Tuesday, May 3, 2011

May 1-3

"I am finding the America I returned to has a lot of angst among bright and talented people frustrated about finding jobs."

--PD blogger/traveler extraordinaire Paul Rockower, holder of an MA in Public Diplomacy from the University of Southern California

"As a soon-to-be-graduate, I am currently residing the harrowing halfworld between student and professional, so if your organization is in the market for a dazzling public diplomacy enthusiast, do give me a call."

--Insightful ManIC blogger and student at American University's International Communication MA Program Laura McGinnis; image from


Bin Laden Plagued the Arab World, As Well - Marc Ginsberg, Huffington Post: "[E]ffective public diplomacy highlighting the casualties and costs that Bin Laden wrought on the Arab world is critical. This is a unique moment for President Obama to undertake a second outreach initiative to the Arab world in support of its democratic aspirations and redressing some of the unfulfilled expectations young Arabs harbor from President Obama's seminal Cairo address nearly two years ago. ... Interfaith dialogue and outreach has long been recognized as a means to quell the so called 'war on Islam' propaganda of Al Qaeda. ... American and European non-governmental democracy promoting organizations are facilitating the transformation of democratic-oriented Arab protest groups into viable political organizations. They, too have a unique

role to play facilitating an anti-Al Qaeda narrative as they help provide young, secular-oriented Arabs with the tools they need to compete with the virtulent Islamist (and Jihadi) agenda and social welfare programs that may be their biggest obstacle in transforming their protest movements into electorally-competitive political organizations." Image from

With Osama bin Laden Dead, It's Time to End the 'War on Terror' - Katrina Vanden Heuvel, The Nation: "The Bush administration shamelessly exploited America’s fear of terrorism for political purposes. But as we have learned, a hyper-militarized war without end will do more to weaken our democracy, and foster a new national security state, than seriously address the threats ahead. After all, what we are engaged in is not primarily a military operation. It’s an intelligence-gathering operation, a law-enforcement, public-diplomacy effort."

Bin Laden’s death offers opportunity for ‘new era’ - Andrew Hammond, blogs.reuters.com: "The dramatic news about Osama bin Laden’s death, especially when taken in combination with the ongoing ‘Arab Spring’, offers a remarkable window of opportunity for U.S. policy-makers seeking to encourage what President Obama has called an 'alternative narrative' for a disaffected generation in the Islamic world. ... Especially now that bin Laden is dead, one of the shrewdest moves that the Obama administration could make is re-launching the campaign against terrorism, potentially also prompting the 'new beginning' in ties with the Islamic world which the president promised in his Cairo speech in June 2009.

At a minimum, this would necessitate kick-starting the machinery of U.S. public diplomacy to 're-energise the [U.S.] dialogue with the Muslim world' that Obama has also pledged. In such a scenario, of course, U.S. policy would continue to include a significant element of military and counter-terrorism power. However, (barring a new spectacular attack on the U.S. homeland) this could now be at least partially de-emphasised, including through Obama’s planned drawdown of troops in Afghanistan from 2011-14." Image from

Death of Bin Laden Cause for Celebration, but Terror Threat Remains, UIndy Expert Says - Douglas Woodwell, assistant professor of international relations: “The recent revolutions in the Middle East have been so important because they have reflected a thirst for human dignity and democracy, rather than religious absolutism. Through public diplomacy and prudent, respectful foreign policy, the United States must work to preserve the recent triumphs of its fundamental ideals throughout the region.”

Death of bin Laden: Visible vs. Invisible in US National Security‎ - Judah Grunstein, World Politics Review: "Over the past few years, the U.S. national security posture has increasingly emphasized the highly visible photo-op aspects of armed force as public diplomacy (think Haiti) and its highly invisible

stealth aspects (think drone strikes and special operations). In that middle zone of substantive nation-building, however, the results are mixed, and the nation is simply weary of the task -- and rightfully so. So it's very likely that the U.S. will pull back from those missions, but until others step in to fill it, that will leave a dangerous gap in the global security system." Image from

Is the US any safer without bin Laden? - Albuquerque Politics: "Experts said the war with Al-Qaeda rages on even without bin Laden, and the battle isn’t just a military operation. 'There’s a diplomatic component to it,' said Ross [UNM Political Science Professor Andrew Ross]. 'There’s an economic component to this, there’s a public diplomacy component to this.' Ross said the U.S. will need to continue to undermine Al-Qaeda’s support system and be vigilant of terrorist attacks that aren’t necessarily linked to Al-Qaeda."

