Joe B. Johnson consults on government communication and technology after a career in the United States Foreign Service.  He is an instructor for the National Foreign Affairs Training Center, where he teaches strategic planning for public diplomacy. Read More

U.S. Public Diplomacy’s Chief Departs at Key Moment

By Joe B. Johnson Bruce Wharton, the first Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy from the ranks of the career Foreign Service, has retired.  Wharton has provided stellar leadership and set a fine example for public diplomacy employees since his appointment last December.  No successor has been announced. Nothing indicates that Ambassador Wharton’s departure is anything other than…

Don’t Kick VOA When It’s Down

VOA’s alleged mishandling of a Chinese insider’s interview shouldn’t overshadow the important work done by it and the other U.S. government-sponsored broadcasters. See my latest commentary in The American Interest: The Voice of America (VOA) celebrated its 75th anniversary in March, but it didn’t have much time to savor its diamond jubilee. Just a month later,…

The Power of Cultural Diplomacy – Why does the United States Neglect It?

In 1966 the Brookings Institution published a book by Charles Frankel entitled: The Neglected Aspect of Foreign Affairs – American Educational and Cultural Policy Abroad.  Frankel argued that “in comparison with the sophisticated analysis devoted to U.S. military, economic, and diplomatic policy, little intellectual attention has been given to international cultural exchange”. Although more than…