Friday, April 6, 2012

April 6

"[R]evolutions like the Arab Spring took place by smart phone."

--Like Giving Birth - Life After Jerusalem: The musings of a Two-Spirit American Indian, Public Diplomacy-coned Foreign Service Officer; image from


Nazis on the Moon: Iron Sky and the Crowdsourced Film. Via NI on Facebook


Tweeting democracy across the Arab world - Guy Golan, "The Obama administration has time and again expressed its commitment to genuine relationship building with Muslims around the world. Through social media, it launched an ambitious multiplatform public diplomacy campaign that allows for direct two-way communication between the State Department and Muslims. Through videos and blogs, Facebook pages, and mobile phone applications, America can now both talk and listen. It seems like technology is reinventing the very essence of international relations. Yet, recent evidence indicates that launching a successful public diplomacy campaign via social media may be easier said than done. An innovative global digital outreach campaign was recently introduced by the U.S. State Department. Their campaign allowed citizens from across the world to ask Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy, Judith McHale, questions in ten different languages using the #AskUSA Twitter hashtag. This campaign turned out to be a bust. Most of the tweets consisted of either spam or communication from American officials from outside the USA. Yet, the American State Department should not let one failed effort deter them. All relationships both

off and online take time to develop. The American State Department understands this. Just last month it reached out to young Iranians with its 'Ask Alan' campaign through the USAdarFarsi social media platform that combines Youtube, Facebook, and Twitter. Will 'Ask Alan' fair better than previous campaigns? Only time will tell. One key point that all public diplomacy officials should keep in mind is that communication does not take place in a vacuum. This is especially true in the Middle East. Recent scholarship on Anti-Americanism reflects a key challenge to American public diplomacy. Public opinion data collected in the Muslim world points to perceived inconsistencies between the values that America communicates regarding its commitment to freedom and democracy and its regional policies. Such perceptions were often related to America’s support of autocrats past and present day. As the struggle for democracy continues throughout the Muslim world, millions of young people look to the social sphere as a virtual meeting place where they can share ideas, frustrations, and hopes regarding the struggle for greater freedom in their nations. America’s digital outreach campaign can both guide and support the cause of democracy. But no matter how many Twitter followers or Facebook friends America will have in the virtual world, it will ultimately be judged on the basis of its actual policies. ... (Dr. Guy J. Golan is an associate professor of public diplomacy at the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. You can follow him on Twitter @GuygolanEmail: Golan image from article

Great Moments in Public Diplomacy - Peter Van Buren, We Meant Well: "[H]ere is a tremendous example of public diplomacy that dribbled down the Twitter:

... [P]ublic diplomacy is the kewl thing now because you see it is interactive. The Secretary can Telepromter off a speech in Virginia and almost instantly people can react to it. Have a look at the interactivity on the Twitter: -the first guy nails it, asking in Spanish for some kind of form to fill out; -the second guy, well he’s just happy to be part of the conversation; -the next comments do not seem to have fully embraced the Secretary’s vision, but hey, dissent is kewl too."

Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Tara Sonenshine Meets with Russian Special Presidential Representative for International Cultural Cooperation Mikhail E. Shvydkoy - Media Note, Office of the Spokesperson, US Department of State: "On April 6, Under Secretary Tara Sonenshine welcomed Special Presidential Representative Mikhail Shvydkoy at the State Department to discuss future plans for collaboration in the areas of education, media, sports and professional exchanges. The two senior officials jointly chair the U.S.-Russia Presidential Commission’s Education, Culture, Sports, and Media (ECSM) Working Group. Presidents Obama and Medvedev established the U.S.-Russia Presidential Commission (BPC) in July 2009 to improve coordination between both countries, to address shared challenges, and to explore new opportunities for partnership in areas of mutual interest. The ECSM Working Group is focused on developing personal connections and innovative collaboration to promote new dialogue and understanding between the people of the United States and Russia. Under Secretary Sonenshine took this opportunity to congratulate Special Presidential Representative Shvydkoy on his contributions to the success of the ECSM Working Group. Over the past three years, more than 100 different groups of American musicians, dancers, artists, and writers have introduced Russians to the depth and diversity of U.S. culture as part of the 'American Seasons' in Russia program. U.S. audiences similarly enjoyed the rich heritage of Russian culture through performances and artistic events in the United States.

Both the United States and Russia have worked together to promote educational exchanges at all levels. In February 2012, they signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Educational Cooperation that will foster future exchanges. Under Secretary Sonenshine and Special Presidential Representative Shvydkoy also discussed plans for the Media Sub-Working Group to develop our first young media professionals exchange, operated by the International Center for Journalists and the Moscow Union of Journalists, with support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. In the coming months, the Education, Culture, Sports, and Media Working Group looks forward to working in partnership to increase opportunities for educational exchanges. The next meeting of the U.S. and Russian Sub-Working Group is scheduled to take place in Washington, D.C., in October 2012. For additional information on the Education, Culture, Sports, and Media Working Group, contact Ray Castillo, U.S. Department of State, 202-647-5993,"  Image from

U.S. public diplomacy chief Tara Sonenshine to vis[i]t the disappearing Voice of America - BBGWatcher, USG Broadcasts/BBG Watch: "The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) and International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB) executives who have embarrassed the Obama Administration by their decision to end Voice of America (VOA) radio broadcasts to Tibet will receive an early visit to VOA from the newly sworn-in Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Tara D. Sonenshine. BBG Watch has learned that the new Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs has accepted an invitation from the BBG to come by the Cohen Building early in her tenure. Tara Sonenshine plans to attend the Board’s meeting this month at the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB), but has also welcomed the chance to visit the agency’s headquarters as well as 'the vaunted home of VOA,' as one BBG official with former links to the State Department described her planned Voice of America visit in an internal email. Tara Sonenshine will see the Voice of America shortly before it may lose many of its broadcasting services, including VOA radio to Tibet, major parts of VOA English and Spanish, VOA Cantonese broadcasts and Internet Cantonese news to China, VOA Georgian radio and several other foreign language news operations. VOA would lose 170 professional front line broadcasters and producers in the proposed budget if it is passed by Congress. VOA faces net cuts totaling $17 million, compared with a reduction of $731,000 for its sister network, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. ...Unlike most top level BBG and IBB executives, Tara Soneshine has extensive public diplomacy experience and is believed to be sensitive to human rights issues. Some who know her believe than she may be more involved in BBG decision making process."

Like Giving Birth - Life After Jerusalem: The musings of a Two-Spirit American Indian, Public Diplomacy-coned Foreign Service Officer: "I have finally, as of this week, given birth the the baby I have been carrying since shortly after my arrival at post. Get off the isn't THAT kind of baby! No, what I have given birth to is a project that we are calling a Mobile American Corner. The Mobile American Corner builds on the idea of a traditional American Corner in that it contains information about the United States and our diplomatic mission to share with overseas audiences. Where the Mobile American Corner differs, however is that it is an original mobile platform (designed for iPad but soon accessible via iPhone and Android) application through which the Embassy puts this kind of extensive information on the U.S. into the hands of the user along with an invitation to actually participate in the Embassy’s public diplomacy. The Mobile American Corner is well-suited to Estonia, a tech savvy and well-wired country that gave birth to such innovations as Skype and is a world leader in e-governance. Our goal has been to broaden our reach among these internet savvy consumers by creating an interesting, interactive format that would keep users engaged for hours exploring and engaging the United States. ... Our goal is for this app to be available to all embassies around the globe...but wait, there is more. We also want anyone to be able to download it free. Because revolutions like the Arab Spring took place by smart phone. And when people seeking democracy want inspiration, we want them to have to look no further than the American their pocket."

With U.S. Absent, China and Qatar step-in at UNESCO - Matt Armstrong, MountainRunner: "The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, or [sic] UNESCO, was established over six decades ago to be the public diplomacy organization of the West, countering the influences and false promises of Communism.  Last year, the U.S. cut its funding to UNESCO resulting in a severe budget shortfall and program elimination by the agency. Defense News reports that immediately after the U.S. cut, China stepped in with 'a first-time $8 million funding for the U.N. agency’s education program, while Qatar chipped in $20 million.' The State Department’s 'Smart Power' policy relies on UNESCO as a partner and facilitator for informing, engaging, and empowering people around the world, particularly in difficult places often low on the list of priorities.  Today, UNESCO has a role as an anti-extremist organization through developing civilian capacity and self-governance. This mission fits in with and compliments [sic] the Departments [sic] efforts found mostly in the ever-expanding and increasingly central Office of the Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights. It is unlikely the timing of the Chinese and Qatari contributions are coincidental.  Rather, they are surely taking the opportunity to gain influence with the U.S. withdrawal."

Module 9 Climate Change Diplomacy Team10 - Loylyn Daiselle Jones Walton, Our Perspectives: The Community Blog for GEOG 030: Geographic Perspectives on Sustainability and Human-Environment Systems: "The United States has compromised abilities and should not be conducting climate change policy the way they have been due to shifts that are likened to the coercive actions in corruptible diplomacy- demands with powerplay manipulations, means hidden in shifts of urgency, noncompliance followed by threats, and uses of incentives as bait.

I am in agreement with the State Department cables records being made public due to the history and set of events in understanding that the Copenhagen Accord resulted from disenchanted parties whose independent actions affected the long-term protocol the Kyoto Protocol established to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gases. WikiLeaks cables provided substantial argument for the lack of public diplomacy by the U.S Embassy. The cables showed how trust was undermined and actions of individuals who conspired in redirecting the purpose of sustainable environments and those concrete measures employed for their own interests." Image from article

SAGE plan now available for download - Matt Armstrong, MountainRunner: "Last week was the public release of the SAGE plan, entitled 'Creating an Independent International Strategic Communication Organization for America.'  The electronic version of that plan is now available here on MountainRunner at the original post or below. SAGE: creating an independent strategic communication organization for America (PDF, 1.3mb)"

Stress on culture has limitations - Zhang Xiaoling, China Daily: "With its rapidly growing economy, China has been cultivating its image around the world as an attractive, rising power that is non-threatening and non-confrontational. China's endeavor to promote its soft power involves shifting the focus from purely economic cooperation to other more subtle areas such as culture. To that end, China has been investing boldly in public diplomacy, including launching multi-language satellite TV channels and websites, staging heritage exhibitions and art performances overseas, sponsoring students from other nations to study in China and paying for Chinese-language programs abroad. The most outstanding achievement is its spread of Confucius Institutes (CIs) since the establishment of the first one in 2004. By the end of 2010, there were 322 Confucius Institutes and 369 Confucius classrooms established in 96 countries.

However, China faces many challenges in its soft power project. First, different from Joseph Nye's conception of soft power, which consists of culture, political values and institutions, China's soft power takes culture as its main focus. This cultural soft power is presented within the framework of 'socialist culture'. ... The second related challenge comes from leaning too heavily on the cultural industry to establish the ideological foundation for social consensus at home and to build its soft power around the world. The importance of promoting culture was placed center stage at the 6th Plenary Session of the CPC's 17th Central Committee, when Chinese top leaders pledged to provide the sector with more resources. However, as they are required to produce products that promote the socialist core values, cultural workers are prevented from reaching their full potential. The restrictions also prevent China from packaging itself as a politically attractive partner internationally. ... China has to offer to the world a set of distinctive and attractive cultural and political values that are more readily accepted universally." Image from

Pruning and clipping foreign affairs - Colin Robertson, "The last decade in the Foreign Service has been difficult. The divorce and then remarriage of trade and foreign affairs was followed by a series of so-called 'transformations' that put process ahead of policy development and delivery. Bulking up on bean-counters and senior management at headquarters in the post-Gomery [on Gomery, see - JB] wave of accountability did not advance our diplomatic game. You don’t do diplomacy out of your basement, as Jean Chrétien once astutely observed. An entertainment budget is another important tool for doing business. Throwing public diplomacy under the bus was unforgivable and the senior bureaucrats of that period have much to answer for in terms of speaking 'truth to power.' Where once we led, today we are behind in our application of public diplomacy. Globalization is obliging diplomats and diplomacy to adapt and re-examine how they do business. The contemporary diplomat is equally comfortable in jeans relying on a laptop and GPS-equipped BlackBerry, as Daryl Copeland has observed in Guerrilla Diplomacy."

The Israeli Family Project: the next steps - Chami Zemach, "Since we started working on The Israeli Family Project we understood that our money will not be enough for full-funding this journey and of course not for the next stages of the project. We knew we must get some help, someone or somewhat that can join hands with us and take care of the financial part of the project. We always thought that the best way to fund a public diplomacy project will be by using private money. This is what we looked for all the way since we started. Now, is the conclusion is that we were wrong ? It is hard to tell yet. We must continue and find the one reason to say that we were not wrong. Unfortunately, this did not happen yet, but who ever knows us know that we never give up and that eventually we will find the way to move this project to the next level where we will make it a leading program for bringing people to know Israel much better. ... We already started to make programs for after August 1st. We would like to go bigger with The Israeli Family Project and start recruit and train Israeli Families that will join The Israeli Family Project and will make new journeys of Israeli Hasbara. This may be the most beautiful project in Public Diplomacy ever ! Don’t forget, if you know any Russian Oligarch or any other Billionaire, don’t forget to tell them to call us."

VOL. VIII NO. 7 March 23-April 05, 2012  - The Layalina Review on Public Diplomacy and Arab Media

"Pacific Gibraltar" -- Important New Book on Hawaiian History - Kenneth R. Conklin, "The author, William Michael Morgan (no relation to Senator James T. Morgan of the 1894 Morgan Report), has a Ph.D. in History from Claremont Graduate University. According to information about his book at, Dr. Morgan was a Foreign Service officer in the Department of State for more than 30 years, and lived in Japan for 13 years, first as a Marine lieutenant in 1971-72 and then three assignments

in the Foreign Service. His State Department domestic jobs included Director of the Japan-Korea desk of the old U.S. Information Agency, Acting Director of the International Visitor Leadership Program, and Director of Analysis for East Asia and the Pacific in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research. During 2007-09, he taught U.S.-Japan relations and National Security and Public Diplomacy at Georgetown's School of Foreign Service while on 'detail' from the State Department." Image from

Run, [...], Run! - Laura McGinnis, manIC: "The more I think on it, the less convinced I am that Americans have got a lock on running, but that doesn't make it any less suited for public diplomacy. In fact, it may do just the opposite."


Obama’s signal to Iran - David Ignatius, Washington Post: As Iran’s leadership debates its negotiating stance, the squeeze of Western sanctions is becoming tighter. U.S. officials believe that if Iran refuses to negotiate, it will be easier to tighten sanctions even more.

New York Times anti-Iran propaganda ops continue - So Glenn Grenwald and others have already noted that the New York Times continues its role as the official parrot of anonymous government officials when it comes to uncritically passing along their insinuations and accusations of Iranian culpability for US casualties in Afghanistan -- as if the Afghans themselves haven't been fighting foreign occupiers for decades now and would not have any reason to be upset at the burning of Korans -- but I don't think these writers realize that the situation was worse than they thought: had they read the print version of the NY Times, they would have seen that the article implicating Iran in the attacks on US servicemen in Afghanistan was placed on the same page as another article about the latest suicide bombing attack there which included a front page photo of a sort I've never seen in the NY Times before, as far as I can remember, of wounded and bloodied American soldiers splayed out on the sidewalk in Afghanistan. The photo was presumably taken moments after the suicide attack. In fact the US media have tended to scrupulously avoid  such photos of American casualties but apparently not when it comes to stirring up resentment against Iran.

Hersh: U.S. Trained Iranian "Terrorist" Group in Nevada - Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh has revealed the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command has trained operatives from an Iranian opposition group at a secret site in Nevada. Writing in The New Yorker, Hersh reports JSOC began training the Mujahideen-e-Khalq, or MEK, in 2005, even though the group is listed as a foreign terrorist organization by the State Department. The training included intercepting communications, cryptography, weaponry and small unit tactics. The training is said to have ended before President Obama took office.

Last month, NBC reported members of the MEK have been involved in the assassinations of five Iranian nuclear scientists. Via AA. Image from

Afghanistan: 5 areas of concern after the US leaves: Although the end of the war in Afghanistan is in sight, not everyone is looking forward to it. The total withdrawal of US and NATO forces by 2014 will have profound, direct effects on the country's security, economy, and society. Here are five areas that are likely to see an impact - Arthur Bright, The Christian Science Monitor: Security and the Taliban; security and the

opium trade; the economy; regional stability; Social reforms. Image from article, with caption: Afghan boys stand in a poppy field in Golestan district of Farah province on May 5, 2009.

A new doctrine of intervention? - Henry A. Kissinger, Washington Post: We must take care lest, in an era of shortened attention spans, revolutions turn, for the outside world, into a transitory Internet experience — watched intently for a few key moments, then tuned out once the main event is deemed over. The revolution will have to be judged by its destination, not its origin; its outcome, not its proclamations. For the United States, a doctrine of general humanitarian intervention in Middle East revolutions will prove unsustainable unless linked to a concept of American national security. Intervention needs to consider the strategic significance and social cohesion of a country (including the possibility of fracturing its complex sectarian makeup) and evaluate what can plausibly be constructed in place of the old regime. The United States should be prepared to deal with democratically elected Islamist governments. But it is also free to pursue a standard principle of traditional foreign policy — to condition its stance on the alignment of its interests with the actions of the government in question. U.S. conduct during the Arab upheavals has so far avoided making America an obstacle to the revolutionary transformations. This is not a minor achievement. But it is one component of a successful approach. U.S. policy will, in the end, also be judged by whether what emerges from the Arab Spring improves the reformed states’ responsibility toward the international order and humane institutions.

Reflections on Israel and Palestine - Rick Steves, Huffington Post: "I just watched a powerful and courageous documentary called Peace, Propaganda, and the Promised Land. It certainly has its own agenda and doesn't present balanced coverage. Still, it showed me how my understanding of the struggles in the Middle East has been skewed by most of our mainstream media. I saw how coverage of the Israeli/Palestinian problem is brilliantly controlled and shaped. I pride myself in understanding how the media works... and I find I've been bamboozled. Invest 75 minutes in watching this, because most of the time we only hear one viewpoint when it comes to the interminable struggle in the Holy Land. While this documentary would never be shown on commercial TV in the USA, it can be viewed online (Peace, Propaganda, and the Promised Land). In my view, many Palestinians live under inhumane conditions, and U.S. taxpayers help to make it happen. Please, watch this and then share your impressions. Criticism of Israel's policies is not automatically anti-Semitic (see J-Street for an example of a pro-Israel, pro-peace group). In fact, the irony is that for Israel's hard-liners, their clever PR strategy could be their own worst enemy."

Al Jazeera: From Media Power To Laughing Stock - Devon DB, Al Jazeera. Many know it as a news station that has quality news coverage, especially with the Middle East, doing in-depth reporting and representing alternative views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in which there is so much pro-Israel propaganda in the West. However, in recent weeks Al Jazeera has proven itself to be a biased news organization that is quickly moving from reputable source to laughing stock. The most damning evidence was the revelation that “Ahmad Ibrahim, who is in charge of the channel’s Syria coverage, is the brother of Anas al-Abdeh, a leading member of the opposition Syrian National Council.” Thus, not only was Al Jazeera spouting lies and propaganda, but they had someone in charge of their Syrian coverage who would be at most completely biased in their reporting or, at the least, have a major conflict of interest.

Sudan and South wage propaganda war‎ - AFP, Khaleej Times: While guns blazed on the border between Sudan and South Sudan in recent days, the airwaves and newspapers of both countries have fired salvos of their own in an intense propaganda war. Almost two weeks ago the clashes between the neighbours began along their undemarcated and disputed frontier in the most serious unrest since South Sudan gained independence from Khartoum last July, after Africa’s longest war. International fears have mounted of a return to full-blown conflict. But with access to the war zone restricted on the Sudanese side the full extent of recent fighting remains unclear, leaving much of the local media parroting inflammatory government rhetoric.

Azerbaijan to continue struggle unless Karabakh is liberated  - "Propaganda in connection with the Nagorno Karabakh problem is the duty of every citizen of Azerbaijan, students, calling themselves the younger generation”. According to APA, the statement came from head of the Department of Political Analysis and Information Support of the Presidential Administration Elnur Aslanov during a speech at the ASAIF forum ‘I am a young ambassador’ in Budapest. He stated the position of Azerbaijan on solution of the conflict: "The only norm that Azerbaijan accepts is that we will continue this propaganda and the struggle unless Nagorno-Karabakh is fully liberated from Armenian occupation.

Nagorno Karabakh is the historical territory of Azerbaijan and remains the Azerbaijani territory. This truth will never change. We will never leave the struggle for the restoration of the truth. Our struggle is peaceful in nature. We are fighting for our land and the world should know and take this fight in this way. We want our lands to be freed without bloodshed. We want to avoid the losses on any part. Therefore, for all these years, Azerbaijan has remained true to its policy of peace. But this can not last forever. If we are unable to hold our next forus in Karabakh, Shusha, Khankandi, then it is necessary to choose a different path. This path is through the order of the Supreme Commander. And then you, the young people, need to be the executors of this order." Aslanov image from article

Urban Exploration | Soviet Propaganda Centre, Bulgaria - Darmon Richter, "I left the Park-Monument of Bulgarian-Soviet Friendship feeling disorientated, awestruck and slightly alarmed, my bare forearms still itching from the fibre glass dust in the tunnels beneath.

