Soft Power and Hard Targets

Occasionally I co-lead a strategy workshop for State Department practitioners of public diplomacy.  Each participant brings a topic and develops it into a public diplomacy campaign over five days; it’s learning by doing. The hardest thing for our students – both Foreign Service Officers and locally-hired staffers – is to define a clear objective and…

Venus Meets Mars

This week’s Lunch and Learn session for public diplomacy staffers presented a panel of public affairs experts from the world of politics and corporate crisis communications. Public diplomacy and public relations are cousins, but with clear differences — nowhere more pronounced than in the area of crisis and political communication.  This sparked a fascinating compare-and-contrast…

Public Diplomacy Candidate at Foreign Relations Committee

Irwin Steven Goldstein told the Foreign Relations Committee, “If confirmed, I look forward to working with the Department’s very talented career officials to ensure that we are speaking with one clear, consistent, and compelling voice.” The veteran public relations executive’s official statement is attached to this blog post.  He appeared before the Foreign Relations Committee…

U.S. Capitol building with dome

Making the Hard Case for Soft Power: an Echo

There is room for optimism that Congress will reject the Administration’s proposed deep cuts to exchanges programs and to public diplomacy in general.  However, if you want to defend these programs, now is the time to speak out.

Through our member Sherry Mueller, the Public Diplomacy Council joined major PD advocacy organizations to sponsor “Making the Case for Soft Power” on October 9, where Congressman Don Beyer (D-VA) explained his view of the concept from an unusual angle: as a former businessman and diplomat.  Now he represents many of our readers in Congress.  Here’s his advice about advocating for exchanges.


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. Read More