Monday, March 17, 2014

March 12-17

Abbreviated edition

"If you are not doing good public diplomacy in this town you are dead."

--The reaction of Australian ambassador Kim Beazley upon learning that the Melbourne Theatre Company was bringing its new production -- David William's cabaret on the life of Rupert Murdoch -- to the Kennedy Center in Washington; image from, with caption: David Williamson’s play “Rupert,” at the Melbourne Theater Company in Australia.


Putin’s Precedent: Give Siberia to China? - Michael Rubin, Commentary: "It is too bad that the Obama doctrine continues to be one of empty redlines that the United States neither has the power nor the will to enforce, and U.S. public diplomacy emphasizes tweeting for the sake of tweeting, with absolutely no evidence that officials using twitter adds an iota of credibility or effectiveness to American diplomacy. Perhaps it is time to play hardball and suggest publicly and often that the United States respects the rights of minorities within the borders of Russia to independence or to join neighboring states if those minorities so choose."

Reagan-style hypocrisy and Ukraine crisis - Robert Parry, "Official Washington’s hearty disdain for anyone who cites U.S. hypocrisy toward the Ukraine crisis can be traced back to a propaganda strategy hatched by the Reagan administration in 1984, dismissing any comparisons between U.S. and Soviet behavior as unacceptable expressions of 'moral equivalence.' ... As an Associated Press reporter, I encountered this 'moral equivalence' attack line when I questioned State Department officials about their hypocrisy in applying strict human rights standards to Nicaragua’s Sandinista government while excusing far more serious abuses by the Contras and other U.S. allies in Central America. Neocon intellectual Robert Kagan, who then was a senior official in the State Department’s Office of Public Diplomacy for Latin America, warned me that I was edging dangerously close to the line on 'moral equivalence.' Ironically, Kagan’s wife, Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland, is now at the forefront of U.S. support for the Ukrainian coup, which relied on neo-Nazi militias to overthrow a democratically elected president, though the official U.S. narrative is that this was a 'democratic' uprising."

Roman Grishenin: “US policy toward Russia is counterproductive” [video] - "Roman Grishenin, the deputy director of the A.M. Gorchakov Fund for Support of Public Diplomacy, commented on the current cooperation between Russia and the USA in the context

of events in Ukraine and Crimea. The expert believes that US policy is counterproductive and irrational toward Russia. The political crisis in Ukraine influences significantly Russian-American relations." Grishenin image from entry

UN refugee chief warns world powers not to forget Syria conflict - Lesley Wroughton, Reuters: "The head of the United Nation's refugee agency said on Tuesday it must be ready in case Ukraine's crisis causes refugees to flee Crimea, but his biggest worry is that 'a total disaster' could occur if the international community diverts its attention away from Syria's conflict.  Antonio Guterres, the head of the U.N.'s High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), said in an interview that little progress was being made in efforts by the United States and Russia, now at loggerheads over Ukraine, to bring Syria's warring sides together after the collapse of talks in Geneva last month. ... ‘I don't think there are reasons to be optimistic,’ he said of the possibility of resolving the Syrian war. ‘We see the war going on and on and on, not only with tragic humanitarian consequences with suffering of Syrian people that is unimaginable, but also becoming a serious threat to global peace and security, not

only to regional stability but also to global peace and security.’ Repeating what political leaders have said that the conflict can only be resolved through political dialogue, Guterres also said that 'discreet diplomacy' was needed among the main players - the U.S., Saudi Arabia, Russia and Iran - to narrow differences and avoid a prolonged deadlock in talks. ‘There was never any major international crisis that was solved without a lot of silent, discreet diplomacy behind the scenes to support the public diplomacy process,’ he said. ‘That is lacking in the Syrian crisis.’Image from entry, with caption: U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Antonio Guterres speaks during a news conference in Amman November 28, 2013.

Afghanistan Has Changed and America Needs To See It - Akmal Dawi, "Despite so many good and new things which I saw in Kabul this February, I also saw several things stuck in the past and unimpressive. The Kabul airport road abruptly ends at a roundabout adjacent to the Health Ministry with a scary view. Barbed wires, ‘no photo’ warnings and intimidating armed men block the road to the US Embassy. It is reported that the Embassy has over 1,000 American employees but you never hear from an ordinary Kabuli about meeting an American public diplomacy officer. Since relations between Kabul and Washington are also at their lowest, one wonders what the hundreds of diplomats are really doing."

Michelle Obama’s China Choice: Public Diplomacy vs. Politics - Elizabeth C. Economy, "Public diplomacy matters, but it is no substitute for policy. As First Lady Michelle Obama prepares to travel to China, she should consider weaving some policy into what appears to be almost entirely a week-long public diplomacy push. With her mother and two daughters in tow, the first lady will be visiting educational institutions and historical sites and discussing education in the United States and ChinaAs media have reported, Mrs. Obama will ‘talk to young people about the power of education to help them achieve their aspirations,’ speak with them about their lives, and tell them 'about America and the values we hold dear.' Fine and good, but the First Lady

has the opportunity to do much more. While the Chinese media have positively reported on the fact that the first lady will not touch the sensitive issues, the U.S. media have been less supportive, drawing some relatively unfavorable comparisons between the limited political aspirations of Mrs. Obama’s trip and those of previous first ladies. Mrs. Clinton’s speech at the 1995 women’s conference in Beijing, for example, stands out for its bold call for China to improve its human rights, and her successor Laura Bush called on China to do more to influence the repressive regime next door in Myanmar." Image from entry, with caption: U.S. first lady Michelle Obama (L) participates in a language class with teacher Crystal Chen for pre-school students at the Washington Yu Ying Public Charter School ahead of her upcoming trip to China, in Washington on March 4, 2014.

China, US 'should unleash' potential of cooperation - "China and the United States should respect each other's core interests and properly manage differences to further improve the bilateral relationship, Premier Li Keqiang

said on Thursday. Common interests far outweigh the countries' differences, Li told a news conference shortly after the conclusion of the annual legislative session. He urged both sides to do more to further 'unleash the potential' of bilateral cooperation. ... Ma Zhengang, deputy president of the China Public Diplomacy Association and former Chinese ambassador to the United Kingdom, said Sino-US relations have been stable despite Washington's strategic 'pivot' policy, which has contributed to the tension between China and some US allies over territorial disputes in the region." Image from entry, with caption: Press conference is held after the closing meeting of the second annual session of China's 12th National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, March 13, 2014.

Smarter Diplomacy: Doubling Down on People-to-People -- Citizen exchanges are an easy and cost-effective means for countries hoping to build influence overseas - Joshua W. Walker and Daniel Gaynor, "Last week, the U.S. government released its 2015 budget request for diplomacy efforts, ringing in at $46 billion. While this funding covers everything from AIDS prevention in Vietnam to peacekeeping in the Congo, there is one sliver of the budget that deserves more attention: the roughly $1 billion set aside for 'public diplomacy' and 'citizen exchanges.' Despite its lack of buzz, this funding – which amounts to only around 1/500th of the defense budget – figures to be one of the most important investments in expanding U.S. global influence and innovation for years to come. ... Throughout history, every nation has attempted to get greater influence abroad. But today, instead of doubling down on expensive 20th-century mechanisms of garnering global sway – like Russia’s approach in Georgia and now Ukraine – connecting citizens across borders is a far more effective (and cheaper) way of projecting power. Instead of reinventing diplomacy for each generation, emerging and traditional powers can learn from each other, by building on the best qualities each bring to the table. In short, diplomacy must move from the hands of lawmakers into the palms of citizens. ... Yet, government does have a role to play. Together with our allies, America must be a 'seed investor' of sorts, and fund ... exchanges of our best and brightest. (The new TechWomen initiative, which brought dozens of Middle Eastern and African women leaders in science, technology and math to Silicon Valley, is a great place to start.) And with a relatively tiny cost – the U.S. public diplomacy budget is, to be specific, 0.002 percent of our defense budget – any investment in these exchanges will be marginal in cost, but massive in dividends. ... By getting like-minded innovators to collaborate, citizen exchanges reveal that despite differences in language, religion and culture, the world’s brightest young minds have far more common interests than most would ever expect. If the U.S. – or any ambitious nation – hopes to expand its global influence in today’s diplomatic arena, looking to its own people is the best place to start."

