Selection and commentary by PDC members and authoritative experts in the field
Wednesday, August 1st 2012
Mitt Romney had a painful public diplomacy teaching moment last week in London. No question about it, Romney stepped off the airplane and put his foot squarely in it.
And, while I wrote this comment at that time, I had decided against posting it -- until Al Kamen’s column in this morning’s Washington Post changed my mind and reinforced my conviction. See why below.
Friday, July 20th 2012
Does the United States need an International Broadcasting Czar?
But if you ask if we need someone to serve as a full-time Chief Executive Officer for the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), then I would say yes.
What’s the difference? A politically-appointed “czar” (which the current administration has used in several areas to supersede the traditional government hierarchy) has temporary but sweeping powers and influence. I think this would be not only unnecessary but also counter-productive. The heads of the U.S. international broadcasting entities – Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio & TV Marti, and the others – should be allowed to run their own agencies without being micro-managed by a higher boss. Any entity head who can’t be trusted to do that should be replaced with one who can.
Wednesday, July 18th 2012
Reflecting on many years of practicing public diplomacy, one is reminded of the many times in country team meetings that it fell to the public affairs officer to recommend against some particular action.
Maybe these cases are memorable because they run counter to the norm: usually the PAO is the one voice in the embassy pushing an otherwise reluctant ambassador and shy political officers to get out in front of audiences and help make America’s case to foreign publics.
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.
Monday, June 25th 2012
A couple of weeks ago the State Department announced plans to enter a 16.5 million dollar, five-year agreement with Amazon to purchase Kindle tablets and assorted services for public diplomacy. There is a lot of enthusiasm these days about tablets, e-readers and electronic books.