The Last Three Feet (2012)
The Last Three Feet: Case Studies in Public Diplomacy
Edited by William P. Kiehl
2012 Public Diplomacy Council
The latest book in the Public Diplomacy Series published by the Public Diplomacy Council is now available on Amazon.com, both in paperback and as an e-book. It can also be ordered from our printer Create Space, and will shortly be available on many international Amazon sites and at quality independent book stores around the U.S.
About this book
How the United States communicates with the rest of the world has been a concern broadly shared by policymakers, members of Congress, academic and think tank specialists, students and members of the public. Over the past decade a great deal of work has been done to understand and improve U.S. efforts, but interestingly, there has not been much emphasis placed on analyzing how public diplomacy experts – primarily at the U.S. State Department – actually do their work on the ground in the countries where they are assigned.
“The Last Three Feet: Case Studies in Public Diplomacy” is an important effort to fill that gap. An outgrowth of the Council’s 2011 Fall Forum, the volume offers examples, written by the Foreign Service officers themselves, of what this important work looks like, the challenges public diplomacy is called upon to meet, and the tools used to advance U.S. interests through effective engagement and communication with foreign publics.
This is especially relevant today, when social media and new technologies present new opportunities and new challenges to effective communication and enhanced mutual understanding. Ambassador Thomas Shannon and Deputy Assistant Secretary, Ambassador-designate Bruce Wharton and Michelle Kwan, U.S. Public Diplomacy Envoy, add context and perspective.
The Public Diplomacy Council considers this work to be an important resource for anyone interested in the subjects it raises, including professors and students, members of Congress and their staffs, and others in the U.S. government concerned with policy and how it can be more effectively communicated.
Morris E. “Bud” Jacobs, Public Diplomacy Council President
The studies featured in the book offer a broad picture of different contexts and the wide array of tools public diplomacy officers use to improve understanding:
- Beatrice Camp, who served as Consul General in Shanghai during the Shanghai World’s Fair Expo, provides insights into the unexpected success U.S. participation in the fair enjoyed among a broad segment of Chinese public opinion.
- Rachel Graaf Leslie examines her experience in conducting effective public diplomacy in Bahrain during the Arab Spring, a time of turbulent change in the Gulf.
- Elizabeth McKay, at the time the cultural attaché in Ankara, describes how she and her colleagues engaged a critical audience, Turkish youth, with an array of programs and media.
- Michael Anderson, formerly the public affairs officer in Indonesia, outlines how he and his colleagues at the Embassy in Jakarta recast the model of an American cultural center with a new center, @America, located in a Jakarta shopping center.
- Jean Manes describes how U.S. Embassy Brazil scaled up a short-term exchange opportunity for young people from Brazil’s favelas, and the multiplier effect this program has had in improving the U.S. image in this important country.
- Foreign Service officer Aaron Snipe looks in-depth at his experience in Iraq, using social media tools to put a human face on the U.S. presence with very skeptical Iraqi audiences
- Islamabad public affairs officer Walter Douglas emphasizes the importance of paying attention to the other side of the dialogue, in this instance through enhanced analysis of the Pakistani press.
About the editor
Bill Kiehl is founding President and CEO of PD Worldwide. A long-time member and Treasurer of the Public Diplomacy Council, Bill leverages his 35 years as a Foreign Service Officer specializing in public diplomacy. He holds the Doctorate in Higher Education Management from the University of Pennsylvania. See his full bio here.
Public Diplomacy Council member Ambassador Anthony Quainton recently reviewed the Council's latest book for the newest edition of American Diplomacy. His review "The Last Three Feet Now Only Inches Away" is available here.
And you'll find reviews by Ambassador Brian Carlson, another member, in the January issue of Joint Forces Quarterly and in the Winter 2013 edition of InterAgency Journal published by the Simons Center.
Council member Donna Oglesby published a review of the book on the University of Southern California (USC) Center on Public Diplomacy at the Annenberg School blog: "In the Weeds: The Last Three Feet"
Council member Patricia Kushly also published a review of the Council's newest book on her Whirled View Blog.
Sol Schindler reviews the book in Mediterranean Quarterly. Here is an excerpt.
Other early book reviews include:
- Ambassador William H. Luers, former president of USAUN: "A unique resource for a new generation of public diplomats…"
- Hon. Bruce Gelb, former director of USIA: "The curtain is finally drawn back on the hows and whys of public diplomacy and we like what we see."
- Hon. Joseph Duffey, former director of USIA: "Essential reading for anyone with an interest in global engagement…"