Tuesday, January 31, 2012

January 31

"I take possession of the old world -- I inhale it -- I appropriate it!"

--Henry James (1875); cited in The Times Literary Supplement (January 20, 2012), p. 7; James image from


United States Department Of State Bureau Of Diplomatic Security: Vigilant in an Uncertain World. This item has been described as "propaganda."


Countering Violent Extremism - Press Release: US State Department - posted at scoop.co.nz: "Remarks Daniel Benjamin Coordinator, Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism [,] Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies (NESA) Washington, DC January 25, 2012 [:] ... The Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications (CSCC) was launched over one year ago, and is tightly focused on undermining terrorist propaganda and dissuading potential recruits. The center is housed at the State Department, but is a true whole-of-government interagency endeavor, with a mandate from President Obama in the form of an executive order.

As part of this effort, a group of tech savvy specialists – fluent in Urdu and Arabic – that we call the digital outreach team are contesting online space, media websites, and forums where extremists have long spread propaganda and recruited followers. With timely posts, this team is working to expose the contradictions and abuses employed by violent extremists. This is not broad public diplomacy. We are reaching out to a specific, narrowly defined overseas audience: People who are or may be sympathetic to the views of violent extremists and are thus vulnerable to its propaganda; people who could be persuaded or enticed into crossing the boundary between sympathy and action." Benjamin image from

An Opportunity to Engage: U.S. Public Diplomacy and the Rise of Islamist Parties - Lina Khatib, PD News – CPD Blog, US Center on Public Diplomacy: "For the first time in the Arab world’s history, there is a real opportunity for the U.S. to match its words and actions towards the region, and to have foreign policy become the basis upon which to formulate a truly engaging public diplomacy."

Discussing the BBG’s (dys)function) - Matt Armstrong, MountainRunner: "Information is power.

The Congress and the State Department appreciated its importance over sixty years when it made permanent activities we now call public diplomacy: Voice of America and other informational programs, and educational and technical exchanges. So important were these activities that those involved were, by the direction of the Congress, subject to a 'loyalty check' [security clearance in today's world] equal to that of the protection of 'our atomic secrets' in World War II. What then is the role of the BBG, and its networks, in today’s communication environment? Few would argue the current structure and strategy of the BBG is flawed and that it is a dysfunctional organization. Those that argue otherwise lack sincerity or knowledge, or both. The topic of reform is fraught with emotions and subjectivity too often framed by by past glories and not the demands of today’s, and tomorrow’s, communication environment. Those that truly care about the BBG, across the Government and the Congress, are too few and those that want to actually understand the issues are fewer. We need a vigorous public debate on the role and direction of U.S. Government broadcasting." Image from

Former VOA director takes his Pentagon Papers play to China (updated again) - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

NCIV National Meeting is February 15-18 - uscenterforcitizendiplomacy.org: "This February, over 500 citizen diplomats from across the world will come together in Washington DC for NCIV's largest annual event: The NCIV National Meeting. This year's theme--One Story at a Time: The Impact of Citizen Diplomacy. Using stories that highlight and celebrate the accomplishments of citizen diplomats over the years, the annual conference will showcase the power of citizen diplomacy. This will be a 'unique and memorable' conference, according to the NCIV

website. ... There will also be a variety of speakers and leaders in the field of citizen diplomacy. For example, the Opening Plenary on Thursday the 16th includes a welcome from Ann Stock, the State Department's Acting Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs." Image from

Soft Power and Public Diplomacy in Turkey - Ibrahim Kalin, sam.gov.tr: "Abstract [:]Turkey’s soft power capacity comes from its history, culture and geography. Rather than seeing them as obstacles or burdens, the Turks are now turning them into strategic assets in both domestic and foreign policy. The new Turkish public diplomacy is building on Turkey’s expanding soft power in the Balkans, the Middle East and the Caucasus. As Turkey engages new regions and emerging actors as well as continues relations with its old allies, it develops new capacities for the various elements of soft power and strategic communication in regional and global contexts. The new Turkey that is emerging is also creating a new Turkish narrative with multiple dimensions and faces. The task of the new Turkish public diplomacy is to tell the story of the new Turkey to a wide ranging audience across the globe. As Turkey overcomes its old fears and builds a new identity for itself, the process of change transforming the country will have a deep impact on Turkish domestic and foreign policy."

U. S. – China Medical Exchange & Humanitarian Outreach (Part 1) - brucemoranconsulting: "STATE DEPARTMENT: An avenue of public diplomacy that has not been explored with China is the creation of bi–lateral dialogue in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Traditional Chinese Medicine [TCM] is highly honored and revered by the ‘average Chinese citizen.’ TCM is at the very heart and soul of the Chinese community."

deepening the foreign military relations - joseph.relocation-winner.com:: "Xinhua Beijing January 16 (Reporter Lixuan Liang, Wang Jingguo) ... Qian Lihua, director of the Foreign Affairs Office Ministry of Defence

recently told Xinhua News Agency reporters interview, said ... We actively carry out various forms of public diplomacy activities. PLA Military Band to the United States access to performances, cultural exchange delegation to Laos Culture Week organized by the Chinese army, the navy Our men and men with foreign people close communication and extensive interaction, show excellent professionalism and energetic spirit, spread the good military culture, established a military peace, cooperation, and open a good image." Qian Lihua image from

Live Interview with Public Diplomacy General in Foreign Minister [video] - diretube.com

Public Diplomacy and Political Warfare: Part 2 - Public Diplomacy, Networks and Influence: "The PWE [Political Warfare Executive?] document makes the point that there are different modes of acting towards friends and enemies[:][']The attitude to the enemy and to his subject peoples is belligerent; the attitude to friendly and still independent peoples is persuasive. One is disruptive behind the lines of the enemy; the other is conciliatory in the councils of our friends. One requires the mentality and techniques of subversion; the other, in open relationship, means frankness and information. The one seeks to destroy the confidence of the enemy; the other seeks to win the confidence of friends.['] The PWE paper also makes the point that action towards friends and enemies make use many of the same communication techniques. Contemporary Western public diplomacy in some parts of the world it has elements of both these approaches."

Wondering about Propaganda, Rhetoric, and Public Diplomacy - John Brown, Notes and Essays: "Tone: Aristotelian rhetoric is based on logic and poetics. Modern propaganda, at its worst, is based on irrationality and violence to language. Audience: Aristotelian rhetoric is an appeal to those who think and who can control their feelings. Modern propaganda aims to manipulate the crowd by over-heating atavistic emotions. Purpose: Propaganda exists for one purpose and one purpose only: for the benefit of the propagandist and/or her organization (nothing wrong with that, by the way; but it's how you do it). Aristotelian rhetoric 'reaches out' beyond the propagandist for the benefit of the polis. ... Walter Isaacson, who's decided to leave his position as Chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, characterized the Declaration of Independence as 'in effect, a work of propaganda

-- or, to put it more politely, an exercise in public diplomacy intended to enlist other countries to the cause.' I am not quite sure whether our Declaration reflects classical rhetoric or modern propaganda. It's maybe a reflection of both, in part because of the historical period when it was written (George III took quite a beating in the Declaration, as did native Americans)." Image from

Campaigns Officer, British Embassy Beijing - chinadevelopmentbrief.cn: "Campaigns Officer The British Embassy is in process of looking for a qualified candidate for the position of Campaigns Officer. Main purpose of job: The Communications Team is responsible for coordinating all public-facing aspects of the network of UK Embassies and Consulates in China. The Campaigns Support Officer will have an important role in promoting the UK’s ‘soft power’ messages across China. The successful candidate will be responsible for managing and delivering public diplomacy projects that support the UK’s messages. The jobholder will be tasked with executing campaigns and running events that engage and influence our target audiences."


