Our round-up of news, notes, tips, and Tweets exhibiting how public diplomacy affects the world each and every day.
Richard Stengel, the former managing editor of Time magazine, was confirmed as the new Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy.
Stengel, who was nominated for the post late last year, was confirmed by the Senate in a 90-to-8 vote. The eight senators who voted against his nomination were Republicans John McCain, David Vitter, Richard Shelby, Pat Roberts, James Risch, Mike Lee, Jim Inhofe, and Mike Crapo. Stengel, 58, will now be responsible for leading “America’s public diplomacy outreach, which includes communications with international audiences, cultural programming, academic grants, educational exchanges, international visitor programs, and U.S. Government efforts to confront ideological support for terrorism,” according to the State Department’s website. [Politico]
Delighted to be confirmed by the Senate 90-8 to be Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. Eager to get started.
— Rick Stengel (@stengel) February 11, 2014
Congrats to @StateDept‘s new “R”: Under Secretary of Public Diplomacy & Public Affairs Rick @Stengel! Vote passed 90-8. #publicdiplomacy.
— PD Commission (@PDCommission) February 11, 2014
For #publicdiplomacy folks like @PublicDiplomacy @suPD @PD_Dan - Senate now voting on Richard Stengel LIVE on C-SPAN2 pic.twitter.com/hV6vRTfJXg
— Howard Mortman (@HowardMortman) February 11, 2014
The Institute of Cultural Diplomacy in Berlin launched a campaign to crackdown on trading in looted Syrian art.
Activists on Tuesday called for more surveillance of Syrian archaeological sites and a crackdown on trading in looted art at the opening of an international campaign to save the war-torn country’s heritage. The campaign, launched in Rome and entitled “The Forgotten Victim in Syria”, is being supported by the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy in Berlin along with leading figures from the worlds of politics and art. “Virtually no one speaks about the damage being done to one of the biggest cultural treasures in the world,” said Francesco Rutelli, a former Italian culture minister and honorary president of the Berlin institute. [Middle East Online]
Interesting argument and rebuttal on what the relationship is between higher education and soft power. The argument from Jane Knight:
Many hail it as a fundamental premise of today’s international education engagement. Some treat it like a modern branding campaign, using culture and media to win over foreign publics – especially students. Others interpret it as a form of neo-colonisation. And there are those who see attraction and persuasion as a way to build trust because trust can pay dividends in terms of economic and geo-political benefits. In short, the role and use of soft power is interpreted in a myriad of ways. But a common motivation is to achieve self-interests, whether the benefits be political, economic, reputation or overall competitiveness. After all, the basic notion of power is about gaining some kind of dominance, whether it be by soft, hard or smart means. This reality raises hard questions. Are the primary goals of international higher education to serve self-interests and gain dominance? Is the term soft power really hegemony dressed in attractive new clothes? [Unversity World News]
The rebuttal from John Kirkland:
Today’s desire to use soft diplomacy is not in the same league. Driven more by governments than universities, it certainly seeks to use the power of higher education to increase national benefit – but no more than work funded by business or other interests, whose support is generally welcomed by the sector, seeks to derive financial benefits for those organisations. Moreover, the two main reasons why higher education seems such a good focus for soft power (or public diplomacy) purposes represent quite a good fit with concepts that we value. First, because higher education promotes a common language and understanding that other forms of diplomacy can’t. Engineers, chemists, and sociologists have a commonality across national borders that diplomats can only dream about. Second, because higher education typically influences people at a critical time of their life – intellectually and socially. Or at least I hope it does. [The Association of Commonwealth Universities]
A different way of thinking about mutual understanding and #publicdiplomacy @supd http://t.co/quCYzKHIni
— Julia Watson (@julia_k_watson) February 12, 2014
Notable event for the Washington DC-based: Georgetown is hosting a lecture on the history and power of science diplomacy.
