifth Avenue in New York, not London, but Beijing.”

--Mario Resca, the Italian government’s specially appointed director-general for “valorizzazione” (cultural worth) of the artistic treasures of Italy, regarding the 1,000 sq. m Italy has obtained to display its exhibits in a wing of the National Museum of China, from next June for a five-year period.


New America Foundation's conference, "International Broadcasting and Public Media"; see also


India: Sari Is Not A Terrorist Outfit - Global Voices Online: The Indian ambassador to the United States Meera Shankar

was pulled from a security line at the Jackson-Evers International Airport in Mississippi, USA, and was subsequently forced to undergo a pat-down body search by a Transport Security Administration (TSA) agent. ... There were mixed responses from the US authorities. ... The ambassador visibly felt humiliated as she was searched openly, inside a transparent booth." Image from article

Indian diplomacy wants to reinvent itself, virtually - Devirupa Mitra, "India's foreign ministry - the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) - is now in a major exercise to 'reinvent' itself, moving away from its perceived ivory tower existence to occupying a more interactive space on public platforms across the multimedia communication space. In the last six months, the Twitter account, 'Indiandiplomacy' has sent out 186 tweets and gathered over 4,400 followers. The YouTube channel has been uploaded with 31 video clips of commissioned documentaries. After a soft launch, the Facebook page, run by MEA's public diplomacy (PD) division, now posts two to three updates each day - with photographs and events of exhibitions, talks and festivals from Indian missions across the world. 'We have traditionally tended to adopt a fairly conservative approach towards publicising our own work and this, almost by default, leaves the field open for negative stories of which there is never a dearth,' Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao admitted in her speech on a seminar on public diplomacy on Friday. But, no more, the ministry hopes."

Indian Public Diplomacy keen to access "social media" - Joint Secretary (Public Diplomacy) of Ministry of External Affairs (MHA) Navdeep Suri

said today that India realises the need to have its presence in social media. Addressing people at a two-day conference on 'Public Diplomacy in the Information Age' here, Suri said: 'We took an initial decision that very quickly we had to ramp up our presence in the social media. We started initially with the Twitter account which, I believe, at that time was the first for any Government of India department, maybe still is, and a Facebook page, and then a YouTube channel, and so on.' ... During the conference, experts said India is on its way to becoming a global power if it uses its soft power assets. Speakers at the conference said India's presence in social media combined with cultural diplomacy and effective use of soft power assets could lead to it becoming a 'superpower'. Professor of Public Diplomacy at the Annenberg School of Communication in the University of South Carolina [sic] Nicholas J.Cull said India has a strong chance of making a name for itself in world politics. ... 'India is all about the celebration of diversity, and that's why I feel that as India pays more attention to soft power, more attention to public diplomacy, India moves into an ever stronger place in world affairs,' [Cull ] added. The conference addressed both challenges and opportunities provided by the proliferation of new media along with new tools." Image from

Sunday, December 12, 2010 - Madhurjya Kotoky, The Public Diplomacy Blog: "'Public Diplomacy in the Information Age' was a very successful conference. Congratulations to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) for pulling this off - a first of its kind international conference on PD in India! I hope this becomes an annual affair. ... An question that came up repeatedly was the relationship between 'Public Diplomacy' and 'Power.' Some sections of participants found it difficult to accept that PD 'IS' about 'power.' Public diplomacy is an important tool in the arsenal of 'smart power' of a nation - to enhance influence & achieve national, strategic objectives, lessening reliance on 'disruptive' hard power, to the extent possible, in an increasingly interconnected world. Isn't it interesting that India's attempts at institutionalizing PD follows adoption of 'power projection' in strategic discourses on hard power doctrines? Public diplomacy was essential in winning the cold war and will be key in current struggle against transnational terrorism. 'Persuasion' scores over 'Coercion' and PD is the 'force multiplier' for the Indian Foreign Service (IFS). In the 'Age of Information' where ideas, values, conversations resound across the world, PD will become an important tool of statecraft."

New America Foundation, 8 Dec 2010, Allie Perez - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting: "I suggested a partnership of US international broadcasting and private US broadcast networks in my recent Foreign Service Journal article."

RFE/RL president Jeffrey Gedmin visits Kazakhstan, discusses FM and television distribution - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Wikileaks: The Serbian Judases and the US Silver Coins - [Citing State Department cable at]: "We can strengthen the hand of pragmatic forces in the Serbian government by recognizing in our public statements that Serbia needs to devote effort to having a healthy, balanced relationship with Russia. We can afford to be magnanimous on this point because we have the better story to tell: the foreign direct investment statistics and the results of our programs supporting economic, political, and security reform demonstrate that Serbia benefits

far more from cooperation with the United States and the West than it does from Russian rhetoric. While the Serbian public has not yet fully accepted these facts, our constant public diplomacy efforts to highlight the results of U.S. engagement are having an impact. We should continue to let our actions speak louder than our words by engaging with Serbia on issues of mutual interest, avoiding any direct comparisons with Russia, and flatly rejecting the notion that in the 21st century any country must choose between East and West." Image from

US embassy cables: Russia targeting Tajikistan to reduce western influence, says US - "Monday, 14 November 2005, 06:21 S E C R E T DUSHANBE 001812 SUBJECT: DESPITE RUSSIAN PRESSURE, THE UNITED STATES CAN PROMOTE ITS POLICY GOALS IN TAJIKISTAN ... 24. (C) PUBLIC DIPLOMACY: Our short-term focus will be to protect the interests of U.S. NGOs as deliverers of developmental assistance. A mid-level Foreign Ministry official recently told us that the Tajik Government generally does not understand what U.S. NGOs really do and simply listens to Russia on these matters (reftel A). (COMMENT: This may not be as absurd as it seems. All written communication with any part of the government must be conducted by diplomatic note, and the Ministry of Security screens all diplomatic notes. We suspect the Ministry of Security does not pass forward diplomatic notes with which it does not agree. END COMMENT.) Embassy Dushanbe plans to arrange information roundtables to bring together senior government officials and major U.S. developmental NGOs. We will also start a public diplomacy campaign of press releases focusing each week on one U.S. NGO and its achievements for Tajikistan. Print media reach a miniscule percentage of the population; but we know that the Ministry of Security and Presidential Apparat carefully study each and every U.S. Embassy press release, and that's what counts. ... 26. (C) ENGAGEMENT: We cannot and should not attempt to compete with the constant back and forth of Russian and Tajik officials between Moscow and Dushanbe - and even less should we attempt to emulate their drinking bouts. However, building on Secretary Rice's successful October 13 visit, we would SIPDIS definitely benefit from more frequent and - this is important - longer senior U.S. visits."

Terrorism Control over Media - Joshua Gomez, "Media influence on public opinion may impact not only the actions of governments but also on those of groups engaged in terrorist acts. From the terrorist perspective, media coverage

is an important measure of the success of a terrorist act or campaign, and in hostage-type incidents, where the media may provide the only independent means a terrorist has of knowing the chain of events set in motion, coverage can complicate rescue efforts. Governments can use the media in an effort to arouse world opinion against the country or group using terrorist tactics. Public diplomacy and the media can also be used to mobilize public opinion in other countries to pressure governments to take, or reject, action against terrorism. How should we overcome Terrorism? How do we eventually put a a stop to the Influence?" Image from

Interns accepted at Australian Embassy - The Korea Herald: "The Australian Embassy is expected to have several intern positions available in the Agriculture, Corporate, Education, Defense and Public Diplomacy Sections."


White House Participates in Cultural Diplomacy Launch - Kalpen Modi, Office of Public Engagement, the White House: "The understanding between artists and individuals – on a people-to-people level, is one of the cornerstones of free societies. During the cold war, artists and cultural exchanges helped win what some scholars call the 'war of ideas' by demonstrating to the world the promise of America. Now, in a post-9/11 world, where information travels at speeds previously unthinkable, economies are interdependent, and the arts & humanities are truly global, the beauty and universality of the moving image offers unique opportunities to increase cross-cultural understanding. On Friday, December 3rd, the White House participated in the launch of 'Film Forward: Advancing Cultural Dialogue', a public/private cultural film exchange effort by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities and the Sundance Institute, in New York. The project encompasses five contemporary independent American filmmakers and five international filmmakers that will tour throughout the United States and abroad as part of an effort to build bridges between countries, and is operated in partnership with the major federal cultural agencies, the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. State Department officials also participated in the launch. ... The five American films that will tour throughout the United States and abroad as part of the program are: A Small Act directed by Jennifer Arnold[,] Amreeka directed by Cherien Dabis [,]Freedom Riders directed by Stanley Nelson [,] La Mission directed by Peter Bratt [,] Winter’s Bone, directed by Debra Granik. ... Over the next year Film Forward will travel to twelve locations including Nashville, TN; Jackson, MS; Washington, DC; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and the Saginaw Chippewa Reservation in Grand Rapids, MI; as well as Tunisia, China, Turkey and Kenya. All ten films will participate in a Spring Showcase on the National Mall in May."

Image from website of White House Office of Public Engagement, with following statement: Ms. Tchen is currently Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, which is the outreach office for the White House and is responsible for connecting the Administration with constituency groups across the country. Ms. Tchen also serves as the Executive Director of the White House Council on Women and Girls, which was created by President Obama in March 2009 to ensure that all parts of the federal government are addressing the needs of women and girls.

What Machiavelli Would Have Thought of Wikileaks: A Short History of Undiplomatic Diplomats - Mark Lamster,

"Rubens was not the first artist recruited into diplomatic—Gentile Bellini and Jan van Eyck both served on diplomatic missions—but he was easily the most accomplished. He secretly negotiated a peace between Spain and England, perennial adversaries, and did so with the French minister Cardinal Richelieu, a political master in his own right (and also a Rubens client), working to undermine him. A diplomat ahead of his time, Rubens saw Europe less as a series of divided nation-states than as an interdependent 'chain of confederations.' Although the Central Intelligence Agency funded the exhibition of American artwork abroad during the Cold War as a means of demonstrating the nation’s democratic values, there has been, until now, little use of artists themselves as diplomats, and no wonder. From the Romantic era, we have inherited a vision of the artist as an emotionally volatile radical, a critic of the state rather than someone to be entrusted with its most delicate business. That this is no longer an accurate representation of the artist—if it ever was—is suggested by a new State Department cultural diplomacy program, announced in October, that will spend $1 million dispatching artists to fifteen foreign nations over the coming two years. Perhaps the next great American diplomat will be found among them. The more things change, the more they stay the same." Image from article

Eclectic Band Heats Up Fillmore - KTVU San Francisco: "One of the more adventurous, genre-busting acts to emerge in the last decade, the L.A.-based outfit has cultivated a reputation for both positive political consciousness in their music and electrifying energy onstage. Built on a foundation of Latin street funk inspired by such classic '70s groups as War while introducing elements of hip hop and world music, Ozomatli

has been selling out shows and moving crowds for the past decade. ... In 2007, the band was invited by the U.S. State Department to serve as official Cultural Ambassadors on a series of government-sponsored international tours to Asia, Africa, South America, and the Middle East, tours that linked Ozomatli to a tradition of cultural diplomacy that also includes the esteemed likes of Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, and Louis Armstrong." Ozomatli image from article

As China tour commences, IU Jacobs School ensemble ¡Sacabuche! welcomes critical acclaim, blog followers -, Indiana University: "¡Sacabuche!, an ensemble of 13 performers and scholars based at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music's Early Music Institute, commenced its highly anticipated 11-day tour of China (Dec. 9-19). ¡Sacabuche! [sac-a-booch-ay] arrived today in Beijing, where it will present the international premiere of its acclaimed program, The Map and Music of Matteo Ricci, at the China National Centre for the Performing Arts on Dec. 12. ... The Map and Music of Matteo Ricci is a multimedia performance reanimating the pivotal cultural exchange between Italian Jesuits and Chinese literati in 17th-century China.

The program includes Italian and Chinese music from Ricci's time period, dramatic readings of writings by Ricci and his contemporaries, and new music composed for ¡Sacabuche! by Chinese composer Huang Ruo and American composer Eli Marshall. Traditional Chinese instrumentalists will join the ensemble for this performance. ... The ensemble will perform at the Nantang Cathedral, where Ricci preached more than 400 years ago, and the prestigious Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing's 798 Art District. Additionally, members will offer residency activities at Beijing's top universities, music conservatories and other cultural institutions, including the Beijing Central Conservatory of Music. A cultural diplomacy day, planned at Changping No. 1 High School, has been organized by Jreome Ma, a high-ranking official at Lenovo. While in Beijing, ¡Sacabuche! will also perform holiday concerts for the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, Cummins (China) Investment Co. and Baker & McKenzie LLP. Image from article: The members of ¡Sacabuche!

China-Italy cultural coup: Governments agree to open exhibition spaces in Beijing and Rome - Gareth Harris, In a major stroke of cultural diplomacy, the Chinese government gets its own long-term exhibition space in the heart of Rome under a new agreement; an Italian exhibition hall will likewise open in the National Museum of China in Beijing after Italian culture minister Sandro Bondi and his Chinese counterpart Cai Wu signed a cultural co-operation deal in Rome.
Under the renewable agreement, the Chinese government will oversee a 600 sq. m space at the Palazzo di Venezia in Rome for the next five years.

