How ideas change nations - Lowenthal on political transitions

Abe Lowenthal reviewed what Thabo Mbeki, Felipe Gonzalez, and other transformative politicians told him about forming democracy.  Speaking at First Monday Forum, he discussed the book he co-authored with Sergio Bitar: Democratic Transitions: Conversations with World Leaders. "Political parties, not social media, are the best vehicle to mobilize people in politics," he asserted.

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PD commentary

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

Quotable: Blumenthal and Inboden on a "New U.S.-China Strategy"

Wednesday, May 13th 2015

Dan Blumenthal, director of Asian Studies at the American Enterprise Institute, and William Inboden, executive director of the Clements Center for History, Strategy, and Statecraft and associate professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas-Austin, have recently advocated a new strategic approach toward China.  In their essay, “Toward a Free and Democratic China: Overhauling U.S. strategy in Asia,” they outline some of the implications for Public Diplomacy:


Implementing a New U.S.-China Strategy


Building upon the existing democratic elements in China, a new China policy should have three main parts. First, as multiple astute observers have pointed out, getting our China policy right means first getting our Asia policy right. That starts with our regional alliances. * * * *


Second, U.S. policy should focus on enabling Chinese people to communicate with one another, debate their history, practice their faiths, and expand their constitutional and legal reform efforts. What is needed is a policy of meeting lies with truth. This will require counterpropaganda and informational resources including a reformed and expanded broadcasting and communications effort such as Voice of America and Radio Free Asia, efforts to circumvent the Great Firewall, and, perhaps through a new United States Information Agency, a mobilization against the propagation of illiberalism. We face a new battle of ideas in the 21st century on two fronts: the well-known ideological foe of militant Islamism and the less-appreciated challenge of state authoritarianism led by China and Russia. We need to reorganize our government to engage in this battle.

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A Minister-Counselor in the State Department's Senior Foreign Service when he finished his federal career, Donald M. Bishop is a trainer, speaker, and mentor in Public Diplomacy and Communication. He also speaks on history and leadership. After serving as President of the Public Diplomacy Council, he now is a member of the Board of Directors. authors name for more info

Author: Donald M. Bishop

Defense Does State A Favor

Wednesday, May 6th 2015

The Office of the Secretary of Defense has just done a big favor to the public diplomacy community at the Department of State.

 How’s that?

They asked one of DoD’s federally funded research and development centers to study and offer recommendations on how to improve the military’s efforts to inform, influence and persuade foreign audiences. 

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One person has commented on this article so far

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

What to Do About the Russian Troll in Your Computer

Friday, April 24th 2015

Remember trolls? They used to be mythical creatures from children’s stories who lurked in caves or under bridges.

Not any more. Today’s trolls now lurk online, where they attack Western values, defend Vladimir Putin, and do whatever they can to plant nutty conspiracy theories and disrupt rational discussions on news and opinion websites.

They’re not hard to find. Just look in your computer.

Internet “trolls” are not a new phenomenon, but the pro-Russian kind have been attracting increased attention lately thanks to reports from The Guardian and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, among others, which have pulled the curtains back on where the trolls work (many in St. Petersburg, Russia), what they do, and how they’re paid (by quantity, not quality).

U.S. public diplomacy practitioners are clearly under fire in this information war, so how should they fight back?

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David S. Jackson

David Jackson is a veteran journalist and former U.S. government official with extensive multimedia communications experience in domestic and international markets. authors name for more info

Author: David S Jackson

Council Writes to Congress: Don't Divide U.S. Broadcasters, Leverage Their Synergies

Tuesday, April 21st 2015

Congress has begun to examine how to reorganize the United States government’s broadcasting to the rest of the world.  It’s overdue, but it needs to be done right, says the Public Diplomacy Council.

Yesterday, the Council commended the House Committee on Foreign Affairs for focusing on the issue, but it noted that a bill passed by the House last year had flaws that would have lowered the effectiveness of America’s international broadcasting and raised costs.  

The Council encouraged the Committee to hold hearings, conduct a fresh review of the issues and write new legislation. 

The Council’s letter to Chairman Royce outlined principles to guide any new legislation – to unify broadcasting under a single Board and CEO, to affirm the Voice of America charter, and to allow all the networks to broadcast all the news. 

Members of the Council include public diplomacy professionals both active and retired, academics and others who advocate for high professional standards in U.S. public diplomacy including broadcasting.

Click "Read More" for the text of the letter and leave us a comment with your opinion.

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One person has commented on this article so far

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

The Santa Fe World Affairs Forum, April 20-21, 2015

Friday, April 10th 2015

PDC will be co-sponsoring this year's SFWAF Annual Symposium. Click on Read More for details. 

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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

Nov. 2- AFSA, 2:00 pm - 1:15 pm, John Lansing, CEO of the U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors 

Dec. 5 - AFSA, 12:00 pm - 1:15pm, Expo Milan: U.S. Food Diplomacy in Action


Joint Event With USC

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