Kerry salutes SHS - Jorge Castro, President, AFS-USA and a former AFS Exchange Student to Paw-Paw, Michigan, Letter to the Editor, "Last week, U.S. Secretary of State, John F. Kerry, issued a communication to exceptional schools in the U.S. that support public diplomacy efforts by hosting high school exchange students sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. AFS has just learned that Seward High School received this commendation from Secretary Kerry, and we want to express how proud we are to work in educational partnership with this outstanding school and its visionary leaders. Nearly 30 years ago, I was welcomed into a U.S. high school as an exchange student from Argentina. The experiences I had while living with a host family, attending school, and becoming a member of a community are what led me to an international career and eventually to become the president of AFS-USA. As global headlines continue to focus on issues of conflict that affect us all, regardless of where we live, I cannot think of anything more important than creating opportunities for young people from diverse backgrounds to understand one another better."

Hip-hop propaganda: How the U.S. enlists rap music to fight “jihadi cool”: There's a new counter-"extremist" program coming from U.S. and European governments -- "moderate" Muslim hip-hop - Hisham D. Aidi, Salon: "European officials (along with U.S. embassy officials) are scrutinizing hip-hop practices in their cities’ immigrant neighborhoods, trying to decide which Muslim hip-hop artists to legitimize and which to push aside. The debate over hip-hop, Europe’s dominant youth culture, stands in for a much larger debate about race, immigration, and national identity. With many of the biggest stars being Muslim, the disputes over which Muslim hip-hop artists are 'moderate' or 'radical' are also disagreements over what kind of Islam to allow into the public space. This debate is playing out most poignantly in France, the country with the largest Muslim community in Europe, the second-largest hip-hop market in the world, and a place whose traditions of laïcité aggressively restrict expressions of religion in the public sphere. ... The Obama administration’s move to reengage with more conservative European Muslim groups would create rifts within the American government. As journalist Ian Johnson writes, efforts to talk to the organizations affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood 'created the strange spectacle of the legal arm of the government trying desperately to prosecute these groups while, at the same time, the diplomatic arm held them up as models of integration.' American willingness to engage with Muslim Brotherhood– affiliated groups would rankle European politicians as well. In 2007, for instance, the U.S. Consulate in Munich supported the creation of an Islamic academy in the Bavarian town of Penzberg. The Conservative Party, then in power, opposed the project because the school was tied to Milli Görü¸s, a Turkish version of the Muslim Brotherhood. ... Partly to influence the debates taking place among Muslim-American youth, in July 2013, Congress amended the 1948 Smith- Mundt Act, long known as the 'anti-propaganda law.' The Smith-Mundt Act was passed at a time when Congress suspected that the State Department was staffed with Communists, and prohibited websites and media outlets financed by the U.S. government—like the Arabic-language TV channel Al-Hurra—from broadcasting at home to prevent the government from aiming propaganda at its own citizens. The Smith-Mundt Modernization Act repealed this prohibition, allowing government information produced for foreign audiences to be disseminated within the United States; thus programming produced by Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, the Middle East Broadcasting Networks, and other entities controlled by the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) can now be carried by local radio stations. Scholars and journalists quickly warned of the perils of domestic propaganda. And the Washington Post broke a story of a 'counterpropaganda' program run by the Pentagon that targeted a Somali-American journalist in Minneapolis by flooding his website, United Somalia, with comments by readers opposed to Al-Shabaab. 'The Pentagon is legally prohibited from conducting psychological operations at home or targeting U.S. audiences with propaganda, except during ‘domestic emergencies,’ ' explained the Post, adding that Defense Department rules also forbid the military from using psychological operations to 'target U.S. citizens at any time, in any location globally, or under any circumstances.' The defenders of the Smith-Mundt amendment, in turn, would argue that their law only covers information programs produced by the State Department and the BBG, not the Pentagon or the CIA, who are subject to different laws. To Muslim-American leaders, this was not reassuring. When Obama assumed office in 2008, cultural diplomacy initiatives toward Muslim communities continued, but the Bush administration’s aggressive attempts to mobilize Sufism and provoke an 'Islamic Reformation' were shelved. Yet by mid-2013, perhaps in response to the sectarianism unleashed by the Arab revolts, the U.S. government again began taking a more active role in shaping Islamic discourse. Not only was the 'anti-propaganda law' amended, but in July 2013 the State Department created an Office of Faith-Based Community Initiatives to engage with 'religious actors,' and then in September—days after Al-Shabaab launched a horrific attack on the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi—the U.S. and Turkey announced the creation of a $200 million program to battle extremism, called the Global Fund for Community Engagement and Resilience. ... American embassies were implementing 'diversity management' programs just as David Cameron, Nicolas Sarkozy, and Angela Merkel had declared multiculturalism was dead. Referring to a cultural event she organized in Denmark, Deborah Maclean, a public-diplomacy officer at the U.S. embassy in Copenhagen, explains: 'We wanted to encourage these youths to realize that it is okay to be different.' European officials take offense at the implicit criticism that Europeans cannot deal with difference, and that they are overwhelmed by an urban crisis that has never reached American proportions. American politicians can now take tours of 'sensitive' European neighborhoods. After one such junket, in May 2008, to the northern Parisian suburb of Seine-Saint-Denis, congressional aide Kevin Casey laughed and told the French press, 'You think this is the ghetto, come see the Bronx—I’m going to take photos of this to show my friends.'

