Tuesday, December 3, 2013

November 30-December 3

“The greatest trick the devil ever played was convincing the world that he did not exist.”

―-Charles Baudelaire; Baudelaire image from


a) 2013 Forum, Panel 2: "U.S. Public Diplomacy in the Twenty-First Century" - Donald Bishop, Public Diplomacy Council: "The Forum's first panel addressed Public Diplomacy past; the third panel discussed Public Diplomacy's future. This panel focused on Public Diplomacy present -- looking at the field since the shock of 9/11."

b) Baltic Public Diplomacy: a Friendly Rivalry - Public Diplomacy Council: "Baltic diplomats join to press common causes, but compete for tourism, investment and recognition as individual nations, said three panelists at the December 2 First Monday Forum, co-sponsored with The USC Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership and Policy and The USC Center on Public Diplomacy.

From left to right, Council President Donald Bishop; Jurijs Pogrebñaks Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Latvia; Maria Belovas, Press and Cultural Officer, Embassy of Estonia; Simonas Satunas, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Lithuania; and Organizer/Moderator John Brown." Photo Credit: Joe Johnson


Lighting up the Social Media: Embassy Leaders use Twitter to connect with Russian Citizens  - State Magazine. Via JK on Facebook


a) trouble with twitter - youtube.com

b) “Biking Diplomacy – Copenhagen Bike Culture and City-Planning as a Case in Danish Public Diplomacy”: A Lecture by Birgitte Tovborg Jensen, Cultural Attaché, Embassy of Denmark in Berlin - The 2012 Cultural Bridges Conference in Germany, theberlinglobal.de

c) Young Rumanian sings in Arabic, stuns jury, public - YouTube


Making Sense of US Commitment to Afghanistan through Public Diplomacy - Tara Sonneshine, takefiveblog.org: One of the key challenges of public diplomacy is to match rhetoric with actions on the ground and make a convincing argument to citizens. An issue where the U.S. has stepped up its promises and rhetoric as well as its policy is around standing by Afghan women and girls—a promise we should keep. It is in America’s interest to see women-–a large segment of Afghan society–educated, trained, active and engaged in securing peace in a country in which we have invested a dozen years of money and lives. The women of Afghanistan are the loudest champions of peace and reconciliation in that troubled land. Good public diplomacy and good policy are reflected in the announcement just a few months ago from the U.S. Agency for International Development a new, five-year $200 million assistance program for Afghan women called 'Promote,' a sign of U.S. seriousness of purpose. The announcement, made in a speech by USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah at the U.S. Institute of Peace in July underscored the continued American commitment to success in Afghanistan—success that Shah argued is 'fundamentally grounded in a society that creates opportunity for women and girls.' The new USAID program will propel the education, training and promotion of young women in Afghan government, business and civil society, building on successes as measured in the rise of girls enrolled in Afghan schools.

That announcement was echoed recently at Georgetown University by Secretary of State Kerry, standing with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former First Lady Laura Bush—another good example of bipartisan public diplomacy. ... Another place to make the case for US-Afghan relations is on social media–a growing platform for public diplomacy around the world. ... In the end, time will tell what the Afghan government will do for its own society, what international foundations and funders will provide, and how committed the United States and the international community can afford to remain in the lives of the Afghan people, in particular its women and girls. For now, the challenge is to keep hope alive and prevent backsliding. Promises are important to keep." Image from

This is not the Monroe Doctrine You're Looking for - Jay Sexton, warontherocks.com: “'The era of the Monroe Doctrine is over.' This statement would not constitute news if it came from a Latin American populist. But, it did when it came from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in an address to the Organization of American States (OAS). ... Kerry opted to denounce the Monroe administration as the source of U.S. arrogance and then to proclaim the end of the doctrine.

Presumably he did this because the Monroe Doctrine has become so synonymous with U.S. imperialism in Latin America that there is nothing worth salvaging. From a public diplomacy perspective, there is certainly a solid case for doing this. However, Kerry’s speech has the downside of validating a simplistic interpretation of U.S. diplomatic history, which views it as monolithically arrogant and imperialist." Kerry image from entry

The US, Israel and Iran: Diplomacy is still the best option – the good cop/ bad cop approach? - Balogh István, cenaa.org: "It is ... worth noting that the Obama administration significantly cut back on the resources requested for democracy promotion in Iran and the administration tends to use those funds for soft policy issues, such as funds for human rights research and public diplomacy in Iran."

The Iran nuke deal: secret negotiations in an era of transparency - Jovan Kurbalija, diplomacy.edu: "In sharp contrast to the openness and transparency of our time, the Iran nuke deal, a major diplomatic development, was negotiated covertly in Oman and discretely in Geneva. Is this the return of diplomacy to ‘normality’ after an unrealistic shift to the open digital diplomacy so enthusiastically promoted a few years ago? It IS! ... The Iran deal ... made a clear demarcation in the use of e-tools.

Conference rooms were ‘Twitter-free’ zones. Traditional press channels were the only way for the public to learn what was going on in the negotiations. But once the deal was reached, the flow started with the tweet sent by the Iranian minister Zarif at 3.03 on Sunday morning: ‘We have reached an agreement.’ Twitter remains a powerful tool of public diplomacy. However, negotiations – especially sensitive ones – are still more successful if they are conducted with the necessary discretion."

No Deal - Emanuele Ottolenghi, standpointmag.co.uk: "It took only 100 days in office for Iran's new president, Hassan Rouhani, to fool the United States and its Western allies into believing that his charm offensive was a genuine change of direction. As a result, in Geneva three rounds of negotiations (the last of which will happen before this column goes to press) are shaping an interim nuclear agreement that will leave Iran with its ability to build a nuclear bomb intact while giving Tehran the much-coveted sanctions relief the regime needs to keep its economy afloat.

How did such a capitulation happen? After demanding for seven years that Iran halts all its enrichment-related activities, including research and development, the international community is prepared to settle for a deal that will not stop Iran's enrichment activities and may ultimately recognise Tehran's demand that enrichment be considered 'an inalienable right'. Iran's demand has been a key element of its public diplomacy for over a decade. And while many members of the international community have been nervous about Iran's nuclear ambitions, few outside the small circle of Western democracies are entirely comfortable with foregoing in principle the ability to enrich." Image from entry, with caption: Hasan Rouhani (Illustration be Ellie Foreman-Peck)

A tale of two deals - Ali Imran, pakistantoday.com.pk: "Both Afghanistan and Pakistan are seen as forming a vital bridge among countries like China, India, the Gulf States and Central Asia that need to crisscross the two neighbors for inter-regional energy and trade corridors. ... In addition to Pakistan, which remains Kabul’s trade window to the world, Iran, India and Russia could also be important players in economic development of the region. The Iran deal, which will remain work in progress in the next six months over some tough concessions and compromises, would also mean Washington devoting more diplomatic and political resources to the region that might involve initiatives to engage Iran in public diplomacy."

In Iran, Geneva deal is seen as a strategic pivot in US relations - Azadeh Moaveni, america.aljazeera.com: "Credit for Geneva in Iran has gone to the government of President Hassan Rouhani, whose public diplomacy and skillful foreign minister have been essential to securing multilateral Western agreement.

But the ultimate responsibility rests with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who approved the bilateral talks with the United States that laid the groundwork for the accord. 'This deal was a wider decision to reach accommodation with the West, even if the regime doesn’t want it to look that way,' said Alireza Haghighi, an Iranian political analyst based in Canada." Uncaptioned image from entry

Iran Viewpoint: Some Practical Notes On Improvement Of Trade Ties With Europe - Said Khaloozadeh, eurasiareview.com: "The signing of a recent agreement [on Iran's nuclear energy program] between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the member states of the P5+1 group of world powers, first of all scored a victory for a negotiated and diplomatic approach over the policy of sanctions and mounting pressure. ... The new Iranian administration should first identify damages done to its trade relations with the European countries. In the second step, it should launch an all-out study of those relations and finally come up with a well-defined strategy toward the European Union, which would be based on realistic viewpoints and aimed at recognizing Europe’s economic capacities, problems and changing capabilities.

In that case, the future outlook for further development of economic relations with Europe would be more promising and taking better advantage of huge existing capacities in bilateral relations will become more possible. At a time that diplomacy is facing certain limitations for the normalization of political and economic relations between countries, it would be advisable to act through public diplomacy and the potentialities of the civil society. In the modern world, public diplomacy is a focus of attention for many countries. As a result, in many cases it can play an effective role in the foreign policy of countries more easily, more rapidly, and at a lower cost compared to traditional diplomacy." Image from

"Delusions" and Disappointment in Pakistan - Lisa Curtis, Indian Strategic Studies: "If you want a better understanding of why U.S. policy has failed so miserably in Pakistan, you should read Husain Haqqani’s latest book, Magnificent Delusions: Pakistan, the United States, and an Epic History of Misunderstanding. ... Despite massive amounts of U.S. aid to Pakistan over the last decade, the two countries do not share strategic interests, and Islamabad has not changed its fundamental strategy of supporting militant groups such as the Taliban, the Haqqani network and Lashkar-e-Tayyiba.

Husain Haqqani (no relation to Jalaluddin Haqqani, head of the Haqqani terrorist network) exposes another misconception surrounding US-Pakistan relations by revealing that anti-American sentiment is often fueled—not by U.S. actions—but by Pakistani officials seeking more U.S. aid. In essence, the US spends millions on public diplomacy programs to counter anti-Americanism that is often purposely generated by Pakistani officials trying to bolster their arguments for why the US needs to support them in their efforts to control a volatile population." Uncaptioned image from entry

Dances on quicksand: US and the Arab Spring - Khaled Mansour, The Yemen Times: "U.S. policy regarding the Syrian upheaval has been largely limited to humanitarian aid, diplomatic sanctions and public diplomacy, feeling content to have finally stripped the regime of its chemical arsenal in exchange for not launching a massive U.S. aerial attack."

Arabs and the West: Forum highlights the need to improve awareness - Jumana Al Tamimi, gulfnews.com: "Arabs complain of prejudice in the way Westerners view them, and they know they are partly to blame for it. Many Westerners say they are more aware of Arabs and their political and social issues, today, more than before. Arabs need to do more at home and abroad to change perceptions, and whether it is important 'how the US perceives Arabs' were among the conclusions of a forum held in Dubai recently. ... 'The US is very important to the Middle East... How the US sees us will affects US policies,' noted Talal Al Haj, Chief of Al Arabiya News Channel Bureau in New York and the UN.

He noted there is a lack of Arab public diplomacy. He said there is not a singular Arab cultural centre in a big and important city like New York, which he described as 'financial hub of capitalism', while many other countries, including relatively newly independent nations, have one. ... To have a stronger lobby in the western powers will open doors to let their voices be heard in different influential circles, the participants noted. However, even in this area, the Arab immigrants have other problems that prevent them from carrying out this role. There are Arab-American communities not one,' said Hisham Melhem, Al Arabiya’s Bureau Chief in Washington, DC. Referring to all Arab-Americans, he added the Arab world has 'a long way to go' in making its voice heard. 'Arab-Americans need to fully integrate in their new environment, have the financial resources and participate in politics. I have met Arab-Americans who are married to Americans, who still say 'us and the Americans! us and the Americans', Melhem said with a surprised tone." See also. Image from

Oman, Culture and Diplomacy review: The success of the sultanate’s diplomacy over the past few decades is rooted in its long history of cosmopolitanism - Joseph A. Kechichian, gulfnews.com: "Jeremy Jones, a senior research associate at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, and Nicholas Ridout, a reader in Theatre and Performance Studies at Queen Mary University, set out to examine Omani foreign policy from an original perspective, to test if the country’s social life shaped the ways in which Omanis

tended to interact with each other as well as with outsiders. ... In Part III (chapters 8–13) the authors turn their attention to contemporary foreign relations with Iran (a 'delicate balance'); the impact of the Cold War that threatened to rip the country apart during the Dhuffar civil war; the Arabian Peninsula, with a focus on the Gulf Cooperation Council; the United States ('a key strategic ally'); the Palestine/Israel peace process; and the growth of public diplomacy that, inter alia, involved the Ministry of Foreign Affairs assuming sponsorship roles." Image of book from entry

Deepening Social Engagement for New Model of Sino-US Relationship - Qian Liwei, chinausfocus.com: "On November 21, Vice Prime Minister Liu Yandong and Secretary of State John Kerry co-hosted the 4th round of High-level Consultation on People-to-People Exchange (CPE) in Washington, D.C. ... The CPE mechanism can be dated back to November 2009 when Chinese and U.S. governments decided to build a platform for more extensive and deeper exchanges between the two societies apart from the China-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S and ED). ... History tells us that people-to-people exchange is instrumental to the mutual acknowledgement and understanding of the two societies, and that it has played a vital role even prior to the normalization of Sino-U.S. relations.

The famous 'Ping Pong Diplomacy' in April 1971 was a widely mentioned story. The legendary 'small ball' rolling the 'big ball (Earth)' was a classical example of Chinese public diplomacy as well as a historical episode in Sino-U.S. sports exchange. ... A strong, comprehensive and sustainable people-to-people relationship is necessary for both China and U.S., not only because it is less sensitive and less vulnerable to the ups and downs of political, economic and military ties, but also conductive to a wider and closer bilateral social bond. ... Therefore, a China-U.S. people-to-people exchange mechanism provides a platform that allows the enhancement of interactions and connections in all walks of life in two societies. For example, bilateral educational exchanges witnessed a rapid growth in the past decades. According to the Open Doors Report released by the Institute of International Education (IIE) in November 2013, Chinese students enrolled in U.S. colleges and universities in 2012-2013 academic year topped 235,000 which accounted for 28.7% of total overseas students in U.S., making China the largest source of international students. ... Culture has a significant role in bilateral exchanges. Since the establishment of the first Confucius Institute in Maryland University in 2004, the US has currently 92 Confucius Institutes, the largest number around the world. ... Tourism is another channel of connection of two peoples as well. ... During the Xi-Obama summit, President Xi Jinping once expressed that the 'Chinese Dream' and the 'American Dream' are interconnected. The common pursuit of sustainable peace and better life underlines the significance of people-to-people exchange between China and the United States." Qian Liwei image from entry

New York: Chinese Film Festival 2013 - Claus Mueller, filmfestivaltoday.com: "The fourth edition of the New York Chinese Film Festival was held from November 5 -7 featuring seven recent films from mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. ... The objective of the ...the festival is to serve the Chinese community in the United States, foster the international distribution of Chinese films

and promote American understanding of Chinese films and culture. ... Chinese films are considered by governmental agencies as vehicles for public diplomacy or soft power. As quoted in the New York Times Zhang Xun, president of the China Film Co-production Corporation, made it clear that 'We want to see positive Chinese images'. The New York Chinese Film Festival seems to fit that concern." Image from entry

Spying beyond the facade ― Geoff Wade, themalaymailonline.com: “'Political warfare' has been an intrinsic part of Chinese military strategy under both the Guomindang and the Communist Party of China. It was long domestically oriented, but of late, with the growing global engagement of China, the activities of the GPD’s Liaison Department (LD) have become increasingly international. ... To pursue its tasks, the LD has created a range of front organisations, the most prominent of which for international activities is the China Association for International Friendly Contact (CAIFC). The CAIFC, defines itself on its website as 'a social organisation devoted to fostering international and regional people-to-people friendly exchanges,' which completely obscures its connections with the People’s Liberation Army and the Central Military Commission. It organises visits and activities to which elite members of international society are invited. ... The current CAIFC President is former PRC foreign minister Li Zhaoxing, who melds the CAIFC activities with more formal foreign affairs organisations such as the recently-established China Public Diplomacy Association, which he also heads."

Internal State Building and External Diplomacy: High-Speed Rail in China - PD News–CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "For China, the extent of its high-speed rail is looked on with envy by the rest of the world (indeed, there are more miles of high-speed rail in China than in all of Europe)."

U.S. official to attend LEAD ASEAN Youth Summit in Manila - news.pia.gov.ph: "United States Deputy Assistant Secretary (DAS) of State for Public Diplomacy, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs Susan Stevenson

will be in Manila this week for the LEAD ASEAN Youth Summit. According to the U.S. Embassy in Manila, the event is a gathering of alumni of U.S. government-sponsored exchange programs aimed at developing a stronger 'ASEAN identity' and increasing youth leadership skills through networking, sharing of best practices, policy debates, and generation of proposals and policy recommendations. The Summit is organized by the Ayala Foundation in partnership with the U.S. Embassy in Manila." Stevenson image from

DNA study abroad seminar: Lala Lajpat Rai Institute of Management - indiancolleges.com: "The third day of the overseas education Global Education seminar sponsored by Bank of India and conducted by DNA, saw a packed auditorium. The third seminar was held at Lala Lajpat Rai Institute of Management, Mumbai on November 29, 2013. The aim of the workshop was to help aspirants with the admission and application process, scholarships and bursaries, popular and new courses, and work experience, which has become a crucial requirement for a person wanting to go abroad for further studies.

Alisha Mashruwala, overseas education counsellor; Neha Sarwal,academic head, IMS; NU Goswami, assistant general manager, Bank of India and Jeff Ellis, public diplomacy-coned, foreign service officer, US Consulate Mumbai were the speakers at the workshop." See also; uncaptioned image from entry 

The Benghazi syndrome - Mieczyslaw P. Boduszynski - Los Angeles Times: "Sen. Lindsey Graham and others on Capitol Hill are demanding further inquiries into the attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, apparently convinced that the Obama administration is withholding crucial information. But I often wonder whether Graham (R-S.C.) and others who exploit the Benghazi issue to attack the president realize that their politicking affects the ability of American diplomats to carry out their work. I served as a U.S. Foreign Service officer in Libya before, during and after the attack, and I saw firsthand how playing politics with Benghazi directly hurts our interests in Libya and beyond. At the time of the attack, on Sept. 11, 2012, I was the public affairs officer at the Tripoli embassy, responsible for broadening our relations with the new Libya by forging ties between Americans and Libyans. ... Before the attack, we had a range of security protocols in place. They were flexible enough, however, to allow us to meet with Libyans from all walks of life at cafes, restaurants and a variety of institutions. We visited museums and cultural sites and spent hours at the university discussing possible academic linkages between American and Libyan universities. I was scheduled to join the ambassador in Benghazi to open a small American library on Sept. 12. ... Congress provides crucial oversight over foreign policy. It was appropriate, after the Benghazi attacks, for Congress to examine the attacks and evaluate security shortcomings and failures. This was done, and a report was also issued by the State Department's Accountability Review Board. Since then, there has been no new information, no evidence of conspiracies and no smoking gun. Special hearings called in May revealed nothing new. It's time to move past the tragedy and get back to work. ... Thousands of U.S. diplomats do their jobs every day, conscious of the dangers they face but accepting of the risks that come with the job. Excessive security that interferes with their jobs doesn't serve our interests abroad or make us safer at home. The politicians who play political football with Benghazi should be ashamed of themselves. Mieczyslaw P. Boduszynski was a Foreign Service officer with the State Department from 2004 to 2013. He is now an assistant professor of politics and international relations at Pomona College.

Joan McKniff - Facebook: "I was a USIA Public Affairs Officer in Africa at the time of the [State department-USIA 1999] 'merger. I lost control of my budget and more, I was no longer reviewed, and supported, by USIA Area Staff in DC, experts in both the area and public diplomacy tradecraft. At post USIA was a dynamic team, located in the much respected American Cultural Center (ACC) had a huge English teaching program, including USAID funding for Justices, reporters and other key audiences, a press lounge.resource for journalists, a circulating library, a meeting room that other groups could use: CIVITAS etc, bringing key audiences to us. This was closed. Even before that, I was pulled out to have an office in the suite w Ambassador and DCM to be on hand for them. One small operational example out a 1000: USIA had two drivers, needed in a city with no public transportation/messenger service or the like. They knew every location. understood our mission and even if "just delivering reports" made a point of saying they were from ACC and brought info to right person, not just with security guard. In addition, when they were not driving, they helped to assemble program packets, and such. After the merger all drivers had to be based at US Embassy, a 20-40 min drive away, dep on traffic. If I suddenly got a call...to university, we had to call the motor pool, request a driver, sometime making a case for the need, then wait for the car to get to the center, and only then depart for the appointment. We could not request "our" old drivers, so very often the driver would arrive and once a block or so away from ACC only then ask me to explain where the location of the university. Hard to explain in a city largely w/o street names and certainly not a grid. I could go on....and on!"

Russian Roulette - An Introduction - Joes Bruns, Trail Mix: "1982 - Reagan begins build up of American military forces and increased global military exercises. Renovation of the Voice of America and increase emphasis on public diplomacy confronting the Soviets on human rights and military interventions. Roll-back of Communism replaces containment."

Israel's Foreign Ministry continues to lose relevance - Shlomi Eldar, al-monitor.com: "The six most important world powers, led by the United States, signed an interim agreement with Iran on Nov. 24 that restricts the progress of its nuclear program in exchange for relaxation of the economic sanctions against it. Soon talks for a permanent agreement will get underway. While it is clear to all parties involved that the negotiations will not be easy, the current decision is to talk — not to attack. Now everyone is giving diplomacy a chance. ... The United States made a fundamental decision to completely exhaust all diplomatic avenues available and let threats of attack fall by the wayside. Regretfully, it would seem that the choice of the West to engage in talks left Israeli diplomats speechless.

In recent years, the Israeli Foreign Ministry has seen its status erode. Israeli ambassadors and consuls around the world have long been infuriated by the instructions they receive from the political echelon in Jerusalem. As public servants, however, they are forbidden from expressing their positions. On rare occasions, one of them dares to write a polite and well-reasoned diplomatic position paper, but it is doubtful that those running the ministry, including the old-new Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, grant it any importance or great influence, if any at all. In the days when President Shimon Peres was foreign minister and Yossi Beilin was his deputy, the Israeli Foreign Ministry blossomed and was at its peak. Those were the days of negotiations leading to the Oslo Accord. Those leading the talks and Israeli public diplomacy were the Foreign Ministry staff and other diplomats who were trained and casted specifically for this job, much like actors in an important theater production. The emissaries of the Israeli government were professionals, who understood the world and the international politics and media arenas. They were familiar with the mentality and public opinion in each of the countries they worked in. A lot of water has flowed under the bridge since then. Slowly but surely, the status of the ministry began eroding, and it hit rock bottom during Liberman’s tenure as foreign minister." Image from entry, with caption: Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman walks off stage during the launch of the Likud-Beitenu election campaign, Jerusalem, Dec. 25, 2012.

800 Show Support for Israel at The Tabernacle - Joel James, Unite: "'The support for Israel is just overwhelming!' said Jewish community member Linda Steinhorn, as approximately 800 people, Jews and Christians, gathered at the Tabernacle in Orchard Park, New York, for 'Buffalo Celebrates Israel!'

coordinated by Eagles’ Wings. Christians from more than 25 church congregations attended this fourth annual gathering in Buffalo, which raised over $11,000 to feed those living in poverty in Israel. ... Representing Israel was Consul for Public Diplomacy, Mr. Gil Lainer, and a Druze Community leader from Isifiya on Mount Carmel, Mrs. Magda Mansour." Image from entry

International "law" as the anti-Zionist Bible - Steve Apfe, thecommentator.com: "Think about it. International law and beauty are not so very different. Both depend on the eye of the beholder, so that what is good for the goose may not be good for the gander. For one and the same act, under one and the same code of law, Israel can be guilty and another country blameless. Really, could law be so mulish? No, but human beings can be devious. We must agree that however well intentioned, law can be diverted from the purpose lawgivers had in mind, and made to serve a purpose that was furthest from their mind. Law can also be inverted – mischievously used against the intended purpose. Then instead of moving public diplomacy forward, law may trip it up. Consider the latest parallel case when Israel was slammed for violating international law on occupation while Morocco, another 'occupier', came away with a handshake and a deal. The slammer and the deal maker was the European Union. Lawyers advised that no law stopped Europe making a fisheries deal with Morocco over occupied waters in Western Sahara. Allowing European companies to drill for oil in those waters, despite a UN legal opinion that it would violate international law, was also no problem. ‘Thank you very much,’ said the fatcats of Brussels. Morocco was happy too; the EU offered to pay a royalty for access to the occupied zone. ... What of American policy supremos? Do they sit in the same boat as the Europeans? Is their bible international law? Says Barak Obama’s envoy to the Middle East, John Kerry: 'Let me emphasize (our) position …on the settlements. We consider them…to be illegitimate.'”

New Matilda: “Taking me to court won’t stop BDS” - Jake Lynch - australiansforpalestine.net: Israel’s reflex recourse to violence becomes a cost-free option without diplomatic pressure. Alternative responses, such as bringing forward plans to dismantle illegal settlements on Palestinian land, seem risky and uncertain by comparison. Peace advocates stand no chance in political debate. To even things up, we have to take action in civil society, through the growing global movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS).

Israeli universities are deeply complicit with the occupation. The governing board of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem is chaired by Michael Federmann, who is also chairman of Elbit Systems, Israel’s biggest arms manufacturer. It accredits military training courses, and part of its Mount Scopus campus is built on land confiscated from its rightful Palestinian owners. The Technion University, Haifa, also has extensive links with the military and the arms industry, and it houses the Samuel Neaman Institute, which produced a report on 'public diplomacy' for Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This identifies 'educational institutions' as 'beneficial clients' for efforts to sanitise Israel’s image abroad. Academic research is promoted as a way of distracting from the treatment of the Palestinians. Just as there was no non-political way to play sport with South Africa under white minority rule, so there is no non-political way to engage in institutional cooperation with Israeli universities. We can either decide to cooperate in exploitation, or take a stand. The University of Sydney operates funded fellowship schemes that pay for academics from the Hebrew and Technion universities to spend time in Australia, and Sydney colleagues to go to them. When my centre adopted the boycott policy, I wrote to Vice Chancellor Michael Spence, asking for these schemes to be revoked." Image from

Will Erdogan visit Genocide Memorial in 2015? Orhan Kemal Cengiz's Reaction - Armenpress.am: "It is very likely for the Prime Minister of Turkey to go to Armenia, lay a wreath to the Memorial of the Armenian genocide, and apologize to the Armenians, [wrote] a well-known Turkish journalist Orhan Kemal Cengiz ... As the 100-year anniversary of the genocide approaches, civil society is debating what to do in 2015 and is preparing action plans to explain the genocide. ... Other aspects of Turkey's preparations can be detected from the remarks of the government spokesman Bulent Arinc: "... [W]e are also engaged in very special public diplomacy activities that could affect the entire world."

Ukraine’s European Future: How the EU Can Make a Difference - Kateryna Pishchikova, Richard Youngs, carnegieeurope.eu: "The EU will need to embrace greater diplomatic intervention if it is serious about protecting those Ukrainians now demonstrating for a European future. Simply reiterating that the door to association is open now looks incongruous. ... If and when negotiations resume, they should be far more participatory. By involving civil society groups and a range of political organizations, the EU will reduce the risk of a future agreement once again being held hostage to the power calculations of one leader. Involving a broader array of actors will also help build the coalitions necessary for successful implementation of the agreement—normally the thornier challenge than its mere signing. While thousands now fill Kiev’s squares to militate for

Ukraine’s European future, surveys have revealed a low level of awareness of what an association agreement actually entails. The EU must improve its public diplomacy and be more proactive in broadening the reform constituency." Image from

Sujatha Singh rings in changes in foreign ministry - Indrani Bagchi, TNN, timesofindia.indiatimes.com:  "Breaking from the past, foreign secretary Sujatha Singh has made the first set of organizational changes in the ministry of external affairs after taking over. ... Singh has, for the time being, re-merged the external publicity and public diplomacy divisions. Former foreign secretary Shyam Saran had split these divisions. Syed Akbaruddin, the MEA spokesperson, will be in charge of both divisions."

Actors drawn into undeclared race between rival countries - Charu Sudan Kasturi, newsbullet.in: [T]he real battle is unfolding in the Korean Peninsula, one of the world’s most volatile hot spots, between two other Khans. Shah Rukh Khan and Aamir Khan have been unwittingly drawn into an undeclared race to symbolise India’s ties with South and North Korea. ... North Korea’s cultural czars screened Aamir Khan’s 2007 blockbuster Taare Zameen Par this past week to celebrate 40 years of New Delhi’s diplomatic relations with Pyongyang. The screening at Pyongyang’s most famous watering hole for foreign diplomats — the Taedonggang Diplomatic Club — would normally not have drawn more than a cursory reference to the well-known influence of Bollywood across borders. But a preceding event tossed some diplomatic spice into the screening. Barely two months ago, South Korea had picked Shah Rukh Khan as its goodwill ambassador in India. ... Bollywood films — including those of Shah Rukh and Aamir — have risen in popularity in South Korea over the past decade. Their appeal in North Korea in unclear but diplomats, scholars and military officials visiting India from Pyongyang regularly ask their hosts for Bollywood films. Shah Rukh, who has advertised for South Korean automobile giant Hyundai Motors for over a decade, accepted in October the request to serve as a 'public diplomacy ambassador' for Seoul."

New Korean Cultural Center opens in Brussels - hancinema.net: "A new Korean Cultural Center (KCC) has opened in Brussels, the Belgian capital. Celebrating the opening of the 27th overseas cultural center, the opening ceremony was held on November 26. Around 300 participants attended the ceremony, including Korean Ambassador to the EU Kim Chang-beom, Belgian politician Herman De Croo and Director-General Lee Hyung-ho of the Public Diplomacy Planning department of the Korean Culture and Information Service.

A variety of Korean cultural events were held across Belgium that day. In addition to an exhibition on the history of Korean pottery and ceramics held in the new building, there were some musical performances at the Bozar Centre for Fine Arts. The performances were held in celebration of the 50th year of diplomatic relations between Korea and the EU. In the first half, titled 'Spirit of Koreans', a traditional Korean gugak ensemble performed. After the intermission, the second half, 'Arirang', featured a collaboration between guitarist Denis Sungho and violinist Lorenzo Gatto.  Images from entry, with caption: (Top)Participants in the opening ceremony of the KCC in Belgium attend the tape-cutting ceremony on November 26; (bottom) the new KCC building in Belgium (photos courtesy of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism)

Sudanese MP calls for sacking of minister of culture over music concert - sudantribune.com: "Sudanese MP Dafa’a Allah Hassab Al-Rasool has criticised the ministry of culture and information for allowing US-based group Yes Academy to organise a music show in Khartoum on Saturday. The concert, which brought together six well-known performers from New York and 100 Sudanese talents, featured performances of hip-hop, break dance, rap, Broadway, jazz, and traditional Sudanese music, in Khartoum’s Friendship Hall. The event was attended by thousands of Sudanese youths of both sexes. The lawmaker called for the minister of culture and information, Ahmed Belal Osman, to be summonsed to testify before the parliament, saying that the musical event offended the Sudanese government and its people." Via Paul Rockower. On the YES Academy, see. See also John Brown, "Is American Cultural Diplomacy a Hot Potato?" Notes and Essays

Wrestling Japanese diplomat loses again in final Sudan bout - AFP, au.news.yahoo.com: "A wrestling diplomat from Japan lost Friday for a sixth and final time against a Sudanese Nuba opponent, but says he has achieved a different kind of victory. Yasuhiro Murotatsu says he has helped to unify a divided and war-torn land. ... Japan's embassy says Murotatsu was the first foreigner ever to set foot onto the sandy Sudanese wrestling pitch to take on the country's toughest. In a pre-match interview, the 33-year-old told AFP he sees his participation as part of an effort to help bring the multi-ethnic and multi-religious Muslim-majority country together through sport. ... Wide coverage of Murotatsu's exploits in the Sudanese and international

media has expanded interest ... both abroad and in Sudan, including among non-Nuba Arab tribes, the Japanese wrestler said. 'This is a historical achievement and can be considered as successful public diplomacy,' said Murotatsu, who leaves his Sudanese post next week to pursue further education in Scotland.Image from entry, with caption: Wrestling Japanese diplomat loses again in final Sudan bout.

Strategic Narratives: Communication Power and the New World Order - Sarah Maltby, warandmedia.org: "New Book out ... by Alister Miskimmon, Ben O’Loughlin and Laura Roselle. Communication is central to how we understand international affairs. Political leaders, diplomats, and citizens recognize that communication shapes global politics. ... The concept of strategic narrative draws together the most salient of international relations concepts, including the links between power and ideas; international and domestic; and state and non-state actors."

This has only been amplified in a new media environment characterized by Internet access to information, social media, and the transformation of who can communicate and how. Soft power, public diplomacy 2.0, network power – scholars and policymakers are concerned with understanding what is happening." Image from entry

Promoting stories about terrorism to the international news media: A study of public diplomacy - Moran Yarchi, Gadi Wolfsfeld, Tamir Sheafer, and Shaul R Shenhav, sagepub.com: "Antagonists’ images in the international news media can play a significant role in determining their level of political success in the international arena, which explains why so many political actors invest considerable resources in public diplomacy. The goal of the present study is to explain the level of success that various actors (countries and non-state actors) have in promoting their preferred frames about terror to the international news media. Four types of explanatory variables are proposed, divided into context and focal event factors. Context factors include the political values and policy proximity between the country attacked (the victimized country) and a country whose news media have been targeted for influence (the target country), as well as the target country’s experience in dealing with terror. Focal event factors refer to the nature of the trigger events that generate news coverage of terrorism. Apart from one exception (the policy proximity), all of the hypotheses were confirmed. The findings indicated that focal event factors have the most significant effect on the way foreign media covers conflicts and that, when it comes to coverage of terrorism, journalists are more interested in constructing a dramatic story than putting the events into a more general political context."

Two impressions of Policy Exchange - labour-uncut.co.uk: Jonathan Todd, "My second visit to Policy Exchange was this week to hear Matthew D’Ancona discuss his history of this administration. He spoke of Andy Coulson offering his resignation to Cameron and this being rebuffed, to Coulson’s surprise. Coulson remained due to Cameron’s enduring admiration for his spin doctor. As ever, communication skills were most highly valued by the prime minister. The Autumn Statement presents a communications challenge to him. His government needs to use it to change a conversation about the cost of living that Labour is winning. D’Ancona bemoans the 'poor public diplomacy' of the government, the absence of a 'teacher politician' able to tell a convincing story about where they are taking the country and why."

Will Sheikh Rashid be the next Prime Minister? - Haider Mehdi, The Pakistani Spectator: "It is worth remembering that there is probably nothing more damaging to an elected democratic leadership than a combination of people losing faith in their elected representatives and the loss of face of the elected leadership caused by their hypocrisy, inaction, double-talk and an overly visible detachment from the real problematic issues confronting a nation. These two related aspects sum up the destructive potentials for an elected leadership. My question here is: Is the incumbent PML-N leadership heading that way - both at the personal, political management elite level as well as in the broader public diplomacy context?"

Merging and Emerging Order - Colin Brayton, tupiwire.wordpress.com: "George Soros and Bill Gates certainly do seem to be involved in a lot of 'public diplomacy' offensives."

Life Long Learning Education Program of Institute of Near East University Is Continuing - duyuru.neu.edu.tr: "The second course of the Public Diplomacy Certificate Program, which is being facilitated within the framework of Life Long Learning Programs of Institute of Near East University, attracted a great deal of interest by participants. According to the press info release from the Directorate of Press and Public Relations of Near East University, staff of the; Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus Assembly, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Cyprus Turkish Peace Forces Command, Security Forces Command, Civil Defence Organisation and General Directorate of Police

attended the second course of the program. Vice Head of the Institute of Near East University; Lect. Erhan Ayaz made the opening speech of the course which had a theme titled as 'Opportunities and Constraints Provided by Public Diplomacy; Scope and Future of Public Diplomacy'. ... Assoc. Prof Dr Ahmet K. Han gave detailed information on the history of 'public diplomacy', besides facilitating info on its developmental phases, when the notion was first started to be used. He provided invaluable information on public diplomacy such that it was not easily found. His lecture ended with the discussion on the 'future of public diplomacy' through questions-answers. The Public Diplomacy Certificate Program of the Institute of Near East University will be ending after the third of its courses which will be realized on Saturday. The third course will once again be actualized by a reputable figure. Prof Dr Hüseyin Bağcı; Head of Department of International Relations of the Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences of Middle East Technical University (ODTÜ) will be lecturing the third course. He will be providing info on 'Effects of Public Diplomacy on Domestic Politics' and 'Power-Public Diplomacy and Perception Methods Equation' in Orange Hall of the Faculty of Communication of Near East University." Uncaptioned image from entry

From MUN to the UN: A Model UN delegate’s internship experience at the US Mission to the UN - Mari, bestdelegate.com: "Mari Manoogian is a Media Manager at Best Delegate, and is a senior/active Model UN participant at the Elliott School of International Affairs at the George Washington University. When I received the phone message in early March 2013 that I was selected to be a Press and Public Diplomacy (PD) intern at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations (USUN), I was fairly certain someone from the Model UN circuit had prank called me. ... With a personal statement chockfull of my love of the United Nations, knowledge of the UN Security Council, and my experience as a Model UN delegate at previously at Michigan State University and now at GWU, it now makes perfect sense that I was placed in this amazing office. ... Having an internship

during the UN General Assembly at, arguably, the busiest Mission, has been nothing short of life-changing. There are few other places in the world where a student of international affairs and a MUN geek can intern and say that within the first week of the internship they met the President of the United States, the Secretary of State, the Ambassador to the UN, the National Security Adviser, and Dule Hill." Image from entry, with caption: Mari with National Security Advisor Susan Rice at President Barack Obama’s UNGA reception


What a Final Iran Deal Must Do: A credible agreement must dismantle or mothball the key parts of Tehran's nuclear infrastructure - Henry A. Kissinger and George P. Shultz, Wall Street Journal: American diplomacy now has three major tasks: to define a level of Iranian nuclear capacity limited to plausible civilian uses and to achieve safeguards to ensure that this level is not exceeded; to leave open the possibility of a genuinely constructive relationship with Iran; and to design a Middle East policy adjusted to new circumstances.

The Afghanistan question: How many U.S. troops should remain? Many Americans might be pleased to have the U.S. completely out of Afghanistan, but Obama makes a strong case that a residual presence is necessary - Editorial, latimes.com: There is evidence that Afghan forces have improved enough to make a large U.S. deployment unnecessary.

But a complete withdrawal wouldn't be in the interest either of this country or Afghanistan.  Image from entry, with caption: Afghan soldiers stand guard in an area as security tighten in the Afghan capital, Kabul, where thousands of delegates from different groups meet for the Loya Jirga, or the consultative council, in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Enabling Hamid Karzai: Why does the Afghan leader thumb his nose at us? Because we let him - Sarah Chayes, latimes.com: In Afghanistan as elsewhere, a lack of psychological savvy on the part of U.S. leaders, combined with a perverse tendency to abandon or undervalue their own leverage, are undermining U.S. interests as well as those of populations Washington purports to be helping.

President Obama’s immoral drone war - Eugene Robinson, Washington Post: U.S. drone attacks in Afghanistan, Pakistan and other countries may be militarily effective, but they are killing innocent civilians in a way that is obscene and immoral. Obama has greatly expanded the use of drones, and his version of the terror war looks a lot like a campaign of assassination.

Elizabeth Warren -- hope and failure - Richard Cohen, Washington Post: Foreign policy: Here we get to Obama’s most consequential failing. By so bollixing his approach to Syria, he has made the world less safe. The Iranians, the Chinese and others have taken the measure of the man. He blurs “red lines.” He has lost authority.

Ousting Assad may be only the beginning - David Ignatius, Washington Post: The two tracks — fighting and negotiating — sound good in principle. But the rebels haven’t been strong enough to make either approach work, and the United States hasn’t been ready to provide the necessary additional firepower. There’s more support now for a political settlement at a Geneva 2 conference, but it’s clear that even if Assad leaves, a second Syrian war against al-Qaeda is ahead.

A Moment of Peril in Kiev - Editorial, New York Times: What the European Union and other Western nations can do is to start looking into ways to make an “association agreement” with Ukraine less threatening to Russia.

Ukraine doesn’t need another revolution - Editorial, Washington Post: Ultimately, the way for Ukraine to settle the debate over its geopolitical orientation is through free elections. Opposition leaders should begin preparing to challenge Mr. Yanukovych and his followers next year — and Western governments should aim to ensure that the competition will be fair.

How Putin miscalculated in the struggle for Ukraine - Gideon Rachman, Financial Times: Mr. Putin may have miscalculated because he believed his own propaganda about the Orange Revolution. In his view, far from being a genuine popular uprising, it was an event manufactured by western intelligence agencies, using US and EU-funded non-governmental organisations as their tools.

Book Review: 'Inventing Freedom' by Daniel Hannan - Barton Swaim, Wall Street Journal: The U.S. and Britain together midwifed political freedom into the modern world. They together midwifed political freedom into the modern world, and their vibrant economies and political stability have ratified their principles. The book's central argument: the survival of democratic self-governance, individual rights and economic freedom depends largely on the choices made today by the world's English-speaking cousins.

Last call for liquor: State Department buys $180,000 worth before fiscal year ends, shutdown begins - By Jim McElhatton, The Washington Times: While the rest of the government prepared to shut down this fall, the State Department was busy stocking up on embassy liquor supplies. In September, the final month of the fiscal year, the State Department spent about $180,000 — and racked up a total of more than $400,000 for the whole year, three times the entire liquor tab for all of 2008.

40% of foreign students in the US have no close friends on campus: The culture shock of loneliness - Andrea van Niekerk, qz.com: Foreign students are flocking to the higher education system in the US. A recent study found that in 2011-2012, the number of international students in the US increased by 6.5% over

the last year to a record high of 764,495 students. Of these, 56% came from only five countries: China, India, South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Canada. Many international students respond to the “adjustment fatigue” by sticking to their own. The Journal of International and Intercultural Communication reports that 40% of international students had no close friends amongst their American classmates, a rate that was especially high amongst East Asian students (and incidentally slightly lower for those attending universities in the South). So despite actual numbers of foreign students on the rise, this casts one of the sadder lights on the true internationalization of American campuses. Image from entry, with caption: Kedao Wang, 21, of Shanghai is a senior at the University of Michigan, who goes by Keven. He hangs out with mostly Chinese students, although that's not what he expected in America.

NYT Peddles U.N. Propaganda about Palestinia​n Refugees - Leo Rennert, AmericanThinker: The United Nations Relief and Works Agency, whose sole task is to perpetuate the festering problem of Palestinian refugees, is mounting a traveling photo exhibit about their continuing plight. And the New York Times is only too pleased to help UNRWA peddle a grossly revisionist history of Palestinian refugees and their sad lot. In its Nov. 29 edition, the Times devotes a four-column spread, including five heart-tugging photographs, to depict Palestinian refugees as victims of Israel's founding. Jerusalem correspondent Isabel Kershner tells readers that "about 700,000 Arabs fled or were expelled from their homes during the Arab-Israeli war over the foundation of Israel" in 1948. Nowhere in her article, however, does Kershner mention that there would have been no Palestinian refugee problem if the Arabs had accepted the 1947 U.N. two-state partition plan, calling for creation of an Arab state and a Jewish state.

N. Korea steps up anti-Seoul propaganda campaign - globalpost.com: Pyongyang has stepped up its propaganda campaign against Seoul, calling on South Koreans to rise up against the government and accusing it of reverting back to its authoritarian past, experts said Monday.Last month, the central committee of the North's Democratic Front for the Attainment of Unification of the Fatherland urged the South Koreans to stand up to the government. In stark contrast to the continuing war of words, the North has taken several "conciliatory steps" toward Seoul, such as allowing South Korean technicians to begin work on Monday to set up wireless data transfer systems along the border for their joint complex.

Vietnam announces big fines for social media 'propaganda' - reuters.com: Vietnam will hand out fines of 100 million dong ($4,740) to anyone criticizing the government on social media, under a new law announced this week, the latest measure in a widening crackdown on dissent by the country's communist rulers.

Internet penetration is soaring in a country of an estimated 90 million people, a third of whom use the internet and about 20 million of whom have Facebook accounts, a report published at a seminar on information technology in Ho Chi Minh City in September showed. Image from entry, with caption: Vietnamese Internet activist Nguyen Lan Thang chats on Facebook at a cafe in Hanoi November 27, 2013

Media’s role in channelling terrorist propaganda - Abdi Mohamed Noor, standardmedia.co.ke: Terrorism and media are interlocked in a relationship of mutual benefit. Social media — Facebook and Twitter, Instagram and the like — the mushrooming of online media and rapid spread of television have increased publicity channels for terrorists.

Syria: German Muslim Convert in Propaganda Video -- German Muslim convert exhorts others to join Syrian 'jihad,' once again highlighting growing role of foreign jihadists in Syria [video] - Dalit Halevi, Ari Yashar: In theGerman convert "Abu Osama," a name he picked because he "loves Osama bin Laden," speaks in German, exhorting Muslims worldwide to come to Syria and establish a caliphate to impose Islamic law on the entire globe.

Finally, National-Security Storytelling That's Not Propaganda: Homeland's no fun to watch these days. But it does offer a corrective to the boosterish likes of Captain Phillips, Zero Dark Thirty, and Argo - Spencer Kornhaber, theatlantic.com: Captain Phillips, Zero Dark Thirty, and Argo are all flat-out better works of entertainment than Homeland. But inadvertently or not, insidiously or not, they also function as propaganda. Zero Dark Thirty was made with the government's help; all three tweak facts ever-so-gently to create a narrative of U.S. heroism and competence. You can’t fault any of these films for making you proud to be an American, as the accomplishments they depict really did happen and really were extraordinary.

But you should watch them with a certain amount of wariness and a certain amount of curiosity about what other stories aren’t being told. Homeland is telling one of those other stories. Each week this season, viewers have rightly bemoaned the show's leaps in logic, clunky dialogue, and seemingly pointless violence, but maybe at this point Homeland doesn't care about succeeding as entertainment—only as protest. Unctioned image from entry

Pro-War Propaganda Infects US Sports - Justin Doolittle, progress.org: The troops allowing us to “live free” is hardly a fringe belief. It reflects many decades of highly effective propaganda that has convinced generations of people that there is virtually nothing for which we should not thank the troops.

The ability to “get away from our world, and whatever’s going on in our world” and talk about football — whom are we to thank for this? The troops! There is seemingly no limit to the scope of human activity that many of us sincerely believe would not be possible were it not for the military’s selflessness. Uncaptioned image from entry


"In recent years, the Washington area has seen a dramatic rise in '1-percenters,' households that make about $400,000 or more. Their ranks have jumped 65 percent in the past decade, from 32,000 people to 53,000. That growth has spawned a plethora of high-end retail establishments, restaurants that serve $22 cocktails and $110-a-night pet spas with doggie lap pools. ... Many of these newly rich are tight-lipped about their money and unlikely to make an ostentatious display of it . ... This is particularly true within the defense contracting industry, which boomed after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks."


--From the film "The Venice Syndrome" (2012)


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