Our round-up of news, notes, tips, and Tweets exhibiting how public diplomacy affects the world each and every day.
Wired UK has two more pieces on Carl Bildt’s Diplohack conference in Sweden last week. The first explains that those involved are impatient for actionable items to come out of the digital diplomacy revolution.
Adler wants more concrete solutions like these to be taken forward at the next event. But before that happens, he thinks the diplomats could benefit from some coaching. “I think the workshops here were really good, what’s missing is the group coaching,” he told Wired.co.uk. “Someone to say ‘why are you not doing this, stop bullshitting me’. There’s a lot of those lies in there used to save themselves.” Adler spent much of the final group session prompting those in the circle of trust to stop uttering the words “we should”, but to take action as an individual wanting to lead the movement forward. Of course, it’s hard for civil servants working in what remains a highly traditional environment to break out of those habits. [Wired UK]
The second piece looks at the different tools—Google Hangouts, Twitter Q&As—being used by government offices trying to reach out to foreign publics.
It means we can know where politicians are almost every day of the year, assured they’re making use of those tax funds and crafting dialogue across the globe. Inevitably this also leaves those early adopters brave enough to share every opinion more open to criticism — Carl Bildt for instance, cannot tweet a note of sympathy for Ukrainians following government crackdowns on protest, without being lambasted for not similarly supporting Palestinians. Such is the way of the internet — if you’re not all things to all people, get ready to hear about it. [Wired UK]
I ask you to ensure that humanity is served by wealth and not ruled by it - @Pontifex to #Davos #WEF14 attendees pic.twitter.com/Vg4vYvrY9K
— Twiplomacy (@Twiplomacy) January 21, 2014
Impressive read into China’s Arabic-language international broadcasting.
But to evaluate the CRI program in Nielsen-like terms would be missing the point. The Chinese government has developed an approach to cultural outreach in the Arab world whereby a program’s ratings matter far less than who in particular is listening. Niche content on radio and television supports a broader effort to attract a modest number of Arabs in countries of high strategic concern, who go on to serve Beijing as assets and emissaries to the media as well as the society at large. With their help, China strives to reach a vast audience via the region’s indigenous broadcasts, with which no foreign outfit can compete. This exposure, in turn, supports a ground campaign of “soft power” to tweak the region’s cultural fabric in favor of Chinese interests. [The American Interest]
China and the Great Firewall: It’s kinda ridiculous to talk about #softpower when you are absent from the world’s mainstream scene.
— edde (@Edourdoo) January 22, 2014
Looking for a sunny place to practice paradiplomacy? Try Hawaii.
Japan has a deep love of Hawaiian music and culture, especially hula; more pronounced Hawaiian gastrodiplomacy outreach could help further Japan’s love for Hawaiian culture and attract even more Japanese tourist to the islands. Meanwhile, affluent Chinese are becoming more interested and invested in Hawaii, so it heightens Hawaii’s brand to introduce China more fully to its distinctive cuisine. This cultural diplomat would like to see more Hawaiian cultural diplomacy outreach to South Korea. Hawaii would do well to share hula with the K-pop world, and feed South Korea’s foodie classes the full flavor of Hawaiian cuisine. [Huffington Post]
The BBC continues to be one of the UK’s strongest assets, in the context of #SoftPower and #CulturalDiplomacy http://t.co/zaWQr0u2G5
— Keith Nichol (@KeithNicholDCMS) January 21, 2014
China wants to wield its powerful economic diplomacy for influence in the world, but the contradictions between its aims and its actions may negate everything.
Beijing is looking to build up its political and diplomatic status as a “major responsible country” commensurate with its global economic position, and improve its cultural reach worldwide. As well as the world’s second-largest economy, China is its biggest trading nation in goods and Africa’s biggest trading partner, a fact highlighted last week by Japan’s attempt to present itself as a competitor on the continent. But experts say Beijing’s tactical moves towards smaller countries risk backfiring against its broader strategy. [AFP]
How do Dutch diplomats & diplomatic missions use social media? See video http://t.co/2M7mVnJ7EX #digitaldiplomacy #ediplomacy
— Paul Frank (@frankpaul) January 22, 2014
Interesting read into recent cultural diplomacy efforts with North Korea and how they have or have not affected the country’s youth.
But who needs a girl band with electronic instruments when foreign friends can serve as symbols of change? Enter Dennis Rodman, whose image, should we be optimists, is fused with pre-existing North Korean notions of cultural opening to the West. Rodman’s visits are part farce, but they are also of a piece with serious previous U.S. and Western European efforts in cultural diplomacy towards North Korea, and should be considered important as a barometer for how open Kim Jong Eun is willing to be. Rodman was again allowed to take the microphone, but in fact his team appeared to interact with a very small number of North Korean youth; those who had already reached the highest possible level in their practice. [Daily NK]
LISTEN @ttscoff‘s radio interview w/ @grahamlampa about #digitaldiplomacy #sidd | http://t.co/IdfR5EgdyS
— Yeni Diplomasi (@YeniDiplomasi) January 22, 2014
U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy used Twitter to voice her concern about the annual slaughter of the bottlenose dolphins in Japan’s Taiji cove. R. Nicholas Burns weighed in on the message and the medium.
This week, U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy weighed in with a tweet, in both English and Japanese: “Deeply concerned by inhumaneness of drive hunt dolphin killing. USG opposes drive hunt fisheries.” (USG stands for U.S. government.) So what does the tweet mean? Will the U.S. government take an action on the dolphins? R. Nicholas Burns, a former U.S. ambassador to Greece and a veteran foreign service officer, joins Here & Now’s Robin Young with some insight. [Here & Now]
[Today in PD] Soba: More Than Just Noodles, It’s A Cultural Heritage… And An… http://t.co/20s0AKSpAM #publicdiplomacy
— USC Public Diplomacy (@PublicDiplomacy) January 21, 2014
Fun conference alert! The Berlin Language of Art & Music Conference 2014: “Cinematic Cultural Diplomacy: Practicing Cultural Diplomacy Through Film.”
As technological developments are accompanied by enhanced access to films, cinematography is increasingly gaining importance as an invaluable medium of cultural diplomacy. With innovative regional cinematic industries making their mark on the global artistic landscape, talent from around the world is being showcased to large audiences who would normally not have access to the cultural particularities of the diverse regions of the world. [Institute for Cultural Diplomacy]
“What’s common can only be strengthened when differences are acknowledged and observed.” [email protected]_Ignatieff #PublicDiplomacy #globalcities
— APDS (@USC_APDS) January 22, 2014
photo credit: Utrikesdepartementet / Swedish MFA