Selection and commentary by PDC members and authoritative experts in the field
Thursday, May 9th 2013
Helle Dale of Heritage tipped her hat to Nicholas Cull’s presentation of his book “Decline and Fall of the U.S. Information Agency” at our Forum on May 6 (thanks for the mention!) But her main subject was the impending departure of Under Secretary Tara Sonenshine, leaving a new gap in public diplomacy at the State Department.
Dale asserts that “rapid leadership turnover undermines strategic planning and operational effectiveness.” True to an extent, but less attention has been paid to another layer of leadership.
Wednesday, May 1st 2013
It’s a pleasure to begin contributing to the PDC’s web presence. I come to the Council as an independent analyst of PD and international development and 13-year veteran of the former U.S. Information Agency’s Office of Academic Programs.
Friday, April 19th 2013
How I wish I could have had leaders from the Middle East participating in the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) or other State Department international exchange programs with me Tuesday evening. They would have had the opportunity to get beyond grim headlines and see America at it's best. The event was the Kahlil Gibran Spirit of Humanity Awards Dinner hosted by the Arab American Institute Foundation (firstname.lastname@example.org). It was inspiring. It reenergized. It reaffirmed fundamental values that so often receive lip service but that the impressive award recipients embody and live on a daily basis. The event also underscored three lessons that are central for those of us engaged in practicing, teaching, or researching public diplomacy.
Tuesday, April 9th 2013
Among five Americans killed by a Taliban bomb in Afghanistan last Saturday was Anne Smedinghoff, a public diplomacy officer who was on her way to deliver schoolbooks to Afghan children. The story has received copious news coverage, but when Secretary Kerry paid tribute to the 25-year-old Foreign Service Officer one of his remarks struck me. Extremists who resort to terror, Kerry said, "are scared of knowledge. And they want to shut the doors and they don’t want people to make their choices about the future."
That's why public diplomacy is on the front lines today in many places, and has been since its inception. Smedinghoff made the ultimate sacrifice projecting American values, and while my Council colleagues and I mourn her death, we could not imagine a more inspiring example of today's public diplomat.
Thursday, April 4th 2013
There is a little dust up going on over in Egypt these days. It appears to be a public fight between the U.S. embassy and the Egyptian Presidency – and the Muslim Brotherhood – over the arrest of an Egyptian television comedian.
But what makes it interesting in terms of modern diplomacy is the way it is being fought – via Twitter.