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The Daily: Considering Cultural Diplomacy’s Roots

The Daily: Considering Cultural Diplomacy’s Roots

March 18, 2014 6:48 am by: Category: The Daily Leave a comment A+ / A-

Our round-up of news, notes, tips, and tweets exhibiting how public diplomacy affects the world each and every day.

Fascinating essay on the (troubling) history of cultural diplomacy and its possible counter-effectiveness as a tool today.

In a democratic dispensation, cultural diplomacy will be the actual that every foreign representative and their ambassadors will adopt to reach out to the general public. They will make good use of any available platform that will enhance their country’s aspirations. They will obviously explore all avenues through the media and public functions to interact with the people and to know at first-hand how the public think about their country and its policies and use it as an opportunity to put across any information that they think can advance their country’s interest. Quoting Lee D. Ross, ‘when you are persuaded by something, you don’t think it is propaganda’, it is based on this statement that we debunk every notion that cultural diplomacy is not a propaganda machinery as described by others but as a way of persuading the public to accept a country’s cultural values. Cultural diplomacy has now been adopted in most countries as an effective way of communicating with local people within the hosting country to achieve its goals. Cultural diplomacy is not a propaganda tool, but as a way of articulating one’s country’s policy directions on issues that bothers on foreign policy, that the country thinks can help to achieve its goals. [Modern Ghana]


Science diplomacy at tits finest: In a series of lectures, Dr. Harold Varmus gives a compelling, in-depth explanation of a handful of U.S. international initiatives in medicine in developing African countries.

For these reasons and others, efforts to support medical sciences and improve prevention and treatment of disease are desirable elements in relationships between countries. These efforts are especially attractive as components of diplomacy when they involve people working together, not simply rich countries transferring funds to—or constructing facilities for—poor countries. Of course, international collaborations can, and often do, involve scientists and health workers from countries of similar, as well as different, economic status. In either case, they represent participatory diplomacy, can help to sustain or improve international relationships, and may be considered an especially attractive form of what has been called “soft power.” [Science & Diplomacy]


Judy Dempsey of Carnegie Europe argues that the European Union will have to be much smarter with its soft power—i.e. not just “allocating large sums of money to Eastern European governments”—after the events in Ukraine.

The prodemocracy demonstrations that engulfed Kiev and other Ukrainian cities over the past two months showed the emergence of a new and powerful sense of civil society. It is clear that in Ukraine and elsewhere, citizens want to break through the corruption that has put a brake on the development of their societies. Yet these movements need help—help to prolong their attention span beyond the formation of the next government, help to translate their demands into legislation, and help with the institution building needed to implement change. In all of this, the EU can provide huge support if it puts its mind to it. [Carnegie Europe]



The managing director of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation—the international broadcasting arm of Australia—comes to his station’s defense as it faces possible axing.

Axing the Australia Network would be a step backward that would strip away the positive impact the international broadcaster is having on the country’s image, ABC managing director Mark Scott has argued in a comprehensive defence of the need for an independent international network. In his first speech about the importance of retaining the Australia Network, Scott said axing the television service, as has been advocated by some critics, handing it to a rival commercial broadcaster, streaming it online only or using the funds for direct diplomacy would be regressive. [The Guardian]


Rap was appropriated by extreme Islamist groups to recruit new members beginning in the mid-aughts; now the U.S. and Britain are trying to reclaim and leverage rap’s popularity to promote moderate Islam.

One of the odder phenomena of the last decade is hearing national security elites, terrorism experts, and career diplomats discuss the finer points of “flow,” “bling,” and the “politics of cool.” American and European terrorism experts have increasingly expressed concerns over “anti-American hip-hop,” accenting the radicalizing influence of the genre. Noting that Al-Shabaab, the Somali-based Islamist group, uses “jihad rap” in its recruitment videos, Harvard scholar Jessica Stern wrote in Foreign Affairs: “The first- and second-generation Muslim children I interviewed for a study of the sources of radicalization in the Netherlands seemed to think that talking about jihad was cool, in the same way that listening to gangster rap is in some youth circles.” Others have advocated mobilizing certain substyles of hip-hop against “jihadi cool.” In Europe, hip-hop is being enlisted in a broad ideological offensive to counter domestic extremism. [Salon]



Here & Now talks international broadcasting with Lawrence Pintak.

The English-language, Russia-funded TV network Russia Today (RT) has been in the news after an anchor resigned on air last week, saying she no longer could work for “a network that whitewashes the actions of Putin.” Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson takes a look at RT, as well as CCTV out of China, the BBC from the U.K. and Voice of America from the U.S., with Lawrence Pintak, founding dean of The Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University. [Here & Now]


photo credit: Wikipedia

Australian Broadcasting Corporation Carnegie Europe Crimea Here & Now Islam Islamist extremists Judy Dempsey Lawrence Pintak medicine smart power Ukraine
The Daily: Considering Cultural Diplomacy’s Roots Reviewed by on . Our round-up of news, notes, tips, and tweets exhibiting how public diplomacy affects the world each and every day. [divide] Fascinating essay on the (troubling Our round-up of news, notes, tips, and tweets exhibiting how public diplomacy affects the world each and every day. [divide] Fascinating essay on the (troubling Rating: 0

About Michael Ardaiolo

Michael Ardaiolo is currently a student in Syracuse University's Public Diplomacy Master's Program: M.A. in International Relations from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and M.S. in Public Relations from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. In addition, he is a recovering record slinger, a Criterion Collection addict, an NBA obsessor, and a struggling student of the Korean language.

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