'The aim is to house a state museum of Chinese culture,' according to an Italian Culture Ministry statement. The first show held in the new Chinese hall opened last month: 'The Two Empires: the Eagle and the Dragon' (until 9 January) is a comparative analysis of the Roman Empire and the Chinese Qin and Han Dynasties with over 450 objects dating from the second century BC to the fourth century AD. ... In return, Italy will take over a wing of the National Museum of China from next June for a five-year period." Image from article with caption: National treasures: Bellerophon and Athena fresco from Pompeii and, right, Han Dynasty glazed tower

Wen seeks to win Indians with Tagore, tai-chi, calligraphy - "In a bid to improve the public image of China that has taken a beating in recent months due to Beijing's diplomatic postures, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao will visit a school in the Indian capital when he comes here next week to project the country's soft power to the younger generation. Wen will begin his three-day trip to India with a visit to the Tagore International School at Vasant Vihar Dec 15. He will informally interact with schoolchildren where he is expected to tell them about Chinese culture, tai-chi and calligraphy . ... He is also expected to announce at the school about China's decision to provide textual and audio-visual material to Indian schools to help teach Mandarin, a proposal floated by Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal when he visited China recently. He is also likely to declare that China was ready to send teachers to teach Mandarin to India if India wanted . ... The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has already announced plans to introduce Mandarin Chinese as a foreign language in its 11,000 affiliated schools from Class 6 onwards next year. Tagore School has an ongoing exchange programme with a Chinese school whereby Indian teachers impart lessons to Chinese students in yoga through videoconferencing and Chinese teachers teach Indian students about calligraphy. ... The cultural diplomacy will also be in spotlight when Wen and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will participate in the closing ceremony of the Festival of China in India at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium Thursday evening. Says Srikanth Kondapalli, a China expert at Jawaharlal Nehru University' 'It's time to scale up youth exchanges as they are a good way to build better understanding, specially between India and China. There hasn't been much on this front so far.'"

Cultural diplomacy: To sell European culture and values globally
: "The objective of culture is no longer only to create art or literature. 'Cultural Diplomacy' is increasingly being used as a vehicle to promote liberal democratic values and to foster 'democracy and participation', says Dutch Liberal member Marietje Schaake

(ALDE), who last week presented her report on cultural diplomacy." [Interview with Schaake included in article] Schaake image from article.

Religious diplomacy in turbulent times; an interview with Jawad Kerdoudi - "More than 60 international academics, politicians, diplomats, officials, journalists and civil society actors gathered this week in Morocco's spiritual capital of Fez to discuss how religious and cultural diplomacy can promote global peace and tolerance. The 4th Forum on the Alliance of Civilisations and Cultural Diversity, which wrapped up on Monday (December 6th), aimed to strengthen intercultural dialogue and overcome mutual misunderstandings between the West and the Muslim world. Jawad Kerdoudi, the chairman of the Moroccan Institute for International Relations (IMRI), addressed the international event organised by the Moroccan Interdisciplinary Centre for Strategic and International Research (CMIESI). ... Magharebia: What can religious diplomacy do to promote intercultural dialogue and tolerance?

Jawad Kerdoudi: First of all, you have to define these two aspects. Religious diplomacy consists of making an effort, like the work done by Saudi Arabia, to organise international conferences to bring religions together. Cultural diplomacy, meanwhile, is all about promoting intercultural dialogue through cultural meetings, exhibitions, conferences and so on. Magharebia: Are the two approaches equally effective? Kerdoudi: Both pursue the same objective: trying to bring cultures and religions closer together, particularly at this time characterised by a great deal of international turbulence. I must say that I still have an open mind about the real impact of cultural and religious diplomacy and how they can contribute to resolving the great problems facing our world. I don't think you should overstate the issue. It's chiefly the position taken up by states which will move things forward. Cultural and religious diplomacy certainly have an important part to play, although it's proving very difficult to resolve problems in a world where there is a split between the West and the Muslim world." Kerdoudi image from article

Cultural diplomacy helps Vietnam’s position - "Vietnam’s successful cultural diplomacy in 2010 was reflected in activities dedicated to ASEAN and the 1,000th founding anniversary of Thang Long-Hanoi, and the effort to win UNESCO recognition of the country’s cultural heritages. This comment was made by Pham Sanh Chau, Head of the Foreign Ministry’s Department for External Cultural Affairs and UNESCO, at a meeting with the press in Hanoi on Dec. 6. Playing the role of Chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Vietnam has undertaken to organise a host of activities highlighting the group. These have not only enhanced mutual understanding among ASEAN member countries but also promoted Vietnam’s image to the world, Chau said. ... According to Chau, in 2011, the cultural diplomacy work will be further stepped up via the deployment of an action plan to implement the Strategy for Vietnam ’s Cultural Diplomacy toward 2020, the acceleration of establishment of a fund for cultural diplomacy and the organisation of Vietnamese days and weeks overseas."

