Friday, March 23, 2012

March 23

"Did the 9/11 tragedy mean the end of public diplomacy?"

--Ivo Sabral and Merve Seren,; image from


Call for Submissions Proposal - Deadline: Friday, April 6, 2012 Exchange: The Journal of Public Diplomacy is seeking papers for upcoming volume on global contests and their impact on public diplomacy.


Al Qaeda Populating U.S. With Peaceful 'Decoy Muslims' (The Onion);  via PR on Facebook


Why the US and Turkey must reform public diplomacy - Ivo Sabral AND Merve Seren, "Public diplomacy represents a good opportunity for the U.S. to repair its badly damaged image in the Muslim world. President Obama’s Turkey and Cairo speeches, White House Ramadan dinners, exchange student programs, and Public Diplomacy 2.0 program have all amounted to significant public diplomacy initiatives designed to erase misrepresentations of America around the world, but Washington still needs to improve its public diplomacy efforts to cultivate a better public opinion of the U.S. abroad. Turkey also plays a crucial role under these circumstances as a bridge between Europe, Asia and the Middle East, with a prestigious geographical position, enjoying a good historical and cultural connection with the people of these countries. Turkey has mobilized its soft power potential both in Afghanistan and Libya, and its recent policy of 'zero conflict with neighbors'

and promoting 'Muslim secular identity' offers the potential for more efficient cooperation and increasing credibility among its Balkan, Caucasus, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean neighbors. Ankara has also developed its own international cooperation policy, managing to maintain a balance between being a solid NATO alliance member while at the same time being a vibrant democratic state where Islam is dominant in the culture. The U.S. and Turkey need to increase their efforts to implement a more effective public diplomacy. This is a necessity not only to support NATO’s vision and ideas, but also to rationalize the policies in the eyes of their own respective publics due to their national and regional interests. Certainly, these two countries have potential power, but they need to show it by using diplomatic mobility to serve the interests of local people." Image from

Playing the Game of Diplomacy: The US State Department reaches out to audiences abroad with people-to-people contacts and social media. Now it wants to measure the effectiveness of its soft-power ‘games’ - Peter A Buxbaum, ISN Insights: "The United States government conducts robust public diplomacy. These efforts received new life under the Bush administration after 9/11 and have continued in the Obama presidency. These exercises in the use of non-coercive soft power seek to win the hearts and minds of target foreign populations. With that goal in mind, the US State Department conducts a variety of programs, including people-to-people exchanges (which involved some 50,000 individuals last year) as well as maintaining a social media presence on Twitter and Facebook, and other Web 2.0 platforms such as YouTube. In one 2011 project, the State Department's Bureau of International Information sought to dramatically increase the number of its fans on Facebook. It succeeded: within the space of three months the Department's followers grew from 800,000 to four million.

These numbers are impressive, but they aren't useful for scoring success in the soft-power game. They don't measure the qualitative outcomes sought by public diplomacy. The State Department was faced with the issue of measuring outcomes in yet another program. The department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs recently piloted an English language skills program in Tunisia accessible over mobile phones. The program is used by 500,000 unique visitors a month – again, an impressive number considering Tunisia's total population of ten million. But this raw data is hardly a measure a public diplomacy success. 'The traditional measure of the success of such a program is the extent to which it improves English language skills,' Suzanne Hall, a senior advisor in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, told ISN Insights. 'Now the metric is more about reach.' In other words, the State Department wants to be able to measure the effectiveness of the Tunisia program from the perspective of whether it is achieving public diplomacy goals. ... 'We live by other indexes like the consumer price index and the Dow Jones industrial average,' Amy Zalman, a researcher at Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) told ISN Insights. 'So why not a soft power index?' Zalman is calling for a measure of how US public diplomacy efforts are faring overall. 'We need a comparative soft power index and tools to provide policy makers with an intelligent way to view the US position vis-a-vis other actors in a competitive environment over time,' she said. ... The State Department has already started text-mining social media sites in order to sharpen the focus of its programs. 'For too long foreign service officers have been shooting in the dark,' Nick Namba, an acting deputy coordinator at the department's Bureau of International Information told ISN Insights. 'We want to give them an idea of what publics are interested in.'" Image from

Basketball teens in dream US trip - Henry Mhara, "Three local teenage basketball players will have a rare lifetime opportunity to visit the United States when they leave for America tomorrow night to take part in a 12-day basketball exchange programme. The trio are Mutsa Chiromo of Arundel High, Francisca Sekete of Queen Elizabeth High and Rukudzo Matsekwa of Bulawayo’s Dominican Convent. The players will be accompanied by Belia Zibowa, who is a coach for the local basketball women’s team. US embassy counsellor for Public Affairs, officer Sharon Hudson-Dean, confirmed the trip yesterday. The programme was facilitated by the US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Sports United division, in partnership with the National Collegiate Athletics’ Association (NCAA). The three will be part of a group of 18 teenage girls and six female coaches from six different countries including Kazakhstan, Nicaragua, Thailand, Tunisia and Ukraine taking part in the programme. Michael Brooke, the Public Diplomacy officer at the US embassy said: 'We hope the visit will inspire more women and girls to become involved in sports and experience the benefits of participation; improved health, greater self-esteem, and greater academic success. The Empowering Women and Girls through Sports Initiative shows foreign participants the US through the lense of women’s sport, while introducing Americans to different cultures.'”

The Commerce Power and National Security - Mary L. Dudziak, "Dean Rusk, Secretary of State in the Kennedy Administration, wrote that civil rights had 'a profound impact on the world’s view of the United States, and therefore on our foreign relations.'  Rusk testified before the Senate Commerce Committee on this issue when the 1963 civil rights bill, which became the

Civil Rights Act of 1964, was under consideration. The United States was engaged in a worldwide struggle for freedom, he argued.  At the same time, decolonization led to the independence of former colonies, and the desire of nonwhite peoples to eradicate the idea of white racial superiority. In that context, 'in waging this world struggle, we are seriously handicapped by racial or religious struggle in the United States....In their effort to enhance their influence among the nonwhite peoples and to alienate them from us, the Communists clearly regard racial discrimination in the United States as one of their most valuable assets.'  The Civil Rights Act served other purposes, of course, but one critical federal purpose was in U.S. Cold War public diplomacy. After the Act was passed, the State Department and US Information Agency used it extensively to enhance the worldwide image of American democracy.  (That story is here, and an earlier shorter version downloadable here.)"

"U.S. International Broadcasting Joins The Digital Age" - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

As if he isn't busy enough, acting BBG chairman Michael Lynton is expected to become CEO of Sony Corp of America - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

You can’t make this up: International Broadcasting Bureau runs cosmetic classes – Quo Vadis, USG Broadcasts/BBG Watch

Image from article

Rep. Rohrabacher letter could set off a border dispute between RFE/RL and Radio Free Asia - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Sec. Clinton Salutes Radio Sawa on its 10th Anniversary - Press Release, Via MJZ email

Vol. VIII No. 6, March 09-March 22, 2012 - The Layalina Review on Public Diplomacy and Arab Media 

Shanghai Boosts Image in U.S. Sister-Cities: Project of exchanging and broadcasting city image videos opens a new model of international inter-city exchange - Huang Wei, "On March 22th local time, the images of the Bund, Lujiazui, Xintiandi and other iconic landmarks of Shanghai appeared on the electronic screen of a visitors' center in Houston, United States, capturing the attention of passers-by. Meanwhile, the electronic screen at George R. Brown Convention Center, a public television channel and two mainstream websites ( and simultaneously broadcasted the Shanghai promotional video. Since Shanghai and Houston signed a Memorandum of Cooperation on April 1, 2005, the two cities have jointly carried out projects in various fields including the economy, trade, technology and medicine. Recently the two cities started the cooperation in cities' image communication. Information Office of Shanghai Municipality and Shanghai Public Diplomacy Association have consulted and reached agreement with relevant departments in Houston.

The Information Office of Shanghai Municipality and Houston Chief Development Office signed the Memorandum of Exchange and Broadcast Promotional Videos in Houston City Hall in the morning of March 22. Under the agreement, Shanghai will also broadcast Houston's promotional video on electronic screens in Xintiandi and Xujiahui Stadium. The video will be also broadcasted on the International Channel Shanghai and two websites ( and official website of Information Office of Shanghai Municipality, and will last for a period of six months based on the principle of reciprocity. Shanghai’s delegation also signed another Memorandum of Cross Promotion with Chicago city On March 21 in Chicago, United States. According to the agreement, the two cities will exchange and broadcast each other's videos via various multimedia channels including electronic screens and television media started from May this year. It is reported that Information Office of Shanghai Municipality will continue to work with Shanghai Public Diplomacy Association to actively explore and expand this new model of global intercity exchange. Image from article, with caption: The iconic landmarks of Shanghai appeared on the electronic screen of a visitors' center in Houston on March 22.

Does Hasbara Matter? - Michael Freund, "As the U.S. election season enters into high gear, an important Gallup poll released earlier this month offers Israel and its supporters much reason to cheer. For despite an onslaught of Palestinian propaganda and disinformation, the results demonstrate that the Jewish state continues to enjoy overwhelming support among broad swathes of the American public. ... A whopping 71 percent of Americans said they view Israel mostly or very favorably. This broad support extends across the political spectrum, with 80 percent of Republicans, 71 percent of independents and two-thirds of Democrats all standing behind the Jewish state. By contrast, only 19 percent expressed favorable views of the Palestinian Authority. ... Now, we all know Israel’s public diplomacy, or hasbara, has been woefully inadequate over the years in terms of explaining Israeli policy and highlighting Palestinian shortcomings and misdeeds. The other side has succeeded in storming college campuses, exploiting international forums, and hijacking the narrative of what takes place in the Middle East, all in an attempt to turn public opinion against Israel. Nonetheless, all their calls for boycotts and divestment, and their slanderous accusations about 'apartheid,' have seemingly gotten them nowhere. After all, the Jewish state still earns exceedingly high marks."

NATO, Soft Power, and Social Media - Philip Seib, "It is important to remember that using social media is not a game or passing fad. As the Arab Awakening that began last year has illustrated, these are political tools that can vastly enhance the mobilization capabilities of forces seeking societal change.

For its public diplomacy efforts and its more conventional military tasks, NATO should continue to explore new social media options. These media make the exercise of both soft and hard power more effective, and are essential in making real the smart power on which NATO should rely." Image from

Foreign Minister hosts reception for Shirmeen Obaid Chanoi - Associated Press of Pakistan: "Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar Thursday hosted a reception in honour of first Pakistani Oscar award winner Shirmeen Obaid Chanoi here at Foreign Office. The reception was attended by the foreign diplomats and officials of the foreign office. The Foreign Minister congratulated Shirmeen Obaid for winning honour for Pakistan. Shirmenn Obaid is the first Pakistani wom[a]n who won the Oscar award this year. The Minister appreciated the documentary made by Shirmeen Obaid 'saving face' and said that it narrates the story of the brave women of Pakistan who are fighting these issues with courage. She said, 'the documentary has also indicated our responsibilities towards social issues in Pakistan'. The Foreign Minister said foreign office always tried to show the efforts and measures being taken by the government towards change. She said following the public policy parameters in foreign policy, ‘public diplomacy and planning division’ has been established at the foreign ministry that would enhance the efforts to highlight positive image of the country."

Foreign Office Scraps Communications Directorate - Robin Brown, Public Diplomacy, Networks and Influence: "The communications organization has now been integrated into the Policy Unit and consists of Press and Digital under Carl Newns, the long serving FCO spokesman, and Communication and Engagement under Anna Clunes.

It would be useful to have some clearer indications of what Communication and Engagement actually does." Image from

On World Water Day, Focus on the Publics - Naomi Leight, PD News–CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy:  “[L]ast month we held a conference, 'Water Diplomacy: A Foreign Policy Imperative' at the University of Southern California. ... During the conference, CPD brought together practitioners and scholars who discussed listening as a tool for water diplomacy, the challenges of practicing water diplomacy and the future of water diplomacy policy and technology. ... We are committed to the idea that public diplomacy in the twenty-first century must comprise not just listening, exchanges, broadcasting, culture and advocacy, but also service. Service can include development projects. Although traditional development actors do not consider what they do to be public diplomacy, CPD proposes that development work – whether conducted by nongovernmental actors, citizens or governments – done well and making a real difference in the lives of a population constitutes public diplomacy.

Global Communication: Theories, Stakeholders, and Trends (Wiley Desktop Editions) - "Global Communication is the most definitive text on multi-national communication and media conglomerates, exploring how global media, particularly CNN, the BBC, Euronews, and Al Jazeera, influence audiences and policy makers alike.

Includes four completely new chapters on Asian media, Euromedia, the Middle East, and public diplomacy from a post 9/11 perspectiveUpdates the story of arab media with a section on 'Arab Media and the Al Jazeera Effect' by Middle East-based expert Lawrence Pintak." Image from

New Fall 2012 Classes Cover the World - American University: "SIS 628-002 Applied Public Diplomacy Prof. Craig Hayden Tuesdays 5:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. Public diplomacy is generally defined as understanding, engaging, informing, and influencing foreign publics.

This course provides an understanding of the history and dynamics of U.S. public diplomacy; knowledge of strategies and techniques for advocating policy and influencing opinion and behavior of international audiences in a Web 2.0 age; skills to communicate, especially in writing; an understanding of how to analyze key data, including opinion polls and audience surveys; and an ability to engage with the key moral, political, and practical dimensions of public diplomacy." Hayden image from

Get paid to travel as a diplomatic courier - Dave Seminara, "If you see an advertisement offering a chance to get paid to travel, odds are it's a scam. But there are a few legitimate jobs that actually pay you to travel and the diplomatic courier profession is one of them. The Foreign Service has two main branches -- generalists and specialists. Generalists serve in more traditional diplomatic functions, and specialize in one of five career tracks: consular, management, public diplomacy, political and economic.

Specialists also have diplomatic status but work in fields you might not associate with embassies -- administration, construction engineering, facility management, information technology, international information, medical, office management and security. The Diplomatic Courier Service is in the security branch, along with special agents who look after the security of our overseas embassies and personnel." Image from article


What’s Wrong with This Picture? - Peter Van Buren, We Meant Well: "In America, we are proud of our long and distinctive record of championing freedom of speech… we have worked to share our best practices. –Secretary of State Hillary Clinton [;] We hope that others will join us in advancing a basic freedom for the Iranian people: the freedom to connect with one another and with their fellow human beings. -President Barack Obama [.] On March 9, 2012, the Department of State issued a 16 page list of offenses I allegedly committed, for which they seek to fire me. Chief among those offenses is writing this blog, on my own time and on my own computer, an exercise of the very same rights to communicate and free speech Obama and Hillary demand for others. " Image from article

Child soldiers: A worldwide scourge: Joseph Kony, Thomas Lubanga and Charles Taylor are just the tip of the iceberg. The use of children as soldiers extends far beyond Africa - Jo Becker, Today, child soldiers are fighting in at least 14 countries, including Colombia, Myanmar (also known as Burma) and Afghanistan. In most of these cases, there have been no arrest warrants, no trials and no convictions for those responsible.

Image from article, with caption: From left to right: Joseph Kony, Charles Taylor and Thomas Lubanga could be regarded as the three most infamous child soldier recruiters in the world today.

Obama’s ambivalent leadership on Afghanistan - Michael Gerson, Washington Post: Obama has made broadly responsible decisions on Afghanistan. He bears the private burdens of wartime leadership with dignity as he comforts the families of the fallen. He has a strong national security team, a serious military strategy and measurable successes to highlight. But with a nation in need of rallying, his public voice is weak. It was said that Winston Churchill “mobilized the English language and sent it into battle.” Obama, for whatever reason, holds it in reserve. And he is proving that it is possible simultaneously to show credible judgment and poor leadership.

To Stop Iran, the G.O.P. Should Back Obama - Mark Dubowitz, New York Times: We are fast approaching a point when sanctions will no longer be able to stop Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

As tempting as it may be, Republican candidates should set aside the opportunity to score quick political points and support the president in taking a bold step on sanctions that could destroy Iran’s oil wealth. And if Ayatollah Khamenei still refuses to compromise, Republicans and Democrats may find themselves more united in moving beyond sanctions and pursuing a military option. Image from

Turkey's foreign policy pivot: Op-Ed What made Ankara do an about-face and re-embrace the West? Recognition of what gives it power in the Middle East - Soner Cagaptay, Turkey's foreign policy has come full circle in the last year. Far from confronting Washington on a range of issues, Ankara is embracing its membership in NATO while working closely with Washington on Middle East issues, including Iran and coordinating Syria policy. Ultimately, Turkey came to realize that its strategic value to the Middle East is not rooted in the fact it's a Muslim power -- the region has many such states -- but that it is a Muslim power with strong ties to the U.S., access to NATO technology and muscle, and the ability to sit at the table with the Europeans. This realization was the catalyst for Ankara's foreign policy turnaround.

The Syrian international video war - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Defining the 'All-American Muslim': The story of Islam in America today is a story of rapid assimilation and even secularization - Naomi Schaefer Riley, Wall Street Journal: Earlier this month, the TLC network announced that it will cancel the reality show "All-American Muslim" due to low ratings.

Critics had complained that the show whitewashed the problem of Islamic radicalism in the U.S. by not portraying Muslim extremists, which led major sponsors such as the retailer Lowe's to drop their support. But the show's producers were closer to portraying reality than critics asserted. The story of Islam in America today is a story of rapid assimilation and even secularization, not growing radicalism. Image from

War video games we play ... Are they just propaganda and training tools for the military? - Alex Rayner, The Guardian, posted on "Every branch of the US armed forces and many, many police departments are using retooled video games to train their personnel," says Ms Nina Huntemann, associate professor of communication and journalism at Suffolk University in Boston. Like much of early computing, nascent digital gaming benefited from military spending. The prototype for the first home video game console, the 1972 Magnavox Odyssey, was developed by Sanders Associates, a US defence contractor. Meanwhile, pre-digital electronic flight simulators, for use in both military and civilian training, date back to at least World War II. "By the late 1990s," says Mr. Nick Turse, author of The Complex: How the Military Invades Our Everyday Lives, "the (US) army was pouring tens of millions of dollars into a centre at the University of Southern California - the Institute of Creative Technologies - specifically to build partnerships with the gaming industry and Hollywood." It's a toxic relationship in Mr Turse's opinion, since gaming leads to a reliance on remote-controlled warfare and this, in turn, makes combat more palatable.

Counter-productive propaganda and human rights in Sri Lanka - Sunila Abeysekara, Nimalka Fernando, Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu: It is indeed regrettable that at a time in the history of our country when we have the opportunity to transform our society, to move from a post-war to a post-conflict phase, and to enjoy the support of the international community to rebuild a just, humane and prosperous Sri Lanka

in which all its citizens can live together with peace and dignity, the government and its media have seen it necessary to launch into an unprecedented and utterly personalized attack against the three of us [three Sri Lankan human rights defenders who have come most under attack by the state media in Sri Lanka in the past week]." Image from

Horrible… AP Prostitutes Itself to North Korean Regime in Exchange for Access - Jim Hoft, The Associated Press and North Korea’s official “news” service are co-sponsoring a photo exhibit to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il Sung, the founder of communist North Korea. It’s a complete juche propaganda show.

Beloit Exhibit: Capitalizing on Communism - Next week is Weissberg Week at Beloit College, and as such a variety of globally-focused lectures and activities are planned. This year’s visiting scholar in residence is Yuri Dzhibladze, the founder and president of the Center for the Development of Democracy and Human rights in Russia. In an effort to connect Dzhibladze’s visit with art, an exhibit called Capitalizing on Communism: Russian Propaganda in the Post-Soviet Context will be opening at the Wright Museum.

Beloit College international student Ligia Costa says that the propaganda posters and objects in the exhibit show different aspects of life in what was the Soviet Union.“The posters are about everything from agriculture to industry, the space race and Lenin,” she said. Image from article, with caption: Beloit College student Ligia Costa examines a 1960 Russian propaganda poster which reads “We’re creating marvelous marvels.”

If Famous Pictures Were Turned Into Propaganda Posters - Among the 23 posters:


--U.S. State-by-State Impact from International Exchange Programs - Bureau of Educational and Cultural and Education Affairs, U.S. Department of State

--Found on the website of the International Institute for Strategic Studies. Submitted by Brandon W; via facebook from PK


Lost cellphones added up fast in 2011 - Roger Yu, USA Today: Americans lost

about $30 billion worth of mobile phones last year, says a new industry report. Image from


"Well, how could an all-good being not desire our salvation? The problem is that an all-good being needs to take account of the entire universe, not just us."

--Gary Gutting, professor of philosophy at the University of Notre Dame

1 comment:

Francis said...

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