Saturday, April 21, 2012

April 21

"[W]hy would anyone decide to change his or her point of view about the US just because a newer technology is projecting the same message? It is like turning the volume up (or down) on a new song by the same musical artist."

--Blogger Craig Eisele; image from


US Ambassador Nancy Powell's video introduction - Madhurjya, Communications Consultant, "The US embassy recently released a video introduction of Ambassador Nancy J. Powell who replaces Timothy J. Roemer as the new US envoy to India. It is a pretty simple video but what's good is the simplicity, personal touch and easy language. It seems to have captured the ambassador as 'a person' and not 'another official.' Given the fortress like presence of the US embassy in Delhi, this seems to be a sincere outreach to connect with Indian people ...even if its in the virtual world! Apparently this video has been dubbed into 10 other Indian languages. The embassy was discussing ways to overcome the challenge that India's linguistic diversity presents to integrated communication efforts and going heavy on audio and video is a nice 'walk around.' While I was not too sure if its standard practice in US embassies all over the world to introduce Ambassadors through such multimedia initiatives, fellow PD enthusiast, Akash in DC, (@akashhhhh) mined six of those on YouTube. He shared the ambassador introduction in Russia with me [.] This effort is interesting for the potential it has to bring foreign policy and related discussions down from the ivory towers. Timely, in a world that is increasingly interconnected!"

Leaders hash out ways to boost US-China relations amidst mutual distrust - "Global leaders hail the partnership between the United States and China as the most important in the world. But it's not the strongest. How can it be stronger? That was the big question at the 'Committee of 100' conference on Friday in Pasadena. ... The leaders at the 'Committee of 100' conference are imploring lawmakers, policymakers and

even media moguls to help strengthen U.S.-China relations. They're pushing for more public diplomacy, more education — and more cooperation between the leaders of both countries." Image from article, with caption: Global leaders hail the partnership between the United States and China as the most important in the world. But it's not the strongest.

Decades of American Missteps in Foreign Policy Requires The social media peace corps - Craig Eisele on ….: "Unfortunately after decades of wrong choices and missteps in American Foreign Policy NO amount of PR or rebranding techniques can address the primary goal of neutralising anti-American sentiment. ... Putting aside the problematic use of terms, what we learned from US citizens abroad was that our public diplomacy strategy was paralysed. But this was not entirely true, considering the new smart marketing and public relations campaigns the US was engaged in under Charlotte Beers’ innovative leadership as Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. ... During the recent Social Media Week in DC, State Department officials shared their updated tactics. The tone was not that different from six years ago. For example, several explained how Tweeting from embassy missions aided Foreign Services Officers in sharing the message of the US when they were limited in face to face interactions with foreign publics, due to restricted physical security measures. The 'democratisation of information access' was supposed to be aiding in our public diplomacy strategy by making our diplomats more accessible to the people in the countries they were serving. What was very clear, however, was that the foreign policy message itself had not changed. And here is where the problem lies: our public diplomacy strategy continues to be divorced from our foreign policy. What the State Department either fails to realise or refuses to address is that no amount of PR or rebranding techniques can address the primary goal of neutralising anti-American sentiment – because the problem is not that Arabs don’t get the US message, but rather that they get it loud and clear every time the US chooses to support oppressive regimes instead of promoting human rights."

More on the Obama Administration’s National Security Speeches - John Bellinger, "As I have noted previously, when the United States engages in edgy and controversial international uses of force, I believe it should explain its reasons. While at the State Department, I worked hard to engage in ‘international legal public diplomacy’ by giving speeches to domestic and foreign audiences on U.S. counterterrorism policy and even spending a week in January 2007 blogging at Opinio Juris (including responding

to detailed posts from Ken Anderson and others).  Obama Administration officials have gone farther, with multiple detailed speeches by John Brennan, Jeh Johnson, Harold Koh, Eric Holder, and now Stephen Preston." Bellinger image from his blog

Not Loving Like - John Brown, Huffington Post: "Will our diplomats, especially those involved in public diplomacy, end up communicating with the world by constantly using 'like' and other such vague and disconnected language? Well, maybe they will (after all, they do represent how our country thinks and talks), but as a way significantly to 'engage' -- the buzzword of the current administration -- with overseas audiences, their efforts might have, at best, mixed results, even with the use of the latest social media, one of which, Twitter, limits messages to 140 characters (well, like, enough characters for, like, 'like,' but little else). But, hey, not to, like, worry. Like, God bless America ... and its, like, non-declining, like, language, which I, like, like (but certainly find hard to love in its current direction)."

Jeepers, If Only I was Vietnamese -  Peter Van Buren, We Meant Well: "The State Department just can’t do enough for bloggers’ freedom overseas: Here is State social media superhero Alec Ross burning up the Twitter, for freedom:

The news is less positive for bloggers inside the State Department. Jesslyn Radack of the Government Accountability Project wrote on Salon: [']The State Department’s actions are a transparent attempt to retaliate against Mr. Van Buren for his book—by trying to impose bureaucratic and constitutionally-questionable prior restraints on his blogs, evidenced by the facts that 1) Mr. Van Buren is being subject to disparate treatment (hundreds of State Department blogs flow out onto the Internet uncleared); 2) the State Department links to uncleared blogs it likes; 3) none of Mr. Van Buren’s writing or speaking has contained classified orpersonally identifiable information; 4) all his written works (including his book) contain the State Department disclaimer that they do not represent the views of the government; and 5) he has never misrepresented himself as an official spokesman for the State Department (instead, he speaks in the first person and uses bland designators such as 'Author'). ['] Tại sao là Alec Ross một kẻ ngốc như vậy?"

Strategy, Serving Audiences and Saving Money Top the Agenda at BBG Board Meeting - “The Broadcasting Board of Governors today renewed its commitment to a long-term strategy to reach more people in countries with limited or no media freedom, discussed concrete means to expand audiences in China and Latin America, and explored further ways to save taxpayer funds by consolidating administrative costs. The Board engaged in these matters and more during its annual meeting at the headquarters of Radio and TV Martí in Miami. The consolidation would combine certain behind-the-scenes functions at the media outlets supported by grants from the BBG — Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio Free Asia, and the Middle East Broadcasting Networks.  The top management of these grantees, together with key BBG senior staff, teamed up to produce a plan based on directions from the Board in a resolution passed in January.  Their work will be reviewed by all Board members and discussed at a meeting of the Strategy and Budget Committee in late May.  The interim report is to be posted for public comment by May 1. As part of an updated strategy, the BBG will discuss with Congress current and planned programs for China and Tibet via the Voice of America and Radio Free Asia.  (See separate news release here.) During the meeting, the Board also condemned attacks on journalists in Azerbaijan and Kyrgyzstan.”

What They Think of Us - Indonesia Now with Duncan Graham: "Is disturbing news about Australian-Indonesian relations so commonplace it hardly warrants attention? ... Survey author Fergus Hanson noted dryly: 'Th[e - JB] minority of extreme anti-Australia sentiment will continue to concern Indonesian and Australian policy-makers.' ... So what to do? In 2010 Mr Hanson offered four options [among them]: ... Overhauling traditional approaches to public diplomacy. ... What’s happened since then? Not a lot. Australia continues to be the biggest aid donor [to Indonesia -- JB], but the Lowy poll shows Indonesians are unaware of this generosity, believing Japan and the US top the list.

AusAID needs to build its image along with schools and health programs. The number of Australians studying Indonesian is in free fall. More than 80 per cent of Australian visitors to Indonesia don’t travel beyond Bali. Less than 200 Australian undergraduates are studying in the archipelago.Travel warnings continue despite Jakarta’s protests." Image from blog

Public diplomacy and nation branding -  minhhoang09, Public and Cultural Diplomacy 3: A group blog by students at London Metropolitan University: "[N]ation branding and public diplomacy are both dynamic processes, which reflect the ability of a country to build and manage its attractiveness to achieve its strategic goals."

Image from entry


Secret Service ousts three more in Colombia scandal - David Nakamura and Ed O’Keefe, Washington Post: The repercussions from the burgeoning Colombia prostitution scandal continued to mount Friday as the U.S. Secret Service forced out three more employees, while agency director Mark Sullivan gave his first briefing to President Obama on the alleged misconduct of those in charge of protecting him. Sullivan met with Obama in the Oval Office, a week after revelations first surfaced of heavy drinking, visits to strip clubs and payments to prostitutes on April 11 by members of the president’s advance security team, who were preparing for his trip to an international summit. In his daily briefing at the White House, which occurred before Obama met with Sullivan, press secretary Jay Carney said the president is confident his security was “never compromised,” even though the Secret Service replaced at least 11 agents and officers just hours before Obama arrived in the city of Cartagena on April 13. Obama has “faith in the Secret Service, and high regard for the agency and the job that they do protecting him, his family, protecting his predecessors,” Carney said.

Nearly two dozen implicated in Secret Service scandal - David Jackson, USA Today:
A total of 23 Secret Service and military personnel have now been implicated in this month's prostitution scandal in Colombia. Six men have left the Secret Service over allegations of bringing prostitutes to their hotel, five others remain under investigation, and one has been cleared of "serious wrongdoing" but faces discipline. The military is conducting a separate investigation of its 11 personnel. It all adds up to one big embarrassment for the Secret Service, a legendary agency that prides itself on professionalism, discretion, and, above all, staying in the background.

Al Jazeera using new media to "bypass" US cable, with the goal "to be the largest media organisation in the world" - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting


American nuns stunned by Vatican accusation of ‘radical feminism,’ crackdown - Michelle Boorstein and Elizabeth Tenety, Washington Post

Image from article

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