“Public Diplomacy Isn’t a Megaphone; It’s a Telephone!”

That pithy reminder popped out near the conclusion of a January 23 public hearing as the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy (ACPD) issued its 70th annual report on the fine art many P.D. specialists spend their lives fostering —effective international dialogues and exchanges here and abroad: genuine two-way communication in many forums. Three members…

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,…