New Advisory Commission Unveils Wide-Ranging Study of Public Diplomacy at State, BBG

Katherine Brown and Chris Hensman (center) pose with Council President Don Bishop (l) and Adam Clayton Powell III of USC's Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership & Policy, co-sponsors of the First Monday Forum.  At the January 5 Forum Brown, Executive Director of the United States Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy, and her Senior Advisor Hensman presented a comprehensive report on public diplomacy released by the newly-reauthorized oversight body.

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PD commentary

Selection and commentary by PDC members and authoritative experts in the field

Non-State Actors

Sunday, January 25th 2015

More and more, discussion of public diplomacy turns to the participation of non-state actors.  There is no question that people and organizations with independent means and singular agendas can and do affect the public discourse.  They shape perceptions, and they even move governments as well as populations to action.  How do such non-governmental players change outcomes? Where do they obtain legitimacy in the eyes of audiences? How do traditional state actors (public diplomacy officers) cooperate, collaborate, or co-opt such non-state entities and individuals? Or is it the other way around?

These are among the questions that Public Diplomacy Council member and American University assistant professor Robert Kelley addresses in his newly released book, Agency Change: Diplomatic Action Beyond the State.

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Brian E. Carlson

Board member


Summary: An experienced public diplomacy officer, Ambassador Brian Carlson advises the InterMedia research organization on military and foreign affairs issues and serves the State Department as a senior inspector. For the last three years he was the State Department liaison to the Department of Defense on strategic communication.

 

...click authors name for more info

Author: Brian Carlson

The Best of the Best -- 2014's Public Diplomacy

Thursday, January 1st 2015

Okay, here it is.  The year 2014’s best in public diplomacy – acts, innovations, programs, ideas, communications, etc. 

We asked you, the readers, to nominate the public diplomacy you thought made a positive difference in the year past.  We invited you to send your nominations via email (PD10Best@gmail.com), Twitter (#PD10Best), or via the Council’s own Facebook page.  We gleefully accepted suggestions from public diplomacy officers, ambassadors and DCM’s, academics, outside experts, journalists, retirees, etc.

You may note that we judged and rewrote the nominations by calling on our own professional expertise, some attention to evidence of impact or measurement, a modicum of humor and humility.  The scientific method was not employed –this is not, after all, a serious effort to bestow excellence-based honors, like for example the Oscars.

Anyway, with those disclaimers, here are the best of public diplomacy, 2014 edition:

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Brian E. Carlson

Board member


Summary: An experienced public diplomacy officer, Ambassador Brian Carlson advises the InterMedia research organization on military and foreign affairs issues and serves the State Department as a senior inspector. For the last three years he was the State Department liaison to the Department of Defense on strategic communication.

 

...click authors name for more info

Author: Brian Carlson

Start 2015 with Latest Overview of PD and Broadcasting

Thursday, December 11th 2014

Katherine Brown, Executive Director of the United States Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy will discuss its Comprehensive Annual Report at our First Monday Lunch Forum on January 5.

Congress's reauthorization of the panel last year called for the review, which covers the State Department and Broadcasting Board of Governors activities.

The 250-page report lays the groundwork for rational evaluation of more than $1.2 billion spent on PD and broadcasting in Fiscal Year 2014.  It gives expenditures for the largest 100 embassy programs and for individual educational exchange programs and broadcasting services -- numbers which I have not seen in this type of compilation before in the public domain.  From these numbers, the report derives comparisons like cost per audience member, which brought challenging questions from attendees at today's meeting in the Hart Senate Office Building.  Numbers and statistics lend themselves to diverse interpretations, as Executive Director Katherine Brown pointed out.

Nonetheless, this builds on a solid foundation for the renewed Commission, following its October report on Data-Driven Public Diplomacy which called for an emphasis on research and evaluation in public diplomacy and broadcasting.  Its findings and recommendations draw on the facts presented.  In other words, the Commission is following its own advice.  Save the date, and plan to join the debate on January 5.

