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

Building on the U.S. Partnership with Mexico: an Expert’s Analysis

Two years ago this week, Mexican-U.S. relations took a deep dive, when Mexico’s former President Enrique Pena Nieto cancelled a meeting in Washington with incoming President Donald Trump during Mr. Trump’s first week in office. The dispute centered on Mr. Trump’s insistence that Mexico pay for construction of a planned wall along unfinished sections of…

Public Diplomacy: Truth-Power in a Digital Age

It was October 15. 2015. The Broadcasting Board of Governors, recently renamed the U.S. Agency for Global Media, heard some sound advice about the power of the five taxpayer-funded multimedia networks it leads. “To state the obvious,” guest speaker Adam Clayton Powell III told the Board, “not everything is true, some things are provably false.…

Powell, Singer, Brooking address an audience

How classic propaganda tactics weaponize social media

If you participate in social media, you are being spun.  And that’s a problem for government communicators, especially in public diplomacy. LikeWar: The Weaponization of Social Media, published just two months ago, has been termed by Amazon Press as “the best book of 2018”.  The book’s co-authors, noted scholars of 21st century new media Peter W.…

Cynthia and Panel

Public Diplomacy: Hopes and Fears at a Landmark Anniversary

Thirty years ago, a group of retired and active foreign service officers founded the Public Diplomacy Foundation. Their successors held a round-table November 5 at George Washington University (GWU), a close-up assessment of the state of this fine art of people-to- people dialogues today. The event was co-sponsored by the Public Diplomacy Council, successor to…

Voting booths on a table top

Autumn 2018: Two National Elections in Starkly Different Settings

If you have voted for a new parliament in Afghanistan, or are a U.S. citizen planning to cast your ballot November 8, pause — and consider the contrasts. These came to mind at a briefing by the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM), which surveys its audiences and shares results.  In Afghanistan, half of eligible…

The Khashoggi Murder: What’s Next?

The darkest clouds hovering over the slaying of a noted Saudi journalist at the country’s consulate in Istanbul are multiplying daily. However, the immediate question remains: what’s next, and when and where will the murderers be brought to justice? To sum up latest developments: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addressed the Turkish parliament Tuesday to confirm that…