Earlier this month, the Shanghai Ballet Company gave a contemporary performance adapted from the English novel Jane Eyre in London. Is this a workable cultural diplomacy model for China towards Western countries?
Moreover, by bringing a popular English novel to the stage, the Shanghai Ballet showed a high level of sensitivity to the local context, while at the same time illustrating how Chinese and British cultures can be combined in an outstanding artistic symbiosis. Lastly, the team behind the performance was truly international. While the ballet dancers and playwright were from China originally, the performance was put together by a German-born choreographer, and the set and costumes were created by a French designer. Overall, such intercultural cooperation indirectly conveys powerful messages to foreign audiences. Most importantly, it demonstrates a willingness on the part of the Shanghai Ballet—and ultimately also of China—to learn from other cultures and work together for the greater good. [The Diplomat]
Douglas Bloomfield suggests that an approach that involves less foreign audiences and more directly-affected audiences in the Israel-Palestinian conflict talks would better serve both parties.
Abbas spoke to his Israeli visitors about border adjustments, an end to the conflict, a demilitarized state, no more territorial claims to Jaffa, Acre, Safed and Haifa or other places inside Israel – which sounded like dropping the right of return demand for refugees. It was all reported in the Israeli media, which many Palestinians see, but they need to hear these things directly so they know it is not just for foreign consumption. [Jerusalem Post]
Great resource for educators. MT @pewresearch: Public opinion in countries around the world using our interactive map http://t.co/bcgjPeYVxt— Jason Knoll (@jasonlknoll)August 27, 2013
A Spanish mayor posts a crude picture of what Gibraltar would look like if the Spanish invaded on his Facebook page. Unsurprisingly, controversy ensued.
The mock-up appeared on the page of Francisco Javier Pérez Trigueros, a nationalist whose previous posts include details on the history of the Spanish flag. Mr Trigueros is a member of the ruling Popular Party, and holds his position of office in the Callosa de Segura municipality in Valencia, some 375 miles up the coast from Gibraltar. Members of a website for Gibraltar residents reacted angrily after one user drew their attention to Mr Trigueros’s activity on the social media site. [The Independent via The Public Diplomacy Daily]
Anne-Marie Slaughter makes the case for economic diplomacy as a means to stabilize the Middle East.
In the immortal words of James Carville, Bill Clinton’s campaign manager in 1992, “It’s the economy, stupid.” The dismal failure of Middle Eastern and North African economies to deliver the prosperity that their people desperately want is a constant factor pushing people into the streets. It is not the only factor, but rising food prices helped to spread revolutionary fervor from a small group of activists to much of Egypt’s population in 2011, and again this year in June, when the most frequent grievance against former President Mohamed Morsi concerned not his ideology but his indifference to ordinary Egyptians’ needs. [Project Syndicate]
@M_Ignatieff is it time for South Korea to defy Washington’s logic on North Korea? http://t.co/j3ggpk6cJ4#softpower#PublicDiplomacy— Michael Bassett (@bassett_mike)August 28, 2013
The U.S.’s BBG uses its multitude of global media outlets to mark the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s I Have a Dream speech.
“Dr. King’s message of acceptance and his strategies for bringing social and political change have ongoing relevance,” said Dick Lobo, director of the International Broadcasting Bureau. “The BBG is uniquely poised to bring coverage of — and context to — this seminal moment to people worldwide who face human rights struggles and political violence in their countries.” [BBG]
Because of the U.S.’s lack of long-term public diplomacy and soft power in the asymmetrical conflicts in the Middle East, the recent threats of military action are not as potent as they could be.
The way forward in these unconventional conflicts is murky. What is clear is that our brand of diplomacy so haphazardly nurtured over the past decade must undergo another renovation to avoid subsequent periods of irrelevance, just as our military should be retooled to fight smaller-scale incidents. Expecting the world of the military, including a sound proportionate response, in these modern incursions for which it is not built is not wise. Expecting the world of our diplomats in the interconnected morass that is Middle Eastern diplomacy without relationship equity or inherent leverage, and shoving them aside when results do not instantly appear, is worse. We, sadly, have begun doing both even in the face of public opposition to engagement. [The Exchange]
FACT SHEET: Academic Exchange: A Pillar of #PublicDiplomacy http://t.co/BzKhK7Sdsi— American Security (@amsecproject)August 28, 2013
Elaine Pearson argues that Australia needs to be more outspoken on human rights as a growing power in Asia.
If Australia’s regional foreign policy is restricted to soft diplomacy and ASEAN-style commerce-only engagement, that is bad news for victims of human rights violations in Asia. People such as Filep Karma, a Papuan activist who remains ill in an Indonesian prison, jailed for 15 years for his peaceful support of Papuan independence. Or the family of Jonas Burgos, a leftist activist in the Philippines who was forcibly ”disappeared” in 2007. Despite substantial evidence implicating the military, the family is still awaiting answers about his whereabouts. A quiet word from an Australian official won’t free Karma or ensure justice for Burgos. [The Sydney Morning Herald via PDiN]
No matter what Western leaders do in concern to Syria, the Arab public and their commentary on social media will not be content.
It seems to be a case of “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” for Western leaders mulling a strike on Syria this week. Only a few months ago, Middle Eastern audiences had been condemning the West’s “silence” on foreign intervention in the conflict. Now, there has been a marked shift in the stance of Arab observers in the region, with some referring to foreign intervention in Syria as “yet another colonial attack” and likening the scenario to the war on Iraq in 2003. [Al Arabiya]
#placebranding succeeds only if we go beyond stereotypes, which evoke people’s lower nature http://t.co/UfxYNbWTCQ #publicdiplomacy #tourism— Günter Soydanbay (@GunterSoydanbay)August 28, 2013
The Syrian Electronic Army successfully brought down the New York Times website, Twitter and other American media outlets bringing attention to their cause.
Media companies including the New York Times, Twitter and the Huffington Post lost control of some of their websites after hackers supporting the Syrian government breached the Australian internet company that manages many major site addresses. The Syrian Electronic Army, a hacker group that has previously attacked media organisations that it considers hostile to the government of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, claimed credit for the Twitter and Huffington Post hacks in a series of Twitter messages late on Tuesday. [Al Jazeera]
USAID moves towards a “food-for-assets” model in once vulnerable communities that have now found peaceful situations.
So why is this innovative? As a result of chronic food insecurity and conflict, South Sudan has received widespread free food distributions for years. By focusing on a Food-for-Assets approach, we are fostering a shift from dependency on food aid to sustainable livelihoods. By empowering communities to build or improve local assets, we improve their resilience to shocks, such as floods, so that one day these communities will no longer need food assistance. [USAID]