Why Bin Laden's death matters‎ - James Forsyth, Spectator.co.uk: "[W]e need to discuss the efficacy of some of the least popular parts of the US response to 9/11. It is tempting, and easy, to believe that all the aspects of the war on terror that sit uneasily with our values are unproductive. In recent years, the tendency has been to dismiss Guantanamo as nothing more than a public diplomacy disaster. But it appears, and this is not information that suits the Obama administration’s political purposes, that the vital tip

that started this whole process came from someone detained at Guantanamo."  Image from

President Obama's National Security Team Shuffle: How Will the Players Fare? - Sara Sorcher, National Journal: "President Obama's national security team shuffle is the talk of the town. CIA Director Leon Panetta will replace outgoing Defense Secretary Robert Gates; Afghan war commander Gen. David Petraeus will run the CIA . ... [Michael Brenner, Professor of International Affairs, University of Pittsburgh:] Petraeus’ appointment continues, and extends a disturbing trend in the conduct of America’s foreign relations. This is evident in growing reliance on hard military power; in the dominant role of uniformed officers in all manner of policy-making posts and especially in the intelligence world where they enjoy a monopoly of leadership in all of the big three agencies; and in the assignment of prime political responsibilities to the regional commands. We recently created an Africa Command. The Command’s design and strategic mandate had no specific military missions in mind, and no definable threat. There is just a comprehensive, loosely drawn mandate that went well beyond that normally associated with a military Command It seems that Africa Command was set up because there was one piece of the globe uncovered by existing Commands; 'terrorism' was the excuse to plant a Pentagon insignia on the map of Africa. This Command is now in charge of all activity in regard to Libya, but in the past that would have fallen to existing arrangements for the Mediterranean.. Its assigned mandate to win friends & influence people; build military-to-military ties; monitor socio-politico-economic trends; engage in intelligence acquisition; compile data bases on would be/ could be terrorists – and their possible enablers, and do some public diplomacy. Ambassadors may as well be designated as ‘diplomatic attaches.’ That is what has happened in Pakistan – with less than brilliant results."

Under Secretary McHale Discusses Press Freedom and the Arab Spring - Naureen, peacelogs.com: "In remarks made at a World Press Freedom Day event, Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Judith McHale lauded the work journalists have done in the 'pursuit of truth' and discussed the importance of protecting press freedom. McHale

discussed her recent trip to Tunisia where activists and citizens 'are embracing the blessings of a free press, of freedom of association, and of free expression as vital components of an open, democratic society.' She highlighted Tunisian journalists’ keen interest 'in learning how to go about questioning politicians' as the country prepares for July elections and their excitement to play an important role in the transition. McHale also noted the salient theme of the conference — social media and connective technologies — in light of the Arab Spring and reiterated the United States’ commitment to protecting human rights and press fredom." McHale image from

UNESCO highlights press freedom as ingredient of development - Hani Hazaimeh, Jordan Times: "Every year more journalists lose their lives while doing their jobs not only in battle zones but also in their local communities with more than 500 journalists having passed away in the past five decades, according to UNESCO. ... Judith McHale, undersecretary for public diplomacy and public affairs, said the US is hosting the meeting as part of its pledge to help keep press freedom atop the global and national policy agenda."

2 May, 2011, Mon, SoS Clinton and Staff Schedule - American Diplomacy:

"US FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS JUDITH MCHALE 2:00 p.m. Under Secretary McHale meets with her public diplomacy leadership team, at the Department of State. (CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE)" Image from

Beatification of John Paul II was a low priority public diplomacy event for President Obama - TedLipien.com: "In a public diplomacy blunder likely to offend American Catholics, Polish-American voters and people in Poland, the Obama Administration failed to send a high-ranking American official to the beatification ceremonies for Pope John Paul II, which were held today at the Vatican. Many other religious and ethnic groups in America and in countries are also likely to be disturbed by the failure of President Obama to attend the ceremony himself or to send a special delegation headed by Vice President Biden. ... This public diplomacy misstep is one of many since President Obama took office and points to a total lack of leadership and planning within the White House and the State Department. ... Judith A. McHale is the current Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, whose job is to help lead America’s engagement with the people of the world. She has failed to prevent numerous embarrassing public diplomacy omissions and mistakes by the Obama Administration."

Why is royal propaganda/public diplomacy so successful? - John Brown, Notes and Essays: "When an empire is over, in my view, it becomes focused on what Joseph Nye, Jr., the admirable former Clinton administration Defense Department official who wrote a novel not without its sexual scenes in them, calls 'soft power,' a term which reminds me of the male organ after orgasm.

