Our round-up of news, notes, tips, and Tweets exhibiting how public diplomacy affects the world each and every day.
China Daily runs an in-depth piece on the role of global media in public diplomacy by Young Sam-ma, the ambassador for public diplomacy of South Korea. I would be curious if it ran in the Chinese version of the paper as well; there is a lot of information relevant to CCTV struggles.
Global media in public diplomacy has increasingly proved its usefulness in recent years. Many governments have competitively engaged in a war of public diplomacy through media to make their countries look attractive and friendly to foreigners while also setting the stage for others to understand their positions in the international arena. The success or failure of public diplomacy through media, however, can only be judged by its intended audience. The most critical criterion is the media’s credibility, which can be achieved by the independence of media as well as freedom from editorial bias. Furthermore, only when such media activities are combined with cultural programs and people-to-people exchanges can its synergy effects be maximized. However, as seen in past cases of cartoons, photos and video clips, carelessness and negligence can seriously damage the public diplomacy efforts of major powers. To prevent these types of incidents, public awareness campaigns should be arranged to encourage every citizen to join in the public diplomacy activities. Furthermore, global media is expected to play a constructive role in the expansion of common ground for promoting peace and harmony among citizens of neighboring countries through consultations with counterpart media in the same region. [China Daily]
#ChinaDaily #Africa on #China‘s charm offensive & defensive by Prof. @hwasser @RhodesUnivesity http://t.co/vQ5kGUB0s8 #softpower #media
— ChinaAfricaBlog (@ChinaAfricaBlog) January 12, 2014
Yeni Diplomasi has a good overview of digital diplomacy in the Middle East during 2013.
2013 has seen governments in the Middle East and North Africa venture further into the world of digital diplomacy. Some have fully embraced it, while some linger tentatively on the sidelines. No matter what kind of approach governments take, digital is undeniably a vital element in the MENA diplomacy toolbox. Certain countries in the region have already demonstrated an impressive command of digital platforms. MENA leaders have started using social platforms not just to broadcast their messages, but also to engage. And as we know, engagement is the #1 watchword in the new digital world. [Yeni Diplomasi]
Yeni Diplomasi has a good overview of digital diplomacy in Latin America in 2013 as well!
American public diplomacy looks to the skies… and then a bit further: the U.S. is hosting the first International Space Exploration Forum.
This week, the United States is hosting the first International Space Exploration Forum, a ministerial-level meeting of space agency directors from various space-faring nations. Hopefully, this represents the first move by the U.S. government to employ more of its resources in support of “public diplomacy.” [The Foundry]
Emil Constanstinescu, former President of Romania and current President of the Academy for Cultural Diplomacy, gives a lecture called “The Levant Initiative” to the Annual Conference on Cultural Diplomacy 2013 (12/17 – 12/21) in Berlin.
In the new issue of Policy Magazine, there is a call for Canada’s prime minister to endorse free trade with China on economic diplomacy grounds. [Policy Magazine]
#Noteworthy: Yale professor Paulo Moreira has published a new book on #culturaldiplomacy in Latin America: http://t.co/jejZD8Fd1S
— USC Public Diplomacy (@PublicDiplomacy) January 10, 2014
The literature shows that nation brands work best when they are backed with long histories and rich culture, yet China fails to rank well year after year.
Enshrined in the concept of “national cultural soft power” (guojia wenhua ruanshili 国家文化软实力), Beijing’s cultural diplomacy approach has sprouted deep roots. Nye comments that after he delivered a lecture on soft power at a Chinese university in early 2013, a party official told the students that “the Chinese approach to soft power should focus on culture, not politics.” Culture is indeed benign and safe, but as the above evidence suggests, international audiences already have a high regard for Chinese culture. As Joshua Ramo points out, “the data suggests most people in the world already know China is an old and complicated culture. Further emphasizing that point does little to encourage new views of China.” So rather than keeping politics out of the soft power frame, should China’s policymakers look to widen the frame to meaningfully incorporate issues of governance and domestic and foreign policy? Richard Conniff, writing for the Smithsonian Institute, suggests tongue-in-cheek that the best strategy may be to manage expectations: “China: Now 55 Percent Less Communist!” [The Diplomat]
Two East Asia thinkers reconsider Joseph Nye’s argument that North Korea is “immune” from soft power and persuasion.
