Saturday, March 5th 2016
Rusty Pickens was the acting director of new media technologies at the White House until he moved to the Bureau of International Information Programs at the Department of State as senior advisor for digital platforms. IIP is one of the three bureaus that report to the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. Aaron Boyd recently interviewed him on “digitizing citizen engagement with the White House and how he plans to apply the lessons-learned to communicating American ideals abroad.” The interview, “Digitizing citizen engagement from White House to the world,” ran on the Federal Times website on February 19, 2016. His focus has been “really promoting American values abroad in a nice centralized, cloud-based manner that is flexible enough that it can grow and live with the agency as it evolves beyond inauguration day next year.”
The lengthy interview first discussed legacy systems, new technology, the cloud, and IT transitions at the White House. Here’s the portion of the interview on IIP:Read More
Wednesday, December 16th 2015
Evelyn S. Lieberman, the first Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs from 1999 to 2001, passed away December 12 in Washington D.C.
Several things impressed me from the start about Evelyn Lieberman. Like many people successful in politics, she was a quick, accurate judge of character. Despite coming to State directly from that insular environment at 1600 Pennsylvania, she quickly built rapport with FSO’s and Civil Service staffers. She brought people into her confidence and listened to their ideas. An effective leader, she understood how sharing information and insight empowers and strengthens your own staff. She often returned from intimate late afternoon discussions down the hall in S to share with us the Secretary’s interests, actions and goals.Read More
Sunday, June 23rd 2013
The President's speech in Berlin has come in for criticism on many levels, but experienced public diplomatists seem to agree that this was a public diplomacy opportunity misspent. The pictures of the President speaking behind large sheets of bulletproof rang particularly off key.
Patricia Lee Sharpe judged that the picture "doesn't make him look like a world leader to be taken seriously." John Brown, a Council member, asked: "Glass walls? Is that the USA message to the world?" These are warning signs for those advancing the upcoming Africa trip.
One of the Council's most senior members and foremost expert on U.S.-German relations, Hans "Tom" N. Tuch, agreed that the visuals were terrible and offered this blog a broader and sobering assessment of the U.S.-German public diplomacy challenge that needed to be met. Tom writes:
"The qualitative changes in attitude of Germans vis-a-vis the United States, as reflected in Alison Smale's reporting (NYTimes 6/19) appear similar to those in earlier times with similar deleterious results in our overall relationship.
"Today, Smale writes that Germans' reception of President Obama's arrival in Berlin was far more restrained than was his euphoric greeting by the German people when he spoke at the Siegesaeule in 2008. The reason for this diminution in enthusiasm include, reportedly, the president's inability to close the prison at Guatanamo Bay, continued killing by American drones and the disclosure of the extensive surveillance program of foreigners. In the 1950s many Germans, rightly or wrongly had considered the U.S. their Camelot. In the mid-1960s a significant number of young Germans turned against America for various reasons: U.S. involvement in Vietnam, the upheavals of the civil rights revolution in America, the assassination of JFK, Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King all contributed to a conviction that America was no longer a model society but the enemy of society. Not that the current disenchantment of the German people with President Obama need to have as negative an impact on U.S. German relations as those that affected the close relationship in the 1960s, but one might note the parallels and be concerned."Read More
Tuesday, November 22nd 2011
The date will always stick in my mind for the assassination of John F. Kennedy, who made perhaps the strongest impact on America's image of any president in the 20th Century. Council Member Leonard Baldyga has found on the Web the U.S. Information Agency's film Years of Lightening/Day of Drums, which the Congress excepted from the Smith-Mundt Act provisions for viewing in the United States. Always worth a look, and especially on this day.Read More
Friday, July 8th 2011
Voice of America is:
A. A tool of American public diplomacy.
B. An editorially independent news organization.
C. A strategic asset.
D. All of the above.
You may be surprised to hear that these descriptions are controversial, and even hotly debated. But I think the right answer is D, and I’ll explain why.Read More