This was possibly my strangest experience of urban exploration in Bulgaria to date. The site boasts a rich history, and is seemingly undiscovered by the Bulgaria urbex community... or if not entirely undiscovered, at the very least undocumented." Image from entry

The Third Reichs's Celluloud [sic] War - Randall Bytwerk, The British edition of the The Third Reichs’s Celluloid War arrived by mail a month or so back. It now is available in the U.S. I recommend the book as a good introduction to the subject. As Garden notes in the introduction, he is writing for a general audience and he does that well. The book provides interesting information

about a wide range of Nazi film. The book as a particularly good selection of images, some in color. No other book on the topic can equal it in this regard. The author has also set up a useful web site to supplement the book.

Take a Closer Look at Andover's WWII Stories: The Andover Historical Society is featuring many WWII relics on display this Saturday, April 7, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m - This Saturday, April 7,  relics of World War II will be on display during an open house event at the Andover Historical Society.  View photos, memorabilia, propaganda and more of the World War II era.  This one time exhibition will feature a small collection of WWII era objects and archival materials that demonstrate Andover's involvement on the home front and abroad. Most striking, a

gas mask and canvas carrying bag along with many photos reveal the reality of warfare.  Image from article

Visual Art: The Plastic Propaganda Poster Project - (Salt Lake City): The Plastic Propaganda Poster Project, organized by Laura Sharp Wilson, looks at the subject with posters from artists all over the world. Posters are often thought of as a temporary medium, so it’s an interesting vehicle. But posters are also “plastic” in the sense of being pliable, as the title implies, able to propagate a message. Some of the posters incorporate plastic in the work itself, like Justin Nowak’s “Survival of the Fittest” (pictured), in which a plastic bag shaped like a shark is about to devour smaller fish.

“Plastic Inside and Out” by Alexa Leifson looks at the fashion industry’s fascination with “plastic people,” and Pok Chi Lau’s “Tree Farm, Zibo Shandong, China” simply offers a photograph of a field littered with plastic bags as a statement needing no words. At the March 27 opening, the documentary film on the subject, Bagit, was shown. The project is sponsored by the Environmental Studies Department of Westminster College, and the show is visible at various locations throughout the campus.


When the Almighty Talks Back - The idea that God responds directly to questions and requests is not fringe among American evangelicals - T.M. Luhrmann, Wall Street Journal: In 2006, the Pew Foundation reported that 26% of Americans said they had had a direct revelation from God. A few years earlier, Gallup reported that about the same number had heard a voice or vision as a result of prayer.

Ending the stigma of jobs outside academia for Ph.D.s - J.A., Princeton Alumni Weekly (April 4, 2012, p. 13): Teaching-job openings for new English Ph.D.'s declined by 45% from 2009 to 2011, said Professor Deborah Nord, director of graduate studies for Princeton English Department.

Wealth or Waste? Rethinking the Value of a Business Major - Wall Street Journal: Undergraduate business majors are a dime a dozen on many college campuses. But according to some, they may be worth even less. More than 20% of U.S. undergraduates are business majors, nearly double the next most common major, social sciences and history.

The proportion has held relatively steady for the past 30 years, but now faculty members, school administrators and corporate recruiters are questioning the value of a business degree at the undergraduate level.  Top College Degrees Bachelor's awarded by field for the 2008-09 academic year
  • Business: 347,985, or 21.7%
  • Social sciences and history: 168,500, or 10.5%
  • Health professions and related clinical sciences: 120,488, or 7.5%
  • Education: 101,708, or 6.4%Psychology: 94,271, or 5.9%
  • Visual and performing arts: 89,140, or 5.6%
Source: National Center for Education Studies. Image from article


"Under Acheson, Kennan [on Kennan see -- JB] had become, as he would later say ... a 'court jester' ... 'expected to enliven discussion, privileged to say the shocking things, valued as an intellectual gadfly on hides of slower colleagues, but not to be taken fully seriously when it came to the final, responsible decisions of policy.'"

--Hannah Gurman, The Dissent Papers: The Voices of Diplomats in the Cold War and Beyond (New York: Columbia University Press, 2012), pp. 63-64; image from


Image from