Dr. Norman Neureiter, The First Science Advisor to the Secretary of State Director/Acting Director, AAS’s CSTSP will be giving a lecture on The Histroy and Power of Sceince Diplomacy. In 1963, Dr. Neureiter joined the International Affairs Office of the U.S. National Science Foundation in Washington and managed the U.S.-Japan Cooperative Science Program. Entering the U.S. Foreign Service in 1965, he was named Deputy Scientific Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Bonn. In 1967, he was transferred to Warsaw as the first U.S. Scientific Attaché in Eastern Europe with responsibility for Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia. Dr. Neureiter returned to Washington in 1969 as an Assistant for International Affairs to the President’s Science Advisor in the White House Office of Science and Technology. He was appointed in September 2000 as the first Science and Technology Adviser to the U.S. Secretary of State. Finishing this 3-year assignment in 2003, he was made a Distinguished Presidential Fellow for International Affairs at the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. In May 2004, he joined the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) as the first Director of the new AAAS Center for Science, Technology and Security Policy (CSTSP), funded by the MacArthur Foundation. [Georgetown]
Find out how @StateDept‘s #publicdiplomacy efforts are evolving alongside #mobile & digital #innovation http://t.co/DKk6dsb7nJ @HilaryBrandt
— BBG’s Media Lab (@BBGinnovate) February 11, 2014
Here is an open letter to the Wilson Center voicing concern over the decision to shut down the Kennan Institute in Moscow.
The Russian academic community learned with shock and anxiety of the Wilson Center’s recent decision to shut down the Kennan Institute’s Moscow office. The decision seems to us inappropriate, ill-timed, and extremely harmful to the long term prospects of U.S.-Russian relations. Budget savings from closing the office are no doubt a priority in Washington. We understand this. But the modest, short-term gains seem small in comparison to the long-term loss. The functional base of the leading social network for academic cooperation between Russia and the Unites States will disappear overnight. With it will go a heritage of improving understanding between the people of both countries that extends back over a quarter-century. The Moscow Kennan office has likely been the single most efficient venue for cooperation between Russian humanities and social science scholars and public figures. This fits the Wilson Center’s longstanding mission of “bringing Athens to Sparta.” [John Brown’s Notes and Essays]
Crowdsourcing #digitaldiplomacy tips and ideas - A collaborative article: https://t.co/8mwwKuX1ct #diplomacy #socialmedia
— Andreas Sandre (@andreas212nyc) February 11, 2014
Ambassador Shirley Temple Black passed away at the age of 85.
Ms. Black returned to the spotlight in the 1960s in the surprising new role of diplomat, but in the popular imagination she would always be America’s darling of the Depression years, when in 23 motion pictures her sparkling personality and sunny optimism lifted spirits and made her famous. From 1935 to 1939 she was the most popular movie star in America, with Clark Gable a distant second. She received more mail than Greta Garbo and was photographed more often than President Franklin D. Roosevelt. [Outside the Beltway]
Twittersphere lets us in on diplomats ‘normal’ banter. Check out @nprnews story: http://t.co/THUADK0G6F v @digidiplo #digitaldiplomacy
— Anja Tuerkan (@AnjaTuerkan) February 12, 2014
More excerpts from the Nippon’s ongoing series on the instruments of public diplomacy.
Ogoura opened his remarks by observing that Japanese diplomacy since the Meiji era has focused on “correcting” the image of Japan overseas. It has been a “not this, but that” policy, he said, with the Japanese government working to counter or correct stereotypes or “misunderstandings” of the country overseas. At various stages in its recent history, Japan has therefore worked to reassure people that it is not uncivilized, but civilized; not militaristic, but pacifist; not an economic animal, but a diverse contributor to the international community on many levels. Japan has constantly tried to convince the rest of the world that it has changed in some way. In that sense, Japan itself has been a means of public diplomacy. [Nippon]
#PublicDiplomacy -> US Ambassador to Japan visits Okinawa amid ongoing opposition to plans to relocate a US base pic.twitter.com/FRpS1VuftH”
— AEK (@influxTR) February 12, 2014