French journalists have expressed anger at this exercise of American 'soft power,' saying that the 'head hunting' for future Muslim leaders constituted 'direct interference' that was infringing on French sovereignty and undermining the authority of French institutions. In April 2010, when the American ambassador Charles Rivkin, a former Hollywood executive, brought actor Samuel L. Jackson to visit a community center in the banlieue of Bondy in northern Paris, and Jackson, addressing a group of youths, compared their struggle to the hardships of his childhood in segregated Tennessee, French media resented the comparison. ... The State Department’s outreach to Muslims, conceived in response to Europe’s 'nativist surge,' seems to be further inflaming the right, who see Washington’s rap-infused initiatives as infringing on their sovereignty and are even more chary of their Muslim compatriots’ allegiance. In April 2008, the daily Le Parisien ran a frontpage story on alleged CIA initiatives in the banlieues. ... If the aim of the 'minority programs' was to create positive impressions of the U.S., the effort is working. European-Muslim activists appreciated the brutal candor of the Wikileaks cables. In France, in particular, perhaps because of the country’s contentious alliance with the U.S., positive opinion of the U.S. has risen sharply since 2008. And young Muslims are aware of the delicate politics involved in accepting American offers. Widad Ketfi, a twenty-seven-year-old blogger who participated in an embassy-sponsored program, told the Times that she knows she was targeted by the U.S. embassy because of her Algerian-Muslim background, but added, 'What bothers me is being the target of the French state.' And while they resent the NSA surveillance and importation of American policing methods to European cities, Muslim activists and entrepreneurs think their relationship with the American embassy can help leverage better concessions from their governments." Image from entry, with caption: Vanilla Ice

How Government-Funded Media Outlets Are Viewed - "Jeremy Hobson takes a look at RT, as well as CCTV out of China, the BBC from the U.K. and Voice of America from the U.S., with Lawrence Pintak, founding dean of The Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University."

TTIP round ends with mixed messages - Andrew Gardner, "Negotiators from the European Union and the United States today insisted that talks on a transatlantic trade agreement are making good progress, despite the increasing number of fracture lines that are surfacing. ... In an effort to focus public attention on the benefits of the transatlantic trade and investment partnership (TTIP), as the prospective deal is dubbed, the leaders of the negotiating teams – Ignacio Garcia Bercero for the EU and Dan Mullaney for the US – both stressed the value of an agreement for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Mullaney said that SMEs that trade internationally grow faster, pay better and create more jobs than companies limited to their domestic market. Garcia Bercero said that the chapter in the trade talks on SMEs was 'a first for the European Union' and argued that 'TTIP would help them expand'. Their argument, expanded upon in a document published today on the deal's potential benefits for small businesses, contends – among other arguments – that smaller companies are disproportionately hurt by non-tariff barriers and could benefit disproportionately from lower costs, more transparency, and less red tape at borders. The document is one element of the two sides' public diplomacy to promote acceptance of the talks. Another element, this week, included a two-hour meeting with 300 representatives of business, consumers, and other ‘stakeholders'. However, the two sides are now showing a less united front on other issues."

