Academic study of public diplomacy and related topics

Is an ISIS Comeback Possible?

It appeared to some to be the end of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) a month ago. That was when its last territorial holding in southeastern Syria, the town of Baghouz, was captured by largely Kurdish units of the Syrian Democratic Forces coalition forces. A network of underground tunnels where ISIS fighters…

Authoritarian Media: Supercharged in a Digital Age

In this era of expanding use of new communications tools, accuracy in media matters as never before. Globally, truth and fairness in journalism is endangered in unprecedented ways. Two specialists from the National Endowment for Democracy recently explained to a First Monday of the Month forum of the PDC and PDAA how China, Russia and…

World War II and the Aims of Broadcasting

During World War II, the Foreign Broadcast Intelligence Service (FBIS) monitored broadcasts from around the world, providing valuable intelligence on conditions in other nations for U.S. national leaders. Organizationally, FBIS was part of the Federal Communications Commission. The founding president of Bennington College, Robert Devore Leigh (1890-1961), left the academy to direct FBIS through 1944.…

The Hard Case for Soft Power: Four D.C. Roundtables Reflect Challenges and Impact

What is U.S. “soft power” in a digital world? A key facet is the ability to form international friendships, person-to-person and organization-to-organization, in the 21st century. This enhances, in a very human way, “hard power,” the ability to affect militarily the fate of societies and nations around the globe. Here in Washington, soft power advocates…

A Tale of Metrics: Japan’s Wartime News and Propaganda

“Metrics,” “data,” “evaluation,” and “results, not outputs” have proven to be real challenges for Public Diplomacy and strategic communication.  So has demonstrating that a program, activity, or campaign “moves the needle.” Yesteryear Foreign Service Officers at U.S. Information Service posts religiously tallied “placements.” From time to time, USIA’s research office commissioned surveys. At the dawn…