July 9, 2008
Intended for teachers of public diplomacy and related courses, here is an update on resources that may be of general interest. Suggestions for future updates are welcome.
Bruce Gregory Adjunct Assistant Professor of Media and Public Affairs George Washington University (202) 994-0389 BGregory@gwu.edu
Richard L. Armitage and Joseph S. Nye, Jr. "Implementing Smart Power: Setting an Agenda for National Security Reform," Statement before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, April 24, 2008. Former Deputy Secretary of State Armitage and Harvard's Nye summarize their strategy for integrating "hard" and "soft" power and a report issued by CSIS's Commission on Smart Power (November 2007). Public diplomacy recommendations include: (1) "greater autonomy, coherence, and effectiveness for U.S. public diplomacy and strategic communication;" (2) "reviving USIA may not be the most practical option at present;" (3) "consider" an autonomous public diplomacy organization reporting to the Secretary of State; (4) "Congress should create and fund a new institution outside of government that could help tap into expertise in the private and nonprofit sectors to improve U.S. strategic communication from an outside-in approach" as recommended by the Defense Science Board; and (5) expand exchanges, including doubling the Fulbright program.
An appendix contains graphics showing U.S. spending on categories of international affairs. Includes a chart on public diplomacy spending (as defined by the CSIS study), 1994-2008.
Jozef Batora. Foreign Ministries and the Information Revolution: Going Virtual? (Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2008). Batora (Austrian Academy of Sciences) looks at how the information revolution is changing diplomacy as an institution of the modern state and the organization of foreign ministries. Includes case studies analyzing the effects of information technologies on the foreign ministries of Canada, Norway, and Slovakia. He concludes with an assessment of the impact of technologies on the organizing principles of diplomacy and communication with publics.
Maurits Berger, Els van der Plas, Charlotte Huygens, Neila Akrimi, and Cynthia Schneider. Bridge the Gap or Mind the Gap? Culture in Western-Arab Relations, Netherlands Institute of International Relations, Clingendael Diplomacy Paper, No. 15, January 2008. In his introduction to the four essays in this collection, Berger (Senior Fellow on Islam and the Arab World, Clingendael) discusses contrasting definitions of cultural diplomacy and its value in bridging the gap between Arab and Western worlds. The essays address issues relating to the meaning and functions of culture, its policy relevance, cultural relativism, distinctions between cultural diplomacy and public diplomacy, and reasons for engaging in cultural diplomacy.
-- Els van der Plas (Director, Prince Claus Fund for Culture and Development, The Hague), "Culture and Its Relationship to Society."
-- Charlotte Huygens (Curator of Arts in the Islamic World, National Museum of Antiquities, Leiden), "The Art of Diplomacy, the Diplomacy of Art."
-- Neila Akrimi (Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches sur le Partenariat Euro-Mediterraneen), "Beyond Building Bridges: A New Direction for Culture and Development."
-- Cynthia Schneider (Georgetown University), "Cultural Diplomacy: Hard to Define, But You'd Know It If You Saw It," (Reprinted from Brown Journal of World Affairs, Vol. 13.1, Fall/Winter, 2006).
Tony Blankley and Oliver Horn. "Strategizing Strategic Communication," WebMemo No. 1939, The Heritage Foundation, May 29, 2008. Heritage's Visiting Senior Fellow in National Security Studies and Research Assistant in Foreign Policy Studies offer a definition of strategic communication and proposals to improve its use. They focus on the Smith-Thornberry amendment to the 2009 Defense Authorization Bill (H.R. 5658), creation of an interagency strategy for strategic communication and public diplomacy, description of the roles of the State and Defense Departments, and recommendations for an independent, non-profit research organization to act as a magnet for private sector "techniques and technologies" and to exchange "common concerns" and "best practices."
David Boren. A Letter to America, (University of Oklahoma Press, 2008). Boren (President of the University of Oklahoma, former Democratic Senator and chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee) takes a measured look at the world, at an America growing cynical about its political system, and at reforms needed in domestic and foreign policies. Among Boren's priorities: a greater understanding by Americans of the culture and history of others, increasing the flow of students and scholars to and from the U.S. with countries important to America's future, easing restrictions on student visas, an International Peace Corps modeled on the American Peace Corps, and creating an "independent government think tank" to enable scholars, business leaders, and journalists with global experience to share their expertise and independent thinking without having their independence compromised.