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Joe B. Johnson

Board member

 

Joe B. Johnson consults on government communication and technology after a career in the United States Foreign Service.  He is an instructor for the National Foreign Affairs Training Center, where he teaches strategic planning for public diplomacy.

...click authors name for more info

Author: Joe Johnson

Bernard Lavin on Introducing Democratic Concepts to Korea

Sunday, December 7th 2014

He held senior Public Diplomacy positions in South Africa, Nigeria, and Indonesia too, but Bernard J. “Bernie” Lavin (1924-2002) would surely say his greatest contributions in the field of Public Diplomacy were in Korea. During his first tour in Seoul from 1957 to 1967, he focused on Korean education and the rising generation of students. He gave a brief account of one long-running program by the U.S. Information Service -- the introduction of democratic concepts in Korean education -- in his oral history interview with the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training (ADST) in 1988.

 

Organizing a program with comparable impact would be unlikely today. After the Korean War, Korea was open to new social concepts, and such moments are rare in any nation’s history. Then, one officer tended the program for the better part of a decade, giving it continuity and sustained focus. Now, every Public Diplomacy officer tends many portfolios, and the pace of both media and exchanges work is relentless. No post could now spare one of its officers for such intense work with faculty, education institutes, and the Ministry. The funds available to all but the largest posts would now be insufficient for a long-term program that involved so many seminars and meetings. And few posts could now afford printing and distributing 75,000 teacher’s manuals. (An online edition would work, but it's hard to imagine that the years of meetings and seminars -- necessary in a relational society like Korea's -- could be as effective in an online format.)  American Public Diplomacy has become too busy and too light for such transformational work.

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A Minister-Counselor in the State Department's Senior Foreign Service when he finished his federal career, Donald M. Bishop was recently elected as President of the Public Diplomacy Council. He is a trainer, speaker, and mentor in Public Diplomacy and Communication. He also speaks on history and leadership.

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Author: Donald M. Bishop

How Embassies Practice Public Diplomacy Now: New Book

Friday, November 28th 2014

Last September, Palgrave-MacMillan published “Front Line Public Diplomacy: How U.S. Embassies Communicate with Foreign Publics,” by Ambassador Bill Rugh, a Council member.  The book draws on original research by Rugh’s students at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University to describe current public diplomacy practice within the United States State Department and its embassies, emphasizing field operations.

The book is based on interviews with practicing PD professionals, and the content has been reviewed by currently serving PD officers.  That ensures up-to-date information about practice and organization.  In the last chapter, Rugh – a former Foreign Service Officer – presents his enduring principles of effective public diplomacy practice.

Experts including Nick Cull, Tony Quainton and Betsy Whitaker have praised the book as an essential reference and guide for academics, students and practitioners.  Readers can go to the publisher’s website, linked above, to find out more and to purchase copies.

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Joe B. Johnson

Board member

 

Joe B. Johnson consults on government communication and technology after a career in the United States Foreign Service.  He is an instructor for the National Foreign Affairs Training Center, where he teaches strategic planning for public diplomacy.

...click authors name for more info

Author: Joe Johnson

The Public Diplomacy Council is a nonprofit organization committed to the academic study, professional practice, and responsible advocacy of public diplomacy. Founded in 1988, the Council serves the community of public diplomacy professionals, professors and students interested in public diplomacy.

 

 

Upcoming

 

First Monday Lunch Forum

Feb. 2nd - AFSA, 12:00 pm-1:15 pm, Education Diplomacy in Latin America

Featured speakers: Dan Restrepo, Founder, Restrepo Strategies LLC and former Special Assistant to the President for Western Hemisphere Affairs; Matthew Clausen, Vice President, Partnerships and Leadership Programs and Senior Director, 100k Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund; and Margaret Hug, Coordinator at 100,000 Strong in the Americas, Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs (WHA/PDA)

 

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