Selection and commentary by PDC members and authoritative experts in the field
Monday, June 13th 2011
The Practice of Public Diplomacy:Confronting Challenges Abroad, Edited by William A. Rugh, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, March 2011, ISBN: 978-0-230-11322-0, 280 pp., $85. Reviewed by William P. Kiehl, Ed. D., Editor of American Diplomacy
“This book shows great promise” was an initial reaction while reading the superb introduction to this volume by editor Ambassador (ret.) William Rugh. Dr. Rugh put this collection of 14 essays together from term papers submitted by his graduate school students at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. The “promise” was anticipation that the volume under review would fill a void in the relatively new academic field of public diplomacy studies. That gap consists of narrative material focusing on the practical work of public diplomacy officers at overseas posts. The need is, as the editor states, “to convey an understanding of public diplomacy as it is practiced by professionals at American embassies abroad.” Calling, in essence, for case studies in U. S. public diplomacy.
Friday, June 10th 2011
The State Department, rather than being embarrassed by the WikiLeaks revelations, should take some pride in what they show about America's diplomats, or U.S. Foreign Service Officers (FSO's) as they are known in goverment circles.
Wednesday, June 8th 2011
One of the primary tasks of the public diplomacy officer in the field is to constantly have a finger on the pulse of public opinion and leadership sentiment.
"What are key people thinking?" "What are they reading this morning?" "What caught everyone's attention yesterday?"
In an interesting development, al Jazeera has set up a Twitter dashboard that purports to reflect the amount of traffic being generated in and about the four most salient countries associated with the Arab Spring.
Monday, June 6th 2011
Those who practice the art of public diplomacy might do well to keep in mind the famous cautionary guidance for those who practice the healing arts. Put another way: If you find yourself in a tough situation, whatever you do, don’t make things worse.
The position of Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs was created at the end of the Clinton Administration, nearly a dozen years ago, and since then, there have been a half dozen presidential appointees who have been entrusted with the responsibility of using the tools of public diplomacy and public affairs to advance the national interests – and improve international understanding – of the United States around the world.
None of them has made things worse. But have they made them better?
Friday, June 3rd 2011
The Public Diplomacy Council was recently engaged with the Hope Fellowship Program, funded by USAID and administered by the National Albanian American Council (NAAC) to strengthen the role of women in policy and decision-making in the Balkans. It brings emerging women leaders from the region to the U.S. for six weeks of leadership training, presentations, and interaction with U.S. professional counterparts. The primary objective of each Hope Fellow is to develop a project to be implemented upon return to Kosovo.
For several weeks in April and May, NAAC and USAID brought a group of eleven women leaders from Kosovo to Washington, D.C. as participants of the Hope Fellowship Program. The Public Diplomacy Council had the pleasure of interacting and engaging with the most recent group of fellows on several occasions, both in informal as well as formal settings.