Sunday, June 26th 2016
In a study published in June, 2016, by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, “State Islam in the Battle Against Extremism,” Soref Fellow Sarah Feuer examined the official establishments that govern Islam in Morocco and Tunisia – and by implication, other countries. She argued that these can be important actors in confronting violent extremism. Her article reviewed (1) the Marrakesh Declaration on the Rights of Religious Minorities in Predominantly Muslim Majority Countries, (2) “State Islam,” and (3) recommendations for U.S. policymakers. Public Diplomacy would surely be engaged. Here are some wave tops:Read More
Wednesday, March 23rd 2016
Jay Nordlinger of National Review wrote five “impromptus” after visiting former President George W. Bush in Texas. They appeared as five articles that ran on the magazine’s website from March 14-18, 2016.
In the normal cycle of American politics, when a new president comes from the other political party, words of praise or appreciation for the previous incumbent are few. President Bush, moreover, has largely kept out of the public eye since he left office. In the interviews with Nordlinger, Bush43 looked back on his administration and discussed his continued belief in the animating power of freedom.
Public Diplomacy practitioners will be interested to learn of the international agenda of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, located at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Underlying every Public Diplomacy program are concepts of American freedoms, so a look back at the “freedom agenda” of the Bush administration – given expression in his second inaugural address – is surely helpful.Read More
Friday, March 4th 2016
For those who engage with Muslims face to face overseas, President Obama’s speech at the Islamic Society of Baltimore on February 3, 2016, usefully gathered the President’s thoughts in one statement. It provides dozens of good starting points for conversations.Read More
Friday, January 1st 2016
A generation ago, Washington, the State Department, the Voice of America, and the U.S. Information Agency could neatly segment audiences, media, and opinion as “domestic” or “foreign.” U.S. Public Diplomacy, by law, could only engage the latter.
At least two factors have made this old division obsolete. First, the internet has largely erased national boundaries in the spread of information and opinion. Second, cheap international telephone calls, satellite television, and the internet have created a mutual flow of information between home and diaspora societies, with effects on both. This is a generalized phenomenon, whether immigrants come from Korea, China, the Philippines, Mexico, Nigeria, or India, for instance. It is Muslim immigration to Europe and the U.S., however, that has brought communication between the old and new countries into the public eye, with radicalization of immigrant children as a focus. It has reawakened debates over assimilation and multiculturalism.
Public Diplomacy officers abroad now need to be alert to this home-diaspora communications interflow. It can have good or bad effects on views of the United States. It can affect the study of English and applications to U.S. universities. And it provides channels for radicalization. This also suggests that the Foreign Service needs more understanding of immigrant communities in the United States and the generational stresses that affect immigrant families.
Peter Skerry, professor of political science at Boston College and a Senior Fellow at the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University, has given us a superb review of these issues among Muslim Americans. His article, “Clash of Generations,” is in The Weekly Standard issue of December 28, 2015. It’s not about Public Diplomacy per se, but it provides useful background on “the cultural contradictions of Islam in America.”Read More
Wednesday, December 30th 2015
[Countering violent extremism] “without addressing the fundamental lack of rights and opportunities for women and girls because of official laws, practices, or edicts that may be based on religion . . . is akin to cutting off the top of a weed without addressing the roots,” wrote Julia Santucci, senior advisor to the State Department’s Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues. Her essay, “Countering Violent Extremism Means Countering Gender Inequality,” ran on the War on the Rocks website on December 16, 2015. Here are some of Santucci’s key statements:Read More