War propaganda has finally moved onto Twitter; WAR Tweets – Global Perspectives on America - American Opinion - turkishcentralnews.com: if social media

is emerging as a refreshing tool for explaining the wars of the past, how useful is it for illuminating the conflicts and crises of the present? And might it also provide a way of shaping them? Recently, Twitter has begun to feature as a vehicle for strategic communication and information warfare in two armed conflicts: Afghanistan and Somalia. From Iraq to Afghanistan, jihadists have long made innovative use of media for propaganda and influence. They have sought to shape the narrative of the conflicts, not least by trying to be first with the news, including through promptly posting their footage of attacks online while some Western forces were still clearing their talking points. Image from

Russia Today’s Creative Destruction - Avadoro Worden: When you’re taking on an establishment larger than yourself, generally the best strategy is attrition through asymmetry. The fact that RT(Russia Today) is Russian, obviously, shouldn’t surprise anyone. Which leads to the question, what is RT’s relationship with the Putin regime. RT is essentially a state supported News service that is frequently accused of pro-Putin propaganda and connections with Russian intelligence. It was established in 2005 to provide a response to the western anti-Putin media, and in 2010 established an American division, with in the US itself. There is no particular ideology that RT follows, apart from being softly anti-western or anti-American. But even its anti-western orientation is complicated. RT frequently provides air-time for intellectuals who are often verging on conspiratorial from anarcho-libertarian to avowed third-world Marxists, and far from the general consensus of news media.

China’s Soft-Power Offensive in Taiwan - Yuriko Koike, project-syndicate.org: Will Taiwan become more like the mainland, or vice versa?

To ask that question is to reprise a debate that was heard when Hong Kong and Macau reverted to China, but that is seldom encountered nowadays. Whether serious moves toward unification change that fact will depend on the effectiveness of China’s soft-power approach, which cannot be limited only to the attractiveness of its economy if it is actually to succeed. Image from article

Hello from Ottawa: The Canadian War Museum and Its Special Exhibit ”Weapons of Mass Dissemination – The Propaganda of War” - Susanne Pacher, itaxi.info: The new Canadian War Museum has special exhibition: “Weapons of Mass Dissemination: The Propaganda of War." The term “propaganda” itself is defined as the “organized dissemination of information to influence thouths, beliefs, feelings and actions." The exhibition was originally developed by the Wolfsonian-Florida International University and highlights visual propaganda tools used in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Holland. Propaganda posters date back to the First and Second World Wars, as well as the Spanish Civil War. Numerous colourful posters from different countries illustrate the powerful impact of war-time propaganda and its powerful impact on the masses.

Emotional headlines, bright colours and strong symbolism evoke powerful feelings fear, anger, pride and patriotism. Here are a few examples of how nations engaged in war use propaganda posters: - to exhort men, and even women and members of different ethnic groups to join the army ["There is still a space for you in the Waffen SS"]- to promote the purchase of war bonds ["I buy bonds and I build bombs"]- to increase production and output of military equipment- to reduce the civilian consumption of tobacco products so soldiers can enjoy smoking- to plant seeds and vegetables to create oil for the hungering masses- to portray the enemy in the most negative way, using unflattering and threatening images- to warn the population of “careless talk” implying that foreign spies could pick up important information and use it against the nation- to instruct soldiers and the population in the use of protective equipment such as gas masks. In addition to the posters from the Wolfsonian …#34; Florida International University, the Canadian War Museum has added a Canadian component to add to this exhibition. The development of propaganda in Canada is featured in the form of posters from the Museum’s collections, footage from the National Film Board, as well as special hands-on programming. Screenings of NFB propaganda films, creative workshops and a popular speaker series round out the programming on the topic of mass media and propaganda. Image from Weapons of Mass Dissemination: The Propaganda of War Malloy Wing Galleries

British WW1 propaganda posters
- empirecall.blogspot.com: In 2006, King's College, London, purchased a collection of colour propaganda posters from the Moravian Church of North America.

The posters were collected by the Reverend Kenneth G Hamilton (1892-1975), while working as a YMCA chaplain during World War One, and at some stage were placed with the Moravian Church. You can see them on their very interesting website, The Serving Soldier, which will doubtless reward a little exploration. Image from entry


Meet Mexican tattoo diva "La Mujer Vampira," Maria Jose Cristerna - Xeni Jardin, Boing Boing: Mexican tattoo star Maria Jose Cristerna, better known as "La Mujer Vampiro" (Female Vampire), poses during the Venezuela Tattoo Expo in Caracas, January 27, 2012. She is a 35-year-old attorney. 98 percent of her body is covered in tattoos. She also has prosthetic fangs, and platinum implants in her forehead.

Monday, January 30, 2012

January 30

"[T]he states of America are a country where there are thirty-two religions, but there is only one course at dinner — and it’s bad."

--Statement attributed to gourmet French diplomat Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord, 1st Prince de Bénévent, who was in the U.S. in the 1790s;  image from


[Disney's] Food Will Win The War [World War II] -- kathykavan.com


The Arts Diplomacy Festival 2012: Cultural Diplomacy in Practice (Berlin, International Conference, March 22nd - 25th, 2012). See also.


Has France become a charity case?‎ A downtrodden French suburb accepts aid from Qatar - Clea Caulcutt, GlobalPost: In December, the Qatari embassy in Paris announced it was launching a fund to help entrepreneurs in impoverished areas in the French suburbs, known as the 'banlieues.' ... Five to six million Muslims live in France, many whom can trace their heritage to former North African colonies.

Benjamin Pelletier, a writer and intercultural management trainer, said France has failed to exploit and promote the assets of this population. 'It is embarrassing to see others value and promote talents in our [suburbs].' he said. 'It’s a clear sign we failed and abandoned these areas.' Pelletier agues that as Qatar’s presence in France becomes more visible, the Arab nation needs to actively defend its image. 'In terms of public diplomacy, it is always more interesting if members belonging to the local population express your message. The French won’t believe what the emir of Qatar tells them, but they will believe the director of a start-up in the French suburbs,' said Pelletier. The Qataris are not the first to court young professionals in the French suburbs. The US embassy in Paris has been working on a network of partnerships with youth leaders in immigrant areas to better their image with Muslim communities in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. 'The Americans target young people, youth leaders, students — they will meet them, support them, offer them trips to the United States to create long-term privileged contacts,' Pelletier added. But he said the Qatari approach is 'more opportunistic, more straightforward.'" Image from

Rhode Island School of Design Partners with the U.S. Department of State's Office of ART in Embassies: Collaboration On Art for Moroccan Embassy Kicks Off with Wintersession Course Led by Renowned Artist and RISD Alumnus Jim Drain - marketwatch.com: "Visiting artist Jim Drain (RISD BFA 98/Sculpture) is leading Art in Embassies: Morocco, a Wintersession 2012 studio course at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), as the first phase of a multiyear partnership between RISD and the U.S. Department of State's Office of ART in Embassies (AIE), made possible through the generous support of RISD alumna and Board Vice Chair Lisa Pevaroff (RISD BFA 83/Textile Design).

This collaborative project has been designed to promote cross-cultural exchange, and to recognize and nurture the talents of the next generation of professional artists. Ultimately, the collaboration will yield a large-scale outdoor work of art for the U.S. Embassy building currently in the design phase for Rabat, Morocco. ... Established in 1963, the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations' office of ART in Embassies (AIE) plays a vital role in our nation's public diplomacy through a culturally expansive mission of temporary exhibitions, permanent collections, artist exchanges and residencies, and publications." Image from, with caption: Jim Drain is not a fashion designer. He is an artist.

Will Twitter's new country-specific censorship include a ban on VOA tweets to US tweeps? - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting: "Marketing Land, 26 Jan 2012, Danny Sullivan: 'Until now, Twitter’s not had the ability to censor certain tweets or accounts, to prevent them from being seen — if legally required — by users in particular countries. That’s now changed, though Twitter stresses that it hasn’t yet used this new ability and that should it have to, anything withheld will be disclosed. Twitter has shared the news on its blog, saying: 'As we continue to grow internationally, we will enter countries that have different ideas about the contours of freedom of expression.' ... Twitter is preparing for potential demands in the way that Google already does, by alerting its users to when content has been withheld and providing information about why, through the Chilling Effects site.' [Elliott comment:]

At present, a US idea 'about the contours of freedom of expression' is the Smith-Mundt Act ban on the domestic dissemination of US public diplomacy and international broadcasting. Twitter's new capability allows this law to be observed. Even if all USIB content is blocked to US IP addresses, many of remaining USIB shortwave broadcasts will be audible in the United States. That is, until those transmissions end. When that happens, enforcement of the domestic dissemination ban will be complete." Image from

Twitter's new censorship plan stirs global furor: Its says it now has the power to block tweets in a specific country if the government legally requires it to do so. Dissidents and activists fear the new policy will stifle free speech - Jessica Guynn, latimes.com: "Twitter has promoted itself as a beacon of free speech, and that image was burnished when revolutionaries used the social media service to organize protests during last year's Arab Spring uprising. But in what many view as an about-face, Twitter now says it has the power to block tweets in a specific country if the government legally requires it to do so, triggering outrage around the world, especially in Arab countries. Dissidents and activists there fear the new policy will stifle free speech and thousands of users are threatening to boycott Twitter."

Press TV and the Regulation of International Broadcasting - Public Diplomacy, Networks and Influence: "A quick comment on the decision of OFCOM the UK communications regulator to revoke the license of the Iranian international broadcaster Press TV A lot of contemporary international broadcasting depends on platforms (VHF radio, cable TV, national satellite TV) that are under the control of the country they are broadcasting to. This creates a double problem. The international broadcaster is subject to a regulatory regime that is primarily designed to enforce national broadcasting priorities. This creates the risk that the international broadcaster will fall foul of their license terms.

On the other hand an effort by the regulator to enforce license terms will like be perceived as a political action not as a regulatory. ... [I]t could be argued that the operations of Press TV should be treated in political terms for instance by insisting on reciprocity in the treatment of international broadcasters. Press TV should be restricted in its operations as long as Western broadcasters to Iran are jammed. Of course Iran is more bothered by the operation of Western broadcasters than the other way round and presumably wouldn’t agree to such a deal. There’s an interesting mismatch between the international politics of the issue and the efforts of Western countries to depoliticize communications policy. In the wake of the UK action there voices are being raised in the US about the actions of Press TV and other Iranian state funded broadcasters in the US." Image from

Azerbaijan-NATO ties deserve 'positive assessment - F.H., News.Az, Azerbaijan's permanent representative to NATO, Khazar Ibrahim: "As for the main spheres of practical cooperation, it is possible to

single out civil emergency planning, public diplomacy, mine clearance within the Trust Fund, which has helped the successful clearance of mines and unexploded ordnance over an area of 44 million square metres (Saloglu project) in Azerbaijan." Ibrahim image from article

All available resources to be utilized for capacity building of press officers: Firdous - Associated Press of Pakistan: "Minister for Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan on Friday said that all available resources would be utilized for capacity building of press officers posted abroad for effectively projecting true image of the country. ... The minister was addressing the concluding session of a three-day Consultative Conference on Press Officers organized by External Publicity Wing of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting here. ... The conference underscored the importance of training and capacity building of personnel of the ministry for which it will arrange foreign language and capacity building courses on public diplomacy and public relations."

The pernicious logic of consumer ‘choice,’ pt. 1. - charlesfairchild.wordpress.com:  "Academics, corporations, the marketing industry all using their ability to get you to do what they want you to do through ‘attraction rather than coercion.’ When does the infrastructure proving ‘attraction’ slip over the line into ‘coercion’ or is that not a question we should be asking? All of this also suggests that this idea of ‘consumer choice’ as the be all end all of human civilisation serves some better than others. If these are the terms under which our ‘participation’ is constructed, we can’t opt out, whether we like it or not.

Instead, even our most minute ‘choices’ will go into the database to be invisibly sold back to us at some point in the future. Also, as a brief and mostly rhetorical aside, should we trust intellectuals who, instead of speaking instead of speaking truth to power, are busily shaping their brands in the service of power? I suppose some things aren’t all that relative."

GetHired Nabs $1.75 Million To Launch Its Video-Centric Recruiting Platform and Job Board - techcrunch.com: "[The start-up] GetHired ... is today launching a video-based, social recruiting platform and job board that is looking to empower job seekers — allowing them to set themselves apart from the competition — by creating video and audio profiles to accompany their resumesGetHired is today announcing that it has raised $1.75 million in seed funding from a host of angel investors, including CEO of the Global Environment Fund, Jeffrey Leonard, former CEO of Discovery Communications and the former Under Secretary of State For Public Diplomacy And Affairs, Judith McHale, CEO of LegalZoom.com, John Suh, and Mack Capital CEO, Ralph Mack."

Irsay-Manning feud sure to steal Super Bowl spotlight - sportingnews.com: "[Indiana QB Peyton ] Manning talked to the Indianapolis Star and described an unhealthy atmosphere around the organization . ... Few suspected he would reveal as much as he did in the Star. ... Manning's a politician now, after a decade and a half of public diplomacy about everything personal and professional"


U.S. Drones Patrolling Its Skies Provoke Outrage in Iraq - Eric Schmitt and Michael S. Schmidt, New York Times: A month after the last American troops left Iraq, the State Department is operating a small fleet of surveillance drones here to help protect the United States Embassy and consulates, as well as American personnel. Some senior Iraqi officials expressed outrage at the program, saying the unarmed aircraft are an affront to Iraqi sovereignty. The program was described by the department’s diplomatic security branch in a little-noticed section of its most recent annual report and outlined in broad terms in a two-page online prospectus for companies that might bid on a contract to manage the program. It foreshadows a possible expansion of unmanned drone operations into the diplomatic arm of the American government; until now they have been mainly the province of the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency.

American contractors say they have been told that the State Department is considering to field unarmed surveillance drones in the future in a handful of other potentially “high-threat” countries, including Indonesia and Pakistan, and in Afghanistan after the bulk of American troops leave in the next two years. State Department officials say that no decisions have been made beyond the drone operations in Iraq. The drones are the latest example of the State Department’s efforts to take over functions in Iraq that the military used to perform. Some 5,000 private security contractors now protect the embassy’s 11,000-person staff, for example, and typically drive around in heavily armored military vehicles.  Image from

English Is Global, So Why Learn Arabic? - New York Times: In a recent essay in The Times, Lawrence Summers, the former president of Harvard University, wrote about preparing American students for the future. In the essay, he said that international experience was essential, arguing that English’s emergence as the global language makes the investment in other languages less essential.

Does he have a point? Even though Americans aren’t as monolingual as you might think, is learning a language other than English a worthwhile investment? Image from

The Mixtape of the Revolution - Sujatna Fernandes, New York Times: During the recent wave of revolutions across the Arab world and the protests against illegitimate presidents in African countries like Guinea and Djibouti, rap music has played a critical role in articulating citizen discontent over poverty, rising food prices, blackouts, unemployment, police repression and political corruption. Why has rap — an American music that in its early global spread was associated with thuggery and violence — come to be so highly influential in these regions? After all, rappers are not the only musicians involved in politics. Rappers, according to the Senegalese rapper Keyti, “are closer to the streets and can bring into their music the general feeling of frustration among people.” Another reason is the oratorical style rap employs: rappers report in a direct manner that cuts through political subterfuge. As the Arab revolutions and African protests are ousting and discrediting establishment politicians, the young populations of these regions are looking to rappers as voices of clarity and leadership. Rappers are hoping to inaugurate a different kind of politics.

Coalition of the Departing: France may be the first in a stampede for the exits in Afghanistan - Review and Outlook, Wall Street Journal: The President faces an uphill battle in April's presidential election, and the French public is overwhelmingly opposed to the Afghan deployment. It would be unfair to lay too much blame on Mr. Sarkozy, who is only trying to get ahead of the coming stampede for the exits.

That was bound to happen the moment President Obama announced a timetable for the surge and a date-certain for withdrawal, thereby giving the Taliban hope that they could bide their time while giving America's coalition partners no good reason to stay. Image from

Britain is Better Off Without Iranian Press TV, Regardless of What the Channel's Supporters Tell Us - Tom J Wilson, Huffington Post: Press TV is in breach of broadcasting regulations on account of its editorial content being dictated from outside the United Kingdom, indeed from Tehran no less.

Anti-Zionism conference held in Gaza - presstv.ir: The Palestinian Center for Political and Development Studies (CPDS) organized the meeting on Sunday. Mahmoud Herthany, a CPDS member, told Press TV that the situation in Palestine must be made clear to the world in order to put an end to Israel's propaganda that is “controlling many of the media outlets of the world today.” See also.

Palestinians censure UK students' tour - presstv.ir: Palestinian student groups have issued an open letter condemning Britain's Labor party student officers for taking part in a recent propaganda tour of the occupied Palestinian territories. The all-expenses paid tour organized by the British Union of Jewish Students (UJS) involved a visit to the illegal settlements being developed all across the lands occupied by the armed to teeth army of the Zionist entity.

Cell phones are now illegal in North Korea, propaganda over 3G resumes in 100 days - phonearena.com: The North Korean government has imposed a total ban on mobile phones. During the 100 days of mourning for the loss of the Dear Leader Kim Jong Il, those who get caught using a mobile phone will be treated as war criminals.

Or in other words – sentenced to many, many years of prison or even death. The ban is actually a way for the ruling (and only) party to protect the stability of the country by preventing the leaking of information. It will also reduce the risk of uprisings against the regime. Supposedly, the ban will be lifted after the 100 days of mourning are over. Image from article

You, Me and The DMZ: Imagining North Korea - hyperallergic.com: North Korea is so wacky they have their own calendar system, and it marks its centennial anniversary in 2012, the birthdate of the late Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-un’s grandfather. Dovetailing neatly with the recent passing of Übermeister Kim Jong-il, A Postcard From Afar: North Korea From A Distance, curated by Mark Feary, showcases the bull’s eye vision of Apex Arts unsolicited proposal program’s winning entry. North Korea calls itself the Junche Republic (100). The 100 marks its centennial anniversary (2012), chosen because it is the 100th birthday of the late Kim Il-sung, the current leader Kim Jong-un’s grandfather. Feary’s curatorship asks eight artists to image what is going on behind its secretive borders.

North Korea’s propaganda machine is so replete with Hollywood show-biz flash-in-the-pan razzle dazzle that it is cause for a movie within a movie, which is the real take away from this exhibit. Eight artists were asked to envision “a state and culture that is shrouded in secrecy, being both the producer and victim of oppositional propaganda mechanisms.” The first thing Feary did was boldly approach a special art center in Melbourne, Australia that supports artists with “intellectual disabilities.” The residents were given standard photos of Kim Il-sung and Kim-Jong-il, display items compulsory in all houses and buildings inside North Korea. The residents were not told whom the pictures represented, a decidedly opposite approach of state supported propaganda painters in the DMZ. The conflicting tensions of the two portraits by Peter Cave highlight the backward alchemy of authority, image making and meaning stripped lean by the characters anonymity through their outrageous and hilarious decontextualization. Image from article: Peter Cave, "Kim Il-sung" (2011)

UK and US Wartime Food Propaganda -  Image: from one of 18 entries:

The Nazis’ 1943 film version of Titanic - thehistorypressuk.wordpress.com: We all know what sort of propaganda films the Allies produced during the war – films like Casablanca, Went the day well?, In which we Serve etc, but have you ever wondered what sort of feature films the Germans were watching at the same time? As I gradually researched more and more films produced during the Nazi era it soon became apparent that a number of myths had emerged over the years about the nature of Nazi film propaganda. One, that the Nazis were masters at producing film propaganda.

Actually, they made a lot of mistakes. Two, that everything in the Nazis’ film was a lie. In reality, there is quite a bit of truth in their historical feature films. Three, that the only films of interest are the Riefenstahl documentaries, Triumph of the Will and Olympia. In fact, there is a whole host of feature films designed to arouse hostility against the Nazis’ enemies which are of far more interest to the modern viewer including Ohm Krüger – the most anti-British film ever produced; their 1943 anti-capitalist version of Titanic; anti-English films about Ireland and Scotland; and anti-American films like The Emperor of California. Image from article

Propaganda poster calling to serve in the SS Division Nederland - archivesofkhazad-dum.blogspot.com [JB note: some may find this Céline-like Russian/English blog from which this image is culled from surfing the internet totally objectionable]


--By Olga Soldatova on facebook

Sunday, January 29, 2012

January 28-29

"Background in diplomacy (public or otherwise) ... would not be helpful."

--United States [Civilian] International Broadcasting (USIB) guru Kim Andrew Elliott, on the qualifications needed for a new Director of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which "encompasses all U.S. civilian international broadcasting"; image from


ICD [Institute for Cultural Diplomacy] Updates and Call for Applications: International Conferences, February – March 2012


Opportunity for musicians from Egypt, Pakistan, Philippines, Tunisia, and USACultures in Harmony is happy to promote an exciting opportunity for musicians from 40 countries. The countries from that list where CiH has done projects are Egypt, Pakistan, Philippines, Tunisia, and USA.

OneBeat is an international music exchange that celebrates musical collaboration and social engagement through innovative people-to-people diplomacy.  Image from


The Public Diplomacy of Drones - Matt Armstrong, MountainRunner: "Public diplomacy and strategic communication must be on the take-offs of drones, not just the landings, crash landings

or otherwise." Image from

Are Europe's Muslims America's problem? "Soft power" programmes in the US that reach out to European Muslims have drawn ire from EU governments - Hishaam Aidi,  aljazeera.com: "For several years now, the State Department has been quietly trying to introduce its ideas around race, multiculturalism and affirmative action into European policy and activist circles, aiming to alter the discourse on Islam in Europe - and in some cases, actively trying to help 'integrate' European Muslims. The WikiLeaks cables that probably stirred the most anger in European capitals were those where US diplomats castigated allies - France, Britain, Holland - for mistreating their Muslim minorities, and not doing enough to battle domestic extremism. ... US diplomats expected resistance to these public diplomacy initiatives from the French establishment. 'While direct development assistance from USG is not likely to be available for France,' notes one [leaked] cable, requesting the availability of funds 'to address the consequences of discrimination and minority exclusion in France' - stressing that, given France's official discourse and self-image, 'such an effort will continue to require considerable discretion, sensitivity and tact on our part'. ... Perhaps the greatest irony of the State Department's efforts to showcase the model integration of US Muslims, and to deploy the images and ideas of the civil rights movement in Europe, is that these efforts have been occurring against a backdrop of unfavourable media images of Quran burnings, anti-mosque rallies and accusatory Congressional hearings." Via JR on twitter.

Samsonite Man: A Look At Hip Hop's Diplomatic Affairs - Alex Dweezy Dwyer, hiphopdx.com: "By leveraging America’s abundance of soft-power (i.e. culture and the arts) the Government attempts to explore ways to find common ground with other countries through its citizenry. These Cultural Ambassadors spend ten days to six weeks abroad representing the U.S. as filmmakers, dancers, choreographers and musicians. Prior to 2000, Hip-Hop’s quarter century of history and bursting-at-the-seams popularity hadn’t legitimized itself enough for Uncle Sam’s use. ... Tactically, the focus of both ambassador programs mirrors an obvious effort to open a dialogue, even if it’s just a cultural one, with countries where ideologies collide. The bulk of the U.S. Government’s diplomacy energy is unleashed where it’s needed. That means in countries and areas that are unfriendly towards the United States. Cultural, or public, diplomacy’s main purpose is long term, despite everyone wanting results yesterday. Jazz remains a music in the State Department lineup. Today, diplomacy efforts are often tasked with preemptively culturing potential terrorist threats to death. There’s a general haze of discouragement from many in the media about the effectiveness any Cultural Ambassador efforts have on relations with nations participating directly or indirectly to our foes in the 'War on Terror.' ... Secretary of State, Hil[l]ary Clinton famously exclaimed that Hip-Hop could 'absolutely' be a diplomatic 'chess piece.' ... Hip Hop is still America’s mirror. Maybe that has something to do with why the country’s not particularly flattered by what it sees. Things are fouled up, realness will be kept. The U.S. Government, using a small sampling of a certain segment of Hip Hop artists in an effort to do good in the world, should be embraced by the Hip Hop community. ... Above all else, it [hip hop] should receive the same respect and treatment as other cultural diplomacy initiatives, especially if we are going to measure their success against each other. It’s earned that much."

Toni Blackman image from article, with comment in text: [A] Hip Hop Diplomat for more than a decade, most of the time, backed by the U.S. Government dollars. ... Most of us don’t know who Blackman is. The general Hip Hop consumer wouldn’t. She’s an unsung hero of the culture. She doesn’t require widespread recognition as an artist in order to be effective on the ground. She has a bigger picture in mind. She’s trying to build something. This in-progress report is exactly what America needs in a world that frequently doubts it’s sincerity.

In Defense of Hip-Hop Diplomacy - ivmedia, aproudpeople.com: "At a discussion after a Washington, D.C., screening of a new documentary on global hip-hop, The Furious Force of Rhymes, the audience was elated that the film showed Brooklyn, N.Y.-based emcee Toni Blackman performing in Kenya. But someone lamented that the U.S. State Department had sponsored her trip. An article at the webzine AlterNet similarly blasted the State Department for including hip-hop in its cultural-diplomacy efforts: 'Clearly, rank

hypocrisy is embedded in the program: the true rap voices of American youth have long been maligned by the government — and if the government expended more effort helping the blighted and impoverished black communities most of it comes from, it wouldn’t be so reviled … ' The writer added that it was 'absurd' that the State Department would support a genre that had been targeted by New York City police. [H]earing these kinds of arguments, in 2012, really makes my head itch. I love it when these folks speak out on behalf of the poor Negro masses that 'revile' the government. I, too, wake up screaming with nightmares of Hillary Clinton and a New York City beat cop alone in a room, plotting world domination via two turntables and a mike. ... A better question to ask today is, what has really changed since Harlem Rep. Adam Clayton Powell Jr. urged the State Department to set up the jazz tours as part of its cultural-diplomacy efforts during the Cold War? In her wonderful book Satchmo Blows Up the World: Jazz Ambassadors Play the Cold War, historian Penny Von Eschen presented the paradox of sending black musicians abroad to show the world how to counter totalitarianism when Jim Crow was still raging back home." Image from

Simone Jacobson: How to Lower Your Standards - theangleshow.com: "American gypsy who recently earned her Master of Arts in Arts Management at American University, she [Jacobson] is also the managing editor for Words. Beats. Life: The Global Journal of Hip-Hop Culture and the curator-in-residence at Busboys and Poets. Her Master’s thesis, 'America’s Cultural Illiteracy: Is Hip-Hop the Best Tutor?' addressed U.S. and global hip-hop

history and culture, cultural diplomacy and the overlap of the two: hip-hop diplomacy. In 2010, she led a group of eight international hip-hop dancers on a four-city U.S. tour (sponsored by the U.S. Department of State) and choreographed and directed their final performance at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts." Image from

Hiplomacy cont. - Paul Rockower, Levantine: A while back, a young conservative wrote in the National Review questioning whether hip hop should be used for cultural diplomacy.

I found his criticism to be shortsighted and culturally relativistic. Later, Alternet had another piece calling the use of hip hop as cultural diplomacy to be hypocrisy. Fast forward a few months, and there are a few articles pushing back and pointing out the positive side of hiplomacy, the use of hip hop as cultural diplomacy. -The Root offers an eloquent defense of hip hop diplomacy with some context of cultural diplomacy, with a look at the Jazz Ambassadors and concludes that Hip Hop is a logical progression for cultural diplomacy.-HipHopDX has the first of a four-part series on Hip Hop Diplomacy." Image from; MORE ON CULTURAL DIPLOMACY BELOW

Friendship, Diplomacy Celebrated For Centennial Cherry Blossom Festival - "The Ambassador of Japan hosted a kick-off celebration for the upcoming Centennial Cherry Blossom Festival. The 2012 year marks the 100th year when Cherry Blossom trees were given as a gift from Japan to President Taft and his wife, First Lady Helen Taft. ... Ambassador Fujisaki and his wife greeted a mix of Washingtonians, diplomats and Japanese dignitaries including Ambassador Hiroyasu Ando, President of the Japan Foundation. The Centennial celebration has been in the planning for two years, according to

Diana Mayhew, the President of the National Cherry Blossom Festival. The cherry blossom trees have become a symbol of friendship and diplomacy between the U.S. and Japan. The friendship has solidified further after the Great East Japan Earthquake last year, according to Ann Stock, the Under Secretary of Public Diplomacy at the U.S. State Department." Image from article, with caption: Ambassador of Japan to the U.S. and Ann Stock of the U.S. State Department

Muralismo - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "On a winter-turned-spring day, I ducked out of my house-turned-office and over to the Mexican Embassy-turned-Mexican Cultural Institute. ... I was welcomed into the ornate edifice with a stunning mural that wound up the floors. I wandered in and out of the floors, through mahogany libraries that smelled of old world dust and a giant azulejo concert hall whose blue and white burned radiant in the afternoon light. The rooms oozed old Mexican colonial charm, and I was charmed. ... [T]he one panel that really caught my eye featured North and South America embracing, with leaders like Washington, Bolivar, San Martin, Marti, Lincoln and Juarez all looking on.

The mural was painted in mid-1930s and is a reminder of FDR's Good Neighbor Policy and public diplomacy efforts to communicate to Latin America that the US wouldn't meddle in their affairs. [Comment by John Brown:] "I had the pleasure of taking students in one of my Georgetown University classes to the Mexican Cultural Institute. They were charmed/impressed, as was I: (a) No third-degree security 'inspection' as we entered the building (b) the splendor of the building itself (c) a great briefing by the Institute's director and the Mexican Cultural Affairs Officer (d) a willingness on the part of these officials (who spoke splendid English) to take students' questions seriously. As we left the building I could not help but remember the old phrase, 'Como Mexico No Hay Dos.'" Image from article

Looking for Part-Time Work? The Chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors just opened up - Matt Armstrong, MountainRunner: "The Chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, Walter Isaacson, is resigning his position at the BBG. Walter’s decision has surprised many. He was a well-respected leader of the BBG, a prolific author (most recently of the Steve Jobs biography, but also biographies of Einstein and Benjamin Franklin) and tremendously busy person (he continues to be president and CEO of the Aspen Institute). The Chairmanship of the BBG is, like the other board members, a part-time job.

Five of the eight Governors are serving beyond the expiration of their term (they serve until replaced). Walter’s term expires later this year. In his letter announcing his resignation, Walter wrote that he is taking on another big writing project and 'won’t be able to give the BBG the time it needs and deserves.' ... Clearly the BBG is neglected, both by the White House, regardless of who is in it, and the Congress, who has failed to demand or push forward nominees. ... [M]ore is required: either refresh the BBG as intended or change some or all to full-time positions. America’s international broadcasting is too important to U.S. interests and to the lives of people abroad to be neglected as it has been." Includes several comments, including by anchorJohn: "Come on, Matt…you are far too kind to the BBG, and to Walter Isaacson, who was largely an absentee. Most employees never met him (same is true for other board members when it comes to 'connecting' with rank and file). While he was off putting finishing touches to his Steve Jobs biography, morale at 330 Independence Avenue (admittedly never good) and elsewhere in the BBG structure, plummeted. That’s the dirty little secret that news organizations who covered his book launch never covered."  Image from

Breaking news: Walter Isaacson stepping down as Broadcasting Board of Governors Chairman - BBGWatcher, usgbroadcasts.com: "BBG Watch, the independent BBG employee website, is reporting that the Broadcasting Board of Governors Chairman Walter Isaacson is stepping down from his BBG position. According to Isaacson’s email to his senior staff, he informed the White House about his decision and said that he is involved in a new writing project. Isaacson is the author of a highly popular biography of Steve Jobs. While under Isaacson’s leadership, the Broadcasting Board of Governors has been criticized for proposing to end Voice of America radio and television broadcasts to China. The BBG executive staff was said to be responsible for this proposal which was subsequently blocked by both Democrats and Republicans in Congress. ... BBG Watch has heard unconfirmed rumors that the International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB) Director Richard Lobo

is being considered as Isaacson’s replacement. Lobo was appointed to his current position by President Obama. IBB is part of the BBG structure. If Lobo is nominated and confirmed as a new BBG chairman, he would have to give up his position as IBB director, but none of this information has been confirmed, BBG Watch sources caution." Lobo image from

Former Voice of America editor argues against privatization of U.S. international broadcasts - Vello Ederma, usgbroadcasts.com: "US international broadcasting should not be totally government or totally private.

