Professional practice of public diplomacy; tradecraft as opposed to academic study

World’s Fairs: Back Again in America’s Global Outreach

After nearly two decades, the U.S. has now rejoined the universe of Global Expos — more commonly known as World’s Fairs. Jim Core, director of the State Department’s tiny restored international expositions unit, is enthusiastic about the prospects. “These fairs,” he said, “are the Olympics of U.S. public diplomacy.” He was addressing the Public Diplomacy…

Two men smile

Volunteerism

The praise was a bit embarrassing, and I am not sure I liked how it was tactically deployed, but the masters of ceremony held up the USA as the paragon of volunteerism, gently disparaging the Brazilian audience, pointing out that only around 4% of Brazilians were involved in volunteer activities. The State Department brought me…

Robert Gates on Strategic Communication

Should ambassadors tweet?  Perhaps Robert Gates implied the answer should be “no.” The memoir by former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War, published in 2015, remains required reading for everyone who worked at the embassies, consulates, and Provincial Reconstruction Teams in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The book allows readers to…

“Tell Me More”

When I entered the Foreign Service in 1979, my class of 16 new Public Diplomacy officers was taught to cultivate “the Foreign Service manner,” the habits of diplomacy — listening, accurate reporting, careful speaking, and a certain care in asking questions without an edge.  So much of Public Diplomacy is about “telling,” it’s good to…

Dream Factory, or Propaganda Machine?

This article first appeared in the latest issue of Claremont Review of Books Have you heard the latest? Hollywood’s hottest romance may be breaking up. You won’t find the details in the tabloids or People magazine. Instead, you must look in the business section of the few newspapers that cover events outside the United States. This is because…