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The Daily: IR at the Neighborhood Level

December 3, 2013 6:53 am by: Category: The Daily Leave a comment A+ / A-
photo credit: Ko Sasaki/The Washington Post

photo credit: Ko Sasaki/The Washington Post

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

Diplomatic bickering between Japan and South Korea is having ripple effects among each country’s publics, especially in cross-cultural neighborhoods.

In each country, opinions of the other have deteriorated drastically, and to noxious effect: Last month, Park was criticized at home for wearing Asics shoes, a Japanese brand, to a baseball game. Only a year ago, a Shin-Okubo cosmetics store called Popberry sold products labeled in Hangul, the Korean alphabet. But no longer. “It still says ‘Made in Korea’ on the back,” owner Ryu Eun-sook, a Korean immigrant, said, pointing to a product. “But now there are no Hangul letters.” Some of her wholesale clients were worried Hangul products would no longer sell, she said. [Washington Post via PDiN]


Before Dennis Rodman grabbed global attention, a Canadian diplomat had paved the way for sports diplomacy with North Korea.

Terwilliger told Rodman he knew exactly who could help: Michael Spavor, a Canadian he’d first met at the bar of the Yanggakdo International Hotel in Pyongyang some years ago, and who has developed a reputation for being one of those rare things—a foreigner whom the North Koreans have come to trust, and who can get things done in that country. Spavor, 38, is not what you’d expect from an emissary to North Korea. An affable, mild-mannered type who grew up in a Calgary suburb, he first became intrigued by North Korea during a short stay in Seoul in the late 1990s, when, flipping through the Lonely Planet travel guide, he stumbled across the section on the DPRK—“just a little sliver in the back,” he recalls. “It was the most interesting part of the whole book.” [Maclean’s]



The Canadian government undiplomatically announced its shift toward an economic diplomacy-led foreign policy.

The Harper government has always had a way of expressing itself in ways that generate controversy and confusion, which it has again succeeded in doing following the announcement of its plan for “economic diplomacy.” From now on, “all diplomatic assets of the Government of Canada will be marshalled on behalf of the private sector,” the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade said Wednesday in announcing what appeared to be a major policy shift. It said all the resources of the foreign service are to be used to support Canadian industry, particularly small businesses. Concerns were immediately expressed that aid and development would be downgraded or used as leverage to extract concessions for Canadian businesses. It sounded kind of un-Canadian. [Winnipeg Free Times]


A bloc of five East African countries are following up on their economic diplomacy initiatives by agreeing to a protocol that lays the groundwork for a monetary union within the next decade.

The leaders of five East African countries have signed a protocol laying the groundwork for a monetary union within 10 years that they expect will expand regional trade. Heads of state of Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi, which have already signed a common market and a single customs union, say the protocol will allow them to progressively converge their currencies and increase commerce … The plan by the region of 135 million people, a new frontier for oil and gas exploration, is also meant to draw foreign investment and wean EAC countries off external aid. [SCMP]



China’s ambassador to the United States pens an op-ed on pandas. Buried in the cuteness: science and cultural diplomacy.

Forty years on, China and the United States collaborate closely in scientific research about and conservation of giant pandas. China has more pandas than any other country, followed by the United States, which has 15 pandas in zoos in Washington, Atlanta, San Diego and Memphis … In “Kung Fu Panda,” the lead character, Po, is enlightened when his master quotes the saying “Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is mystery. But today is a gift, that is why it is called the present.” If we seize the present, tomorrow will not be a mystery. We have the power to give meaning to today’s reality, and therein lies the chance for a better future. Like the panda hero in the film, we can make ourselves stronger through cooperation with partners, with the ultimate aim not to conquer others but to maintain peace in the place where we all live. [Washington Post]



A photographer native to Sochi, Russia, attempts to capture the true nature of his city as it undergoes the transition from a quiet resort area to the focus of intense international attention.

But the photographer Mikhail Mordasov wasn’t interested in the superlatives or the hype: he wanted to cut through all the commotion coming out of the Black Sea resort area and reveal the landscape, the city and its people. “I wanted to show the city to the people who have never been here or just seen the beach as it is truly like,” Mr. Mordasov, 31, said via email. It is a beautiful land — not merely a vacation spot near Georgia or another of Stalin’s dachas. It is the site of fishing, funerals, baths, balloons, weddings and work. It is changing, yes, but it still bears some marks of the Soviet era (Slides 5 and 11). It is increasingly a multicultural city, as the number of migrants swells as they arrive to finish the job of completing the two Olympic villages and the arenas in which the world’s elite athletes will compete. [New York Times]



A small town in Morocco is leading the country’s soft power push via Hollywood movie sets.

The Daily: IR at the Neighborhood Level Reviewed by on . [caption id="attachment_943" align="alignnone" width="640"] photo credit: Ko Sasaki/The Washington Post[/caption] Our round-up of news, notes, tips, and Tweets [caption id="attachment_943" align="alignnone" width="640"] photo credit: Ko Sasaki/The Washington Post[/caption] Our round-up of news, notes, tips, and Tweets Rating: 0

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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