Great East Japan Earthquake: Looking back on the tragedy of three years ago - Kazuyuki Katayama, "Three years have passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake struck March 11, 2011, resulting in a tremendous number of irreplaceable lives lost and unprecedented damage, mainly in the Tohoku region of Japan. On this occasion, I would like to express my heartfelt sympathy to all those affected by the disaster. We were overwhelmed by the immediate outpouring of compassion and support from the international community, particularly the U.S., including both Michigan and Ohio. Taking this opportunity, I would like to express our sincere gratitude once again, on behalf of the government and people of Japan.Tragically, two American JET (Japan Exchange & Teaching Program) participants, Ms. Taylor Anderson and Mr. Monty Dickson, dispatched to Ishinomaki City and Rikuzentakata City, respectively, died in the tsunami. Earlier this month, I had an opportunity to participate in the film event Live Your Dream, which portrayed the lives and dreams of these two JET participants. Viewing together with their family members, the film’s director, students and others, I was extremely moved to recognize that the bereaved family – still coping with the reality of profound grief – as well as many other friends in the U.S., have shown enduring support and compassion to Japan. The Japanese people will never forget this kind outreach. ... Dr. Kazuyuki Katayama joined the Consulate General of Japan in Detroit on Sept. 20, 2013. He began his career in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan in 1983."

Within the ministry, he has served as director of the Energy Resources Division of the Economic Affairs Bureau and as director of the Cultural Affairs Division of the Public Diplomacy Department. Overseas, Katayama has held posts at the Japanese Embassies in China, the United States, Malaysia and Belgium."  Katayama image from entry

Axing the Australia Network would be a backwards step, Mark Scott says: ABC managing director says keeping the public broadcaster in charge of the overseas network is in Australia’s best interests - Amanda Meade, "Axing the Australia Network would be a step backward that would strip away the positive impact the international broadcaster is having on the country’s image, ABC managing director Mark Scott has argued in a comprehensive defence of the need for an independent international network. ... Scott said the ABC’s contract with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for a new, converged service — television, radio, online and mobile had allowed the network to launch new websites for Chinese, Indonesian and Indian audiences and new bilingual mobile apps

in Mandarin and Bahasa. He said the service was now targeting the rising middle-class of Asia who were interested in Australia as a business, educational and tourist destination – and not just ex-pat Australians. 'We think it’s in the best interests of Australia’s public diplomacy that we be allowed to get on with the job we are contracted to do – deliver a digital media strategy in the region, putting the best of modern Australia on display,' Scott said. 'We think the trust and confidence – so hard to win, so easy to lose – that’s been established by the ABC in the region over the years should not be jeopardised.' ... The foreign minister, Julie Bishop, has also been critical of the Australia Network under the ABC’s control: 'It is meant to be a tool of public diplomacy and I am concerned by the level of negative feedback I receive from overseas.'" Image from entry, with caption: Mark Scott: ‘every major Western government currently pursues their soft diplomacy in international broadcasting through public broadcasters.’

Dan O'Brien: An effective diplomatic corps crucial to recovery: St Patrick's Day offers the perfect opportunity to bolster our trade connections - "Just like the Department of Finance during the boom when money was plentiful, the Department of Foreign Affairs did not change nearly as much as it should have, or as it could have given the available funding. It never caught up with other similar small countries in getting the structures and resources appropriate for one of the most globalised countries in the world. The department's budget, the number of embassies and the size of the diplomatic corps all remained below those of similar sized countries, such as Denmark and Finland. Nor were strategic thinking capabilities and structures nurtured, as they have been in those countries, which could help in identifying opportunities and threats. This is of a piece. The political class viewed the boom/bubble as a party to be enjoyed, not an opportunity to improve the way the country is run for the long-term betterment of all citizens. That said, diplomats themselves must take some of the blame for limited change. They never consistently made the case to their political masters that Ireland needed a diplomatic corps similar in size and capacity to those of the Nordic countries. They were, and still are, bad at 'public diplomacy' – explaining to the people who pay their salaries (taxpayers) what they do and how it works to their benefit. And they have been particularly bad at countering the perception that they spend their time quaffing champagne and eating foil-wrapped chocolates at glamorous soirees across the world."

Shun entanglement, embrace engagement - Adil Najam, "[A] ... major goal of Pakistan’s foreign policy should be re-establish its credentials in the diplomacy of engagement. This would entail at least three dimensions: economic diplomacy, global citizenship, and public diplomacy. ... Public diplomacy is one area of foreign policy that all countries have begun investing heavily in. For example, India set up its Public Diplomacy Division in 2006. For Pakistan the ‘image’ challenge makes public diplomacy a particularly pressing need. However, public diplomacy has evolved much since the days of Edward R Murrow. Unfortunately, despite some valiant efforts in fits and starts, our institutional buy-in to meaningful public diplomacy remains shaky. Public diplomacy is not simply the occasional showcasing of the ‘softer side’ of Pakistan. It is constructing a well-articulated narrative and implementing a thought-through strategy of engaging a multitude of international actors (states, and beyond states) in an alternative discourse. Importantly, good public diplomacy requires buy-in at the very highest levels. Most of all, good public diplomacy brings us back to what William Ewart Gladstone, four-time prime minister of Britain, described as his ‘first principle of foreign policy’: Good government at home. There is no better way to improve your image abroad than to improve your reality at home. Ultimately, it may be that reality at home that is our biggest foreign policy challenge of all."

Kashmiri delegates engage world envoys at Geneva - "A delegation from Azad and occupied Kashmir has kicked off a public diplomacy campaign at the United Nations on the long-pending Kashmir dispute. While discussing Kashmir, UN’s Independent Expert on the promotion

of a democratic and equitable international order, Professor Alfred de Zsyas lent his personal support for the revitalization of the role of self-determination as a principal means of settling international disputes. Pakistan’s permanent envoy to the UN in New York said in February that the right to self-determination was ‘sacred’ to Kashmiris and that Islamabad will continue supporting it until it is realized." Uncaptioned image from entry

A Fresh Perspective: Time to fight back - "Enough with the passivity; supporters of Israel worldwide need to start fighting back against the BDS movement [Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions]. ... There are several outstanding public diplomacy organizations out there explaining why Israel is right. There is no doubt that this is needed.

These organizations need to keep doing the great work they are doing. After all, the basis of our own support of Israel is our conviction in the righteousness of this cause, and not any cost-benefit analysis! However, at a time like today when the BDS movement is using intimidation, disinformation and threats to get companies to boycott Israel, we cannot just think of the righteousness of our cause but we need to add a layer of realistic economic incentives based on thinking of how to defeat those boycotts. In the long term, the change in discourse and the paradigm shift that traditional public diplomacy organizations work towards is what Israel needs. However, in the short term, we Israel supporters need to enlist and act as solders in a large army defending Israel wherever it is being attacked." Image from entry, with caption: Man holds boycott Israel sign

Cameron’s undiplomatic welcome: You have to sympathize with U.K. Ambassador Matthew Gould even as he's branded a strike-breaking scab by his Israeli diplomatic colleagues - Matthew Kalman, "You have to sympathize with Matthew Gould as he prepares for what should be the highlight of his term as Britain’s ambassador to Tel Aviv – the visit of Prime Minister David Cameron – while being branded a strike-breaking scab by his Israeli diplomatic colleagues. In case you haven’t noticed – and why would you, since no one outside the Jerusalem beltway seems to care – Israel’s Foreign Ministry diplomats are on strike. That means none of the usual – and often vital – Foreign Ministry groundwork for Cameron’s visit and no accompaniment from Daniel Taub, Israel’s ambassador to the Court of St James's. In a letter sent to

Ambassador Gould on Tuesday, the union of Israeli Foreign Ministry employees accused the British Embassy of 'actively contributing to the ongoing efforts to break our struggle for better and fairer conditions.' ... The diplomats have good cause to strike. Their pay and conditions are awful. Dozens of diplomats have quit the ministry, unable to survive on the ministry’s starvation wages and the shocking way in which it treats their spouses and careers. To add insult to injury, the ministry’s work has been sliced away, salami-style, for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to distribute to his coalition favorites. First, the Ministry for Public Diplomacy was given ham-fisted responsibility for Israel’s public information efforts. Then the Ministry for Strategic Affairs was given large parts of the Iran portfolio. Then Tzipi Livni was put in charge of the Palestinian peace talks. Despite these strategic blunders by the government, the Foreign Ministry has continued to make huge strides in various areas of diplomacy around the globe - including in China, where relations are growing steadily, and in Britain."| Image from entry, with caption: British Ambassador to Israel Matthew Gould in London. See also.

A pilot sailing in Noah's Ark - Reuven Ben-Shalom, "Last week's raid on the Iranian ship Klos-C ... protect[ed] its citizens and interests by thwarting arms shipments, and crippling efforts to build destructive capabilities. Success depends on superb intelligence and streamlined inter-agency efforts.

Israel's weapon of choice is now the keyboard, and when necessary, the long and capable arm of the IDF and Mossad is unleashed. This week, I attended the press conference in Eilat, where the weapons were put on display. I believe we have much to learn on how to conduct our public diplomacy efforts, but the fact is that a deadly and strategic capability was denied from reaching terrorists, and this is a source of pride and relief." Image from entry, with caption: The Klos-C

Exclusive: Arabic high-tech made in Israel - Niv Elis, "With Arabic becoming one of the most widely used languages on the Internet, Arab-Israeli start-ups eye users across political boundaries. ... Panet, a news portal based in the town of Taiba, east of Kfar Saba, uses Israel’s “” web address suffix and gets 46% of its 1.4 million daily hits from abroad. On March 6, President Peres used the platform to conduct a question-and-answer session with Arabs throughout the Middle East as part of a public diplomacy effort. As the session with Peres began, heavy traffic crashed the inundated website."

Ethiopia: 'Save a Child's Heart' Group Improves Cardiac Care - VOA, "Washington -- Each year one million babies are born with congenital heart defects. Ten percent of them do not live to see their first birthday due to lack of treatment, most of them in poor and developing countries. An Israel-based organization is working to improve those children's chances for survival. The group plans to train Ethiopia's first pediatric cardiac surgeon, and its efforts to raise money for a boy named Eliyas. ... Ethiopian Embassy Minister Counselor and head of public diplomacy Wahide Belay praised the effort."

Ethiopia: GERD to Produce 700 Mw Electric Power By Next Year - "The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD,) constructed over the Blue Nile River (Abay) will start producing 700 MW of electric power by next year. This was disclosed during a press conference called by the office of the National Council for the coordination of public participation on the construction of the Grand Renaissance Dam on Wednesday March 12. ... The project was started three years ago and the anniversary of the inauguration of the project will be celebrated throughout the nation and across the globe. The celebration includes a painting and photograph exhibition, poetic and literature nights, musical drama, and sports and entertainment programs at Addis Ababa stadium and other programs at Benishangul Gumuz, Guba. According to the deputy director of the office, so far the participation of the public is encouraging and includes four major parts of support namely political, public diplomacy, financial and environmental protection support."

Divided Cyprus: Coming to Terms on an Imperfect Reality - "New political will in Cyprus, Turkey and the international community for a settlement is fanning hopes the current round of talks on a bizonal, bicommunal federation can succeed. Yet, no new factor has appeared to change the content of the five failed rounds of negotiations over four decades. ... 'Exploring the terms for two independent

Cypriot states in the EU may persuade the sides they do in fact prefer to negotiate a federation', says Hugh Pope, Crisis Group’s Deputy Program Director for Europe and Central Asia. 'But to reach any deal at all, the two sides will have to do much more public diplomacy to earn each other’s trust; will have to build on recent direct communication between the Cypriot sides, Athens and Ankara; and be realistic about what they want and can achieve'." Uncaptioned image from entry

Iran Appoints New Envoy to Slovenia - "The Iranian Foreign Ministry appointed Morteza Darzi Ramandi as the New Iranian Ambassador to Slovenia.