As I constantly ask myself, without a definitive answer, following events such as the royal wedding (and before) about what soft power actually is, my thought at this moment, with the USG essentially bankrupt while fighting three senseless wars (well, at least we got OBL), is that soft power is what fatigued empires do (mostly unintentionally), as they decline, to try to influence the world in their favor, without having the interest, energy, money for it, with 'public diplomacy', their Viagra as their cheap pill to fix what they perceive as their global 'communications' problems (instead of the failure of their own domestic/foreign policies). ... My main point: Savvy royal handlers doubtless realize that, while revolutionaries love propaganda as an agent of change in their favor, propaganda -- making people do what you want them to do without killing them (or, in past ages, eating them after doing so), since ultimately it cannot be to your advantage if you have no interlocutor -- is often most effective as a confirmation of tradition. Image from

Corporate Diplomacy: Arab Spring poses danger, opportunity‎ - Mustafa Tameez, Houston Chronicle: "[T]he angry protesters on the so-called Arab Street have a lot to do with our local economic recovery, and that means we, as Americans, Texans and Houstonians, have a vital role to play in the events unfolding across the Middle East and North Africa. We share many economic ties with these countries by virtue of our hometown oil and gas companies. And Houston's business community has the wherewithal to influence events in these nations through corporate action and people-to-people diplomacy. ... Combined, the business power of Houston's corporate community

can do as much good as any government. And with budgets for the Departments of State and Commerce, as well as the U.S. Agency for International Development, being slashed by double digits, it's going to fall to businesses to pick up the slack and conduct their own versions of public diplomacy. ... America's companies need a new American brand in the Middle East. They need a brand that is more attuned to rapidly developing events. They need a brand capable of evolving as quickly as the public perceptions of the societies in which they operate. What American companies really need is a new mindset - one that's receptive to the new-found voices gaining strength in the Muslim world. We must adapt to these new realities and start to plan a way forward in societies that haven't inaugurated a new leader in more than a generation." Image from

New Zealands Three Strikes Law was Pushed, Bought and Paid for by the US – Wikileaks - zeropaid.com: "If there wasn’t any anti-American sentiment before in New Zealand, there certainly will be for some after new diplomatic cables were published revealing the role the US had in pushing for a three strikes law in New Zealand. The New Zealand’s new three strikes law was the most controversial copyright laws in the country and one of the most controverisal in the world. ... Last month, in spite of major opposition and protests, New Zealand passed the law anyway to the dismay of the New Zealand population. Now, thanks to Wikileaks, we can see just how far back the United States was pushing New Zealand to pass that law in the first place. ... [A] diplomatic cable was sent noting the fierce rise in opposition to the three strikes law . ... In response to the uprising for drafting such a poorly conceived law, the cable goes on to make the following recommendations: ... Embassy will continue to stress with GNZ officials the need for a shorter rather than protracted timeline for the redraft and will ascertain the details of a notice and comment period for public submissions once released by GNZ. During this hiatus we’ve proposed holding DVC(s) [?] between NZ and U.S. interlocutors to possibly help with drafting and as a public diplomacy tool to dispel public misperceptions about proper role of IPR protection. U.S. agencies have the benefit of 10 years worth of experience in enforcing the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act that may serve useful to New Zealand officials in their effort to implement section 92A."

Solvang Gets Royal Visit‎ - Santa Barbara Edhat: "The Palace in Denmark has announced that His Royal Highness the Prince Consort Henrik of Denmark will visit Solvang on Saturday, June 11, 2011. He will help celebrate the city's Centennial."

Al Jazeera's War on Syria - Stephen Lendman, Bay Area Indymedia: "Now living in London and Dubai, Ghanem Nuselbeh is a Palestinian closely following Middle East events. ... As a Palestinian, he 'had very high hopes for Al Jazeera, as the region's first relatively impartial news channel....To put things in context, we must remember that (it's) sponsored by the Qatari government and to a large extent, is an instrument of Qatari public diplomacy.'"

The New Nation
- Jacob K. Lupai, Sudan Tribune: "Precisely 70 days are left for a new nation to emerge in the world scene and the new nation will be called the Republic of South Sudan. ... In all a cadre for foreign missions should be well groomed for effective representation.

Those assigned to foreign missions should be knowledgeable of the countries to which they are heading. People must also have communication skills for public diplomacy. Family connection should not be the qualification to serve in foreign missions otherwise this in itself is corruption." Image from

For efforts toward Arabic education of Israeli students, a few roadblocks - coveringreligion.org: "[I]n Haifa and the rest of Israel’s Northern District, 100 percent of Jewish public schools are now teaching Language as a Cultural Bridge, which began in Haifa in 2006 as a pilot program. Launched by the American-Israeli non-profit organization The Abraham Fund and supported by the Ministry of Education, the program strives to promote coexistence through language. This school year, in September 2010, the ministry approved its expansion, doubling the program’s scope to reach 220 public schools, amounting to 10 percent of all secular Israeli schools. Those behind the initiative hope that Arabic will soon echo through the halls of every Israeli school, from the mouth of every Israeli student. And while right now the program only reaches the fifth and sixth grade, its proponents hope that one day Arabic will be taught in every Jewish classroom, from grades 1 through twelve. ... Arabic is the language of Israel’s neighbors, and of 20 percent of its own population. Dadi Komem, the education director at The Abraham Fund, says the organization’s goal is to convince the Ministry of Education to enforce mandatory Arabic classes, start those classes earlier in students’ education, teach conversational Arabic, and have Arabs teaching the classes. He is well aware of the plethora of obstacles standing in the way. ... Some Israeli officials point to budget and infrastructure concerns, but most of all, they blame 'the situation.'

That is to say, Arabic is the language of Israel’s enemies, spoken by those who wish that Israel would cease to exist. 'There is an understandable animosity towards the language of the countries which declare they would like to eradicate Israel rather than coexist,' says Gil Lainer, the consul for public diplomacy at the Israeli Consulate in New York. This deeply entrenched skepticism persists despite Israel’s 31-year-old peace treaty with Egypt and 17-year-old treaty with Jordan. That attitude is reflected through Jewish Israelis’ perceptions of Arabs in general. In a 2007 survey of 1,600 Israeli high school students, 75 percent of Jewish students associated Arabs with being unclean, uneducated and uncivilized." Image from article with caption: A Jewish student takes notes in Arabic and Hebrew.

Gideon Spiro on Israel's Abuse of the Holocaust - Tony Greenstein's Blog: "Hasbara: literally, 'explanation'. The term is widely-used in Israel to refer to Israeli government public relations efforts, public diplomacy, advocacy or propaganda."

Are the same Turks and Armenians who were just yesterday inseparable today enemies? by Mehmet - Fatih Öztarsu*, todayszaman.com: "[A] factor pushing Turkey into a dead end in the international arena is its lack of public diplomacy efforts aimed at Armenia, as well as the fact that it has not created alternative Turkish lobbying groups in countries where the Armenian lobby is already strong."

Engagement and Public Diplomacy - Indigeneous Times: "Most readers will be aware that I have now been elected to the position of national co-chair (male) of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples.

I am pleased to share this role of leading the new organisation along with Jody Broun, the national co-chair (female), who is a highly qualified and capable leader in her own right. Although we are not due to take up our official positions until 8 July 2011, I am keen to continue the discussions that I started almost two months ago as part of my candidacy for this position." Image from

Arab Detroit Events: U.S. Public Diplomacy Toward Lebanon Lecture - arabdetroit.com: "Audience Type: All Audiences Description: Sense making of U.S. Public Diplomacy toward Lebanon: A study of Cross-Sector, Transnational Engagement This presentation regards preliminary findings of Ms. Trent's doctoral dissertation fieldwork on U.S. public diplomacy toward Lebanon. Public diplomacy is a government's direct engagement with another country's citizenry to support official foreign policy as well as goals and interests shared between the two nations. The dissertation's conceptual framework consists of the cross-sector, transnational relations between and among Lebanese American Diaspora organizations, the U.S. Department of State and related agencies, professional committee staff of the U.S. Congress, along with Lebanese government officials and citizens."

Diplo’s African Tour (April 2011) - Jovan Kurbalija, Reflections of diplomacy: "In April, Diplo’s main focus was on Africa. Between 5 and 21 April, we delivered 5 workshops involving 150 participants from many African countries. Each workshop inspired participants to explore new policy options and use new tools in their work. The end of each workshop saw the beginning of online interaction. ... The second week of the African tour saw us in Pretoria (South Africa). Bi Scott, Ginger Paque, and Liz Galvez joined our team. We delivered two parallel workshops. The first lasted five days (11-15 April) and focused on public diplomacy for the South African government. This workshop was part of the public diplomacy capacity development programme, which also included online training for junior diplomats (ongoing since March 2011)

and training for parliamentarians (third week of our visit). The workshop was very dynamic with our team providing different perspectives on public diplomacy: Alex (political and strategic perspective), Liz (organisation and diplomatic support), Bi (language and persuasion), and Jovan (e-diplomacy). The workshop concluded with the drafting of a public diplomacy strategy for the Climate Change Summit, which will be held in Durban, South Africa (28 November – 9 December 2011). The success of this public diplomacy workshop led to discussions with South African high officials about organising similar capacity development activities in the future as well as developing a partnership between South Africa and Diplo on capacity development for Africa. ... During the third week, Alex and Jovan delivered a workshop on Public Diplomacy for South African parliamentarians (Cape Town, 19-20 April)." Image from