To turn it into an international CNN is a total waste of taxpayer’s money and give private companies a chance to force their commercial/political views on international broadcasting. Especially, it should not be private while using taxpayer’s money. ... As for BBG, it should be abolished. ... US int. broadcasting should be 'in the national interest,' not in the interest of CNN, Fox, ABC or whatever. And yes, to say positive things occasionally about America is not propaganda, considering that news is made by the negative."  Image from

Will the new BBG chairman be a hack or a flack? - Kim Andrew Elliott Reporting on International Broadcasting: "I would not call the USIB [US International Broadcasting] upper management 'thin.' There's is an abundance of upper management, given that each entity has an upper management.

If the planned consolidation preserves the multiple brands of USIB, there will continue to be multiple front offices. The new chairman of the BBG must be committed to true consolidation. Only when USIB ceases to be a dysfunctional confederacy of feudal entities can it begin to rise to its goal of becoming 'the world's leading international news agency.' The new chairman should also be distinguished by journalistic hackery rather than political flackery. If not a distiguished journalist, he or she should be a distiguished broadcasting professional. Background in diplomacy (public or otherwise), public relations, or political consultancy, would not be helpful. USIB will succeed if it provides the objective information that allows people in the audience to make up their own minds. It will fail if it manipulates content in an attempt to manipulate global public opinion, even if such manipulation is 'in support of freedom and democracy.'" Image from

Death of VOA reporter in Pakistan shows "fatal attraction ... of American-sponsored journalism," he [Momin Iftikhar of The Nation (Lahore)] writes - Kim Andrew Elliott Reporting on International Broadcasting. See also.

International broadcasters call for end to Iranian satellite jamming. But Iran claims its TV is jammed by UK - Kim Andrew Elliott Reporting on International Broadcasting

In Florida primary, Newt Gingrich touts his support for Radio Martí. And Sean Hannity wants to be his VOA director - Kim Andrew Elliott Reporting on International Broadcasting

Musician Chucho Valdés, who still lives in Cuba, credits past shortwave listening to VOA Jazz Hours - Kim Andrew Elliott Reporting on International Broadcasting.

Valdés image from entry

Vol. VIII No. 2, January 13-January 26, 2012 - The Layalina Review on Public Diplomacy and Arab Media

Social Media Cell to be strengthened: Firdous - thefrontierpost.com: "[Pakistan'] Minister for Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan on Friday said that all available resources would be utilized for capacity building of press officers posted abroad for effectively projecting true image of the country. She said the Social Media Cell functioning at the Press Information Department

would be further strengthened, making it a vibrant mode of communication with the press attaches and officers performing their duties in different countries. The minister was addressing the concluding session of a three-day Consultative Conference on Press Officers organized by External Publicity Wing of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting here. ... The conference underscored the importance of training and capacity building of personnel of the ministry for which it will arrange foreign language and capacity building courses on public diplomacy and public relations.It was recommended that the External Publicity Wing and the Press Sections abroad be restructured according to modern day needs. ... The press officers expressed their gratitude to the Prime Minister for his advice and guidance for effectively projecting and promoting Pakistan’s policies abroad.To a question, she said, all appointments of press officers have been made on merit. 'We have selected best officers for foreign posting from the available lot.'” Image from

A ‘wander-ful’ service for travellers - Tan Sri Mohd and Radzi Abd Rahman, Malaysia Star: "Although many Malaysians abroad do not see the need to contact the embassy unless they are in trouble, the Foreign Ministry’s consular service is always ready to help. ... As a significant contributor to public diplomacy, the consular office assumes an important role in current-day diplomacy but when Malaysians work in tandem with them, the end-product benefits not only themselves but also their country – and not all those who wander are lost (J.R.R. Tolkien)."

Justice Katju, Salman Rushdie and the Jaipur Lit Fest - Madhurjya Kotoky, publicdiplomacyblog.com: "'Jaipur Lit Fest' (JLF) as it is popularly

called has become a platform for India' public diplomacy and cultural diplomacy initiatives in the recent times. However, Justice Katju observed that during the festival, 'there was not enough serious discussion about indigenous literature at the festival, naming Kabir, Premchand, Sharat Chandra, Ghalib and Faiz as writers whose works could have been discussed.'" Image from

Cfa materials – the development of international education content-type - zuoshar.com: "University of Foreign Economic and commercial area located in the sunny capital of Beijing, adjacent to the Bird's Nest, Water Cube, the campus planning exquisite, elegant case, is the teaching part of the state key university directly under the world, land of the '211 Project' key construction of the first universities, the country teaching part of the country and build a business part of the university, is the cause of China's socialist economic construction and scientific research, personnel training, an important base. ... Hong care consists of a six colleges, and a graduate department, sports department, the ideological and political theory teaching and research department . ... [including] the international political (public diplomacy direction)."

Image (from the film, Lost in Translationfrom

9 percent year-on-ye jo - friendcrew.com: "Media spotlight was likewise actors aboard a potential free commerce approval among the two Asian economic powerhouses because Lee plus Hu agreed apt work towards launching negotiations about to The up-to-the-minute newspaper plus messages these embassies post show is the little blog has chanced the media of option for emigrant diplomatic agencies apt conduct public diplomacy the embassies of Thailand and France attempt language courses."

The Role of the USIA in Implementing America’s Policy towards the Soviet Union: A Case Study of the Cuban Missile Crisis - "Wilson Center ECNU Scholar Zhao Jike will present a work-in-progress presentation entitled The Role of the USIA in Implementing America’s Policy towards the Soviet Union: A Case Study of the Cuban Missile Crisis which examines the role of the USIA in implementing U.S. policy toward the Soviet Union during the Cuban Missile Crisis. In an unprecedented communications effort, the USIA reached out to an overseas audience in the hundreds of millions with news, background, features and commentaries, documenting the American position on the secret Soviet buildup in Cuba. Because of its effective performance, the USIA won praises from both the White House and the Congress and its funding increased markedly in the next few years. Zhao Jike is a Ph.D. candidate at Northeast Normal University in Changchun, China. Though his Ph.D. will be in history, his undergraduate background in journalism has informed his thinking about the Cold War as a cultural phenomenon. Prior to beginning his Ph.D. program, Zhao earned his M.A. degree with a thesis on US intelligence estimates and decision-making surrounding Israel’s nuclear program. Joing Zhao on the panel is Yafeng Xia, Wilson Center fellow and associate professor at Long Island University." Via LBJ

Public Relations of the Cold War - "Veranstalter: Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH), Cambridge University Datum, Ort: 1.12.2011-03.12.2011, Cambridge [.] ... As an overarching theme of the period between 1945 and 1989, the Cold War still attracts scholars who study the ideological conflict from various angles. One aspect that has increasingly received attention in recent years is the way the Cold War functioned as a background for international activities in the field of culture and communication. Looking at cultural diplomacy, public diplomacy and international propaganda campaigns thus provides new insights into developments that emerged in the context of the Cold War but often still influence today's world. What has received less attention, however, was how Cold War policies were 'sold' to national constituencies. The conference 'Public Relations of the Cold War', held at the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH)

at Cambridge University and convened by Hannah Higgin, Mark Miller, Martin Albers and Chen Zhong Zhong, had the aim to look at this process of how Cold War policies were communicated to the home front." Image from

UN Dispatch at NATO - Una Moore: "I’m in Brussels with eight other security bloggers for two days of briefings at NATO Headquarters followed

by defense ministers meeting on February 2 and 3. ... Here’s my agenda for Monday and Tuesday: ... 09:45 Briefing on NATO’s New Strategic Concept by Ms. Allison Hart, NATO Countries Section, Public Diplomacy Division ... 12:30 Working lunch hosted by Dr. Stefanie Babst, Deputy Assistant Secretary General, Public Diplomacy Division[.]" Blogger's image from her blog.

Le bonheur de vivre - Mr. Brown Goes Around: "I am living with a roommate here in Honolulu for the semester, until I return to Asia in late May. ... At six, my friend Bob, the former United States' cultural attaché to India, picked me up and we walked around Diamond Head, the landmark volcano crater that thrusts itself into the Pacific, pausing to watch the sunrise over the vast expanse of the limitless ocean. When our walk recommenced, so did our conversation, dancing over the influence of various classical schools of Islamic law on what was happening in the world today to the travesty of justice and monument to incompetence the Khmer Rouge trials have devolved into. Normally our friend Demeris accompanies us on these morning walks. She was in charge of public diplomacy for the United States Embassy in Phnom Pehn previously (she did not join us today as she is helping coordinate the Fulbright program in Indonesia on a short-term assignment)--I am sure she could have added much to that last conversation."


Panda Diplomacy - Mary Pan [My home: Guangxi University commune], yearofchina.globalconversation.org: "You can't have a conversation about China without talking about pandas! I

asked a senior Chinese military official two years ago whether or not China funds any cultural diplomacy efforts besides lending out panda bears to zoos. His answer was unfortunately no. I had asked a senior American diplomat (and Brown grad) whether or not America funds any cultural diplomacy efforts. His answer was that American culture proliferates itself. I leave you to draw your own conclusions. But I think the two countries have much in common on that aspect of foreign policy." Image from article

Meridian International Center and The Embassy of the People's Republic of China Celebrate the Year of the Dragon at the 2nd Annual Chinese Lunar New Year Celebration - gov.ulitzer.com: On Thursday, January 19th, Meridian International Center and the Embassy of the People's Republic of China co-hosted the 2nd annual Chinese Lunar New Year reception, celebrating the beginning of the Year of the Dragon at Meridian House. Chinese lanterns and other traditional New Year decorations transformed the historic French-style home. Over 400 guests attended, including high-ranking diplomats from the Chinese Embassy, officials from the U.S. Department of State, D.C. cultural leaders, local and international media, scholars, and corporate representatives. In honor of this occasion, Meridian's Art for Cultural Diplomacy program organized a special art exhibition: A Zhuxianzhen Tradition: New Year Woodblock Prints from Kaifeng. The exhibit included 20 traditional nianhua prints from Henan Province, illustrating auspicious symbols from Chinese folklore – the seventh in a series of exhibits created over the last decade by Meridian with Chinese partners."

Nickelodeon celebrates culture with rare films - Tyler Simpson, The Gamecock: "Though the Nickelodeon Theatre is far from China, Columbia's non-profit cinema will ring in the Chinese New Year by showcasing classic and contemporary Chinese films during its annual Chinese Film Festival for two weeks. The Nickelodeon has partnered with the University of South Carolina's Confucius Institute (CI) and the Moving Image Research Collections (MIRC) for its third annual Chinese Film Festival, which will make four classic Chinese movies available to Columbia audiences. ... USC

is the first university in South Carolina to establish a Confucius Institute. CI began in November 2008 in collaboration with the Beijing Language and Culture University and the Office of Chinese Language Council International, which is a division of the Chinese Ministry of Education. The Chinese Film Collection is a major commission of USC's Confucius Institute. Its films are particularly valuable because they document cultural diplomacy, representing what officials of the People's Republic of China wanted the U.S. to see and know about China after formal diplomatic relations were established in 1979." Image from, with caption: Ladies and gentlemen, your University of South Carolina Gamecocks

Experience Dutch Culture with Three Month Distinctively Dutch Festival - dreamweavermarketingassociates.blogspot.com: The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, a nonprofit arts and economic development organization at the center of Downtown Pittsburgh’s revival, will host an array of U.S. and world premieres as part of an interdisciplinary arts festival: The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s Distinctively Dutch Festival.

Celebrating the culture and contemporary performing and visual arts from the Netherlands, the three-month festival will feature dance, theater, music, visual art, film, literature and architecture. Events will be held February 18-May 20, 2012, throughout Pittsburgh’s Cultural District, as well as at select venues . ... Dutch Ambassador to the U.S. Renée Jones-Bos said, '... The festival is an example of how cultural diplomacy can create lasting economic, political, academic and artistic ties between the Netherlands and Pittsburgh.'" Image from article

Korea: The Pivot in Latin America - Sarah K. Yun, blog.keia.org: "Until the 1990s, Korea had little economic, political, or cultural ties with Latin America. Since then, relations between Korea and Latin America have improved significantly. On the other hand, the relations have not been developed in a comprehensive multi-dimensional manner. ... In an environment where Korea

is just beginning to establish partnerships in the region, ODA [Korea’s official development aid] and other cooperative programs can be used as an avenue to increase awareness and presence of Korea in Latin America. In other words, Korea’s engagement via soft power and cultural diplomacy can create a multi-faceted and dynamic bilateral relationship. Consequently, Korea can create opportunities to capture the attention of Latin American governments and businesses. ... In order to build a stronger foundation and synergy, the next step should be for both regions to engage in developmental projects and cultural diplomacy, as well as improve the existing architecture of trade and transactions. A balanced and multi-faceted economic, political and cultural strategy could lead to a successful and comprehensive relationship between Korea and Latin America." Image from article

‘Authenticity comes from the roots’ - Anupama Ramakrishnan, deccanherald.com: "Indian Ambassador to Bhutan, Pavan K Varmae extends his playing field into fiction, after a string of acclaimed non-fictional works. ... He minces no words when he talks about cultural diplomacy.

'Culturally, we are a superpower. Therefore, we need to leverage this soft power as a significant tool of diplomacy. I have always tried to and have done it.' His next work, he says, would be a major work of non-fiction though he doesn’t rule out another fiction." Varmae image from article

KOCIS to set up Korean cultural centers in developing countries - Lee Kyung-min, koreaittimes.com: "Korean Culture and Information Service (KOCIS) plans to establish Korean cultural centers in developing countries this year, including those in Latin America, the Middle East and Africa, a top official of the KOCIS said. 'To create new foreign demands for the Korean culture, we will set up Korean cultural centers in developing countries, which have great demands for 'hallyu (Korean wave),' said Seo Kang-soo, director of KOCIS. ... Noting that many countries in the world are striving to strengthen their soft power through culture, Director Seo

said, 'KOCIS will also exert all-out efforts to enhance the national image through a variety of Korean culture.' Commenting that Korea's national image index is still undervalued, he said, "We will go all-out to upgrade the national brand by strengthening an image as a cultural country." Image from article, with caption: Seo Kang-soo, the director and assistant minister of KOCIS. Via CB on twitter

South Korea to assist Nigeria in the area of manpower development, through the award of scholarships to Nigerian students who may wish to study in Korea - Xinhua, posted at coastweek.com: "Suh Jeong Sun, director of the South Korean Cultural Center in Nigeria, said on Wednesday in Abuja that the country planned to commence a cultural exchange program with Nigeria. The director, who spoke in an interview with reporters during the celebration of Lunar New Year, said the program would begin this year. ... South Korea has cultural centers in 16 countries in the world, while Nigeria is the first African country to benefit from the exchange program. Via CB on twitter

Hajj: Journey to the Heart of Islam [exhibition] British Museum, London -– review - Tim Adams, guardian.co.uk: The hajj – the once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimage of Muslims to Mecca – is very much a growth industry. In 1932, 20,000 pilgrims made the symbolic journey, the fifth pillar of Islamic obligation. This year the faithful will number more than three million (officials from the London Olympics have consulted with the Saudi authorities to see how they manage the annual miracle of traffic flow). One of the striking aspects of this eye-opening exhibition at the British Museum – the first British show devoted to what remains a mysterious journey among non-believers – is the way that the yearly mass migration invokes profound abstract geometries. ... Though an intimate part of the lives of many modern Britons, the pilgrimage remains in many senses a guarded world, which makes the treasures and curiosities collected here – many borrowed from Riyadh and beyond – a unique kind of insight.

Neil MacGregor and his team at the British Museum, including Venetia Porter, curator of this exhibition, have, for a decade now, been on an impassioned quest themselves to shed light on some of the more misunderstood history and rituals of the contemporary world and to find the shared humanity in them. Once again, it is worth commending these boundless efforts at cultural diplomacy, and sheer determined curiosity, that allow us all to enjoy the detail and scope of a story that is to many a closed book." Image from article, with caption: Road to Makkah, 2011 (detail) by Abdulnasser Gharem at the British Museum: ‘The exhibition reminds you at every turn that no other religion has quite the geographical pull of Islam.’

The Pleasures and Power of Art – EPOS 2012 - Ayelet Dekel, midnighteast.com: "There’s much to for the cultural epicure to savor at the EPOS International Art Film Festival, the tempting feast includes features and documentaries on art, theatre, dance, literature, music and film. ... The strength of Dave Brubeck – In His Own Sweet Way is aptly expressed by the film’s title: the film reveals and revels in the music and the man, a pleasure and inspiration. The film is a tribute of one artist to another; Clint Eastwood initiated this project after hearing Brubeck’s Cannery Row Suite in 2006. Directed by Bruce Ricker, this film makes the excellent choice of

allowing Brubeck to tell his own tale, in words and music, with music happily dominating. One not only understands, but experience’s Brubeck’s contribution to jazz. It is a heady, delightful experience. The film also revives a somewhat forgotten chapter of cultural diplomacy: Brubeck, along with Louis Armstrong, Dizzie Gillespie, Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington and others, were cultural ambassadors, travelling to different countries to share American music and culture during the Cold War. Listening to the influence of these travels in Brubeck’s music, reveals the ways in which these encounters develop in new and unexpected directions. On a mission to spread American cultures and values, these musicians were also opening up to the world, musically, culturally and politically: a mutual learning experience sowing the seeds for world music and cultural dialogue. As Brubeck says in an interview with Walter Cronkite after his tour: 'Maybe the thing that binds humanity together is the heartbeat. Rhythm is an international language, not harmony or melody.' " Image from; see also.

BOLDtalks™/ 2012 Brings to Dubai a Line-up of Global Speakers Not to Missed, posted by Samer Marzouq - jazarah.net: "BOLDtalks™/, the flagship UAE event from the creators of intellectual entertainment, today unveiled the line-up of speakers for its 2012 edition. Taking place at the Dubai Community Theatre and Arts Center on 25th February 2012, this year’s BOLDtalks promises to inspire, inform, even challenge the way we think about some of today’s most debated issues. ... BOLDtalks™/ 2012 will also welcome Professor Cynthia P. Schneider, distinguished teacher, publisher and organiser of initiatives in the field of cultural diplomacy, with a focus on Muslim relations. Among her many projects is the Muslims on Screen and Television Initiative (MOST), which Schneider co-directs, providing valuable resources and accurate information on Islam for the U.S. entertainment community."

For Prof. Robertson Work, global impact slated for 2012 - wagner.nyu.edu: "The coming year will see Robertson Work, adjunct associate professor of public administration at NYU Wagner, provide a variety of services in diverse settings around the world. In February, Work will make a keynote presentation on

the role of culture in global governance at the International Conference on Cultural Diplomacy and the United Nations, held at UN headquarters. In March, he joins the Fulbright Public Policy Fellowships National Committee to help select fellowship recipients." Work image from article


Obama Buttresses Case for U.S. Resilience With Book From Unlikely Source - mark Landler, New York Times: When Senator Barack Obama was photographed clutching a copy of “The Post-American World” as he left his campaign plane during the Democratic primaries in May 2008, some critics viewed it as a telling sign that he embraced a view of the United States as a waning world power. Now, as he runs for re-election, President Obama has latched on to a new foreign policy book, which offers a more appealing narrative for a leader facing fresh charges — this time from Mitt Romney and the other Republican candidates — that he is leading the United States into its twilight of global influence.

The book, “The World America Made,” makes the case that the nation’s decline is a myth, a reaction to the financial crisis of 2008 rather than to any genuine geopolitical shifts. In a delicious coincidence for the White House, the author is Robert Kagan, a neoconservative historian and commentator who advises Mr. Romney. The president has brandished Mr. Kagan’s analysis in arguing that the nation’s power has waxed rather than waned. Via WC. Image from

State Dept Ducks Oversight on Iraq Reconstruction Projects - Peter Van Buren, We Meant Well: The Washington Post has an important article online and in print criticizing the World’s Most Expensive Embassy (c) for choosing to not provide a complete list of all the projects undertaken as part of the reconstruction of Iraq. “After eight years, we still don’t have a full account of what it was we provided the Iraqis,” Stuart W. Bowen Jr., the US special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, said in the article. “There was no unity of command, no unity of effort.”

The inventory listed 5,289 projects valued at about $15 billion as of June 30, 2011, according to auditors. Bowen said there were actually tens of thousands of projects valued at approximately $40 billion. In response, the World’s Most Expensive Embassy (c) in Baghdad said they had negotiated an agreement with Iraq so its government could “focus its limited resources” on large capital projects. Embassy officials also cited bookkeeping of previous agencies and said the auditors’ criticisms failed to recognize that Iraq already has assumed more control over projects. Of course this is all, respectfully of course, bullshit. Image from article

Unfinished Business in Iraq - Editorial, nytimes.com: When the last American troops came home from Iraq in December, thousands of Iraqis who had worked with the Americans were left behind. Many have already been targeted by militants, and some had taken refuge on American military bases. But once the bases were closed — or handed over to the Iraqi government — those Iraqis were forced into hiding. Unless Washington lives up to its moral obligation, many more will suffer or be killed. The Special Immigrant Visa program was enacted by Congress in 2007 for Iraqis who helped the military, other parts of the American government and military contractors. It authorized 5,000 special visas annually — but only 3,317 were granted through 2011. Iraqis who aided American non-governmental organizations and media outlets can apply under the refugee program and are also having a hard time. But the special visa program has the worst delays. Today, Iraq is more stable than it was at the height of the violence, but with American troops gone, sectarianism and bloodshed are on the rise. The State Department is concerned enough about safety trends that this month it again formally warned Americans against all but essential travel to Iraq. There should be as much concern for the Iraqis who risked their lives to work with Americans — and are still living there and still at risk.

Book review: 'Revolution 2.0: The Power of the People Is Greater Than the People in Power: A Memoir' by Wael Ghonim : The Egyptian author takes readers inside the uprising that he helped start and that swept Hosni Mubarak from power. He credits social media for their ability to connect activists - Scott Martelle, Los Angeles Times: Wael Ghonim is an unlikely rebel. Born in Egypt in 1980, he began working his first Web job while studying at Cairo University, then moved to the U.S. (where he married an American) and eventually became Google's top marketing representative for the Middle East, based in Dubai. His opposition to Hosni Mubarak's regime was far down on his personal list of interests.

But it was there. Ghonim's emergence as an accidental insurrectionist forms the heart of his memoir, "Revolution 2.0: The Power of the People Is Greater Than the People in Power," which could just as easily have been subtitled "What I Saw When I Helped Start a Rebellion." It's an engaging read, and it offers a sharply detailed look from the inside of an uprising that owed almost as much to social media connections as it did to anti-Mubarak passions. Then he raises the point that, "Thanks to modern technology, participatory democracy is becoming a reality.… Slowly, but surely, the weapons of mass oppression are becoming extinct." Image from article, with caption: Google executive Wael Ghonim, who emerged as a leading voice in Egypt's uprising, reacts as he leaves the stage area after he was barred by security guards from standing on it at Cairo's Tahrir Square on Feb. 18, 2011.

Court Keeps Hitler’s Work From German Newsstands - Melissa Eddy, New York Times: battle to prevent circulation of Hitler’s seminal work in Germany when a Bavarian court ruled that a British publisher could not release annotated excerpts of“Mein Kampf.” The publisher, Peter McGee, had planned to provide German newsstands with 100,000 annotated copies of important passages from the book on Thursday as part of a wider project to print historical publications from the Nazi era. But the state court, in Munich, ruled that publication even of citations from the book violated the copyright, held by the State of Bavaria until 2015.


"more mercenary than the meanest whore.”

--Henry Miller on America; vulgar image from


--Германия тридцатых годов прошлого века. Это фото наглядно демонстрирует, как можно сохранять человеческое достоинство, даже находясь в толпе. (Germany in the 1930s. This photo graphically shows how, even in a crowd, one can maintain human dignity). From JG on facebook.