Selection and commentary by PDC members and authoritative experts in the field
Friday, October 21st 2011
What was it like for the U.S. Public Affairs Officer in Bahrain during the Arab Spring? What if you were the American Consul General in Shanghai during the Shangai Expo? How would you deal with public hostility in Turkey? Or open channels of communication to Brazilian high school students from low-income families?
Public diplomacy officers will discuss these challenges and more at "The Last Three Feet" conference in Washington this November 3.
Tuesday, October 18th 2011
When does WWW not mean the World Wide Web?
Answer: when it's the new TED.
A recent Washington Post interview with Richard Saul Wurman, originator of the Technology, Entertainment and Design conference, aka TED, caught my eye. TED draws global luminaries, and it generates policy discussions; it’s something every public diplomatist should know about.
Now Wurman wants to launch a WWW conference in Lyon next April, 2012.
Saturday, October 8th 2011
The death of Steve Jobs made front page news around the world, and for good reason: He had a profound influence on the ways digitization has changed peoples' lives.
Many of the devices we use every day to communicate or create with, or even be entertained by – including smart phones, computers, tablets, and portable music players – would not look or perform the way they do without Jobs' industry-altering conviction that when you marry innovative design with intuitive function, you can make even commodity products hip.
So what does this have to do with public diplomacy? Jobs' success was a uniquely American story. A college dropout, he didn't attend the "right" schools that in many countries would have been a requirement for business success. He was once fired from the company he co-founded (Apple), which could have been career-ending anywhere else. But in Silicon Valley, America’s world-renowned technology seedbed where failure is considered a learning experience, Jobs went out and created another company and eventually returned to power at Apple in a dramatic comeback that not even Hollywood could have written. (Actually, Jobs' Pixar animation studios, which he owned and helped develop, probably could have written that story.)
Thursday, October 6th 2011
National Public Radio aired a particularly tough expose on the J-1 visa program on the evening of October 6 in the PRI "The World" program. You can listen to the piece or read the text here on PRI's website.
Monday, October 3rd 2011
An old story has been repeating itself recently in Washington. Once again, an element of U.S. international broadcasting has been criticized by politicians with a narrow view of its mission. Once again, by implication, the criticism brought the independence of American overseas broadcast operations into question. And, once again, came a firm and timely restatement of why those operations do what they do.
This time around, as reported in CQ Weekly in September, the criticism targeted Alhurra, the U.S.-sponsored Arab language television channel. According to the report, Alhurra drew the ire of some members of Congress “for broadcasting interviews with the leaders of Hezbollah and Hamas — groups the United States has branded as terrorist organizations.” It’s not clear what the interviews conveyed. But that’s not really the point here. Nor does it much matter when the interviews were aired or even what one thinks of Alhurra itself.