Selection and commentary by PDC members and authoritative experts in the field
Friday, November 1st 2013
Just when it looked like things couldn't get worse in the Edward Snowden case, they did. First came his highly publicized betrayal, then his flight through Hong Kong to political asylum in Russia, and then a steady stream of leaked documents, all clearly calculated to embarrass the U.S. government as much as possible, for as long as possible.
One week the U.S. was accused of spying on European leaders, then the Mexican president, then the German chancellor. Now it's the Pope. Those leaks guarantee international attention. For the domestic audience, leaks or allegations about the NSA spying on Americans dribble out on a regular basis.
Never mind that Russian President Vladimir Putin was reported to have demanded that Snowden stop leaking in exchange for asylum. The leaks continue. And now comes news that Snowden has been given an IT job in Moscow. Is anyone shocked to hear this?
For the intelligence community, the case has been a disaster. We may never know if Snowden provided information to the Russians, or to the Chinese while he was in Hong Kong. But the U.S. intelligence community has to assume that everything he knew, or could have had access to, has been compromised. Former CIA Deputy Director Mike Morell calls it the most serious compromise of intelligence in U.S. history.
From a public diplomacy perspective, it has been a public relations disaster, with no end in sight. After every new revelation, foreign leaders publicly profess shock and disapproval, and summon U.S. ambassadors for reprimands, while privately, many continue to benefit from the intelligence-sharing relationship they have with the U.S. Most also, of course, continue doing everything they can to spy on us and our leading businesses and technologies.
So what can those on the front lines of public diplomacy do?
Tuesday, October 22nd 2013
As the practice of public diplomacy increasingly moves online, more malevolent practices are doing the same. I'm thinking in particular of the so-called Syrian Electronic Army (SEA), a mysterious group that has attracted worldwide attention by hacking into the websites of such high-profile targets as The New York Times, BBC, Twitter, Reuters, and the U.S. Marine Corps, to name just a few.
The computer attacks are ostensibly in defense of the Syrian government, with the goal of influencing public opinion in support of its national interests, which is one of the definitions of public diplomacy. Yet respectable diplomats wouldn’t engage in such activities.
So who would? And, even more important, whose national interests are they promoting?
If you were to ask computer experts where the best hackers are around the world, nobody will mention Syria. Two countries they will mention, however, are Russia and Iran, which both happen to be deeply invested in the fate of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime.
Wednesday, October 16th 2013
Public Affairs Officers from the Swedish, Netherlands and United Kingdom embassies in Washington compared tradecraft yesterday under the rubric "Can Public Diplomacy Really Be Public?" at a panel discussion cosponsored by the Embassy of Sweden and the Public Diplomacy Alumni Association.
Wednesday, October 9th 2013
The Public Diplomacy Council (PDC) is excited to announce key updates regarding the November 12th Fall Forum, "U.S. Public Diplomacy: A Look to the Past, A Look to the Future."
The all-day conference, held at the U.S. Department of State’s George C. Marshall Conference Center, will feature a keynote speech, a commemoration of USIA and State Department alumni, two morning panels, lunch, six breakout sessions, a third panel, closing remarks, and photo gallery. A proceedings volume will be compiled, edited, and published.
Monday, September 30th 2013
The Council of American Ambassadors recently selected two Public Diplomacy officers -- Lia Miller and Erin Rattazzi -- as its 2013 Kathryn W. Davis Public Diplomacy Fellows. The fellowship combines on-the-job training with academic study at USC and mentoring by members of the Council of American Ambassadors, the Public Diplomacy Council, and Meridian International Center. The Council asked me to speak at the luncheon, hosted by Ambassador and former USIA Director Bruce Gelb, honoring the two Fellows. Here are my remarks.
Problems? Issues? Tangles? Thickets?
U. S. Public Diplomacy: Three "Challenges"
Remarks of Donald M. Bishop
President, Public Diplomacy Council
To the Council of American Ambassadors
Luncheon to honor the 2013 Kathryn W. Davis Fellows in Public Diplomacy
Washington, September 24, 2013
Ambassadors, leaders of American Public Diplomacy, and friends, thank you for your invitation to speak as we honor two new Kathryn W. Davis Public Diplomacy Fellows.