Saturday, December 3, 2011

December 3

"When talking to their cellphones, people sometimes start sounding like machines themselves."

--Nick Wingfield, "Oh, for the Good Old Days of Rude Cellphone Gabbers," New York Times; image from


The Cultural Diplomacy Outlook 2011, Institute for Cultural Diplomacy


Post #1 Technical Networks: Stimulating or Inhibiting Development? - "[T]he milestone Fulbright Exchange Program was created by the U.S government in 1946, under the legislations of William J. Fulbright, Senator of Arkansas. ... Since I am currently working at

AmidEast, assisting in the Fulbright Department, I had access to some of the program evaluation data and could conduct extensive research on the State Department’s best attempt to come up with a 'standardized method' for program evaluation. ... This data suggests that the program is, in effect, a channel that serves U.S. national interests by fostering dialogue among foreign citizens and altering public opinion of U.S. policy and American people through informal networks. Moreover, the large percentage of Visiting Fulbright Scholars that discuss these altered opinions and perceptions with family and friends at home underline the importance of the multiplier effect in serving as a sustainable tool for US diplomacy and nation-branding. ... These linkages, ties and institutional changes, reflect produced quantitative measures of sustained mutual understanding." Image: Truman signing Fulbright Act from

Celebrating the International Day of Persons with Disabilities - December 3, 2011 - Judith Heumann: "On the eve of December 3, the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, it is worth noting that 2011 also marks the 30th anniversary of the International

Year of Persons with Disabilities. Much has happened to advance the rights, equality and inclusion of persons with disabilities since the International Year was adopted by the United Nations (UN) in 1981. International Decades of Disabled Persons have been adopted by the UN, the Asia Pacific region, the Americas and the African region, advancing activities to combat discrimination on the basis of disability. ... Judith Heumann serves as the Special Advisor for International Disability Rights, the first such advisor to be appointed at the Department of State. ... The Special Advisor ... conducts [inter alia] public diplomacy, including with civil society, on disability issues."

Ambassador to Cape Verde: Who Is Adrienne O’Neal? - "On June 24, 2011, President Barack Obama nominated Adrienne S. O’Neal to be the United States ambassador to Cape Verde, a Portuguese-speaking island nation 300 miles off the west coast of Africa. There is a significant Cape Verdean-American population, particularly

in New Bedford, Massachusetts. ... O’Neal, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service with the personal rank of minister-counselor, joined the State Department in 1983. ...   [A]ssignments have included service in Argentina; as Director of the Office of Public Affairs and Public Diplomacy for Europe and Eurasian Affairs." O'Neal image from article

900,000 widows — hardly “well meaning” - Today's Insight News: "Writing in 2006, American University professor and Middle East analyst R.S. Zaharna said ... what U.S. officials fail to register 'is that no amount of information pumped out by U.S. public diplomacy will be enough to improve the U.S. image. The problem, ultimately, is not lack of information but lack of credibility. … Without credibility, no amount of information holds persuasive weight.… The region [of the Middle East] and its people have suffered greatly by the U.S. reluctance to engage diplomatically on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. … Without the active involvement of U.S. traditional diplomacy, U.S. public diplomacy will remain paralyzed by the weight of this conflict, and America’s credibility deficit will only deepen.'”

Governments Must Help Combat Anti-Semitism, ADL Tells Congressional Helsinki Commission - "Noting in its [Congressional] testimony that the OSCE is a 'model of how, in just a few years, a major international organization can move from broad denial of a problem to taking action needed to combat anti-Semitism and hate crimes on a comprehensive basis', ADL [Anti-Defamation League]

offered recommendations for how participating governments can move forward in institutionalizing a systematic, comprehensive strategy [inter alia]: ... Prioritize combating anti-Semitism as part of bilateral relations with other countries. Reporting on and combating anti-Semitism should be part of a full array of human rights and democracy programming, funding and public diplomacy efforts."  Image from

China-U.S-Australia: Soft Power - "One example of China’s use of soft power was illustrated in Obama’s recent visit to the Pacific to discuss the U.S.’s new influx of troops with Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard. It sent an unsettling message to the Chinese. So in turn, they fought against the newly established relationship using soft power to try and reestablish their Pacific partner. Chinese Innovation Minister Kim Carr pushed soft power by establishing $9 million of funding for Australia-China research collaborations. The fund, announced in August, is a joint venture between Senator Carr's Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research and the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology, to support joint virtual research centers. This is where Nye states that good public diplomacy goes beyond propaganda initiatives, and creating exchange and collaborative programs over a particular field such as science, can help to establish long term relationships, in this case China with Australia. I think that it will be interesting to see how the world will view China in the next decade."

