Combatting Islamic Terrorism at Forum with Broadcasters

Council President Don Bishop (right) introduces Shameem Rassam, Executive Producer, Alhurra Iraq and Davin Hutchins, Director of Digital Content, Middle East Broadcasting Networks to discuss Combating ISIS Messaging Through the Media, the topic of our First Monday Forum on October 6, presented in cooperation with the University of Southern California Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership and Policy and the USC Center on Public Diplomacy.

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PD commentary

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

A Teachable Moment

Wednesday, October 29th 2014

One of the first things I learned when I became Director of the Press Office at the State Department was to trust and respect the Associated Press reporters. 

The wire service reporters who covered the Department 24/7 from their little office on the second floor understood State, the personalities of the different bureaus, the proclivities of senior officers both career and political, and the nuances of American foreign policy far better than many FSOs.

The AP reporters at State in my time were Barry Schweid and George Gedda.   It is probably fair to say that every Foreign Service Officer working on important policy issues during the last 40 years has talked to one or the other of them, on the record or on background.  They invariably traveled with the Secretary, “door-stopped” senior officials at the C Street entrance, and judged a crisis by which HST windows were still lit late at night.  If you missed their copy in the newspapers, you could hear them voice their reports on AP Radio and NPR.  They led off every noon briefing with a tough question.

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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

Speechwriter's File: Will Rogers on "Bacon and Beans and Limousines"

Saturday, October 18th 2014

Public Diplomacy officers are often called on to speak at openings and conferences, and every American diplomat drafts remarks for ambassadors and other administration principals.  These skills are always improved by reading and listening to speeches from the past.


Nearly eight decades after his death, memories of the American cowboy, movie star, and humorist Will Rogers (1875-1939) have faded.  The genial Oklahoman was, however, a major figure in American culture in the early 1930s, and we must count him among our nation’s great communicators -- in his unique way.


Ranching, roping, Texas Jack’s Wild West Circus, vaudeville, the Ziegfeld Follies, and Hollywood -- during the Depression, the career of Will Rogers personified the American dream.  He gained fame as a film star in 50 silent and 21 sound movies, and he was a newspaper columnist and aviation advocate.  His death in an air crash with Wiley Post in 1935 occasioned a great outpouring of national grief.


Rogers’ folksy humor was remarkably clean and gentle, and he was a widely sought speaker.  Many of his talks were pressed on discs. 


Rogers famously said, “I don’t belong to any organized political party – I’m a Democrat," but in 1931, the chairman of General Electric, Owen D. Young, asked Rogers to help promote a Hoover administration relief initiative.  According to the American Presidency Project, “The address inaugurated a 6-week campaign to raise local relief funds. Cooperating in the drive were some 1,000 local committees or community chests plus the advertising media, the film industry, and an array of public speakers.”

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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. authors name for more info

Author: Donald M. Bishop

Advisory Commission Calls for Data-Driven Public Diplomacy

Tuesday, September 30th 2014

Better late than never.  We should have called attention to the important report "Data-Driven Public Diplomacy" when the United States Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy released it on September 16.  The report reviews how the impact of PD and international broadcasting can be measured and makes recommendations on how to strengthen evaluation.

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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

Public Diplomacy in Time of Partisanship

Tuesday, September 2nd 2014

A year ago, I feared that the "trifecta" of scandals then engulfing Washington -- Benghazi, the IRS and the Tea Party, and government access to Americans’ phone and email records -- posed some real challenges for Public Diplomacy officers overseas.  Back then, I could hardly imagine how difficulties would multiply. 

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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. authors name for more info

Author: Donald M. Bishop

The Voice of America: A worthy mission for the 21st century

Friday, August 22nd 2014

By Joseph B. Bruns. Mr. Bruns served as Deputy Director and Acting Director of VOA. He was the first Director of the IBB. Bruns also held several senior position at USIA. He recently retired as COO of WETA after 15 years in public broadcasting.

Recently, there has been a great deal of debate, and no small amount of axe grinding, regarding the mission and the effectiveness of US international broadcasting under the Broadcasting Board of Governors. This debate has now been brought to a head with the passage in the House of Representatives of the boldly named US International Communications Reform Act of 2014, HR 4490, which would create a new structure for US international broadcasting and attempts to create a division of responsibility between the VOA and the multiple surrogate services such as Radio Free Asia, which have proliferated since the end of the Cold War. The authors of the legislation take the view that efficiency is better served by consolidating all of the surrogate services together under a new board, and then turning VOA, with its own separate board, into a specialized service, a kind of super Washington news bureau, reporting only on the United States news, interests and policies. 

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Please contact PDC Graduate Fellow Jesselle Macatiag at to inquire about contributing to the Public Diplomacy Council website. authors name for more info

Author: Guest Contributor

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 Lunch Forum

Nov. 3rd - The Paradox of US Public Diplomacy: Its Rise and "Demise" with Bruce Gregory, Adjunct Professor in George Washington University's Global Communication M.A. program. Co-sponsored by IPDGC.


Dec. 1st - Russian Propaganda Along its Wester Border with Jeffrey N. Trimble, Deputy Director, International Broadcasting Bureau, and Jill Dougherty, Senior Fellow, Woodrow Wilson Center


PDC Board Meeting

Oct. 15th - USC Washington Center, 5th Floor, 11am-1pm

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