Thinking about Narratives: Part 1 - Public Diplomacy, Networks and Influence: "One concept that crops up in relation to PD is that of narrative. It’s an idea that I find interesting but not completely persuasive. ... The basic attraction of narratives is the view that people make sense of the world through stories. This can lead to a stronger sense of narrative as script, a set of expectations that people are required to fulfil and where failure to meet expectations lead to sanction. The consequence of these ideas from from a PD or strategic communication point of view is that it then follows that if we can influence the narrative we can influence how people think and act."

PD problems may not have PD solutions - Public Diplomacy, Networks and Influence


Who says Osama is a terrorist, ask Muslim religious leaders - Abantika Ghosh, The Times of India: From incredulity to hostility towards the US -- reactions of Indian Muslim organisations changed rapidly as it became clear that the news of Osama bin Laden's death in a CIA operation in Abbottabad

in Pakistan was not American propaganda. Muslim religious leaders, cutting across sectarian divisions, questioned the "America-propounded" description of the al-Qaida leader as a terrorist, asking what judicial procedures had been followed to pronounce him as one. There was, however, obvious unease at the fact that he had been found to be living in Pakistan and had been killed in an US operation on Pakistani soil. Image from

US tries to use death of bin Laden as propaganda - ISNA: Americans tried to use death of Osama bin Laden as propaganda, said an Iranian lawmaker Kazem Jalali on Tuesday. "Americans used the life of Bin Laden as an instrument and we believe that the issue of terrorism and its spread across the region is rooted in the US presence in the area. Americas used the terrorists who were trained by them as instrument to fight terrorism," the Rapporteur of Iranian Parliament National Security and Foreign Policy Commission told reporters.

No one should provide pretext for propaganda against Iran: Leader - Tehran Times: Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has advised the people to avoid any action that can provide the pretext for propaganda campaign against Iran. “Any action which will delight the enemies and provide them with the pretext to create a commotion should be avoided,” the Leader said during a meeting with the city and village councilors and mayors on Saturday.

Libyans aren't fooled by Gaddafi's clownish propaganda - Amal al-Leebi guardian.co.uk: What do the following have in common: drug dealers, al-Qaida, Osama bin Laden, misguided youth, tribal leaders, Nescafé, "hallucinatory pills" (Tramadol), the CIA, al-Jazeera, the BBC, America, Israel, Denmark, Qatar, the Libyan diaspora, stray dogs, cats, rats and cockroaches? This is just a snippet from the list of culprits that the Libyan government wants you to believe are responsible for the recent violence in Libya. Over the last two months we have seen the feeble attempts of the media arm of the Libyan regime try to disseminate pro-Gaddafi propaganda and enhance its stature both abroad and with Libyan civilians via the state television.

Muslim women: beyond the stereotype: They run workshops combating al-Qaida propaganda and face personal danger promoting moderate Islam. Haroon Siddique meets the Muslim women confronting prejudice in their fight against extremism - Guardian. Image from article, with caption:

"To say that Muslim women are oppressed or don’t contribute is so patronising’ . . . Sara Khan."

China launches 'Red Culture' drive: ‎After three decades largely spent embracing Capitalism, China has stepped up a propaganda campaign to glorify its revolutionary Communist past and reunite society under a Red flag - Malcolm Moore, Telegraph.co.uk: As China prepares to mark the 90th anniversary of the founding of its Communist party in July,

a rapidly-growing number of Chinese, many of them young professionals, are now journeying to famous revolutionary sites to reconnect with the past. The government, which is strongly supporting the drive, believes a healthy dose of "Red Culture" could help unify Chinese society, which is fraying under the stress of growing inequality. Image from article

The 10 Tools of Online Oppressors - Danny O’Brien, Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ): The world’s worst online oppressors are using an array of tactics, some reflecting astonishing levels of sophistication, others reminiscent of old-school techniques. From China’s high-level malware attacks to Syria’s brute-force imprisonments, this may be only the dawn of online oppression.

Image from article, with caption: The brutal assault on blogger Oleg Kashin drew worldwide outcry. Here, a protest at the Russian embassy in Kyiv


Image from; via Xeni Jardin, "Photo: Obama and National Security team during Osama kill operation (UPDATED with found Photoshops," Boing Boing

1 comment:

Laura McGinnis said...

Thanks for the nod! I'll keep you posted as the job hunt continues.