Young African Leaders the Focus at First Monday

Joyce Warner of IREX (r) talks about the Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, coming up this summer as part of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI).  Britta Bjornlund (l) of the State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Programs, also spoke at our First Monday talk on April 7.  Forum Organizer Adam Powell observes in the background. Read More
Photo Credit - Jesselle Macatiag Submit an image/video

PD commentary

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

Now, not Later! Capture the Lessons Learned!

Friday, April 18th 2014

In a previous commentary, I said it is important for the Foreign Service and for the Public Diplomacy cone to formally capture the lessons of Iraq and Afghanistan (in particular) and expeditionary diplomacy (in general), even as the extraordinary demands that characterized the last decade ease. 


First, it is wishful thinking to imagine that after the withdrawal of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, Public Diplomacy will "return to normal."  The international environment is volatile, and Public Diplomacy is sure to receive unexpected taskings and face extraordinary challenges in the “post-war” environment.  It’s not hard to imagine circumstances that would again require a “surge.”


Second, during the two wars the Foreign Service developed close relationships with the armed forces.  We should consolidate and build upon those relationships rather than allow them to dissipate.  Two of the major elements of national power are “diplomatic” and “military.”  Because the Foreign Service and the armed forces will continue to be associated across the full continuum from conflict prevention to hostilities, the United States will need more, not less, alignment of these two elements of national power.  We thus need to capture the “case studies” of civ-mil cooperation – positive and negative -- over the last decade.


Third, short tours in specific places affected all of our visions, and it’s natural to generalize that what was right and what was wrong at “my post” represented the whole.  “Lessons learned” can help all of us see the bigger pictures.


Fourth, what self-respecting profession shakes off more than a decade of war with no self-examination of the experience?  

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3 people have commented on this article so far

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. authors name for more info

Author: Donald M. Bishop

The March of Public Diplomacy Needs to Get Louder

Thursday, April 17th 2014

By Tara Sonenshine, former Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, currently a Distinguished Fellow at George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs.

If ever we needed a public diplomacy campaign to reach citizens in the former Soviet Union now is the moment. 

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One person has commented on this article so far

Tara Sonenshine is the former Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, currently a Distinguished Fellow at George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs. authors name for more info

Author: Guest Contributor

Time To Hit The Reset Button On Public Diplomacy?

Wednesday, April 16th 2014

George Kennan is looking smarter and smarter these days. 

Kennan served at a time when America was happy to welcome its soldiers home from World War II and uninterested in new global commitments.  Kennan wrote policy recommendations to deal with Moscow leaders bent on taking advantage every opportunity to expand influence—if not control—in nearby lands.  Sound familiar?

So, it was noteworthy when James Jay Carafano cited George F. Kennan in a recent  Examiner article, asking whether it’s time to hit the reset button on public diplomacy?

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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. authors name for more info

Author: Brian Carlson

New Work by PD Council Members

Wednesday, April 9th 2014

Donna Oglesby has published an article for Layalina Productions titled The Political Promise of Public Diplomacy.  Should practitioners of public diplomacy pay more attention to political argument and debate in today's communication environment?  Go to the link to get Oglesby's perspective.

And Bruce Gregory has updated his compilation of recent work about public diplomacy, which we carry on these pages.  Find summaries and links to articles about everything from Hip Hop foreign policy to Robert Gates' memoirs in this edition.

Happy reading!

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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. authors name for more info

Author: Joe Johnson

2013 Forum: Nation-building -- What it is, is not, and should be

Sunday, April 6th 2014

One of the 2013 Fall Forum’s six afternoon breakout sessions addressed the topic of “nation-building.”

Speakers were:

  • Ambassador Ronald Neumann, President of the American Academy of Diplomacy,
  • Mr. Jeffrey Grieco, Chief of Communications for International Relief and Development,

  • Mr. Robert Silverman, President of the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA)

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Jesselle Macatiag is a fellow with the Public Diplomacy Council and graduate student in American University’s International Media program. She comes to Washington D.C. to study the global implications of a changing media landscape, particularly how these changes impact the use of media as a vehicle for social change across cultural and political contexts. authors name for more info

Author: Jesselle Macatiag

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.





First Monday Lunches

May 5: Martha Bayles, Author of "Through a Screen Darkly: Popular Culture, Public Diplomacy, and America's Image Abroad"

Santa Fe World Affairs Forum Symposium

April 28-29: Talking with the Enemy, Cultivating Friends - Diplomacy Revisited

St. John's College, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Register by April 21 HERE

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