Our round-up of news, notes, tips, and Tweets exhibiting how public diplomacy affects the world each and every day.
Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans urged the European Union to stop isolating Cuba, and he did so from youth football camp in Havana.
Mr Timmermans, who is on a visit to Cuba, said the best way to promote change on the Communist-run island was through dialogue, not isolation. The EU restricts its political ties with the Cuban government to try to encourage multi-party democracy and an end to human rights violations. He is the first Dutch foreign minister to visit since the 1959 revolution … Speaking during a visit to a football camp for Cuban children in Havana, Mr Timmermans said that differences of opinion between the EU and Cuba would remain. [BBC]
David Carment of the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs laments the Canadian government’s foreign policy move away from academic engagement to focus more on social media outreach.
Others might suggest that public diplomacy has moved on; what with Twitter, Facebook and social media being the new and better way of engaging Canadians. Such new diplomacy thinking has its enablers. When it comes to new media, such as Twitter, DFATD staff will tell you they are listening, and I can certainly attest that a number of my very few followers come from the department. But engaging these staffers in a conversation or debate has proven near impossible. That is because they aren’t listening—only monitoring or selling. Listening is an essential part of having a conversation; where each side not only hears the other but understands the other and modifies their own views accordingly. [Embassy News]
In lieu of Dennis Rodman’s basketball game in North Korea, CNN looks at myriad celebrity engagements with less-than-favorable regimes.
Dennis Rodman’s “Big Bang in Pyongyang” may be in a league of its own, but other celebs have performed for audiences associated with repressive governments, too. Unlike Rodman, most have proclaimed ignorance and apologized, with some even donating their profits to charity after public outrage erupted. [CNN]
Does lack of principle = lack of #diplomacy? Strategy versus outcomes. #dennisrodman #basketballdiplomacy #publicdiplomacy #NorthKorea
— Nastasha Everheart (@everheartna) January 8, 2014
America is seemingly politicising #DennisRodman‘s visit to North Korea even when he maintains that its #SportsDiplomacy!
— EdwinMuhumuza (@edwin_muhumuza) January 8, 2014
If @dennisrodman does #sportsdiplomacy, why can’t @chefjoseandres @andrewzimmern @tomcolicchio @Mariobatali @Bourdain do #culinarydiplomacy?
— Culinary Diplomacy (@culinarydiplo) January 7, 2014
The Russian Orthodox Church is becoming a soft power player for Russia, including some door-opening diplomacy efforts.
Of course, the Russian Orthodox Church appeared on the international arena long before the concept of “soft power” came into use. Look at Vienna’s St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral. The Russian Empire bought the palace on Reisnerstrasse for its embassy in 1891 and just two years later, Ambassador Count Pyotr Kapnist began the construction of the imposing cathedral in the Russian-Byzantine style on the embassy grounds … Today, it is a center of a vivid community with hundreds of people from professors and diplomats to illegal immigrants regularly attending services celebrated by priests of Russian, Austrian, Serbian, Dutch and Kazakhstan origins, having a Sunday school, publishing a magazine, holding concerts, lectures and sporting a community bulletin board where job seekers offer seemingly any services from piano lessons to house cleaning and “any work at all.” [Russia Direct]
Governance Now has a well-written though brief piece on why nations pursue soft power.
One must understand that while war is one of the ways to achieve this end goal; there are other means to achieve the same. There are several layers of power: hard power forms the base and is probably the most important component of the equation. Economic power, which is another important layer, can be used to achieve both hard and soft power ends. The ‘will’ to exercise power and ‘lead’ (a country’s attitude towards international affairs) is another layer. A country can possess both hard power and considerable economic might but yet choose to be reticent in international affairs and thereby its prowess in the above mentioned will not translate to systemic influence. Soft power, which includes tools like diplomacy, tact, the power to attract, is another important layer of power. It encompasses every other conceivable dimension of statecraft barring the war machine and works in subtle but obvious ways. Soft power is the ability of a country to shape the other’s preferences and to make them ‘like what you like’ or ‘want what you want’. [Governance Now]
New blog: Tara Sonenshine on why 2014 could be the Year of #PublicDiplomacy http://t.co/0DU56SEy5r #ipdgc #smpa #gwu
— IPDGC (@IPDGC) January 7, 2014
Here is a topic that deserves much more than four paragraphs: do public diplomacy officers read public diplomacy academic research?
My colleagues who research and write about U.S. public diplomacy may feel as I do. We have devoted portions of our careers to shed light on U.S. public diplomacy efforts through our writing and research, but wonder if the State Department officers ever read a word of it. I can understand that the theoretical stuff may not be overly helpful to the folks who work in the public diplomacy trenches day-to-day, but much of what I publish (usually with Alice Kendrick of SMU), is very practical. For example, our recent article in American Behavioral Scientist contains evidence of how U.S. tourism advertising to international audiences can serve double-duty for the government, both economic and in terms of public diplomacy. Our university-funded data showed that among a large sample of Australian adults, not only did the tourism ads work to increase interest in travel to the U.S., but also in improved overall attitudes toward the U.S. government and U.S. people. [CPD Blog]
The BBG launched a mobile first platform for real-time reporting.
The Office of Digital and Design Innovation at the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) has released Relay, a mobile first platform for real-time reporting. It’s interesting from both the backend and the consumer’s experience. In terms of the CMS, it’s not hard to train reporters how to use it, according to Randy Abramson, Director of Audio and Video Projects at the BBG. Reporters in the field submit content via email, by including the content type (text, video, audio) and the designated hashtag for a story in the subject line. Says Abramson, “then you just include your message in the email and it’s filtered through the system.” [Media Bistro]
What’s VOA For? | Public Diplomacy, Networks and Influence http://t.co/HkvbxatYBT #publicdiplomacy #takefive #ipdgc #voa
— sean aday (@adaystew) January 7, 2014