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Home » The Daily » The Daily: For October 14, 2013

The Daily: For October 14, 2013

October 14, 2013 7:04 am by: Category: The Daily
photo credit: Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

photo credit: Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

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

Though Malala Yousafzai did not win the Nobel Peace Prize as expected, her popularity in the West is receiving considerable backlash in her home country of Pakistan.

The Malala conspiracy theories are perhaps the cruelest of all such theories. This determined and irrepressible symbol of the best of the human spirit has a chance to be Pakistan’s Gandhi, MLK and Rosa Parks all rolled up in one. To see her countrymen dismiss her as a Western pawn is to see them reject the best within themselves, at just the moment that they most need to summon the best within. [The CPD Blog]


The White House failed to notify VOA, BBC, CNN, and other media outlets of Barack Obama’s meeting with Malala Yousafzasi in advance, and the Voice of America’s only report on the meeting remains scant of details.

According to my sources, the White House did not let VOA, BBC, CNN and other media know about the meeting in advance. One wonders, considering international impact of Malala’s visit, who is in charge of public diplomacy for the Obama administration? But this should not have prevented VOA from doing its journalistic job. My former VOA colleagues told me that the VOA Urdu Service informed the VOA Newsroom that a Pakistani news website had reported on the meeting some hours earlier. The VOA Newsroom also had the White House statement a few minutes after 7 PM ET, but the VOA English website did not post its short, incomplete and unbalanced news report until about two hours later, after 9 PM ET. Sadly, this VOA News report is still online after two days without any updates or corrections. [Digital Journal]


Tara Sonenshine, former U.S. Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, writes an op-ed with Donald Steinberg of World Learning in support of International Day of the Girl.

All too often politicians think of child marriage, human trafficking, and gender equality as “soft issues.” There is nothing “soft” about preventing armed thugs from abusing girls in refugee camps, or holding warlords accountable for actions against girls, or insisting that girls’ health, education, and safety are addressed in peace negotiations and postconflict reconstruction and reconciliation. [Christian Science Monitor]



Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is walking a fine line of support over Hassan Rouhani’s diplomatic gestures towards the U.S.

During an Oct. 5 speech to military cadets, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei expressed support for Rouhani’s diplomatic efforts, but also called some aspects of the trip “not appropriate” … Was Khamenei suggesting that when Rouhani decided to take the phone call from Obama, he had forgotten about Iran’s national interests? On the contrary, the Supreme Leader is playing a delicate political balancing act between supporting Rouhani’s attempt to end international sanctions against Tehran and reassuring anti-U.S. extremists in Iran of his caution and resolve. The timeline of events, when coupled with other relevant facts, makes this clear. [Al Jazeera America]


Craig Hayden continues his two-part piece asking, does technology persuade?

Yet some critics continue to point to the failures of U.S. public diplomacy’s use of “digital” diplomacy tools by how they are disconnected from strategic goals, as if the State Department is using such tools simply to be present on Twitter, Facebook, or some trendy platform. Likewise, these tools are themselves criticized for not directly facilitating a policy objective (as if a media platform should directly achieve an outcome).  [The CPD Blog]




California’s new memorandum of understanding with China’s National Development and Reform Commission to jointly combat environmental problems is an important step in the move towards sub-national diplomacy.

Although California has previously inked accords with other Chinese central government agencies on matters like trade and investment, its partnership with the NDRC, which functions as a kind of super-ministry in charge of economic policy, represents a significant evolution in U.S.-China relations. The approach has enormous potential – but both sides are pursuing it for the wrong reasons. Rather than being seen as an antidote to gridlock in national capitals, sub-national diplomacy should be viewed as an integral part of foreign relations in the interdependent twenty-first century. [The Diplomat via PDiN]


The Woodrow Wilson Center posted a discussion on YouTube by Greg Castillo about his new book, Cold War on the Home Front: The Soft Power of Midcentury Design.

Greg Castillo, Associate Professor, University of California, Berkeley will discuss his latest book entitled Cold War on the Home Front: The Soft Power of Midcentury Design, which is an in-depth history of how domestic goods and environments were exploited on both sides of the Iron Curtain to promote either capitalism or socialism. Cold War on the Home Front reveals the tactics used by U.S. government agencies to seduce citizens of the Soviet bloc with state-of-the-art consumer goods, and the retaliatory tactics mobilized by Party authorities. Using a mosaic of sources ranging from recently declassified government documents to homemaking journals and popular fiction, Cold War on the Home Front contributes perspective on cultural politics and midcentury modernism at the dawn of the cold war. [Woodrow Wilson Center]



The U.S. State Department’s Art in Embassies program celebrates its 50th year. At least according to this article about the U.S. Ambassador to Jamaica, Pamela Bridgewater, it remains effective in influencing opinion.

What makes this particular collection more interesting is that it’s a combination of both her personal pieces and also artwork from the Art in Embassies (AIE) programme. The programme, now in its 50th year, is part of the US’ cultural diplomacy initiative that was cultivated by the Museum of Modern Art in 1963. The AIE, during its year-long celebration, will be honouring over 20,000 stakeholders that include artists, museums, galleries and private collectors in over 200 venues in almost as many countries, including Jamaica. While the term ‘cultural diplomacy’ is relatively new, there is evidence that it has been practised for centuries. In fact, artists, explorers, travellers, teachers and students can all be considered informal ambassadors. Bear in mind that the early trade routes by Marco Polo and Christopher Columbus were forged through cultural diplomacy. [Jamaica Observer]



Women of Saudi Arabia posted pictures and videos of themselves driving on social media last week in the first part of a two-stage campaign to change attitudes toward women’s rights.

Saudi women’s rights activists Thursday posted photographs and videos of themselves behind the wheel on social media websites, defying a de-facto ban on women driving in the kingdom. The social media flurry came two days after three female members of Saudi Arabia’s Shura Council requested that the issue be discussed in the forum… One female activist, speaking on condition of anonymity to Reuters, said the publication of the video clips and photographs was the first part of a two-stage campaign geared towards changing attitudes in the country. The second stage, she said, will see Saudi Arabia-based women with international driving licenses get behind the wheel on Oct. 26. [Al Arabiya]

Art in Embassies Ayatollah Ali Khamenei California Craig Hayden driving extremism Greg Castillo International Day of the Girl Jamaica Malala Yousafzai Nobel Peace Prize outer space diplomacy Pamela Bridgewater sub-national diplomacy

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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