Our round-up of news, notes, tips, and Tweets exhibiting how public diplomacy affects the world each and every day.
New Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy Richard Stengel reached out to the public diplomacy community on Tuesday with an introductory and goal-setting email.
On my first morning as Under Secretary, I wanted to reach out to our many friends and partners who extend, amplify and inform our public diplomacy. You are valued stakeholders in the public diplomacy community and I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself and share my vision for public diplomacy. While I am new to government service, I feel I’ve been involved in a form of public diplomacy for much of my life as a journalist and editor. We are living in a new age of diplomacy and global engagement and America is leading that effort. As Secretary Kerry always says, “Diplomacy works.” Diplomacy can, and does, make the world a better and safer place, and every day, in thousands of different ways, America is engaged all across the globe. Public diplomacy and public affairs have a vital role to play in our foreign policy and national security. We will continue to make sure that our public diplomacy is focused on advancing our foreign policy objectives and goals. To that end, I’m looking at a few priorities vital to our national interests. [Take Five]
Soooooo, John Brown makes an excellent point about political ambassadors being assigned to countries that they have never even visited: most trained diplomats arrive just as green. (Consider all that harping that I did on last week’s PDcast somewhat retracted.)
Much news in the press about recent ambassadorial nominees who haven’t been to the country where they were selected to serve (see also the hilarious satirical video and the excellent piece by Ambassador Robert J. Callahan, “Plum posts if you can afford them: End the auction of ambassadorships”). I’d be interested in knowing, however, how many career American diplomats have actually been to the country (ies) to which they are assigned. Or, indeed, if they can handle, at the beginning of their assignment, its local language (or understand its culture) adequately, despite well-intentioned linguistic /area training at the Foreign Service Institute (FSI). [Huffington Post]
I’m not a Vine-r myself, but this is an interesting experiment (which we have linked to a few times already). Curious to see how the embassies involved will utilize such an initiative to move the public diplomacy needle in their favor.
During Social Media Week, the Digital Diplomacy Coalition (DDC) invites you to take part in a global digital event — a Cultural Diplomacy Vine-A-Thon. A Vine-A-Thon is where people all over the world share Vines on a common topic during a specified time-frame using a common hashtag. How can you participate? It’s easy! During the week of 17-21 February share a Vine which highlights your culture using the hashtag #DiploVine. We’ll retweet and revine our favorites! What are we looking for? Creativity! We want you to use your 6 second videos to highlight your culture — Film, Fashion, Heritage, Art, Music, Food, Sport — use your imagination. [Digital Diplomacy Coalition]
Interesting #publicdiplomacy effort… Azerbaijan sending foreign athleletes to compete in the Olympics - http://t.co/E0Lz4cAfot @ipdgc
— Jonathan Henick (@J_Henick) February 19, 2014
Not a huge surprise that the two most disliked nations in the United States are the two that are the most isolated from the public. There is a mediated public diplomacy study here: one wonders how much the intense negative media coverage of these countries affects this particular public opinion survey.
North Korea has achieved an unenviable feat — it has surpassed Iran as the most disliked nation for Americans. Only 11 percent of Americans had a favorable opinion of North Korea, the first time since 2004 that the communist nation has been alone at rock bottom, an annual Gallup poll released Wednesday found. Iran was not much higher at 12 percent, although the figure was up three points — within the survey’s margin of error — from a year earlier. Russia saw the biggest fall. [AFP]
Remember a few days ago when we linked to The Wire piece about how @BarackObama was basically a Twitter parody account. Well, the joke is on the world.
More from Michelle Kwan on her work as a sports diplomacy envoy for the U.S.
Can sports be a tool for international diplomacy? Figure skating icon Michelle Kwan thinks so - as she explains in part 3 of my interview with her. Michelle talks about her work as a Senior Adviser and Public Diplomacy Envoy for the U.S. State Department, and using the universal appeal of sports to improve international relations. She also talks about her efforts to inspire youth around the world. [Huffington Post]
[Gastrodiplomacy] New Nordic food is making new waves in New York. @suPD #gastrodiplomacy #publicdiplomacy http://t.co/ArG9brBXaS
— Russell (@russwalker09) February 19, 2014
Public diplomacy with viral potential: U.S. ambassador to Ukraine directs traffic to help protestors get to Kyiv’s Independence Square.
Geoffrey Pyatt, the US ambassador to Ukraine, reportedly took to the streets of Kyiv to direct traffic on Tuesday — the bloodiest day of clashes seen in Ukraine since the former Soviet republic won its independence over 22 years ago. Pyatt, who been criticized for the United States’ role in Ukraine, apparently decided to help protesters who were driving into EuroMaidan — the name Kyiv’s Independence Square has earned over the course of the demonstrations. [Global Post]
#Digitaldiplomacy RT @margbrennan Twitter feed of US Amb to Ukraine @GeoffPyatt seems 2 be prime comm tool for US policy updates right now
— Anja Tuerkan (@AnjaTuerkan) February 19, 2014
Sweden’s 2014 public diplomacy program is Going Glocal.
We will examine how increasing free transatlantic trade creates new business opportunities and local jobs. Our outreach activities will contribute to the debate on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations between the European Union and the United States. In the area of climate and sustainability, we will showcase Swedish trends and developments in areas ranging from global climate issues, to Swedish excellence in innovative sectors such as green tech, renewable energy and creative industries. We will also take on a few of today’s big issues in global development by addressing areas such as the role of women’s entrepreneurship, the private sector, science and technology in fighting poverty. Culture, art and music will highlight the program theme and be featured throughout the year. [Sweden Abroad]
Humanitarian aid and #softpower: analysis of @USAID from Dartmouth via @seanjcoughlan http://t.co/YVx0ehPdCa #diplomacy #aid
— Sebastien Turbot (@sturbot) February 19, 2014
Interesting piece on China’s use of Facebook as a promotional tool abroad while blocking use by its own citizens. The author nails the conclusion, in my opinion.
The orders for social media engagement don’t seem to be coming from the top of China’s diplomatic ladder. After all, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs isn’t on Facebook or Twitter. Rather, these Facebook pages seem to be just a natural way to reach local communities, and the embassies are proud of it. No one would object to the Chinese government using Facebook for self-promotion. Nor is the cleaned-up, perky China found on these pages cause for complaint. What’s Facebook for, if not presenting an idealized version of oneself to the world? But the fact that China markets itself on Facebook abroad while blocking the site on the mainland—not to mention deleting the Weibo accounts of American consulates—has a certain irony. It’s not unlike the recent scuffle over journalist visas, which China guards jealously while the United States makes it rain. Here’s yet another level on which China restricts foreign entities from operating on its turf, while enjoying relative freedom overseas. [New Republic]
Why don’t Russians smile? Nastia Liukin answers our burning cultural questions http://t.co/LDp71zKSkN #sportdiplomacy #culturaldiplomacy
— SU Public Diplomacy (@suPD) February 19, 2014