Two documentary films on the anvil: Victory Day celebrations in India - Pallab Bhattacharya, "It will be a different kind of celebration of the Victory Day at the Bangladesh High Commission here on December 16. This is the momentous day when the joint forces of Indian soldiers and Bangladeshi freedom fighters triumphed over the Pakistani army 39 years ago leading to the birth of a new nation. 'Stop Genocide', the landmark documentary film by Zahir Rahman,

depicting the brutality by Pakistani troops unleashed on unarmed Bengalis, will be screened at the mission's auditorium aptly named 'Moitree Hall', symbolising the friendship between India and Bangladesh. ... The Bangladeshi mission here must be lauded for the initiative taken to arrange the screening of the two films as part of its cultural diplomacy which had been dormant for a long time until it was revived earlier this year with the holding of a festival of Bangladeshi feature films here earlier this year." Rahman image from

Have a nice Hanukkah – and may curses be upon you! - Burak Bekdil, Hurriyet Daily News: "'Cultural diplomacy' to sort out fundamental hostilities between capitals? It’s often slow and inefficient. Sports, like ping pong and football games? Ask the Chinese, Americans, Turks and Armenians. And please write to this columnist whatever answer you may get. ... Perfect empathy 'with the other' is a big lie."

Distinguished Alumni To Be Honoured - Voxy: "Some of New Zealand's most influential leaders, thinkers and creative talent will be honoured with a Distinguished Alumni Award from Victoria University of Wellington. ... They [include] ... artist Piera McArthur ... Piera McArthur is a leading New Zealand painter whose original style is characterised by vibrant colour, movement and humour. She lived overseas for many years exhibiting in Paris, London, New York, Sydney and Moscow between 1975 and 1990.

This established her career as a painter and also presented opportunities for cultural diplomacy and to enhance New Zealand's reputation internationally." Image from


Our Envoys, Ourselves - Derek Leebaert, New York Times: The leaking of secret documents is hardly to be encouraged. WikiLeaks may imperil the lives of agents or compromise negotiations, and is certainly arming our enemies with awkward knowledge. But that doesn’t mean we can’t learn from the cables. Let’s hope that the exposure of our diplomatic fixations on personalities and allegedly world-changing events will lead us, in fact, to a less excitable, more informed foreign policy.

Why Iran Loves WikiLeaks - Chas Freeman, New York Times: Mr. Assange’s grand accomplishment will be nothing more than to make it far harder for American diplomats to get candid answers

from their Gulf Arab and Israeli counterparts. Image from

Book review: 'And the Show Went On: Cultural Life in Nazi-Occupied Paris' by Alan Riding: A journalist examines the complexities of the arts scene in France during World War II
- Richard Eder, Accustomed to being invited to brilliant society parties, many stars — actors, writers, musicians — kept on going even when the guests included high-ranking Germans. An additional complexity was that although Joseph Goebbels demanded that France's arts be subordinated to Germany's, many of the Germans in Paris as enforcers and censors were cultivated men who greatly admired French culture.

A much-told story has one officer holding up a "Guernica" reproduction and asking: "Did you do this?" Picasso, polite but scrupulously aloof, replied: "No, you did." Image from article: Adolf Hitler, center, poses with architect Albert Speer, left, and sculptor Arno Breker in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris in June 1940.


“Before marriage I was wildly interested in sex.”

--Julia Child

Image from, with following comment: "I've heard snippets here and there that the devoted couple [Julia and her husband Paul] were very much in love, and Paul is certainly portrayed as a supportive, adoring husband. For Valentine's Day, they would make their own postcards of themselves - one bizarre shot, which I've tracked down up above, showed the couple sitting together in a bubble bath, which were then mailed out to friends."

"--J'ai une trop haute idée de l'amour pour m'abaisser a ces obscénités!

--Mais l'amour est obscène! Il est corps, peaux, odeurs, haleines, salives, sueurs, muqueuses!"

--From a French fictional work ("L'Entrevue de Sait-Cloud") on an "entrevue" between Marie-Antoinette and Mirabeau; cited in The Times Literary Supplement (December 3, 2010), p. 33

No comments: