Monday, February 29, 2016

Tragedy of Christianity unites Moscow and the Vatican

Inna Novikova, Pravda

uncaptioned image from article
What influence can the meeting of the heads of the world's two largest Christian churches show on the world and international politics? Is it possible to save the Christians and Christianity in the Middle East? Pravda.Ru editor-in-chief Inna Novikova discussed these questions with Director of the Center for Strategic Communications, Dmitry Abzalov. ...
Abzalov: "Historically, religious and ethnic aspects have been particularly strong in the Middle East. It was even believed that one could manipulate the region because of that. It is very important that the two churches have declared their joint position from the perspective of public diplomacy in times of religious instability. In Syria, the Islamic State manipulates religion and religious postulates, although ISIL fighters have noting in common with religion." ...
"Radicalization is a threat to any religion: Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, and Judaism, even to atheists. Most terrible confrontations in the Middle East were the confrontations between different branches of Islam, rather than between Christians and Muslims." ...

Palestinian Violence Bred by Incitement? You Mean the Occupation?

Yonatan Mendel,

image from

Did the killer of Shlomit Kriegman, who lives in the Qalandiya refugee camp, need a Twitter account to know that his life was in the dumps?

It is as if the pair of words “Palestinian incitement” had become another pain reliever to which Israel has become addicted. Like “the need to strengthen hasbara (public diplomacy),” Palestinian incitement has distracted our attention from the main issues. It is liable to lead us to the mistaken conclusion that a Palestinian mother who has lost a daughter is less aggrieved than a Jewish mother who has lost a daughter. It causes us to focus on Palestinian incitement rather than the conditions in the lives of the Palestinians themselves: the lack of a Palestinian state, the military occupation, the millions of refugees whose problem is our problem, the poverty, the roadblocks, the walls, the despair. What would we have done without Palestinian incitement? Who knows. Maybe we would have dared look inward.

Reflections on the Ku Klux Klan

Claire Berlinski, ricochet.coman [article includes video]

Berlinski image from article

Let’s review what happened yesterday:

The polls are still putting Trump ahead in Tennessee, Georgia, and Virginia. Substantially ahead. The only Super Tuesday state in which he’s not leading is Texas — Cruz’s home state. 

For years I’ve had an obviously narcissistic conceit. No one appointed me, but I’ve taken it upon myself to be the American Ambassador, everywhere, mostly because I’ve always been baffled and not a little angry that our appointed ambassadors don’t see it as part of their jobs to defend Americans against calumnies in the foreign press and imagination. I don’t expect them to do that with outrage, or undiplomatically, just calmly to confront lies with facts, and point people to sources where they can learn more, if they’re so inclined. I’m not rude when people say crazy things to me about Americans; I’ve almost always judged them to be misinformed, not bad. But I’ve never absented myself from the conversation, either. I’ve seen it as my personal responsibility to give them better information.

Years of living as an expatriate has made me keenly aware that the United States is unusual — that is to say, exceptional — in many ways. But two ways, in particular, strike me as particularly unusual and are for me a source of real pride.
The first is our conception of freedom of expression. I can’t tell you how many people don’t understand it at all, or don’t believe me when I tell them, “There is literally nothing you’re forbidden to say in the United States.” In Turkey, I’d read in the press and be told, repeatedly, that “every advanced country” has laws against “hate speech,” or that “no country” would allow certain kinds of people to hold rallies.
Again and again, I’d say, “No, that isn’t true.” It does happen to be true of most developed countries. You all know why those neo-Nazis in Germany don’t brandish swastikas: They’d go to jail. Holocaust denial is illegal in France. Britain has extensive “hate speech” laws. When our campus wingnuts grow up, we may have them, too. But we don’t have them now. Our campus wingnuts remain, for now, campus wingnuts.
I like explaining this to people. I like explaining the brilliance of the phrase, “Congress shall make no law.” It’s quite different from constitutions that splendidly express a positive commitment to freedom of expression. Our constitution takes a much dimmer view of abstract promises to have Good Things. Ours denies the government the power to make any law infringing upon speech. It’s a big difference, and a consequential one.
People tend not to believe this at first, or don’t quite understand it. It’s a hard concept to understand, especially because it’s deeply unnatural, or so I’ve concluded from conversations in which I explain it. It seems, to most people, appalling and indecent to allow people who seem to mean it to march about shouting, “Heil Hitler.” In countries where ethnic tensions have in recent memory resulted in ethnic cleansing, it also seems, frankly, stupid. Do you want to see a Turkish mob screaming that they’re going to do to the Kurds what they did to the Armenians? No, neither do I. So yes, I do understand why well-meaning Turkish liberals think hate speech laws in Turkey might be an excellent idea. I disagree, because I know they’ll be used, in reality, to prosecute anyone on the wrong side of the government. But well-meaning people can disagree.
Usually I tell people about Brandenburg v. Ohio and National Socialist Party of America v. Village of Skokie. These really were landmark cases. I think even many Americans, if not most, aren’t fully aware that our modern conception of freedom of speech dates from these verdicts almost as much as it does from the Constitution itself.
Clarence Brandenburg, as I’m sure you all know, was a Ku Klux Klan member who held a rally in Hamilton County, Ohio. “We’re not a revengent [sic] organization,” he said, “but if our President, our Congress, our Supreme Court, continues to suppress the white, Caucasian race, it’s possible that there might have to be some revengeance taken.” Others in the film footage were hooded, but they were armed, burning crosses, and muttering, “This is what we are going to do to the [racial epithet],” “Send the Jews back to Israel,” “Bury the [racial epithet],” “Freedom for the whites,” and “[racial epithet] will have to fight for every inch he gets from now.”
Brandenburg was convicted, sentenced to prison, and fined $1,000 under Ohio’s criminal syndicalism laws, which made it illegal to advocate “crime, sabotage, violence, or unlawful methods of terrorism as a means of accomplishing industrial or political reform,” or to assemble “with any society, group, or assemblage of persons formed to teach or advocate the doctrines of criminal syndicalism.” Brandenburg (or his ACLU lawyers, to be precise; he wasn’t that sharp) argued that these laws violated the First Amendment. The case went to the Supreme Court, and the Court unanimously agreed with him. They struck down Ohio’s laws.
The Court used a two-part test to evaluate speech: (1) speech can be prohibited if it is “directed at inciting or producing imminent lawless action” and (2) it is “likely to incite or produce such action.” [My italics.] That “and” is important.
I’m sure I’m telling you nothing you don’t know, but I promise you that no one outside of the US has heard of the Brandenburg test. I don’t know why. You’d think explaining this would be part of our public diplomacy worldwide, because it’s such an important part of our history, culture, and mores, and it’s something of which we can be so justly proud.
Sometimes they think I’m just making this stuff up. So I show them this:
There you go. We Americans do not ban this kind of speech or that kind of rally.
One of the most common wacko beliefs about the US is that we literally forbid anti-Semitic speech. Yes, this is actually a conversation you can really have, in many parts of the world — you can find real people who believe there’s something hypocritical about our objections to Iran’s sponsorship of Holocaust-denial conferences, because at least they allow such things to be said, whereas we just lock up our anti-Semites and our Holocaust deniers.
Yes, many people believe this. But no, it’s not, generally, because they’re stupid. How could people know otherwise, if that’s what they’ve heard everywhere and we make no effort to explain our culture and our legal system? That’s why they need Ambassador Berlinski. Fortunately, that one’s easy to disprove. “Ah,” I’ll say, laughing. “Let’s see. Google David Duke.” They may not know his name, but they pretty much always know what the Klan is. I guess we must make a lot of movies about the Klan.
David Duke, the American white nationalist, anti-Semitic conspiracy theorist, and former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. Sufficiently famous around the world that I can win the same argument over and over and over again by pointing out that David Duke is still very much alive, at liberty, saying whatever the hell he pleases, and denying the Holocaust. You can also buy Mein Kampf on Amazon and have it delivered the same day. Want a copy of The Communist ManifestoThe Protocols of the Elders of Zion? We don’t ban any of it.
I’m proud of our First Amendment.
But there’s another thing of which I’m just as proud, and I’m not sure whether it makes sense to be proud of both at the same time, although I am. I’m proud that we’re the kind of country that can let Nazis and Klansmen disgrace themselves in public, because Americans are basically decent. Such views just could not gain wide purchase.
I’ve asked myself many times whether these court verdicts truly represented an originalist interpretation of the First Amendment. Did they reflect a principled commitment to the plain meaning of the Constitution? Or is it possible that this jurisprudence seemed a plausible interpretation only because these cases followed such a long period of peace, prosperity, and social stability? Did we come to see ourselves as too decent to be corrupted by such obviously vile ideas? So decent that the Supreme Court justices just knew, deep down, that American Nazis and the Klan weren’t ever going gain purchase in the United States of America? Yeah, we can put up with the occasional Sieg Heil and a few flaming crosses. That stuff’s never going to get anywhere with Americans these days.
That’s the other calumny I try to correct everywhere I go. The notion that Americans are deeply racist. I would have sworn, until yesterday, that people who insisted to me that this was still a significant political sentiment in American life were out of their minds. I genuinely thought this was, overwhelmingly, a left-wing fantasy.
I still believe the first part to be true.
But I believe Trump knew exactly what he was saying. There’s no such thing as an adult American who’s never heard of the Ku Klux Klan. There’s no such thing as an adult American who’s never heard of David Duke.
The United States’ history of practicing human bondage is real. It was based on views about race still espoused by David Duke. This is known to every American adult.
That such a comment could come out of the mouth of a frontrunner in the GOP polls is a disgrace to all of America. Any attempt to pretend he didn’t really say that or it didn’t mean what it sounds like will be about as convincing as efforts to persuade Americans that Ahmadinejad was simply expressing a lively disdain for the world’s suffocating political correctness. 
This one wasn’t the hypersensitive Left’s wild imagination. This was the real thing. People who vote for him tomorrow can’t say they have no idea what he stands for.

