Edward G. Lansdale, 1956. Credit: USAF Muir S. Fairchild Research Information Center.

Ed Lansdale, Vietnam, “Sharp Power” and “Psychological”

                The disinformation, propaganda, and malign narratives that now trouble international relations reach beyond the traditional Public Diplomacy frames of “mutual understanding,” “winning hearts and minds” and “soft power.” They are tools of “sharp power,” defined by the National Endowment for Democracy as “authoritarian influence efforts” that “pierce,…

Memories of Lou Olom (1917-2019)

Lou was one of the most thoughtful, dedicated, and politically savvy public diplomacy professionals of his generation.  Louis T. Olom (1917-2019), a career civil servant, will be remembered for his many contributions to public diplomacy during the years in which it was gradually gaining acceptance as a field of professional practice in US diplomacy. Lou’s…

John Lansing departs USAGM for National Public Radio

John Lansing, who has headed the five U.S. overseas taxpayer-funded networks since 2015, will become president and CEO of National Public Radio on October 1. The five U.S. networks are:   Voice of America (VOA), Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), Radio Free Asia (RFA), the Middle East Broadcasting Network in Arabic, (MBN) and Radio-TV Marti in…

Libby Liu speaking at podium

A Struggle for Minds in Closed Societies: a Radio Free Asia Update

In a live telecast on C-Span August 5, Radio Free Asia Director Libby Liu addressed a roundtable of public diplomacy specialists and focused on RFA’s U.S. government-funded multimedia network’s broadcasts to the Peoples Republic of China. RFA broadcasts on television, radio, and a variety of online channels to six East Asian countries: Cambodia, China, Laos,…

portrait of Eugene Kopp

Eugene Kopp, a cherished leader of U.S. public diplomacy

Eugene Kopp, who served twice as Deputy Director of USIA (1973-1977 and 1989-1992) and as Acting Director in 1976 -1977, died on Monday, May 13, 2019, of cardiac arrest. Mr. Kopp, a political appointee of Republican Presidents, engendered an unusual degree of respect and affection from a generation of government employees working in public diplomacy. …

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…

Evolution of Public Diplomacy One Mutation at a Time

Last week offered two glimpses of U.S. public diplomacy’s gradual evolution. The State Department received confirmation that a merger between two of its three public diplomacy bureaus will move ahead.  International Information Programs and the Public Affairs bureau will become the Bureau of Global Public Affairs. A less visible but deeper change went public Thursday,…