As a 36-year veteran of the Voice of America (VOA), Alan Heil traveled to more than 40 countries a foreign correspondent in the Middle East, and later as director of News and Current Affairs, deputy director of programs, and deputy director of the nation’s largest publicly-funded overseas multimedia network. Today, VOA reaches more than 275 million people around the world each week via radio, television and online media. Read More

A New Path Ahead For U.S. Public Diplomacy Advocates In A Digital Age?

What is public diplomacy? It’s a term used more widely than ever in the 21st century, as a leading scholar of the concept, the University of Southern California’s Professor Nicholas J. Cull explains: “Public diplomacy deals with the influence of public attitudes on the formation and execution of a nation’s foreign policies.” Dr. Cull adds…

Global Media Giants Meet to Debate Their Future and Challenges Ahead in the 21st Century

It was perhaps the largest gathering of public diplomacy advocates and international broadcasters and media scholars ever held in America. The U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM) organized a day-long conference May 7 at the U.S. Institute of Peace in an atrium within sight of the Lincoln Memorial. Highlight of the day: an address by…

Is an ISIS Comeback Possible?

It appeared to some to be the end of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) a month ago. That was when its last territorial holding in southeastern Syria, the town of Baghouz, was captured by largely Kurdish units of the Syrian Democratic Forces coalition forces. A network of underground tunnels where ISIS fighters…

Authoritarian Media: Supercharged in a Digital Age

In this era of expanding use of new communications tools, accuracy in media matters as never before. Globally, truth and fairness in journalism is endangered in unprecedented ways. Two specialists from the National Endowment for Democracy recently explained to a First Monday of the Month forum of the PDC and PDAA how China, Russia and…

The Hard Case for Soft Power: Four D.C. Roundtables Reflect Challenges and Impact

What is U.S. “soft power” in a digital world? A key facet is the ability to form international friendships, person-to-person and organization-to-organization, in the 21st century. This enhances, in a very human way, “hard power,” the ability to affect militarily the fate of societies and nations around the globe. Here in Washington, soft power advocates…

map of the middle east

Faint Glimmers of Hope in a Devastated Middle East?

In an essay entitled “The Middle East: Regional Disorder,” Columbia University Professor Lawrence G. Potter warns of the impact on global security of catastrophic developments in that troubled region. It’s a prime reason for U.S. and international public diplomacy, in all its forms. Writing in the 2019 edition of the Foreign Policy Association’s annual Great…