Chakras Aligned? India woos Buddhists at global congress, China stiffens up - Anjali Puri, "That India has woken up to the geopolitical and soft-power benefits of boosting its profile in the Buddhist world—in particular, the Buddhist countries in the India-China neighbourhood—is evident from the energies it expended on the [three-day Global Buddhist Congregation, 2011, in Delhi] conference. Though fronted by the Asoka Mission—a private body headed by Lama Lobzang, a diminutive Ladakhi monk, well-networked with Indian officialdom—the initiative had the invisible weight of the MEAs public diplomacy division behind it.

That translated into a generously funded effort to bring the Buddhist world to India, with air-fares, five-star accommodation and pilgrimages on the Buddhist circuit thrown in." Image from article, with caption: Dalai Lama at the three-day Global Buddhist Congregation, 2011, in Delhi

Blog entries - "Improving Sino-Japanese public opinion atmosphere [:] Media in particular exchange of information on Twitter, become an important moment of the observation of public diplomacy in China and Japan. Research fellow of the Centre for international studies, Tsinghua University, Director of the Department of public diplomacy, Associate Professor of the news of the world reporter Zhou Qingan said in an interview, the last two years, Sino-Japanese political relations remained low, 'poison dumplings' events, visit issues, Diaoyu Islands collision incident is a direct impact on the emotions of the people of the two countries. In the days after the earthquake in public diplomacy, Chinese Internet media has played a 'public opinion to promote' role. ... In his view, as far as the public diplomacy, microblogging is the north face outlet a sustainable building is the 'extra points'. On one hand, it is able to more fully reflect public opinion and strengthen and interaction between foreign affairs departments; on the other hand, its public diplomacy on the China system capable of allowing other countries recognize China civil attitude.

Natural crisis is an opportunity to promote public diplomacy to improve. But the improvement in Sino-Japanese public opinion are not mere sustenance to the earthquake crisis, needs to go beyond the crisis of a permanent dialogue between the two countries." Image from

Queensland meeting addresses C-E translation issues - "The University of Queensland convened the Translation and Cross-Cultural Communication Conference from Dec. 1-2, drawing more than 100 scholars specializing in Chinese-English translation. The two-day meeting, which carried the theme of C-E (Chinese-English) Translation and Cross-Cultural Communication, was divided into 25 parallel sessions at which a wide range of topics were discussed, ranging from literature translation to culture clash in translation."

Cancun Candid Camera - "The discussion of public diplomacy led me to consider the implications of soft power in the form of tourism and particularly advertisement of tourism. After battling years of dwindling tourism dollars, Colombia redeveloped its travel sector by cultivating an aggressive publicity and advertisement campaign. After years of prompting its image and particularly its

safety, Colombia has begun attracting tourists back to the country. ... A similar decrease in foreign visitors has prompted The Mexico Tourism Board, eager to implement a similarly aggressive strategy to improve Mexico’s reputation. ... Only time will tell if it can successful reinvigorate Mexico’s lackluster tourism sector, however until the country can get its affairs in order and curb violence fueled by confrontations of drug cartels the campaign may be all for naught. While the success of Colombia’s campaign serves a model of success, it was just a late-implemented component of a larger body of reforms aimed at combating narco-terrorism." Image from, with caption: Sammy Garcia works on painting a poster reading Viva Mexico outside the Cotton Bowl before Mexico played Colombia in an exhibition game in Dallas, Texas, USA, Wednesday, Sept., 30, 2009.

Head of English at BBC Global News on being "most trusted" rather than "most watched" - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Transparency of the Internet and Social Media - Gabby LaVerghetta, International Exchanges: Students at American University blog about international communications: “'Innovating Public Diplomacy for a New Digital World' by Jacob Comenetz looks at how the State Department has attempted to modernize its public diplomacy efforts by going digital.

