Our round-up of news, notes, tips, and Tweets exhibiting how public diplomacy affects the world each and every day.
In response to the publication of Canada’s clunky digital diplomacy protocol, Foreign Minister John Baird promised to loosen restrictions for more direct diplomacy. But does such a gesture really address any of the systematic problems of Canadian public diplomacy?
Placed side by side, the two stories lay bare the fundamental and bizarre contradiction that is Canada’s digital diplomacy strategy. For those of us who hold a skeptical eye to Twitter diplomacy in particular, the knowledge that government messaging is mostly conducted in a controlled environment comes as no surprise. It reinforces my prior arguments that although Twitter diplomacy is ephemeral as a tool for monitoring and selling, it has great potential. However, if I correctly understand John Baird’s comments from Silicon Valley, he wants to change some of that. He wants his diplomats to be engaged in direct diplomacy with engaged citizens abroad. But as we know, there is no domestic counterpart for engaging and supporting Canadian civil society organizations and ordinary citizens. This deficiency is especially problematic in the foreign policy domain. [Embassy]
One of the more idiosyncratic responses to the onset of digital diplomacy from the U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom:
Likes, views, followers, friends…Which metrics matter in #DigitalDiplomacy ? http://t.co/8O92I1QHEt @WiltonPark pic.twitter.com/ZjV4mfOcs1
— Matthew Barzun (@MatthewBarzun) February 11, 2014
The U.S. ambassador had a message for the Nigerian voters: so he spoke in Nigerian pidgin.
As a career diplomat he would be expected to be able to converse in several foreign languages but it’s doubtful that Nigerian Pidgin English would be one of them. Yet the US ambassador to Nigeria took to the airwaves to speak in the vernacular about the most pressing issues between the two nations, from gay rights and presidential elections to visa rules. “Me I no talk say sanction go dey for Nigeria,” James F. Entwistle told presenter “Oga Madam” on a recent visit to Wazobia FM, the Lagos radio station that broadcasts entirely in the English-based patois. [AP]
#Twitter establishes itself as a tool in #international relations http://t.co/YMEOQphpmE via @BW #DigitalDiplomacy #IR
— Giorgos Rossides (@grossides) February 11, 2014
The next Winter Olympics will be held in Pyeongchang, South Korea, but SK President Park Geun-Hye is nowhere to be seen in Sochi.
On President Park Geun-hye’s absence at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, the presidential office made excuse, saying, “There is a flurry of domestic and foreign affairs, including policy briefings by ministries for this year. There is also a scheduled announcement of a three-year economic reform plan. Hence the president could not afford to attend.” The presidential office might have felt burden due to criticism that what Park has been doing while Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe were engaged in summit diplomacy with President Vladimir Putin. However, as the next Winter Olympics will take place in Pyeongchang, Korea, if Park visited Sochi, it would provide Korea with an opportunity to seek support and cooperation to ensure success of the next event. [Dong-a Ilbo]
#AskIraq: Storify recap of Twitter Q&A w/ Iraq’s Ambassador to the US @FailyLukman http://t.co/k7W9nzQ77S #DigitalDiplomacy via @AthertonKD — Digital Diplomacy (@DigiDiplomats) February 10, 2014
Interesting comment calling for Britain to stop regarding their empirical past with pride if it wants to enjoy soft power benefits in the future.
We have been slow to face up to the way others see us, and to develop some humility. Too many British people regard the empire with pride, measuring national success by the extent of past conquest or its present psychological substitute, nuclear destructive power. For India, China and the US, we are influential not because of bombs but our membership of the European Union. The soft power of ideas is ultimately more persuasive than the gun. The pen is mightier than the sword (though it may be no match for the accountant). The real national achievement is how a small European country with half the population of France, as it was in 1800, came to pioneer prosperity and globalisation. [The Guardian]
@Public_Diplomat host country likely gets more #softpower thru #exchangediplomacy. Cultural immersion = higher likelihood to be influenced. — Nastasha Everheart (@everheartna) February 10, 2014
Ken Griffey, Jr. and Barry Larkin are in Havana holding sports clinics for little-leaguers and talking baseball with Cuban fans in a baseball diplomacy effort.
Two of Major League Baseball’s biggest names are in Havana as part of a sports diplomacy program that aims to foster personal ties between citizens of the U.S. and Cuba, two nations that have long seen eye-to-eye on little other their shared love for the sport. Hall of Famer Barry Larkin and Ken Griffey Jr., who is a good bet to be enshrined after he becomes eligible, are holding sports clinics for little-leaguers, talking baseball with Cuban fans and taking in a game featuring the powerhouse ball club Industriales. [AP]
Calling All Muralists: Apply to paint murals around the world #exchange #culturaldiplomacy http://t.co/PyKqGOy7Ni pic.twitter.com/yVdI0UYqQW — Meridian Intl Center (@MeridianIntl) February 10, 2014
Interesting response to Philip Seib’s jab at food diplomacy in his article in the Huffington Post.
I understand that soft power is ultimately a form of power, but I think it is short-sighted to think that long-term interests can truly be advanced by a harder edge of soft power. I agree that public diplomacy is ultimately about the long game, but to connect to long-term interests, you have to build connections and broader relationships with foreign publics. That comes through cultural diplomacy, be it through music, art or food. As such, these days I am convinced there is no public diplomacy but cultural diplomacy. [Levantine]
David Bowie is….. in Brazil, thanks to the V&A. http://t.co/HjiMa64sdL #SoftPower #CulturalDiplomacy
— Keith Nichol (@KeithNicholDCMS) February 10, 2014
I missed this earlier: here is video of a conversation with Anne-Marie Slaughter and Kim Ghattas as part of the Italian Embassy in DC’s Digital Diplomacy Series.
photo credit: DFATD