Darzi Ramandi, who was appointed to the post on Sunday, served as director-general of public diplomacy and media department of the foreign ministry." Uncaptioned image from entry

Achievement of urban policy; realized vision of Tehran - Mention of public dipomacy.

Public Diplomacy Research Group, Korea as honorary ambassadors to inform business conducted directly Seoul [Google translation] - Business Wire - "Ministry of Foreign Affairs is Fri the 14th public diplomacy envoy Honor (Honorary Envoy for Public Diplomacy) proposed direct creative public diplomacy for South Korea to promote the business to discuss the third Car Public Diplomacy Conference is scheduled seminar group. launched on January 29 last year, 'Public Diplomacy Research Group, was appointed as a public diplomacy envoy honor being served domestic and foreign scholars consists of the existing term of office has expired, refused honors reappointed as the 14 people and three people at the same time as the newly appointed immyeongsik also hold seminars."

Why North Korea’s “Tourism Diplomacy” Fails
- Chenzhou Gong, PD News – CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "A ... disturbing problem facing North Korea’s 'tourism diplomacy' is its lack of credibility. As Walter Lippmann wrote nearly a century ago, most people don’t choose between true and false messages, they choose between trustworthy and untrustworthy messengers. ... North Korea is indeed an untrustworthy messenger that intermittently spreads false messages. This leaves the audience very much deaf to any of their messages. ... On a

deeper level, the failure of North Korea’s 'tourism diplomacy' is rooted in the nation’s inability to understand the tastes of foreign publics." Image from entry, with caption: North Korean soldiers at the border. Taking photos of soldiers can be risky. I was photographing the soldiers at a barricade when our tourist bus was blocked and my camera was taken away. After an hour of negotiations with the soldiers, the guide returned my camera to me with ten photos deleted.

Public Diplomacy at Buddha University - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "Well, this Siddhartha has been invited to come give a lecture at Guatam Buddha University in Delhi on Public Diplomacy!

But of course, Buddha was an original public diplomat, and had a profound bit of soft power. I am honored." Image from entry

Välkommen till konferens om kulturens roll i internationellt jämställdhetsarbete [no English translation available] - "Svenska institutet välkomnar till nu till konferensen 'Culture as Public Diplomacy – glo[b]al cooperation to strengthen women’s rights' för att summera erfarenheter och inspirera till fortsatta samarbeten och aktiviteter kring kvinnors och flickors rättigheter samt jämställdhet. Vilka resultat uppnådde Seven på Västra Balkan? Är kultur en ett bra verktyg i arbetet för kvinnors rättigheter?"

Jamie Shea in the spotlight - "Dr Jamie Shea has been working with NATO since 1980 in a wide range of areas including external relations, press and media, and policy planning, and currently serves as Deputy Assistant Secretary General for the Emerging Security Challenges Division. ... Here he answers

five questions about NATO’s role in tackling 21st century security threats and about what keeps him awake at night. The 'Leaders in the Spotlight' series is a project developed by Young Professionals in Foreign Policy in cooperation with NATO’s Public Diplomacy Division." Image from entry

NATO internships open doors for future peace and security professionals - "Have you ever wanted to know how the Alliance works from the inside? On 13 March, NATO began taking internship applications for 2015. Young graduates and research students from a wide range of academic disciplines are invited to apply by 14 April 2014. ... NATO’s internship programme offers a broad range of possible thematic orientations: former students of graphic design, library science, journalism, law enforcement, aeronautics or engineering might also find a unique opportunity to gain international experience in peace and security.

Knowledge of Russian or Arabic is especially welcome. Working with Communications Services in NATO’s Public Diplomacy Division, Bianca tells us, 'The NATO internship programme is quite unique, because it allows you to work in (or in connection with) highly specialised domains. Irrespective of your area of interest, I’ve learned first-hand that NATO is a very dynamic environment that can offer much more than what you can anticipate. It’s an environment that encourages and allows for continued development. My internship with the Public Diplomacy Division was a great opportunity to develop new skills and to grow professionally, Bianca explains. 'My work revolved around the activity of the editorial team in Brussels and with our colleagues in Afghanistan. I was also in contact with personnel from different NATO divisions, which helped me to understand the complexity of an international organisation.'” Image from entry

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