Our round-up of news, notes, tips, and Tweets exhibiting how public diplomacy affects the world each and every day.
For all the doubters of gastrodiplomacy’s inability to move the public diplomacy needle, Peru makes for a case study that may prove the opposite.
The Peruvian capital has become a gastronomic mecca. Until recently, tourists headed straight for Cusco, the former Inca capital, and the ruins of Machu Picchu. Now some 75,000 visit Lima every year solely to enjoy its food, spending an average of $1,250 each, according to the tourist-industry association. Maximixe, a consultancy, estimates that restaurants alone account for 3% of Peru’s GDP and that the sector is growing faster than the economy as a whole. Gastronomy has become an export industry: several hundred Peruvian restaurants, many of them franchises, have been set up across the world in the past decade, according to Apega, the industry lobby. [The Economist]
The dark side of Twiplomacy: Diplotwoops. If you are a diplomat the site follows and you delete a tweet, they will do you the service of cataloguing it. (Though their Twitter account was suspended rather quickly.)
Transparency in international relations is often cited as a desirable goal, but rarely achieved. Now, a website is trying to nudge things forward by tracking the tweeting misfires of diplomats around the world. Launching today, diplotwoops.org is a follow-up to the already successful politwoops, only it turns its attention to what international diplomats and embassies have to say rather than local politicians. Functionally, the websites are very simple: any deleted tweets from members of the monitored group are documented, eventually building up an archive of unintentional candidness, poorly phrased expressions, and general lack of judgment in using Twitter. [The Verge]
RSVP for our annual #CPDConference on 02/28/14: http://t.co/XmtqGXqAHx #softpower #culturaldiplomacy #publicdiplomacy pic.twitter.com/xMbF1Hx6Qw
— USC Public Diplomacy (@PublicDiplomacy) February 24, 2014
Ambassador Christopher R. Hill argues that China has moved on from being a soft power juggernaut to a country that stirs regional hostility.
Not long ago, China was a soft-power juggernaut. Media accounts highlighted Chinese leaders’ thoughtful forays abroad, depicting policymakers that were respectful of others’ opinions, willing to listen, humble to a fault, and reluctant to dispense unsolicited advice. Here was a country that was content to allow its own example of success to speak for itself. Those days are over. Today, China, like many large countries, is allowing its internal political battles to shape how it interacts with the world, especially with neighbors whose sensitivities it seems entirely willing to ignore. [Project Syndicate]
I missed this from a couple of months ago, but the State Department has a new slew of online efforts to combat violent extremists’ recruiting of English speakers. This is certainly not the first of such efforts, but the @ThinkAgain_DOS is a fun feed to follow for the vernacular (not so much for the graphic photos).
State Department officials acknowledge that the new program is a modest trial run that faces a vast array of English-language websites, Twitter feeds, YouTube videos and Facebook pages that violent extremist groups have established largely uncontested in the past few years. But American and European intelligence officials warn that Al Qaeda’s efforts to recruit English-speaking fighters could create new terrorist threats when the battle-hardened militants return home. [New York Times]
[email protected] Wondering what will be their first order of business? Oh yes, Medieval style savagery against civilians #thinkagainturnaway
— Think AgainTurn Away (@ThinkAgain_DOS) February 21, 2014
Really intrigued to see where this working paper goes: U.S. soft power may actually increase due to Washington’s dysfunction playing into the ever-popular reality TV frame.
Models of soft power have failed to take fully into account the changes in and appeal of contemporary forms of globally disseminated popular culture. Paradoxically, the recent episodes in the Washington drama may captivate and ‘entertain’ global audiences because of the changing expectations cultivated by the wide dissemination of American media forms. The modes of popular culture in the US and globally are transforming, greatly influenced by developments in the American media and film industry. This has led to the emergence of new types of drama formats, such as reality TV, and a new type of fame and celebrity-based status, which have not been considered in the models of soft power. [The Finnish Institute of International Affairs]
Learn more about our work promoting #Track2 exchanges on emerging #tech #policy: http://t.co/CuPbLJoq5s #NATO #PublicDiplomacy #FP
— ESTPC (@NexTechCentre) February 24, 2014
Here is an African perspective on the soft power in higher education debate that gained traction a couple of weeks ago.
As a major ‘marginal centre’ of international higher education – not by participation but by omission – the absence of that ‘buzzword’ in the region may be an indication that its prevalence may have been overblown, if not misstated. As a matter of fact, most ‘historical’ players are retreating from development cooperation due to predominantly economic, social and financial crises at home. Whatever soft power talk there is around the region, it mainly revolves around the increasing China-Africa relationship. [University World News]
(We even discussed it here.)
The Helter Skelter of Cultural Diplomacy is thriving in Washington http://t.co/C1I24DI0oY #SoftPower @UKinUSA
— Keith Nichol (@KeithNicholDCMS) February 24, 2014
This PBS piece looks into the State Department’s push to be tech savvy, especially in terms of public diplomacy.
There is a clear understanding in the department that being able to use new tools effectively is a necessary part of public diplomacy these days. Brandt’s office holds a monthly meeting called Tech Society about “cool, new digital tools” that provides internal thought leadership on what is coming next in the tech industry and how it can be used to better engage current and future audiences. The department wants to be ready to reach the next billion people to access the Internet. [PBS Idea Lab]
How does #socialmedia affect traditional diplomacy and #publicdiplomacy? http://t.co/SgkIdvYNEX
— SMPA at GWU (@SMPAGWU) February 21, 2014
Ha! Pandas arrive in Belgium as part of China’s never-ceasing onslaught of panda diplomacy, and immediately cause a diplomatic row between the Dutch-speaking and the French-speaking halves of the country over who will house them.
Two giant pandas have been flown into Belgium on a 15-year loan from China’s Sichuan region. While there was a celebrity welcome for Xing Hui and Hao Hao, the pair’s arrival has also inflamed a political row between the country’s French and Dutch-speaking regions. [BBC]
Russia’s #publicdiplomacy at #Sochi showed us themselves as they really are, for good and ill #SportPD http://t.co/rlIocUKxFi
— Geoff Pigman (@GeoffPigman) February 23, 2014
This collection of reviews looks at books focused on perceptions of the U.S. from abroad, including the new one by Martha Bayles.
What we consider best about ourselves and our nation isn’t reflected much in the pop culture that America exports profitably. Martha Bayles’ new book explores the often unflattering U.S. image that our movies, TV shows and music present to the world and its ramifications for U.S. interests. “Through a Screen Darkly: Popular Culture, Public Diplomacy and America’s Image Abroad” (Yale University Press) draws on hundreds of interviews conducted in 11 countries. Its author, a reviewer and essayist who teaches humanities at Boston College, traces America’s global image problem to the end of the Cold War. [Trib Live]
Measuring academic interest: #PublicDiplomacy =25.3k #EconomicDiplomacy =8.5k Data: @Google scholar results #14dip pic.twitter.com/L1DjCxuYad
— Dante Licona (@dantrix88) February 22, 2014
photo credit: The Economist