PM deliberately destroying Israel's foreign service, say Lapid and Liberman

Raphael Ahren, The Times of Israel

Image from article, with caption: Leader of the Yesh Atid political party, Yair Lapid, and leader of the Yisrael Beytenu party, Avigdor Liberman, lead a joint conference in the Knesset regarding Israel's foreign policy. February 29, 2016.

Two former ministers on Monday attacked the government’s approach to foreign policy, arguing that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who also serves as foreign minister, is intentionally weakening Israel’s Foreign Ministry. 
During a jointly organized Knesset conference, Yesh Atid party chairman Yair Lapid and Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman lamented plans to close Israeli embassies and consulates across the globe and called on Netanyahu to appoint a full-time foreign minister and immediately embark on diplomatic initiatives to improve the country’s international standing. 
The conference marked an unlikely alliance between the centrist Lapid and the hawkish Liberman. Political differences aside, ex-TV anchor Lapid has sought to present his Yesh Atid as a clean, fresh political grouping; Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu has been engulfed in a series of corruption scandals.
“The deterioration of our foreign relations is dramatic,” declared Lapid, who served as finance minister in Netanyahu’s third government, before the prime minister fired him and called new elections. “Our international standing has never so terrible, from 1948 until today. And what makes things even worse is that the government does not realize this. They are pretending that everything is alright. Everything is not alright.”
Former ministers Liberman (left) and Lapid at a joint conference on Israel's foreign policy in the Knesset, February 29, 2016 (courtesy)
Former ministers Liberman (left) and Lapid at a joint conference on Israel’s foreign policy in the Knesset, February 29, 2016 (courtesy)
Israel’s national security depends on the quality of its soldiers and its strategic alliances, Lapid declared. And whereas in the past, France helped build the nuclear facility in Dimona, Germany subsidized submarines and the US provided handsome military aid packages, Lapid said that “today we wouldn’t get that.”
Lapid’s comments appear to contradict current German and American policies on aid to Israel.
Addressing a packed room, the Yesh Atid leader further decried the fact that only one half of one percent of the national state budget goes to the Foreign Ministry and that its responsibilities have been delegated to various other ministries. 
“Israeli hasbara [public diplomacy] is spread out over five ministries, and none knows what the others are doing. It doesn’t have to be like that,” he said. “We can win. Israel can be accepted and beloved and its version of things can be heard. But we need to work on it. It’s possible.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) with then-Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman at a meeting in the Knesset, on November 25, 2013. (photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) with then-foreign minister Avigdor Liberman at a meeting in the Knesset, on November 25, 2013. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Liberman, who served as foreign minister in two Netanyahu governments, most recently until May 2015, launched a bitter salvo against the prime minister. “The Foreign Ministry is the personal property of nobody, including the Netanyahu family. You can’t just take it and run it into the ground,” he said.
“What is happening today is not only absurd; it’s a real attempt to take the Israeli foreign service by force and simply destroy it,” Liberman added.
The Foreign Ministry’s budget for public advocacy stands at a mere NIS 5 million ($1.28 million) per year, the former foreign minister said. “What campaign against BDS [the anti-Israel boycott, divest and sanctions movement] can we talk about?”
Liberman went on to slam the government for its recent decision to close down several representative offices, including in Minsk, Marseille and Philadelphia. “I don’t understand what the motivation is for these moves,” he said, arguing that in times of unprecedented anti-Israel agitation in France and the US, Israel should invest more and not less in diplomacy.
He charged that the government has failed to formulate a unified foreign policy, and that while one minister expresses a hope for the demise of the Palestinian Authority, another says the PA’s survival is in Israel’s interests. Netanyahu seeks a detente with Turkey, the former foreign minister said, while Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked calls for a Kurdish state.
Former finance minister Yair Lapid (left) and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, when the last government was in power, in Jerusalem on July 3, 2013. (Flash90)
Former finance minister Yair Lapid (left) and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, when the last government was in power, in Jerusalem on July 3, 2013. (Flash90)
“Israel has no such thing as foreign policy. There is [just] utter neglect,” Liberman concluded.
Taking the podium after Lapid and Liberman concluded their introductory remarks, several speakers addressed Israel’s foreign relations, among them Israeli diplomats, current and former MKs and international public relations professionals.
MK Michael Oren (Kulanu), the only representative of the coalition present and a former Israeli ambassador to the US, stopped short of criticizing the government, but called on Israel to increase efforts to improve the country’s image on the international stage.
Toward the end of the one-hour conference, Liberman admitted that he failed to influence Netanyahu’s policies on major issues during his time as foreign minister.
“That’s why I am not in the government today,” he said.
“When it comes to foreign policy, there is no [clear] line. When there is a policy I can agree with, there would be no reason why I wouldn’t join [the coalition]. But I’ve been there, done that already. We tried to change things from inside, and that didn’t work. So now we’re trying to change things from the outside.”
The hawkish Liberman conceded that he and Lapid disagree on many issues, “but we agree that without a strong diplomatic apparatus we won’t make any progress.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Knesset on February 29, 2016. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Knesset on February 29, 2016. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)
Netanyahu, speaking later at his Likud party’s weekly faction meeting, mocked the conference as a political ploy.
“So there are some who choose to talk endlessly and to deal in political conferences, and there are those who fend off the pressures on the State of Israel and strengthen our international alliances in order to safeguard our future here,” he said. 
Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely also dismissed Lapid and Liberman’s effort as a cynical political exercise. “The connection between Liberman and Lapid is a cynical connection of ‘new politics’ and old politics,” she said, mocking Yesh Atid’s slogan during the 2013 elections. “Conferences attacking the Foreign Ministry will not enhance Israel’s international standing.”

How Ronald Reagan Won the Cold War

Lee Edwards and Elizabeh Edwards,, Feb 29 2016

uncaptioned image from article

When he took office in January 1981, President Ronald Reagan looked around the world and was greatly troubled by what he saw. For more than three decades, the United States and its allies had striven to contain communism through a series of diplomatic, economic, and sometimes military initiatives that had cost hundreds of billions of dollars and tens of thousands of lives. And yet communism still controlled the Soviet Union, Eastern and Central Europe, China, Cuba, Vietnam, and North Korea and had spread to sub-Saharan Africa, Afghanistan, and Nicaragua.

Whatever its early success, it was clear that the policy of containment no longer worked. The president determined that the time had come to defeat communism based on a simple premise: “We win and they lose.” In his first presidential press conference, Reagan stunned official Washington by denouncing the Soviet leadership as still dedicated to “world revolution and a one-world Socialist-Communist state.” As he wrote in his official autobiography, “I decided we had to send as powerful a message as we could to the Russians that we weren’t going to stand by anymore while they armed and financed terrorists and subverted democratic governments.”

Based on intelligence reports and his lifelong study, Reagan concluded that Soviet communism was cracking and ready to crumble. He first went public with his prognosis of the Soviets’ systemic weakness at his alma mater, Eureka College, in May 1982. He declared that the Soviet empire was “faltering because rigid centralized control has destroyed incentives for innovation, efficiency, and individual achievement.”

One month later, in a prophetic address to the British Parliament at Westminster, Reagan said that the Soviet Union was gripped by a “great revolutionary crisis” and that a “global campaign for freedom” would ultimately prevail. He boldly predicted that “the march of freedom and democracy … will leave Marxism-Leninism on the ash-heap of history as it has left other tyrannies which stifle the freedom and muzzle the self-expression of the people.”

He directed his top national security team to develop a plan to end the Cold War by winning it. The result was a series of top-secret national security decision directives that:

–Committed the U.S. to “neutralizing” Soviet control over Eastern Europe and authorized the use of covert action and other means to support anti-Soviet groups in the region.

–Adopted a policy of attacking a “strategic triad” of critical resources—financial credits, high technology, and natural gas—essential to Soviet economic survival. The directive was tantamount, explained author-economist Roger Robinson, to “a secret declaration of economic war on the Soviet Union.”

Determined the U.S. would no longer coexist with the Soviet system but would seek to change it fundamentally. The language, drafted by Harvard historian Richard Pipes, was unequivocal–America intended to “roll back” Soviet influence at every opportunity.

Taking its lead from these directives, the administration pursued a multifaceted foreign policy offensive that included covert support of the Solidarity movement in Poland, an increase in pro-freedom public diplomacy (through instruments like the National Endowment for Democracy), a global campaign to reduce Soviet access to Western high technology, and a drive to hurt the Soviet economy by driving down the price of oil and limiting natural gas exports to the West.

A key element of Reagan’s victory strategy was the support of anti-communist forces in Afghanistan, Nicaragua, Angola, and Cambodia. The “Reagan Doctrine” (a name coined by syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer) was the most cost-effective of all the Cold War doctrines, costing the United States less than a billion dollars a year while forcing the cash-strapped Soviets to spend some $8 billion annually to deflect its impact. It was also one of the most politically successful doctrines in Cold War history, resulting in a Soviet pullout from Afghanistan, the election of a democratic government in Nicaragua, and the removal of 40,000 Cuban troops from Angola and the holding of UN-monitored elections there.

And then there was SDI—the Strategic Defense Initiative—dismissed as “Star Wars” by U.S. skeptics but which put the Soviet military in a state of fear and shock. A decade later, a top Soviet strategist revealed what he had told the Politburo at the time: “Not only could we not defeat SDI, SDI defeated all our possible countermeasures.”

By the time Reagan left office in January 1989, the Reagan Doctrine had achieved its goal: Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the Soviet system, publicly acknowledged the failures of Marxism-Leninism and the futility of Russian imperialism. In Margaret Thatcher’s words, Ronald Reagan had ended the Cold War without firing a shot.

Lee Edwards, a distinguished fellow at The Heritage Foundation, and Elizabeth Edwards Spalding, professor of government at Claremont McKenna College, are co-authors of A Brief History of the Cold War.

NATO HQ (press release) NATO and Kuwait take cooperation to a new level; see also.

Image from article, with caption: Bilateral meeting between the Emir of the State of Kuwait, His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed closer cooperation between the Alliance and Kuwait during his first official visit to Kuwait on 29 February 2016. Speaking at the site of the future NATO-Kuwait Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI) Regional Centre, Mr. Stoltenberg praised Kuwait’s commitment and vision in bringing NATO closer to the Gulf region. As the Alliance’s first presence in the Gulf, the NATO-ICI Regional Centre will be a hub for NATO’s practical cooperation with Kuwait and other ICI partners, as well as Saudi Arabia and Oman.
“Today, we are taking our partnership to the next level” said the Secretary General. The NATO-ICI Centre will foster cooperation between NATO and Gulf partners in a number of areas, including strategic analysis, civil emergency planning, military-to-military cooperation and public diplomacy. It will also serve as a link between NATO and the Gulf region, to share expertise and improve understanding. ..

CPD Weekly

Received as a subscriber via email

USC Center on Public Diplomacy

Feb 29, 2016

More than two-thirds of people in the UK believe that aid to developing countries should increase, with nearly as many agreeing that overseas aid is an effective way to tackle irregular migration from poorer nations, according to a Europe-wide survey. Read More...
The importance of diaspora in Modi’s diplomacy is reflected in the Indian communities related programs since PM Modi had taken the charge of the nation on May 2014. The government launched year-long consultation program on diaspora related subjects. Read More...
Leading Chinese performing artists who included opera singers, acrobats, dancers and instrumentalists on Sunday entertained a mammoth crowd in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. [...] In his opening remarks, Liu said the music concert was part of a series of activities that have been lined up to promote Sino-Kenya cultural cooperation. Read More...

Feb 28, 2016

Twitter’s #PositionOfStrength, a women’s empowerment initiative launched on Friday across India to help female Internet users bridge the gender equality gap online, using online platforms to expand their reach and influence. It was previously run in Australia and India, but this is the first time the campaign arrives in Asia. Read More...
Over 600 high school and undergraduate students attended the Model United Nations (AUSMUN) conference at the American University of Sharjah last week. The three-day conference, now in its ninth year, allowed student delegates to simulate the various United Nations committees and develop a sound understanding of international relations and diplomacy. Read More...
The 21st Francophonie Festival is going to launch in more than 200 cities across China in March. A variety of cultural events featuring French music, films, literature, sports, gastronomy and art will show the French language and culture. Read More...
U.S. social media companies are taking steps to curb support for terrorist causes on their websites. [...] In response, the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) released a new propaganda video which threatens Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter founder Jack Dorsey.Read More...
French Minister of Urban Affairs, Youth and Sport Patrick Kanner, visited Seoul in mid-February to bolster cooperation for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games in Korea. Kanner, who was accompanied by a delegation of French companies [...] met Korean athletes and sports institutions in tennis, taekwondo and mountain climbing during a reception at the French Embassy in Seoul on Feb. 19. Read More...
The 2016 Pan-African Executive Summit - one of Africa’s most ‘unique and high which draws Business leaders from 35 countries across Africa and all around the globe is set to convene in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, March 15-16Read More...

Feb 27, 2016

In 2014, Vilvoorde launched a project to counter the radicalization of young men and boys. Since then, the number of departures to Syria has dropped to zero. Boudaati said people involved in the project were trying to help young people find work and meaning at home in Belgium, as well as to understand the true word of the Quran, rather than Salafist interpretations. Read More...
The Estonian government has allocated EUR 105,000 for the project titled 'Protection of Crimean Tatar rights through public diplomacy', according to Oliver Loode, Vice Chair of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in an interview. Read More...
Sometime in March last year Kenya’s diplomatic corps, attending the 17th Biennial Ambassadors and High Commissioners’ conference in Mombasa, bemoaned negative press reports and said this was frustrating their diplomatic initiatives in missions. The envoys noted that the local media’s fascination with “negative” narratives of insecurity, crime and corruption painted a bad image of the country abroad. Read More...
For the second year in a row, #OscarsSoWhite has dragged America’s diversity problem back into the global spotlight. [...] Yet the recent report by USC’s Annenberg School found that not much has changed—only seven percent of films in the past year had casts that accurately reflected the nation’s actual demographics. Read More...
Xi Jinping is the gift that keeps on giving.[...] This past week, the government released two policies (or re-released depending on your perspective): first, no foreign entity can independently publish anything online in China, and second, all the work of the Party’s media must protect and act on behalf of the Party. Read More...
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awards its Oscars on Sunday, and one of the nominees in the category of Best Documentary Feature is “Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom,” a chronicle of the 2013-14 protests in Kyiv. Read More...

Feb 26, 2016

Boy band EXO and actor Yoo Ah-in were ranked as the most influential celebrities in Korea according to the annual ranking of the country’s version of business magazine, Forbes. [...] The list, titled Korea 2016 Power Celebrity 40, ranked celebrities based on sales, media exposure, broadcasting activities and professionalism. Read More...
The Amnesty International report reflects current systemic problems in the United States and deterioration in the human rights situation in Turkey, Russian Foreign Ministry Commissioner for Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law Konstantin Dolgov told TASS on Friday, commenting on the organization’s report. Read More...
Beijing's Capital Museum is expanding its exchanges with other countries as part of the city's renewed focus on building a national cultural centre. [...] In the two years since President Xi Jinping visited the museum and decreed that preservation of China's cultural industry should be one of Beijing's key roles, the museum has been working to set an example for the city's arts institutions. Read More...
Bolshoi Theater is playing the role of a “cultural ambassador” of Russia to the United States, promoting friendly relations between the two countries under the conditions of sanctions, Bolshoi’s Press Secretary Katerina Novikova told Sputnik. Read More...
"Los Angeles is a world-leader in creativity and innovation, and LA 2024 will put California's unparalleled tech and innovation capability at the service of the Olympic Movement.," said LA 2024 Chairman Casey Wasserman. Read More...
China’s diplomacy has truly gone global. Over the past forty years China has traveled a path from a nation isolated from the international community to one integrated into it. Today, Beijing enjoys diplomatic relations with 175 countries, is a member of more than 150 international organizations and is party to more than three hundred multilateral treaties. Read More...

Feb 25, 2016

The event was organized by an Institute of Cross-border cooperation and integration together with “Znaniye” Society and Gorchakov Foundation. More than 200 experts from 20 regions of Russia and 15 countries took part in Forum’s work. [...] According to their speech, Belgorod Region is one of the most progressive regions in applying of innovational methods of public diplomacy in near-border cooperation. Read More...
Thinc Design is in the hole $1 million, after the State Department failed to raise enough private money to fund the display — and its owner wants John Kerry to help pay him back, [...] Behind the scenes, many in the State Department blame Congress for putting the secretary in this awkward position of having to rely on outside funding and inexperienced operators to mount a major public diplomacy initiative. Read More...
To tell a good story should not be a risk. To paint on canvas or shoot a picture should not land you in jail. A tweet, a blog, a film — non should cost you your life. Look around the world, though, and worry. Storytellers are in jail, exiled or dead. [...] The full spectrum of art and culture is under duress in many countries because words and images are powerful and when there is distress, repression follows. Read More...
The North Korean women’s soccer team arrived in Japan on Thursday for Olympic qualifying matches in what Tokyo called “an exception” to its entry ban imposed over Pyongyang’s fourth nuclear weapons test and a rocket launch. Read More...
Art and politics have always been used together, and Benin-born artist Meschack Gaba is no different. He's been using his art to air his own political and social comments. Read More...
John E. Reinhardt, who in 1971 became the first black U.S. ambassador to Nigeria and in 1977 the first career diplomat to lead the U.S. Information Agency, died Feb. 18 at a retirement community in Silver Spring, Md. He was 95. [...] Mr. Reinhardt led a transition for the organization, which had been renamed the International Communication Agency and included Voice of America broadcasts in addition to public-diplomacy outreach programs. Read More...