The article touches on several interesting ideas that we have already explored in class. One part in particular that stood out was the discussion of doing away with the website. The reason given was simple. A website with static content assumed that curious people would visit the site. In reality, this is a world of information where people are constantly being bombarded with messages. Public diplomacy officers need to directly initiate conversations. ... Social media can be anti-democratic. But so can any medium, really. Radio, television, and newspapers have all been used to promote things like racism. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t use or trust them. And it certainly doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t talk about how to use or govern them." Image from

Public Diplomacy Gives the Silent Treatment
- American University Students Discuss International Communication: "Public Diplomacy (PD) is tired of being put in a box. She is the misunderstood stepsister of International Relations that once hated her black sheepishness and is now coming into her own. Instead of fitting into a neatly presentable package, PD is a convoluted mess that only self-loathing theorists try to love. Her quirks and non-traditional characteristics are becoming more accepted in academia, but only the academics holding her tightly know that they know only an inkling of what makes her tick. They know the trigger points: 'What is public diplomacy?' Ha. Wrong question. And in response to that question, PD will simply play the silent game because she is complicated and offended at your attempt to define her in a single sentence. At times, all she’s trying to get at is a little influence. At other times, she’s helping build brands. And other times, she’s just glad to facilitate a little human connection at the international level.

Misunderstood. Underestimated. The best way to know PD is to observe her in dimensions. The more obvious ones we’ve known for years—her military and economic strategies; her weekly lunch-ins at the Embassy in Islamabad. But she has a softer side. She’s in the coding and gaming tech initiatives at the Department of State—winning over the hearts and minds of the people, one coder at a time. She’s in the international education and research-exchange programs paid by the DOD, sending little ambassadors one scholarship at a time overseas. She’s in the Facebook pages and the development organizations and the phones and computers given away to start the conversation between the US and other nations. So stop assuming you can use her with no consequences. PD is not just a silver bullet to solve your problems. And she certainly doesn’t appreciate being misused so your ego can be satisfied. If you want to know some essence of PD, focus on her softer side, but ultimately you’re going to have to analyze her like any other concept and find ways to open your mind her presence in new ways." Image from article

GizemDeja Gizem Salcigil White - Gizem Salcigil White - Twitter: "Presented the 'Nation Branding of Turkey and Public Diplomacy' at George Washington University!

#turkey #brandingturkey" Image from tweet

Hard sell: Civil rights and Edward R. Murrow’s U.S. Information Agency, 1961–1963 - "Published by Social Sciences in Sociology on December 3rd, 2011 ... Abstract [:] Despite the importance of the relationship between public diplomacy and Cold War foreign policy, the efforts of the U.S. Information Agency (USIA) and Edward R. Murrow to defend the federal government’s response to the civil rights movement during the John F. Kennedy administration has been largely overlooked or assessed in isolation from one another in studies on Murrow, Kennedy, and the civil rights movement.

This paper closely examines Murrow’s contributions to the formation of American public diplomacy, and it relies heavily on USIA documents and Murrow’s personal papers to examine one of the most internationally visible arms of the U.S. government that deserves greater scrutiny by scholars of Murrow and Cold War public diplomacy." Murrow image from


The true meaning of American exceptionalism? [Most commented] - From both the left and the right, we've become accustomed to impassioned speeches about America's exceptionalism and predictions of another "American century." But in his Op-Ed, Tom Engelhardt contends this repetition just shows how far we've fallen.

Reader response varied from approval to staunch disagreement. Article contains comments from readers. Image from

Names: Four new ambassadors nominated; McFaul held up by Kirk - Josh Rogin, Foreign Policy

After the hope of the Arab Spring, the chill of an Arab Winter - Daniel Byman, Washington Post: The United States may end up with the worst of both worlds: scorned by the forces of democracy because of its ties to dictators, but disdained by dictators — whose cooperation is vital to U.S. economic and security interests — for reaching out to democrats. The Arab Spring may not bring freedom to much, or even most, of the Arab world. Even as the United States prepares to work with the region’s new democracies, it also must prepare for the chaos, stagnation and misrule that will mark the

Arab Winter. Image from

The risks of military cutbacks
- David Ignatius, Washington Post: As Defense Secretary Leon Panetta prepares his recommendations for Pentagon budget cuts, he is likely to reduce the military’s resources for future, large-scale counterinsurgency operations of the sort that were ballyhooed just a few years ago in Iraq and Afghanistan. The boom in “COIN,” as these operations are known, has proved to be something of a bubble. Budget pressures have curbed the appetite for the ambitious, “protect-the-population” missions that were promoted with such enthusiasm by Gen. David Petraeus and Gen. Stanley McChrystal. The focus increasingly is on raids by the tighter, more kinetic Special Operations Forces, which are seen as the big success story of these wars, to the extent success can be claimed. As COIN has fallen out of fashion, there’s a new bubble of enthusiasm for the counterterrorism tactics used by the special forces in their “night raids” against Taliban targets. But Petraeus, the intellectual architect of modern Army doctrine, has long argued that it is a mistake to juxtapose the “population-centric” and “enemy-centric” approaches as if they were alternative strategies. Instead, according to Petraeus, they are mutually reinforcing parts of a broad counterinsurgency campaign.

Nasty Contractor Business from Iraq - Peter Van Buren, We Meant Well: "[I]t was clear from my own time in Iraq that the mix of military, civilian government officials, contractors and local Iraqis subject to no single authority created exactly the type of problems you would expect with such unequal power relationships

without proper supervision." Image from

LeT using internet to radiacalise [sic] youngsters - Identifying Pakistan-based LeT as a lethal terror group with primary focus on India, a key US attorney has said the outfit is expanding its wings to the West, in particular America, and using internet propaganda to radicalise and recruit individuals. "Foreign terrorist organisations like LeT use internet propaganda to radicalise and recruit individuals to wage violent jihad and spread terror," Neil H MacBride, US Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, told reporters here.

US Jewish outcry over Israeli expat 'return' ads - The Israeli government has ordered adverts that urge Israelis in the US to return home to be pulled amid outcry from the American Jewish community. A letter from the Jewish Federations of North America to the Israeli Ministry of Immigrant Absorption, which funded the ads, called the campaign's "messages that American Jews do not understand Israel deeply insulting and simply outrageous."

Veena Malik FHM Mag[a]zine Scandle, Veena Malik Nude Pictures, Videos for FHM Mag[a] zine - Veena Malik Nude Photo

Scandal And Anti Pakistani ISI Propaganda in Indian Media for FHM Magazine. Image from entry

Paid Clowns as Government Propaganda in Venezuela - Send in the clowns, please. As Latin American and Caribbean leaders descend on Caracas for the CELAC summit, the VenezuelaN government is making efforts to shape visitors’ perceptions of his struggling hybrid regime.

One of the efforts poignantly pointed out by university professor and human rights activist Gonzalo Himiob Santome is the hiring of clowns with signs and slogans of Caracas as a “Revolutionary and Happy City." Many in red and some in full clown costume were spotted outside a major Caracas hotel, shopping mall and busy intersection on December 2, 2011. What the clowns likely fail to mention are the untenable low wages, persistent 30 percent inflation and the intolerable and crippling public safety situation. Despite the revolution’s proclaimed successes, Caracas has had for years and continues to have one of the highest murder rates in the world. Image from article

Lincoln’s P.R. Coup - Aaron W. Marrs, New York Times: In addition to the domestic challenge it presented, the fledgling Confederacy posed a foreign policy dilemma for Abraham Lincoln’s administration. The Confederacy hoped to use its position as a crucial source of cotton to secure recognition from foreign powers and boost its legitimacy, and it sent commissioners abroad to sway other countries into supporting its cause. In response, Secretary of State William Seward threatened war against European countries who interfered in America’s domestic conflict. But the administration wasn’t the only branch to enter the foreign-policy fray: In July 1861 Representative Samuel Sullivan Cox, a Democrat from Ohio, submitted a resolution calling on Lincoln to share with the House “all correspondence with the English, French, Spanish, and other Governments with reference to the right of blockade, privateering, and the recognition of the so-called confederate States.” It passed with bipartisan ease, as did two more similar resolutions submitted during the following weeks. Lincoln hardly welcomed such extensive oversight; on July 25, the same day that Representative Timothy Howe, a Republican from Wisconsin, submitted the third of the resolutions, the president sent word to the House that the “correspondence called for” would not be forthcoming at that time. Eventually, however, Lincoln complied.

In doing so, he not only provided his contemporaries and future Americans with an almost real-time, detailed look into the daily operations of the country’s foreign policy apparatus in crisis, but he set a precedent for State Department transparency that is still followed today. Representatives abroad had an important public relations role to play, particularly when news traveled slowly across the Atlantic Ocean and rumors were rife. Secretary of State Seward’s instructions encouraged ministers to not let discouraging news from America cloud foreigners’ perceptions of the war effort. Foreigners could get their news from any number of sources, and ministers had to stand ready to put a positive spin on events. Image from


"You cannot govern by flash mob."

--Daniel Byman, a professor in the security studies program at Georgetown University

"Frozen choices are what gives institutions their vitality."

--Social media commentator Clay Shirky


What are you doing on the Web? Most under 30 are wasting time - Nathan Olivarez-Giles,


This is a giant weta, an insect found on New Zealand's Little Barrier Island. But this isn't just any giant weta. It's reportedly the largest ever found, weighing in at 71 grams.

--From Boing Boing

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