Of note:
  • On Monday, a conversation about science diplomacy with North Korea
Home » The Daily » The Daily: For September 16, 2013

The Daily: For September 16, 2013

September 16, 2013 6:52 am by: Category: The Daily

photo credit: The Express Tribune

Our round-up of news, notes, tips, and Tweets exhibiting how public diplomacy effects the world each and every day.

In a throwback to the early days of the Cold War, terrestrial radio broadcasts are playing a big role in the spread of information in Syria.

His station broadcasts in three local languages—Kurdish, Arabic, and Syriac, an Aramaic dialect once spoken widely across Mesopotamia. Like other stations backed by Washington, the main focus for ARTA FM is to push civil society, and its programs span topics from anti-sectarian advocacy and discussions on moderate Islam to journalistic reports on problems with the local water supply. ARTA FM also covers sensitive topics such as fighting between rebels and local Kurdish militias, Hossein says, in a way that “gives everyone the opportunity to talk. We show that we are independent, we just want to talk, and we don’t hide anything.” [Newsweek]




With the hiring of Time managing editor Rick Stengel as the new Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, the Obama administration now employs 21 former reporters in its high ranks.

A wave of reporters went to work for President Obama early in the administration, a time when many media organizations were going through layoffs and Obama’s approval rating was sky-high. The flow has tapered off since then. The Washington Post’s Ed O’Keefe has semi-regularly kept tabs on the number of reporters working for Obama administration, counting 10 in May 2009, 14 in 2010, and 13 in 2011. The Washington Examiner’s Paul Beddard counted 19 reporters working for “Team Obama” in February 2012, but he included liberal advocacy groups as part of the “team.” [The Atlantic Wire]



The new government of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is off to a rough start with its use of the Internet and social media as public diplomacy outreach efforts.

The magnitude of the problem became apparent when one minister complained that the press was routinely quoting social media accounts that were not theirs … Hoping to prevent confusion and achieve more clarity and discipline in its conduct on social media, the government set up a special committee to deal with unofficial social media accounts. However, this suggested that they had never considered the issue to begin with. [BBC]


According to Dennis Rodman, his basketball diplomacy with North Korea is no joke. Others are starting to see it that way as well.

“Dennis is the perfect person for this. He couldn’t be manipulated by the regime even if they wanted to,” says Pinkston. What better challenge to the most conformist, monolithic society on the planet than a six-foot-seven cross-dressing, cursing, boozing African-­American covered in tattoos and facial piercings? Besides, Pinkston argues, Rodman isn’t actually a diplomat, either implicitly or officially. “Sitting down in a stately room with private citizen Hillary Clinton creates a kind of status. Sitting down with Dennis Rodman doesn’t achieve that.” But even if Rodman is just bro-ing out, it’s not without its value. [New York Magazine]



Tara Sonenshine attempts to put Putin’s New York Times op-ed into the context of wider Russian public diplomacy efforts over the last 20 years.

What confuses people about Russian public diplomacy is that it often veers from a closed fist approach to an open handshake depending on its narrow objective — all the while testing America as it seeks to build its own popularity around the world. Since the end of the 1990s the Russians have been aware that America and other nations see a weakened former Soviet empire behaving badly in the world, and they have sought to correct that perception beginning with the hiring of an American public relations firm back in 2006, which generated interest at the time. [CNN]


Ketchum, the PR company responsible for getting Putin’s op-ed into the New York Times, has a controversial past with Russian propaganda.

Ketchum, which since 1996 has been a subsidiary of the global advertising and marketing Omnicom Group, has an extensive history of working with the Russian government to place items in American publications. Using filings from the Justice Department, the non-profit ProPublica detailed last November how Ketchum helped place op-eds by “seemingly independent professionals” that praised Russia in outlets like CNBC and the Huffington Post, among others, without proper disclosure. [Business Insider]



Beijing is using the China-Arab States Expo 2013 to spread the message of a “harmonious society,” a familiar nomenclature for a complacent Chinese way of life, but with economics in mind.

Sunday’s China-Arab States Expo 2013, launched by the Chinese commerce ministry, is officially billed to promote “cooperation in the energy industry,” and “construct a harmonious and stable society.” It remains unclear how Beijing intends to do this, but the gesture comes at a time when analysts say spillover from the ongoing civil war in Syria could threaten China’s energies imports from Iran and Saudi Arabia. [Al Jazeera America via PDiN]


The Exchange for Change exhibition in Pakistan aims to improve relationships between Pakistani and Indian schoolchildren.

Exchange for Change was launched in September 2010 between 2,400 schoolchildren from three cities each in India and Pakistan. Through the duration of the project, a sustained exchange of written visual and oral histories linked schoolchildren aged between 10 to 14 years across the six cities. The various selected schools ensured a holistic dialogue between students belonging to diverse socio-economic backgrounds. [The Express Tribune]




Beijing Bucharest harmonious society Istanbul Ketchum Philip Crowley Portugal Pravda radio Real Madrid Rick Stengel student exchange Tokyo

About Michael Ardaiolo

Michael Ardaiolo is currently a student in Syracuse University's Public Diplomacy Master's Program: M.A. in International Relations from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and M.S. in Public Relations from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. In addition, he is a recovering record slinger, a Criterion Collection addict, an NBA obsessor, and a struggling student of the Korean language.

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