Our round-up of news, notes, tips, and Tweets exhibiting how public diplomacy affects the world each and every day.
The selfie seen around the world…
We’ve all seen selfies taken in questionable places. During a school lockdown. In front of a man attempting suicide. At Auschwitz.Now, some people are adding President Obama to the list of people with poor selfie judgment after the leader of the free world posed with British Prime Minister David Cameron and Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service Tuesday in South Africa. It appears from photos of the incident that Obama was not the instigator (that distinction goes to Thorning-Schmidt). But he seems to have participated happily, though First Lady Michelle Obama seemed unimpressed by the whole spectacle. [L.A. Times via PDiN]
In other Mandela funeral news, is Obama’s handshake with Cuban President Raul Castro significant?
As Obama entered the VIP seating area, the first head of state to greet him was Raul Castro. The two appeared (from distant camera angle) to exchange pleasantries, shake hands, and Obama moved on to another leader in the Americas with a strained relationship with the U.S., Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff. Yet, despite such a short (and at face value, meaningless) encounter, a major storyline that emerged from Nelson Mandela’s memorial was the possible symbolic meaning behind the Obama-Castro handshake. Was Obama just being cordial? Was it planned? Does this signify a thawing in U.S.-Cuban relations? Does it mean nothing? Does it mean everything? [Neon Tommy]
A large global survey shows China is still lacking substantial soft power as many people still associate negative connotations with it. Perhaps even more disappointing for China, most global citizens still learn about China via international media rather than state-run media, despite its huge investment in expansion.
People around the world see China as “confident”, “belligerent” and “arrogant”, state-run media reported yesterday in an unusually direct survey of attitudes towards the country. Only 13 per cent of respondents in the poll by the Global Times newspaper described China as “peaceful”, a sign that Beijing’s territorial disputes with its Asian neighbours have taken a toll on its image. It also concluded that “the closer you are to China, the more likely you are to have a negative view of it”. … The survey has shown that 44.4 percent of the foreign respondents learn about China from “internationally recognized media, such as CNN and the BBC.” Some 39.5 percent of the respondents learn about China through “domestic TV,” and 27.5 percent through “locally held Chinese cultural and business activities.” [China Digital Times]
Nissan Hopes #Diplomacy Holds, Tech Entices as It Again Pursues Growth Targets in China http://t.co/ARRQxcIrj5 #publicdiplomacy
— Soraya Aydin (@soraya_aydin) December 10, 2013
Canada’s recent announcement of its move towards economic diplomacy (dubbed “dollar diplomacy” in the press) has stirred up backlash even though the change is more cosmetic than substantial.
Some of the press, in its ignorance of Canada’s diplomatic past, dubbed the new policy “Dollar Diplomacy,” strongly suggesting that henceforth, Canada’s traditional “Pearsonian” diplomacy would wither away and that Canada would now proceed to do any deal with any tinpot dictator whose country had something to offer to Canadian businesses. Parallels were cited to show how China has allegedly been doing business around the world for the last 10 years or so by extracting resources and trading with odious governments under the general rubric, “we want your money and your resources, we’ll build you roads and other infrastructure, we don’t care about how you really treat your people.” The Globe and Mail even ran a story with the headline: “How Harper’s foreign policy focus evolved from human rights to the ‘almighty dollar.’ [National Post]
#Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistants from 50 Countries Convene in Washington - http://t.co/sS0jG8Vu7t #publicdiplomacy #ECA
— PD_Dan (@PD_Dan) December 10, 2013
Is public diplomacy more effective when it is focused on boosting social entrepreneurship at the community level?
Today I was introduced to a whole new literature that will provide an interesting framework for my future understanding of soft power and public diplomacy. Dr Albert Chu-Ying Teo of the National University of Singapore Business School delivered a fascinating presentation at Chengchi University, Taipei, on social entrepreneurship and Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD), and the value of this approach to soft power is quite striking. I still have to attack the literature to fully appreciate the concept, its nuances and implications, but Albert’s synopsis is a useful start. He identified 6 Principles of social entrepreneurship as a tool to aid development. [Public Diplomacy and International Communications]
China’s “high-speed rail diplomacy” is improving its ties with countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
Shifting attention to Central and Eastern Europe mirrors China’s major change to its “go out” policy. It is trying to transform its traditional policy of looking for bigger markets and absorbing more advanced technologies, into a new trade dynamic that concentrates on how to export China’s competitive products and services to the international market. “High-speed rail diplomacy” is the latest approach being used to make a breakthrough. Warm ties with Central and Eastern Europe will not only bring immediate benefits to China, but also push the country to explore other markets. Central and Eastern Europe will probably not grow to be a massive market for China, but they can act as a platform where China can conduct “pilot projects” of industrial upgrading. [Global Times]
Research links as soft diplomacy http://t.co/WqWsc90BGT #publicdiplomacy
— IWP (@theIWP) December 11, 2013