Our round-up of news, notes, tips and tweets exhibiting how public diplomacy affects the world each and every day.
Another interesting piece on the State Department’s efforts to use “hip-hop diplomacy” to reach young Muslims. Here the focus is on France, where race and Islam play different cultural roles than in the U.S.
The tensions that arise from hip-hop diplomacy highlight one of the major differences between this and the Cold War–era efforts: earlier programs were directed at the Soviet Union, an enemy state, whereas the current initiatives focus on friendly European states. The United States now spends millions of dollars to win the hearts and minds of Europe’s disaffected Muslim communities, often competing against European states’ own programs. And that has angered local officials who believe that the United States is infringing on their countries’ sovereignty in order to pursue its own national interests. [Foreign Affairs]
Easter hunt: Which of the #G8 #G20 leaders has not been captured in a #selfie yet? http://t.co/oOEgRdE48m #DigitalDiplomacy
— Twiplomacy (@Twiplomacy) April 18, 2014
The art exhibition Art Amongst War: Visual Culture in Afghanistan, 1979-2014 at the College of New Jersey in Trenton highlights cultural diplomacy between the U.S. and Afghanistan.
The exchange of ideas highlighted in the Art Amongst War exhibition is particularly important to the young generation of Afghans who comprise two-thirds of the national population. Dubbed “Generation America” by the media, they are not only a generation who grew up amid the American military presence; they are also one influenced by more than a decade of exposure to American culture through media, arts programs, educational exchanges, and language training.Yet despite the advances in bilateral relations over the past 13 years, many Afghans are worried that 2014 will repeat the events of 1989, when “America forgot about Afghanistan” after the defeat of the Soviets. Three years later, in 1992, the country was locked in a bloody civil war between the Mujahideen factions, which paved the way for the Taliban movement. Thus, the continued expansion of cultural diplomacy in and with Afghanistan sends the message, particularly to the young generation, that the U.S. isn’t about to forget them. Instead, it signals that 2014 is the start of a long-term alliance with Afghanistan built on an exchange of ideas and values. [Asia Society]
#Ukraine - the big lesson - soft power has its limitations & very significant ones too http://t.co/4qTQ2mptJX
— Dr Robert Davies (@drrobertdavies) April 17, 2014
Gastrodiplomacy enthusiasts Eliza Richman and Xavier Curtis of AddisEats, a food tour company in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, give an interview on the inspiration for their work.
In a country with such an isolating tourism industry (people whizzing by in white Land Rovers with the windows rolled up, going from fancy hotels to fancy restaurants), locals are thrilled to see tourists off the beaten path experiencing the real Ethiopia just like they do. For Ethiopians, it validates the pride in their food and their culture that they are so passionate about. Food (and coffee) is perhaps the most important cultural aspect in Ethiopia. Ethiopians are extremely proud of their cuisine and beyond delighted to share it! More personally, eating locally is what has facilitated our acceptance into Ethiopian culture. Sitting down to a shiro with construction workers, taxi drivers or office workers has given us an incredible view into the culture of Ethiopia. We have made friends over meals, honed our language skills and been more accepted as one of their own. It’s amazing that when sharing a communal plate of injera, cultural barriers fall by the wayside, more broadly, allowing us and the locals to get to know each other in far more meaningful ways. [Culinary Diplomacy]
RIP #Gabo. Your short stories helped me become fluent in Spanish and ignited my passion for cross-cultural studies. #publicdiplomacy
— Nastasha Everheart (@everheartna) April 18, 2014
This sounds like a great idea for an exchange program: the State Department sent Dartanyon Crockett, a blind American judo wrestler, to Turkmenistan as a sports envoy to teach disabled athletes, apparently with great success.
As a direct result of Crockett’s and Moore’s outreach, numerous high profile groups in Turkmenistan have already expressed tremendous enthusiasm to elevate judo as a sport for athletes with disabilities. We at the State Department want to do more of these kinds of exchanges in Central Asia and around the world, connecting athletes like Crockett with the ability to engage and inspire new audiences and partners. Once again, sports are tearing down barriers, empowering people, and paving the way for better tomorrows. [Dept. of State]
Accounts @DFATDCanada‘s missions abroad suddenly exploding in #socialmedia, strategy for #twiplomacy is needed http://t.co/WUrd9nXsFW
— Julian Dierkes (@jdierkes) April 17, 2014
Finally, a very cool-sounding series of exhibitions are on display in New York City currently on architectural diplomacy (is this a new type of diplomacy for us?) between Barcelona and New York.
When Barcelona natives arrive in New York they feel at home immediately. New Yorkers feel the same way in Barcelona. The two cities share an imprint, a spirit, an unmistakable aesthetic, and a particular quality of light. And their citizens share a passion for place. One thing they have in common is their characteristic streetscapes. If you were to be set down, blindfolded, in either city, on removal of the blindfold there would be no question of where you were standing. But their undeniable bond goes beyond their waterfronts, their grids, and their civic spirit. It is a love affair: New Yorkers love Barcelona; Barcelonans love New York. It is time to build a bridge between them. An urban bridge, by definition. To celebrate the shared values of two cities linked by their enterprise, their diversity, and their distinctive urban configurations. [BCN/NYC]
A Warm Welcome for @FIFAWorldCup Trophy and #SportsDiplomacy at @StateDept: http://t.co/qOEzLvU8PL cc @CobiJones @JulieFoudy @TonySanneh
— Exchange Programs (@ECAatState) April 17, 2014
photo credit: Foreign Affairs