Mission and History
The Public Diplomacy Council was founded in 1988 as the Public Diplomacy Foundation. It evolved to serve and advocate public diplomacy as a part of statecraft and an academic discipline.
In 2001, the Foundation joined with The George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs and Elliott School of International Affairs to establish the Public Diplomacy Institute, which is now the Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication. The Foundation changed its name to the Public Diplomacy Council and became a membership organization with an elected board of directors.
The Council maintains close ties with the Public Diplomacy Alumni Association (PDAA) whose president is an ex-officio member of the Council’s board of directors. We work cooperatively with George Washington University, American University and the University of Southern California. We also collaborate with the American Foreign Service Association, the American Council of Ambassadors, and other professional organizations.
Our principles rest on these assumptions:
- Publics and their opinions matter increasingly in a globalizing world.
- U.S. statecraft should rely on careful analysis of the public dimension of issues.
- Informed judgments about global trends depend on an understanding of social and cultural dynamics and public opinion here and abroad.
- Civil society, the arts and educational communities are crucial intermediaries with counterparts in other nations.
- Public Diplomacy budgets, training, and recruitment do not reflect the growing importance of public diplomacy.
- 21st Century diplomacy will rely increasingly on mastery of modern telecommunications, yet the growth in mass communication creates a more urgent need for interpersonal communication.
The Council’s objectives are as follows:
- Encourage teaching, research, and writing in the academic study of public diplomacy and foster high standards in its professional practice;
- Increase understanding of public diplomacy and ways in which its values, standards, and practices must improve among the American people, Congress, and the executive branch;
- Maintain productive relations with the Department of State, other U.S. Government agencies, and non-governmental organizations with similar goals;
- Study and issue public findings and recommendations on the conduct of public diplomacy and its value to American foreign policy;
- Increase understanding and appreciation of past public diplomacy contributions through research, scholarship, and preservation of archival materials;
- Provide highly qualified individuals to participate in the projects of the Council and the Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication.