Our round-up of news, notes, tips, and Tweets exhibiting how public diplomacy effects the world each and every day.
Bangalore, the birthplace of community radio, is seeing a resurgence in its use. It is once again giving a voice to the marginalized citizens that the mainstream press is ignoring.
Bangalore, a technology hub, is known as the Silicon Valley of India, yet a third of its eight and a half million residents live in the slums. For the poor, radio functions similarly to the way the Internet works for the rich: it is their primary connection to the rest of the world. The poor are often literate in name only, limiting the utility of newspapers, while the nature of work keeps many people out on the street, away from televisions. After the introduction, in the early aughts, of cheap cell phones with built-in FM radios, eighty-seven per cent of Bangalore’s population now has access to radio; across India, Internet penetration is estimated at just over ten per cent. The city’s dozen or so commercial stations broadcast in six languages, catering to its diverse migrant population. [The New Yorker]
Pakistan and China agreed to coordinate their public diplomacy responses that effect both countries, including the establishment of a quick response interface between the foreign ministries.
Foreign Ministry spokespersons of Pakistan and China have agreed to maintain close contact and encourage regular exchange of media delegations between the two countries, the Foreign Ministry said on Thursday. They further agreed that the two Spokespersons would coordinate public diplomacy messaging on key foreign policy issues of mutual interest and would also liaise on the sidelines of important international events, a Foreign Ministry statement said. [News Pakistan]
An Integrated Approach to #PublicDiplomacy. http://t.co/mUbjkVowD8
— SAGE Sociology (@SAGEsociology) September 5, 2013
On this week’s Science podcast, they interview a scientist gaining access to a volatile North Korean volcano and the political hoops he needed to jump through to get there. [Science]
As China is increasingly viewed as the leading economic power by the developed world, their soft power deficit is becoming more prominent as opinions of the country trend downward.
And, it is this which has fueled China’s soft power deficit. Soft power, which rests upon the international attractiveness of a country’s foreign policy, political values and culture, is recognized by Beijing as a key political commodity, but one the country has had limited success in cultivating. As international perceptions of China’s power have changed, there are growing signs of international concern and sometimes even outright hostility toward the country. For instance, a 2013 BBC survey found that China’s global reputation, tracked across 25 countries, has sunk to its lowest level since the annual study began in 2005. In 2013, there has been an average fall-off of 8 percentage points in positive views towards China, and an increase in negative views also by 8 percentage points. Of the countries in the survey, 13 now hold overall negative views of the country, against 12 in which the overall view is positive. [Forbes]
Osipova: As long as #Russia‘s #PublicDiplomacy is Kremlin-directed, it won’t appear credible to the #West. Paper: http://t.co/oGLlAtfINq
— CGI (@CGI_DC) September 5, 2013
Shashi Tharoor gives a TED Talk arguing that India should focus on soft power instead of hard power as it rises to superpower status.
India is fast becoming a superpower, says Shashi Tharoor — not just through trade and politics, but through “soft” power, its ability to share its culture with the world through food, music, technology, Bollywood. He argues that in the long run it’s not the size of the army that matters as much as a country’s ability to influence the world’s hearts and minds. After a long career at the UN, and a parallel life as a novelist, Shashi Tharoor became a member of India’s Parliament. He spent 10 months as India’s Minister for External Affairs, building connections between India and the world. [TED-Ed]
As new science emerges indicating that a balanced gut benefits mental health, culinary diplomats should consider the probiotics of a meal that involves international guests.
Of course it’s not as simple as all that, but it adds a new twist to the considerations of culinary diplomats. At state dinners, should chefs include a probiotic in order to improve the mood of the meal (beyond what the wine can do, of course)? When introducing a foreign cuisine to a new eater, should the experiment contain something probiotic to increase the chances of enjoyment (though stinky tofu and limburger cheese might not be great places to start)? Would a cultural exchange be more effective if it involves live cultures, like Lactobacillus delbrueckii bulgaricus and assorted bifidobacteria? [Culinary Diplomacy]
Putin becomes champion of international law. Or how #softpower battles precede and often supersede #hardpower battles http://t.co/RMpR0Yz62A
— Indra Adnan (@indraadnan) September 5, 2013
Iran’s new Foreign Minister and President tweeted a “Happy Rosh Hashanah” this week creating quite a stir along with a conversation about Twitter diplomacy.
The stunning exchange of direct Twitter diplomacy from Tehran that began Wednesday with Rouhani wishing Jews everywhere a blessed Rosh Hashanah has set off amazement in the social media universe. It has also revealed a deep vein of wariness and mistrust, that remain a legacy of former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s Holocaust denial and threats to Israel, and the avowed hostility between Israel and Iran. The outreach from Rouhani and Zarif, particularly to the Jewish people, signals the “most significant public diplomacy outreach since the revolution,” journalist Robin Wright said Thursday on Twitter. “It signals intent for a serious [diplomatic[ effort, even if issues [are] no easier.” [The Back Channel]
Iran’s Foreign Minister Opens a Twitter Channel to the West http://t.co/6VAxF5i8g3 > leer #publicdiplomacy #digitaldiplomacy
— Marisa Maldonado (@marisamaldo) September 6, 2013
Jon Healy looks at the motivations behind Dennis Rodman’s return to North Korea and what each side stands to gain by the renewed sports diplomacy.
Still, a coup d’etat appears to be a real risk for Kim. And the stiffening global sanctions make governing, if not more difficult, at least more complicated. So Kim has reason to worry about his image, albeit more internally than to the rest of the world. Rodman, meanwhile, appears to be surviving solely on the strength of his dwindling celebrity. He earned a reported $27 million in salary, five championship rings and a spot in basketball’s Hall of Fame as a gifted rebounder in the NBA. But his career ended in 2000, and last year his lawyers told a judge in Orange that Rodman was broke. At the time, he owed more than $850,000 in child and spousal support payments. [LA Times]
Bashar al-Assad has an Instagram account, and it continues to be updated as if the current situation in Syria is perfectly normal.
The syrianpresidency feed is, to state the obvious, propaganda. It is also, to state the even more obvious, propaganda of the worst kind — propaganda that insinuates and misleads and lies. It’s not this that’s going on in Syria right now, the feed insists; it’s this. It’s not neurotoxins and explosions and the violent deaths of civilians and children; it’s science competitions and basketball games and, as my National Journal colleague Marin Cogan points out, Tiffany-blue fitness-tracking bracelets. [The Atlantic via PDiN]
Head of Xinhua says western media is anti #China & says Chinese media can’t match its influence: #softpower failure? http://t.co/fuOfB3ipJq
— Alistair Burnett (@afburnett) September 5, 2013