Soft Power and Hard Targets

Occasionally I co-lead a strategy workshop for State Department practitioners of public diplomacy.  Each participant brings a topic and develops it into a public diplomacy campaign over five days; it’s learning by doing. The hardest thing for our students – both Foreign Service Officers and locally-hired staffers – is to define a clear objective and…

Public Diplomacy’s Oral History Interviews

Public Diplomacy’s Oral History Interviews Donald M. Bishop   It’s a commonplace that most historical studies of U.S. public diplomacy have focused on Washington policies, themes, leaders, and decisions.   They have thus slighted how policies were implemented “in the field” — in other nations, regions, and societies.  There’s not much written on how Public…

U.S. Public Diplomacy’s Chief Departs at Key Moment

By Joe B. Johnson Bruce Wharton, the first Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy from the ranks of the career Foreign Service, has retired.  Wharton has provided stellar leadership and set a fine example for public diplomacy employees since his appointment last December.  No successor has been announced. Nothing indicates that Ambassador Wharton’s departure is anything other than…

“America First” Framework for 2018 International Affairs Budget Request Funds Core PD

By Joe B. Johnson “Asserting U.S. leadership and influence” includes core public diplomacy programs, according to the White House budget for 2018. We don’t have a formal strategy or a reorganization plan from the new administration, but a budget may be the most important statement about its new directions.  And this page from the State Department lays…

The Power of Cultural Diplomacy – Why does the United States Neglect It?

In 1966 the Brookings Institution published a book by Charles Frankel entitled: The Neglected Aspect of Foreign Affairs – American Educational and Cultural Policy Abroad.  Frankel argued that “in comparison with the sophisticated analysis devoted to U.S. military, economic, and diplomatic policy, little intellectual attention has been given to international cultural exchange”. Although more than…