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,…

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…

President Nieto and Donald Trump sitting

Building on the U.S. Partnership with Mexico: an Expert’s Analysis

Two years ago this week, Mexican-U.S. relations took a deep dive, when Mexico’s former President Enrique Pena Nieto cancelled a meeting in Washington with incoming President Donald Trump during Mr. Trump’s first week in office. The dispute centered on Mr. Trump’s insistence that Mexico pay for construction of a planned wall along unfinished sections of…

Public Diplomacy: Truth-Power in a Digital Age

It was October 15. 2015. The Broadcasting Board of Governors, recently renamed the U.S. Agency for Global Media, heard some sound advice about the power of the five taxpayer-funded multimedia networks it leads. “To state the obvious,” guest speaker Adam Clayton Powell III told the Board, “not everything is true, some things are provably false.…