Nicholas J. Cull. The Cold War and the United States Information Agency: American Propaganda and Public Diplomacy, 1945-1989, (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge Studies in the History of Mass Communication. 2008). Historian and public diplomacy scholar Nick Cull (University of Southern California) has written an extensive (600 pages) study based on years of research in archival records, secondary sources, and more than 100 interviews with practitioners. Cull's well written and well organized account examines the strengths and limitations of U.S. information activities, international broadcasting, and cultural and educational exchange activities in the context of the major foreign and domestic issues of the Cold War. A work of scholarship and a much needed supplement to the many good accounts of former practitioners.
Robert Entman, "Theorizing Mediated Public Diplomacy: The U.S. Case," The International Journal of Press/Politics, 13(2) April 2008, 87-102. Entman (George Washington University, author of Projections of Power: Framing News, Public Opinion, and U.S. Foreign Policy, 2004) adapts his cascading network activation model of media framing and how frames spread in the U.S. political process to international communication. He offers a theoretical framework to guide research and practice in mediated public diplomacy, which depends on political cultural congruency between the U.S. and other nations and on the strategy, power, and motivations of elites. Although he focuses on the U.S. experience, Entman states his model is generalizable to the mediated public diplomacy of other countries. Abstract available online.
Ali Fisher and Aurelie Brockerhoff. Options for Influence: Global Campaigns of Persuasion in the New Worlds of Public Diplomacy, Counterpoint, British Council, 2008. Fisher (a consultant and former director of the British Council's thinktank Counterpoint), and Brockerhoff (a postgraduate student at Humboldt University) discuss definitions and practical approaches to the conduct of public diplomacy in this extensively footnoted, 62-page report. The authors examine strategies on a continuum from "solely listening to purely messaging" -- with facilitation, network-building, cultural exchange, cultural diplomacy, broadcasting, and direct messaging as alternatives on the spectrum. They also discuss their views on "strategic targeting" and "online engagement." The report is useful for its emphasis on European perspectives on public diplomacy.
James Glassman. "Public Diplomacy in the 21st Century," Remarks at the Council on Foreign Relations, June 30, 2008. In his first speech as Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, Glassman (formerly Chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors) comments on traditional public diplomacy instruments and outlines his "new approach to public diplomacy" framed as a "war of ideas" focused on "winning the war on terror." U.S. broadcasting: "exceptionally effective." State Department educational and cultural exchanges: "the crown jewels of public diplomacy." His role as Under Secretary: "to run the part of public diplomacy . . . that resides at State" and to "run the government wide effort on the war of ideas." U.S. public diplomacy's mission: "to tell the world of a good and compassionate nation and . . . to engage in the most important ideological contest of our time -- a contest that we will win." How? " . . . use the tools of ideological engagement -- words, deeds, and images -- to create an environment hostile to violent extremism."
A similar presentation by U/S Glassman at the Washington Institute for Near East Affaris on July 8, 2008.
Dafna Linzer. "Lost in Translation: Alhurra -- America's Troubled Effort to Win Middle East Hearts and Minds," ProPublica, June 22, 2008. In her lengthy investigative report, Linzer (formerly with The Washington Post and the Associated Press) examines Alhurra's mission, funding, programming, management, audience share, and outside observers' views on its value as a U.S. government funded Arabic-language television station. Her conclusion: "Alhurra's four years of operation have been marked by a string of broadcast disasters."
Of related interest:
-- CBS's 60 Minutes, "U.S.-Funded Arab TV's Credibility Crisis," June 22, 2008. In program produced in collaboration with ProPublica, CBS correspondent Scott Pelley interviews former Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) Chairman James Glassman (now Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs), former Alhurra news director Larry Register, Middle East Broadcasting Network President Brian Coniff, and University of Maryland Professor Shibley Telhami.
BBG Press Release, "Broadcasting Board of Governors Corrects the CBS 60 Minutes Story About Alhurra Television," June 22, 2008. The BBG counters that "the CBS program 60 Minutes distorted facts about the station's audience research, its coverage of Israel, and its editorial practices."
-- The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, "U.S. Funded Language TV Network Under Scrutiny," June 23, 2008. NewsHour correspondent Jeffrey Brown summarizes the 60 Minutes broadcast and interviews James Glassman and Shibley Telhami.
