A Snapshot of Public Diplomacy
Thursday, June 28th 2012
Today when I opened my e-mail I was greeted by a message from the new Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. The message entitled "A Snapshot of Public Diplomacy" was a rundown of public diplomacy activities in each of the regional bureaus, ECA and IIP.
This is the sort of "weekly highlights" that would be compiled (and still is I suppose) by each regional PPD office and the ECA and IIP bureaus to send forward to the "front office", i.e. R or the Office of the Under Secretary. For post posts and offices it was (or is) the only way to get noticed by the top of the hierarchy. But in the past that is about as far as it went. Oh sure the folks in R would send around the highlights to various bureaus and offices at State, perhaps copies would make their way to USAID, DOD Policy and even to the White House but the public never saw any of it. Now, lucky members of the public like me--and now you--can see what PD folks are up to and it is often some impressive stuff. You can check it out for yourself at this website:
Since we have been talking a bit about Smith-Mundt in these pages of late, it is worth noting that this sort of material was often held back from the curious eyes of the American public in the past because of some misunderstandings if not downright misinterpretations of the regulations relating to the dissemination of propaganda to the citizens and residents of the USA. Finally common sense has prevailed and the people who pay for this activity can actually learn what their tax money buys. And I think they will believe, as I do, that it is good value for money.