Tuesday, December 20, 2011

December 20

“In the United States, it is considered insulting to say of somebody that he or she is ‘history.’ To be told ‘You’re history,’ is to be condemned as a has-been. I know of no other country that has this everyday dismissal in its idiom. But then I know of no other country that has such a great weakness for things that originate in England — the has-been country par excellence.”

--Deceased writer Christopher Hitchens; image from

"Of course, he took on God, a dangerous occupation in the United States."

--New York Times columnist Roger Cohen about Christopher Hitchens


Hillary Clinton's Next Act: Making Half the World's Leaders Women - Kim Pearson, blogher.com: "The Women in Public Service Project, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's new initiative to shepherd a new generation of women into politics and policymaking around the globe, could prove to be the most significant public diplomacy move since the Kennedy Administration launched the Peace Corps fifty years ago.

It could also be a game-changer for the Seven Sisters Colleges (Barnard, Bryn Mawr, Mt. Holyoke, Smith and Wellesley), with whom Clinton has partnered. The project's goal is to ensure that by 2050, half of the world's government officials will be women. They plan to accomplish this goal by offering leadership training, mentoring and support for scholarly research on women in public service." Clinton image from article

Social Media Hub - socialwebselling.com: "The Social Media Hub is an internal Department of State site to centralize information on the use of social media for public diplomacy. It was developed in WordPress and included a number of custom plugins."

All Power to the 164th - Dan Whiteman, punditwire.com: "The State Department is not immune to budget woes. This employer of 22,000 (plus 31,000 Foreign Service National employees) has gone through a 'seven percent exercise' nearly every budget cycle for

the past dozen years, projecting what it would cut if it had to do so. Exercises are then actually implemented more often than not, to the dismay of the planners. Asked at a public forum November 3 what resource he would be least willing to part with, planner and Deputy Assistant Secretary Bruce Wharton said without hesitation, 'personnel.' Imagine, in an age of bells and whistles, a value placed on humans and their capacities. Blogster John Brown spoke July 24, 2010, of 'The Newest Killer App for Public Diplomacy' – colorless, odorless, environmentally friendly, accessible to all, more effective than social media, and 'TOTALLY FREE: face-to-face conversation!'” Image from. Cited article at

"Pay What You Want" for VOA content via language learning company's website - Kim Andrew Elliot reporting on International Broadcasting

Recalling Václav Havel's support for US international broadcasting - Kim Andrew Elliot reporting on International Broadcasting

Zimbabwe's defense minister lashes out at "pirate radio stations" broadcasting from abroad - Kim Andrew Elliot reporting on International Broadcasting

Officially Moved: Nancy J. Powell goes from DGHR to New Delhi, and if she turns 65 in 2012, so what? - Domani Spero, diplopundit.blogspot.com: "Dr. [Elizabeth] Colton who I heard was nominated for the Edward R. Murrow

Award for Excellence in Public Diplomacy for her work in Egypt this past year (a nomination gobbled up by a black hole never to be heard of again) ... was forced to retire last September is scheduled to appear before the U.S. Court of Appeals for her age discrimination case against the State Department." Image from

Talk the good talk: Popular American talk show host Doug Stephan recently brought his golden voice to Israel for a week of broadcasts - David Brinn, Jerusalem Post: "[F]or years, government ministries and private hasbara (public diplomacy) organizations have been trying to expose Americans to the 'other Israel' that’s not part of the daily terror-peace talks-Iran news cycle by sponsoring visits to Israel by American talk show hosts who broadcast their shows live from Jerusalem with local guests and flavor.

The latest efforts have been taken on by the Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Ministry, who, along with the organization America’s Voices in Israel, were involved in bringing popular talk show host Doug Stephan to the country. According to the trade publication Talkers Magazine, the 65-year-old Massachusetts-based broadcaster and his daily show Good Day have has over three million listeners per week on over 300 stations across the country." Brinn image from article

Israel’s problem isn’t Thomas Friedman: It is Jerusalem's transparent fallacies that are self-destructive - James Adler, Jerusalem Post: "[T]he democratic world just isn’t buying the transparent fallacies put forth by current Israeli hasbara (public diplomacy). It’s not just Tom Friedman, The New York Times or their 'liberal Northeastern Jewish' readers. Israel is unfortunately on a path to over-extend itself demographically and to force upon itself either a one-state solution or an unjust apartheid state."

Israeli government rolling out red carpet for Christian tourists - PRI: "In Israel, there's a concerted effort to get more Christian tourists to visit the Holy Land and visit the churches, and shrines that dot Israel and the West Bank. There's a financial incentive, as each tourist typically spends about $1,700 but also a political motivation. They're hoping to make each tourist a sort of ambassador of Israel. ... Israel’s Minister of Tourism, Stas Misezhnikov said the state wants to expand the Christian tourism market for

financial reasons, of course, but for another reason as well. 'Every satisfied tourist,' Misezhnikov said, 'he becomes the ambassador of good will [for] the state of Israel. It’s very important to us.' That was evident during a Holy Land recent visit by a small group of American Evangelical pastors and broadcasters. One of the Israeli officials who met with the group was the Minister for Public Diplomacy, Yuli Edelstein." Image from article, with caption: Pilgrims pray at the St. George's monastery in Israel. The government is trying to encourage more tourism by Christians

Knesset Delegation Visits YU: Senior Advisers to Israeli Parliament Meet with President Joel, Students - "Eighteen senior Israeli parliamentary professionals visited Yeshiva University on Thursday, December 15 as part of a special mission co-hosted by the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) and Israel’s Ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs. ... Delegation participants included the bureau chiefs of the ministers of Education, Diaspora Affairs and Government Services; senior advisors to the ministers of Finance, Internal Security, Justice, and Immigration and Absorption; and senior correspondents from some of Israel’s largest media outlets. 'We place significant emphasis on building bridges that promote greater understanding between North American Jewry and Israelis, and this mission to bring senior Knesset professionals to the United States is an integral part of that work,' said Rebecca Caspi, JFNA’s senior vice president for Israel and Overseas."

Warschawski Tapped for Swiss U.S. Push - odwyerpr.com: "Swiss government’s PR arm, has tapped a Baltimore-based agency for a public diplomacy campaign aimed at the U.S., following an RFP process."

New urban cultures bonding spain and India - sagarsnetwork.blogspot.com: "About ‘Casa Asia’ Casa Asia is a public diplomacy institution formed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the Spanish Government, the Generalitat of Catalonia, Barcelona City Council and Madrid City Council. Its mission is to promote knowledge concerning Asia in Spain and to foster relations between the civil societies of Spain and Asian countries. Juan José Herrera de la Muela, director-general of Casa Asia said, 'India is the subject of utmost interest in Spanish foreign action programmes, and the promotion of the cultural industries in India, along with the development of education, culture and the economy is a priority for Casa Asia.'

About ‘Cervantes Institute’ The Cervantes Institute, dependent on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, is a non-profit entity created by the Spanish government in 1991. Its mission is to promote the teaching of Spanish and other co-official languages of Spain, and to contribute towards the diffusion of the culture of Spanish-speaking countries. In 2009 it inaugurated its office in Delhi. Òscar Pujol, director of the Cervantes Institute in New Delhi said, 'For us the opportunity of this initiative has three dimensions: the growth of the city of Delhi, the synergy between Spanish institutions and the strengthening of the dialogue between Spain and India.'” Image from

Country Of Lost Landmarks - goldfarbgold.com: "Georgian society is still in a state of extreme depression. This mixed with a sense of confusion and clarifies the sense of an increasingly waning dependence on the West. ... [C]ooperation with Washington, in essence, has led to the disintegration of the country. In these circumstances, the opposition forces, in unison with the higher clergy, more loudly and often speak of the inadmissibility and evils of continuing enmity with Russia – centuries-old neighbor with whom Georgia has always been associated sincere bonds of brotherhood. ... On Sunday, another act of revival of public diplomacy efforts ... began, 'For Fair Georgia,' Zurab Nogaideli, who went to Moscow for talks with representatives of the Georgian, Abkhazian and Ossetian diaspora."

President's report card has glaring failures: Writing in last week's Sunday Times deputy director in the Presidency Sydwell Mabasa painted a glowing picture of what President Jacob Zuma's administration has achieved this year - sowetanlive.co.za: "On the international front the Libyan crisis exposed Zuma's administration to the skills of public diplomacy. South Africa found itself caught in a situation where it has supported and sponsored the United Nations resolution in 1973, which led to Nato's military intervention in Libya. On realising how the Western powers were bent on using the resolution to effect regime change in Libya South Africa

led the call for an AU peace plan. The AU peace plan's failure has largely been ascribed to the Transitional National Council's intransigence due to the support it got from Western powers. But this does not deal with South Africa's responsibility as a major player in the continent's drive for African leadership and solution. As political analyst Eusebius Mackaiser has pointed out: the Libyan situation has once again shown South Africa's underbelly when it comes to public diplomacy." Image from article, with caption: President Jacob Zuma's comments on the judiciary and constitutional court is but one of the scenarios that has blotted his government's copybook this year. This, according to Mackaiser, is about a country's ability to sell an idea in the international court, as well as selling it to its citizens.

Soft Power? Can it be measured? - prasino.eu: "Soft power became one of the new touchstones of international relations. Since 1990 it has been joined by nation brands (and branding) and public diplomacy to add to the long-standing cultural diplomacy and cultural cooperation themes. The West’s Soft Power was presumed to have helped win the Cold War. But there have been few attempts to measure soft power and this is the age of measurement."

Communication for Social Change student receives Prime Minister's Pacific-Australia Award - uq.edu.au: "Jenny Max, a University of Queensland Masters of Communication (Communication for Social Change) student, has received a Prime Minister's Pacific-Australia (PMPA) Award in recognition of her leadership potential and academic achievements. ... Ms Max began her remarkable career with an undergraduate degree in journalism at the University of PNG. She became the news reporter and editor of an English/Tok Pisin radio station before winning the role of Press Officer with the Media Unit of the PNG Prime Minister. She then joined the Australian High Commission in Port Moresby, PNG, as a Public Diplomacy Officer, specialising in communication. Most recently, she moved to AusAID as a Program Officer working with Sub-National Strategy program."


Column: Putin's best gift to Russia? Retiring - Louise Branson, USA Today: Blaming America is a favorite tactic of Putin's when matters get sticky. The best the U.S. can do —and is doing— is to continue to demand proper election accounting. And to prepare for an ever-more difficult ride with Putin.

Iranian spy implicates game dev as US propaganda arm- vg247.com: Iranian state TV networks “revealed” that an alleged confessed spy has implicated a New York game developer as a propaganda arm of the US government. The game developer in question

is Kuma Games, a New York-based FPS developer that makes the Kuma/War games which recreate significant acts in US military wars/conflicts in video game form. For instance, you can go play the assassination of Osama Bin Laden if you’re inclined to do so. Image from article

North Korean Propaganda Totally Hearts ‘Great Successor’ - Adam Rawnsley, wired.com: North Korea’s factional divides were hard to read before “Dear Leader” Kim Jong-il died. Now that his son appears to have taken over, Pyongyang is in lockdown mode. No one knows what’s happening in the back rooms that really decide who runs North Korea. But here’s one telling sign: The official mouthpieces are all singing the praises of the Dear Leader’s
chubby-cheeked boy, Kim Jong-un.Of course, just because something’s in the news doesn’t mean its true. That goes double for North Korean propaganda stories. A faction of the North Korean military could move to block Kim Jong-un’s succession. Or he could glide into power without a hitch. Either way, count on Pyongyang’s propaganda organs to sing the glorious praises of the hero of the noble people’s Juche revolution — whomever he turns out to be. See also (1)(2) (3) (4) (5) (6). Image from

Photo Gallery: A Rare Glimpse of North Korea - spiegel.de: Most images the West sees of North Korea are propaganda shots. Press photographs, when they are allowed, typically face a barrage of restrictions.

Jean H. Lee, the Associated Press Bureau Chief in Seoul, and David Guttenfelder, AP Photographer, were among the first western journalists allowed to travel freely in the capital Pyongyang. They were permitted to join a troop of local journalists, viewing society without the censorship of government representatives. The pictures taken in Spring 2011 reveal everyday life under a dictatorship. Here a young girl practices piano in her primary school.

Ideology Through Geometry - Cammy Brothers, Wall Street Journal: "Building the Revolution: Soviet Art & Architecture 1915-1935," a small exhibition now on view at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, conveys the electric energy and genuine radicalism of the works created during this period. Ultimately, the exhibition asks: Is the idea of utopian architecture an impossible paradox?

The short life of this exciting, experimental moment—which would soon collapse into Stalinism and the repressive expectations of social realism—suggests the precarious nature of a state-sponsored avant-garde. The relation between aesthetics and politics, or the ideology of style, remains a puzzle. Image from article, with caption: An early 1920s model of Vladimir Tatlin's Monument to the Third International, with its three rotating levels. A 33-foot-tall scale version of the tower has been constructed in the courtyard of the Royal Academy.

1 comment:

anmol said...

Nice story written...good presentation...