If State Department officials in Washington DC struggle to craft an appropriate soft power strategy for Pyongyang, their counterparts in Beijing appear to be way ahead, being armed with decades of “fraternal relations” with North Korea. Or are the Chinese really ahead of the game? What cultural products from Beijing are North Koreans dying—or allowed—to have? Finally, as the PRC Xi Jinping pushes a global propaganda line on “the Chinese dream,” it should be clear that North Korea is far from immune from the pressures and opportunities brought with this wave of rhetoric—and resources. [Sino-NK]
#CulturalDiplomacy Mexico has +1100 museums, among the top 10 countries with most. Data: @TheEconomist #DiplomacyMX pic.twitter.com/Ar4vrZ90KN
— Misión de México OI (@MisionMexOI) January 10, 2014
Rodman’s not-quite-by-the-books basketball diplomacy with North Korea was not the first time sports diplomacy was used with Pyongyang. By comparison, Rodman’s diplomatic antics have been downright cheery.
The Pyongyang leaders switched tactics from terror to competitive bragging, spending enormous sums to rebuild their capital and host a socialist-bloc sports-and-ideology event that they hoped would outdo the South’s efforts. The 1989 World Festival of Students and Youth proved to be horribly timed. Communism was falling apart in Europe by then, and the youth festival began right after the Tiananmen uprising in Beijing. Those of us who went to Pyongyang for the occasion were astonished to witness European activists protesting, as they marched in the opening ceremony, against Chinese and North Korean human rights violations — a first in the supremely totalitarian-controlled country. [Global Post]
And one more North Korea news item since they are so prevalent in the news these days: North Korea is apparently targeting Hong Kong runners in its first non-elite marathon… you guessed it, marathon diplomacy.
“Marathon diplomacy” has taken on new meaning in North Korea with the secretive state opening up the Pyongyang International Marathon to non-professional athletes. And Hong Kong runners are being targeted as competitors. With the world again focused on North Korea thanks to Dennis Rodman’s “basketball diplomacy” visit with a group of former NBA players, the country has opened up its IAAF-sanctioned marathon, which previously invited only elite athletes. [SCMP]
China’s Dictatorship #Diplomacy Implodes | The Diplomat http://t.co/lQJGd6ZEUC #publicdiplomacy
— Soraya Aydin (@soraya_aydin) January 12, 2014
Yet another article on U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul’s use of Twitter. He’s gone viral!
For Ambassador Michael McFaul, the unfiltered communication offered by social media means he can tweet U.S. policy, blog it and post it on Facebook, an alternative to the mostly hostile traditional media here. While Russian Internet use is widespread, the majority of people still get their news from television, so McFaul is unlikely to win the nation’s hearts and minds tweet by tweet. But his use of social media gets him buzz — and a direct line to a new audience. [Washington Post]
“@AntiqueFootball: Former United States President, Gerald R. Ford and @Pele June 28, 1975 pic.twitter.com/mwSlevRTtF” #sportsdiplomacy
— Javier Sobrino (@JavSobrino) January 11, 2014
Indonesia lays out its diplomacy plans for 2014, including better protection of its diaspora and a renewed economic diplomacy effort.
The second priority, like the first, is an extension of current policy that has yet to reach a perceptibly desired level. Economic diplomacy and promotion is an inherent part of 21st century foreign relations. Perhaps Indonesians are poor at marketing; perhaps we just don’t do enough. Or perhaps the coordination between ministries is just so bad that trade and tourism expeditions abroad are treated as junkets. A new approach may be needed; one that demands public funds but increasingly involves private-sector expertise as the fulcrum of the campaigns. Keep the negotiations for diplomats, and leave the campaigns to salesmen and communication practitioners. [New Straits Times]
[Today in PD] If Winston Churchill Tweeted http://t.co/BWu6ICh795#publicdiplomacy#newtechnologyeurope
— USC Public Diplomacy (@PublicDiplomacy) January 13, 2014
photo credit: Yeni Diplomasi