Selection and commentary by PDC members and authoritative experts in the field
Sunday, May 14th 2017
When my paper copy of the Foreign Service Journal arrives, I set aside time to go through it from cover to cover. There's always something about foreign affairs that I haven't seen in the various newspapers, newsletters and electronic sources I receive.
The American Foreign Service Association has announced recently an electronic archive going back 99 years. You'll see from one of the first covers that in 1919, the Journal called itself the American Consular Bulletin and was published by the American Consular Association.Read More
Saturday, May 13th 2017
In 1966 the Brookings Institution published a book by Charles Frankel entitled: The Neglected Aspect of Foreign Affairs – American Educational and Cultural Policy Abroad. Frankel argued that “in comparison with the sophisticated analysis devoted to U.S. military, economic, and diplomatic policy, little intellectual attention has been given to international cultural exchange”. Although more than half a century has passed, a similar argument can be made today.Read More
Tuesday, May 9th 2017
I still remember a very old New Yorker cartoon showing two dogs -- one at a computer, remarking to its friend: "On the Internet, no one knows I'm a dog."
That's no longer funny in a world where robots amplify propaganda messages and can even write news stories of their own. That Twitter handler you're following may belong to a robot ... or to a human troll contracted by a foreign power. Samel Woolley, director of research at Oxford's Internet Institute, reports: "Security experts argue that more than 10 percent of content across social media websites, and 62 percent of all web traffic, is generated by bots."
You can read Wooley's article and a dozen others in the Public Diplomacy Advisory Commission's latest report: "Can Public Diplomacy Survive the Internet?" Today I heard former Congressman Mike Rogers and five panelists, most authors of the report, discuss the issue at the Commission's panel discussion “Echo Chambers, Artificial Intelligence, and Bot-Driven Disinformation: New Challenges in Public Diplomacy.”Read More
Thursday, April 27th 2017
Donald J. Trump employs public diplomacy as much as any President we’ve seen. Yet his public diplomacy staff has not faced so much uncertainty in decades.
The State Department, supposed leader for the United States outreach to the rest of the world, named a new press spokesperson this week: one of the first political appointees to join Secretary Rex Tillerson. Secretary Tillerson has placed a highly respected ambassador in charge of the PD apparatus for the time being. However, broader guidelines going beyond the press briefings are skimpy.
Except for one bold marker. A budget is the clearest statement of priorities. On that basis, the White House has expressed little need of public diplomacy. Its initial budget request called for the elimination of all educational and cultural exchange programs except for the Fulbright exchange of scholars, on top of a 30 percent across-the-board cut in Department resources.Read More
Friday, April 21st 2017
Does U.S. government-funded broadcasting enhance national security by reporting facts to a curious world in a digital age? Billions of multimedia consumers around the planet would readily agree that unbiased information about America and the world is more crucial than ever before.Read More