-- Craig Whitlock, "U.S. Network Falters in Mideast Mission," The Washington Post, June 23, 2008. In a lengthy separate investigative report on Al Hurra, Whitlock concludes that "more than four years after it began broadcasting, the station is widely regarded as a flop in the Arab world, where it has struggled to attract viewers and overcome skepticism about its mission."
-- The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer, "Non-profit Groups Financing Independent Journalism," June 24, 2008. The NewsHour's Jeffrey Brown discusses the rise in non-profit organizations funding journalism projects in foreign and investigative reporting with Paul Steiger, editor-in-chief of ProPublica, and Alex Jones, director of Harvard's Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy.
-- Dafna Linzer, "Alhurra's Baghdad Bureau Mired in Controversy, ProPublica, July 8, 2009. In a followup report, Linzer writes, "a close look at both the content and personnel suggests the problems in the Baghdad bureau and the effort to broadcast programming for Iraqis are as profound as those that afflict the rest of the network.
Kristin M. Lord. "Public Diplomacy and U.S. Foreign Policy," Paper presented to the Annual Meeting of the International Studies Association, San Francisco, March 26, 2008. Lord (Brookings Institution, formerly George Washington University) explores what public diplomacy is for, its role in foreign policy, goals it can and cannot achieve, and strategies and tactics that enable it to succeed.
Joseph S. Nye, Jr. The Powers to Lead, (Oxford University Press, 2008). In his latest book, Nye (Harvard University) brings his scholarship on international affairs, hard and soft (and smart) power, and political theory to a study of leadership. In a style that will attract scholars and general readers, he argues that leaders in postindustrial societies are most effective when they combine hard and soft power skills in ways that vary with different situations. Nye uses analysis and numerous examples to assess evolving characteristics of leadership, ways in which leadership can be learned, uses of power to achieve transformational and transactional objectives, shaping roles of empowered followers, the need for contextual intelligence, the impact of the information revolution and democratization on postmodern organizations, the requirements of a consultative style in networks, emotional intelligence, practical knowledge, and ethical considerations.
Jana Peterkova. "Czech Strategy in Public Diplomacy," Paper presented at the International Studies Association Annual Conference, San Francisco, March 26-28, 2008. Peterkova (University of Economics, Prague) offers a public diplomacy model from the perspective of small and medium-sized states. Her paper looks at distinctions between the public diplomacy of large and small states in the context of mission, activities, themes, resources, and legitimacy. Includes an examination of the Czech Republic's approach to public diplomacy during the past decade and recommendations for a new Czech public diplomacy strategy.
David Pollock. "Slippery Polls: Uses and Abuses of Opinion Surveys from Arab States," Policy Focus #82, The Washington Institute of Foreign Affairs, April 2008. Pollock (Visiting Fellow at The Washington Institute and long-time advisor on foreign public opinion to the Department of State and USIA) finds significant problems with "the pervasive overreliance on Arab public opinion polls." He argues that "many 'Arab world" surveys suffer from severe and mutually reinforcing problems of sample design and execution, social controls, government surveillance, dearth of credibility checks, and most of all, absence of any clear links to events on the ground." He concludes his 59-page study with informed and provocative comments on the "so what" questions for U.S. policymaking and public diplomacy. Download as a pdf file at link below.
Sherry Ricchiardi. "Whatever Happened to Iraq? How the Media Lost Interest in a War With No End in Sight," American Journalism Review, June/July 2008, 20-27. In this cover story, AJR's frequent observer of international reporting assesses the decline in coverage of Iraq during 2007-2008. Drawing on research by the Project for Excellence in Journalism, daily tracking surveys by the Associated Press, and interviews with news organizations, Ricchiardi attributes the "dramatic drop-off" in media coverage to danger for journalists on the ground, plunging news budgets, shrinking news space, competing megastories (presidential primaries, sagging economy), and the cost of keeping journalists in Iraq. She also discusses concepts of "war fatigue" and "habituation" as consequences of repetitive news stories.
Marc Sageman ("The Reality of Grass-Roots Terrorism") vs. Bruce Hoffman ("Hoffman Replies"). "Does Osama Still Call the Shots? Debating the Containment of al Qaeda's Leadership." Foreign Affairs, Vol. 87, No. 4, July/August, 2008, 163-166. Sageman (author of Leaderless Jihad, 2008, and Understanding Terror Networks, 2004) and Hoffmann (author of Inside Terrorism, 1998) offer competing views on the nature and evolution of al Qaeda. Sageman defends his effort to achieve a paradigm shift in terrorism research based on scientific evidence of the radicalization of disconnected Internet savvy groups. Hoffman challenges Sageman's understanding of an al Qaeda central, which in Hoffman's view is "on the march, not on the run." The exchange follows Hoffman's critical assessment of Sageman's Leaderless Jihad. See Hoffman's Review Essay, "The Myth of Grass-Roots Terrorism: Why Osama bin Laden Still Matters," Foreign Affairs, Vol. 87, No. 3, May/June 2008, 133-138. For an analysis of the unusually bitter exchange, see Elaine Sciolino and Eric Schmitt, "A Not Very Private Feud Over Terrorism," The New York Times, June 8, 2008.
Giles Scott-Smith. The U.S. State Department's Foreign Leader Program in the Netherlands, France, and Britain 1950-70, (Peter Lang AG, International Academic Publishers, 2008). Scott-Smith (Roosevelt Academy, the Netherlands) looks at the background, organization, and goals of State Department programs designed to bring influential "opinion leaders" to the United States to meet professional counterparts and gain an understanding of American attitudes and institutions. His case studies examine how the programs changed over time in the context of Cold War issues and their importance in maintaining the transatlantic alliance and America's "informal empire."
Clay Shirky. Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations, (The Penguin Press, 2008). Shirky (New York University) uses compelling stories and page after page of thoughtful analysis to show how the Internet is changing the formation and influence of groups in society. Includes his assessments of "mass amateurization," "plausible promise" in open source software, "more is different," "publish then filter," wikis, the long tail power law distribution, network enabled social tools, the wisdom of crowds, grass roots journalism, and governance implications of collective action and new social media. (Courtesy of Donna Oglesby)
U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy, Getting the People Part Right: A Report on the Human Resources Dimension of U.S. Public Diplomacy, June 25, 2008. In this 41-page report, the bipartisan Presidentially appointed Commission looks critically and in detail at the recruitment, training, evaluation, staffing structures, and integration of public diplomacy officers in the Department of State nine years after consolidation with the U.S. Information Agency. Among its key judgments: (1) State makes no special effort to recruit public diplomacy officers with relevant experience or skills; (2) the foreign service examination process does not test for "public diplomacy instincts and communication skills;" (3) public diplomacy training is stronger, but many serious blind-spots persist; (4) State's Foreign Service Institute should develop courses comparable to graduate-level university courses and establish a nine-month in-depth public diplomacy course for mid- to senior-level officers; (5) State's evaluation process overwhelmingly rewards public diplomacy management rather than outreach; (6) State should undertake zero-based reviews of public diplomacy staffing structures in its geographic bureaus and overseas missions; and (7) persistent under-representation of public diplomacy officers at senior ranks is emblematic of continued lack of progress in integrating public diplomacy into the core work of the Department.
Anne Washburn. The Internationalist: A Foreign Comedy, (Oberon Modern Plays, 2008). Playwright Anne Washburn looks with humor and insight into issues of language, identity, and cross-cultural communication. The play's central character, Lowell, is an American seeking success with foreign business colleagues and possibly romance in an unnamed East European country. Instead of anti-Americanism, he finds confusion, misunderstandings, and indifference to his status as "the American." Washburn uses the device of a made-up language for parts of the play. According to notes from dramaturge Daniell Mages Amato written for the Studio Theatre's production in Washington, DC (spring 2008), Lowell and the audience must "pay attention to body language and intonation, listen for fragments of English, and tune into the social structures and cultural rules that are communicated without words . . . Real honesty, emotional connection, and communication . . . depend on tools beyond words."
Gem from the Past Frank A. Ninkovich. The Diplomacy of Ideas: U.S. Foreign Policy and Cultural Relations, 1938-1950, (Cambridge University Press, 1981). Ninkovich (St. Johns University) begins his study with an assessment of private initiatives and public policies in America's cultural diplomacy in the early 20th century. Much of the book focuses on the period from 1938 (with the creation of the State Department's Division of Cultural relations) to 1950. Ninkovich's study discusses critical issues in cultural diplomacy that are still relevant: the meaning of cultural relations, the use of cultural programs as means of preventing conflict and fostering common interests, and as instruments of national policies. He concludes that cultural diplomacy was shaped more by institutional forces and political power than by the idealism of cultural diplomacy enthusiasts.
For previous compilations of public diplomacy resources click on