Feb 24, 2016

Google’s new chief executive [...] Sundar Pichai makes his first trip as CEO to the European Union capital Thursday for the high-stakes visit with the competition commissioner who wields scepter-like power over the company’s future on the Continent. Read More...
Romanian ambassador to Baku Daniel Cristian Ciobanu took part in a two-day meeting dedicated to NATO public diplomacy activities in partner countries on February 23-24. [...] Ambassador Ciobanu participated in the event within the mandate Romanian diplomatic mission is fulfilling as NATO Contact Point Embassy in Azerbaijan for the 4th time in a row. Read More...
A recent Brookings Institution survey presented at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, D.C. indicated a growing American partisanship toward Israel and the Middle East. Read More...
Stanford University will be a partner and will serve as the venue for the 2016 Global Entrepreneurship Summit with over 1,000 global delegates and hosted by President Barack Obama, the U.S. State Department and the White House announced today. Read More...
Pakistan's literary scene is seeing a spirited revival, with packed festivals attracting tens of thousands in a rock concert-like atmosphere that defies security threats in a growing cultural renaissance. Events such as the raucous Lahore Literary Festival [...] are reclaiming the “cultural space” that has shrunk significantly in the conservative Muslim nation in recent years amid a raging Islamist insurgency. Read More...
Irfan Durmić sees the metro-east through the eyes of a visitor, but also of someone who truly feels at home. [...] At age 16, he would be a sophomore in his home country, but with his transfer credits, American schools place him as a junior. That means he will probably still be a junior when he gets home, but he’s okay with that because he is having so much fun learning about America.Read More...

Feb 23, 2016

The Fulbright program […] is widely seen as a prime opportunity to add international experience to one’s résumé. Despite the bureau’s increased efforts to diversify the pool of grantees in recent years, though, the program also has a reputation of being overwhelmingly white. […] the State Department has been successful in increasing the participation of black people and other underrepresented minorities [...] Read More...
The Angkor Panorama Museum, which opened its doors in December, is just the latest international project to be completed by Pyongyang's Mansudae Art Studio - one of the largest art production centres in the world. […] In recent years Mansudae has started taking its gargantuan socialist-style monuments abroad. Read More...
Social media does more than share information about Syrian refugees; it offers ways you can help them. Here are five ways that highlight how social media supported Syrian refugees in the past year. Read More...
The Obama administration plans to use an additional $200 million to expand its fight against malaria, expanding services to 70 million more people in Africa and accelerating a global effort to eradicate the disease. Read More...
Xi [Jinping] became the top leader in late 2012, the new policy removes any doubt that in the view of the president and party chief, the media should be first and foremost a party mouthpiece. Mr. Xi wants to push the party’s message domestically — and internationally — across all media platforms, including advertising and entertainment […] Mr. Xi also wants to curb the presence of foreign media companies. Read More...
Music has the power to transcend borders and bring nations together, and what better way to foster cultural understanding than through the timeless elegance of opera. On February 8th, in collaboration with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Russian Embassy in Washington DC held a joint concert featuring aspiring artists from Russia and the United States.Read More...

Feb 22, 2016

Brussels hosted the third edition of NATO Public Diplomacy Forum [...] The event was organized by NATO Public Diplomacy Division in partnership with Center on Public Diplomacy of University of Southern California (United States of America). Read More...
Fuente Latina – a non-profit and non-governmental organization that intends to remove geographic and linguistic barriers for global Spanish language media covering stories about Israel and the Middle East – has recently open its first United States office in Miami. Read More...
The Ethiopian Football Federation and representatives of one of America's leading professional women's soccer teams, the Seattle Reign, met today in Addis Adaba and took the first steps in forging a strategic partnership aimed at forging international linkages and strengthening Ethiopian women's soccer. Read More...