Canada's PD Director Discusses Sesquicentennial Strategy

"We cannot rely solely on the star power of our Prime Minister," Vikas Sharma told the First Monday Forum audience. The director of Canada's public diplomacy office reviewed PD themes and tactics behind Canada's 150th anniversary celebration.

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PD commentary

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

U.S. International Broadcasting – A Way Forward

Monday, January 2nd 2017

Here's a guest post by Council Member Joseph B. Bruns, who served the Voice of America and PBS affiliates WETA and KQED as a senior executive.  He was also director of the U.S. Government's International Broadcasting, with oversight of Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, Radio and TV Marti and WorldNet Television.

Now that the National Defense Authorization Act has been signed into law removing the Broadcasting Board of Governors from managerial and operational authority over U.S. international broadcasting, it is time for those who care about it to cease the hand-wringing over the loss of the so-called firewall, roll up our sleeves and get down to the practical work of operating in the new paradigm.

After all, U.S. international broadcasting was effective before the invention of the BBG (some would argue more effective) while under USIA and the Board for International Broadcasting, and there is no reason why it cannot do so once again. In fact, the real firewall was not the BBG, which has stated that it had never received pressure from the White House or State Department to violate its editorial independence, but rather the VOA Charter, signed into law in 1976, the editorial principles adopted by RFE/RL, and, most importantly, the professional integrity of managers and editorial staff throughout the organizations. Without the latter, no amount of asbestos lining, and no nicety of legal language could suffice.

But it is obvious that work needs to be done. The structural change to international broadcasting, which received bi-partisan Congressional as well as Obama Administration support, came about out of a sense of deep dissatisfaction with the managerial and editorial performance of the BBG.  Yet it is people, not structure, who will lead U.S. broadcasting out of the miasma in which it finds itself. Leaders need to lead.

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3 people have 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

Nontraditional U.S. Public Diplomacy: Past, Present, and Future

Wednesday, December 28th 2016

Looking for some news you can use in this time of sound-bitten political transition? The 11 contributors to Nontraditional U.S. Public Diplomacy: Past, Present, and Future provide historical analysis, practice-based evidence, and forward-leaning insights for new and continuing actors in U.S. diplomacy’s expanding public dimension. The book is the newest in the Public Diplomacy Council’s series and will be available at by mid-January.

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Debbie Trent is a public diplomacy and international development analyst. Her regional areas of expertise include the Near East, North Africa, South Asia, and Eurasia. authors name for more info

Author: Dr. Deborah Trent

PDC Publication: Nontraditional U.S. Public Diplomacy: Past, Present, and Future

The Public Diplomacy Council's has released its newest publication, Nontraditional U.S. Public Diplomacy: Past, Present, and Future.

Making a Difference

Sunday, December 18th 2016

Making a Difference

Donald M. Bishop


A few years ago the Washington Post ran an article describing the difficulty that "young altruists" in their late 20's encounter as they try to leverage their desire to make the world a better place into careers.  Despite advanced degrees, languages, internships, short-term work with NGOs, and Peace Corps service, finding work with good pay and benefits is elusive, the article reported.

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Donald M. Bishop is the Bren Chair of Strategic Communications at Marine Corps University in Quantico, Virginia. 

Mr. Bishop served as a Foreign Service Officer – first in the U.S. Information Agency and then in the Department of State – for 31 years.  Specializing in Public Diplomacy, political-military affairs, and East Asia, he attained the rank of Minister-Counselor in the career service.  He was President of the Public Diplomacy Council from 2013 to 2015 and is now a member of the Board of Directors. authors name for more info

Author: Donald M. Bishop

Fact-check: BBG can now broadcast to Americans?

Saturday, December 17th 2016

The change to the governance structure of the Broadcasting Board of Governors through an amendment in the National Defense Authorization Act has raised some concerns that the BBG might turn inward to target American audiences through domestic broadcasting. An article at Politico stated that because of the Smith-Mundt Modernization Act of 2013, "the BBG can now broadcast in the U.S., too.” Fox’s Howard Kurtz was more accurate in writing that the three year-old amendment means that the "BBG's content can also be broadcast in the United States.” The first is inaccurate the second is slightly misleading. Here is why. 

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Matthew Armstrong

Board Member, Secretary

Mr. Matthew Armstrong is an author and advisor on public diplomacy, international information, and propaganda. His emphasis is examining how operating structures, authorities, doctrine, and individual opinions impact informational activities in support of national or organizational strategy. His focus is on the traditional and emerging security issues facing civilian and military government agencies, the Congress, news organizations, think tanks, and academia across several continents. authors name for more info

Author: Matt Armstrong

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.





PDC/USC First Monday Forums

April 3, 2017 - "Trends in IR Curricula: Implications for Public Diplomacy" with a panel of University Deans Discussing the Future of Public Diplomacy 

May 1, 2017 - Gary Knell, President and CEO, National Geographic Society


PDC Mentorship Lunch and Learn

April 19, 2017, 12:00 - 1:30 pm, at the American Foreign Service Association - "Build a Career that will get you a Principal Officer or DCMShip"

May 7, 2017, 12:00 - 1:30 pm, at the American Foreign Service Association- "Get to where you want to go: Successful Lobbying & Bidding




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