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Home » The Daily » The Daily: For October 29, 2013

The Daily: For October 29, 2013

October 29, 2013 6:37 am by: Category: The Daily

photo credit: Global Post

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

Bloom Consulting, a Madrid-based strategy consulting firm, recently released its Trade Edition of the 2013 Country Brand Rankings. They take an investor-friendly view of nation branding, one that increasingly values the internet as a risk assessment tool.

The top 5 most successful Nation Brands for the Trade (investment) dimension are Brand USA (1), China (2), the United Kingdom (3), France (4) and Hong Kong (5). Europe is strongly represented in the top 25 with 12 countries making an appearance. Germany (7), Spain (12) and the Netherlands (17) actively demonstrate their consistent positioning. Spain, despite such economic turmoil and corruption scandals, maintains the 4th position in the ranking as last year. Additionally, there is a strong presence from the BRIC nations powered by a historically strong economic growth and optimistic vision of the future, causing China (2), Brazil (8) and India (10) all to improve on last year’s results in the Country Brand Ranking. Nonetheless, all these Nation Brands will suffer a decrease in ranking in the medium run, with the Russian Federation (14) displaying the first sign of this trend, having lost 4 positions compared to last year. [Bloom Consulting]


American soft power is supposed to be mitigating the U.S.’s decline as the global hegemon. What happens in the wake of the NSA revelation when those resources start to dry up, too, though?

So the current problems do harm on both fronts. It will be difficult to maintain the allure of soft power if global opinion settles on the view that American political discord has rendered its democracy dysfunctional at home, or that its surveillance practices have given rein to the mores of a police state. And it will be harder to preserve American status through the force of its alliances if its politicians’ economic irresponsibility (for example, publicly contemplating a default on American national debt) or scandals over surveillance or drone strikes alienate their public or cause their leaders to question the extent to which they really are on the same side as the US. [The Conversation]



As the U.S. FBI probes the activities of Russia’s Federal Agency for the CIS and International Humanitarian Cooperation (Rossotrudnichestvo) for possible foreign-intelligence gatherings, Russia’s public diplomacy credibility is tested in an echo of the Cold War.

Without even speculating whether or not Zaytsev was involved in Russia’s foreign intelligence-gathering activities, the fact that he was suspected of such activities endangers the future of Russian and U.S. projects in public diplomacy. Although the term “public diplomacy” was originally coined as a euphemism for propaganda, now it is most closely associated with the word “trust.” Trust is something currently missing in the relations between our two countries and what public diplomacy is supposed to achieve. [Russia Direct]


India is challenging China for the most influence on the African continent.

In many ways Africa is a test of how India intends to behave as a rising power. Unlike other continents, particularly Asia, where India is expanding its presence, Africa is a relatively open space: a new power has more freedom to chart its own course. One question often asked in Beijing and Washington, for different reasons, is how much additional legitimacy India enjoys in Africa for being a democracy … The two Asian giants certainly compete for the same energy resources and infrastructure deals, with China a pip or more ahead when it comes to the biggest contracts. But that comes at a cost for the winner. India benefits from being somewhat less prominent. The Chinese are derided by some Africans as new colonialists, propping up brutal rulers and corrupting democratic ones. Indian businesses have encountered fewer suspicions, even though they support many of the same dictators, including those in Angola, Sudan and Zimbabwe. [The Economist]



Diplomacy & Beyond collects a few of the key moments in Twitter diplomacy. [Diplomacy & Beyond]


The Cyrus Cylinder, an ancient Persian object of cultural and religious tolerance, demonstrates how museums cans can brand artifacts to engage the public.

Despite skepticism about employing business and marketing principles in the realms of public goods, branding practices as embodied in the commercial world have received considerable attention in the wide-ranging nonprofit sectors, including arts and cultural institutions. The Cylinder exhibition offers an illustrative case of how cultural organizations can engage a broader public through effective branding and communication. [CPD Blog]



Afghanistan has become a case study in how public diplomacy initiatives and can work alongside military efforts.

In fact, we may already have an answer to that question, albeit in the context of a single country at the forefront of U.S. foreign policy—Afghanistan.  Even as the United States has invested considerable resources in its military presence and development programs, so, too, has it devoted additional resources to a public diplomacy “surge” in support of overall U.S. goals in that country. Public diplomacy programs in Afghanistan deploy the tried-and-true models that we employ all around the world, including: educational, youth, and professional exchange programs; English language programs; establishment of American Spaces; and, cultural exchange and preservation.  The U.S. Embassy in Kabul also deploys additional public diplomacy resources to support non-traditional programs leveraging public diplomacy expertise, technological innovation, and local partners to further advance key U.S. interests in that critical country. [Take Five via PDiN]


Russia tries to reverse its position on homosexuality as the Sochi Winter Olympics hits the 100-day mark.

President Vladimir Putin, seeking to defuse criticism over his treatment of gay people in Russia, said everyone will be welcome in Russia’s Black Sea resort of Sochi for the 2014 Winter Olympics. “We are doing everything, both the organizers and our athletes and fans, so that participants and guests feel comfortable in Sochi, regardless of nationality, race or sexual orientation” Putin told Thomas Bach, the head of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), on Monday. [Reuters]


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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