The Rise and "Demise" of Public Diplomacy

Bruce Gregory, Adjunct Professor at the George Washington University, speaks to Council members and guests on his recent special report on world changes affecting diplomacy and transforming how public diplomacy works in statecraft.  The event took place November 3 at the American Foreign Service Association, in cooperation with the University of Southern California and the George Washington University's Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication. You'll find his full report at "Read More."

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PD commentary

Selection and commentary by PDC members and authoritative experts in the field

The “Better Angels of Our Nature”

Wednesday, November 28th 2012

I do not know whether Steven Spielberg has the concept of public diplomacy in mind or anticipates the impact of his films on foreign audiences as he creates and directs them. Whether intentional or not, with his new movie “Lincoln” that is rightfully garnering so much attention, he has made a film that is a stunning complement to official U. S. public diplomacy efforts. It is the stuff that creative Cultural Affairs Officers at US embassies around the world can use to put on thoughtful programs that explore the nature of democracy and the kind of leader it takes to navigate crises and to get things done.

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Sherry Mueller, Ph.D. authors name for more info

Author: Sherry Mueller

Messages from the Election

Sunday, November 11th 2012

With the world looking on, a long, negative, grinding U.S. political campaign---the  most expensive yet---has rumbled to a close.  Not for the first time, we have to wonder what people abroad make of our antic election process, and especially of the one just past.  

What do they take away from this election’s stupefying flood of attack ads, its Sandy-like tidal waves of anonymous funding, its largely superficial presidential debates, and the self-destructive braying of some Congressional candidates? 

And what sense can American public diplomats make of it for their foreign audiences?  

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John H. Trattner

Board Member

A former career Foreign Service officer and press spokesman of the Department of State, Trattner was also a newspaper, newsmagazine, and network radio journalist in the United States and Europe, press secretary to former Senator George Mitchell, vice president of a nonprofit focused on federal government management, head writer for a public affairs firm, and graduate-level teacher at American University. The author of eight books about the jobs and challenges of federal presidential appointees, he currently writes free-lance and composes choral music. authors name for more info

Author: John Trattner

America Votes -- As the World Listens, Watches and Blogs

Friday, November 9th 2012

Posting this article on behalf of my blogger colleague Alan Heil.


It has been a week of stunning contrasts:  the world’s largest democracy, the United States, re-elects a president and other key leaders on Tuesday in which 118 million citizens, including earlier absentee voters, cast their ballots.

Less than 48 hours later,  the world’s largest authoritarian government, the Peoples Republic of China, convenes a communist party congress in Beijing.   That forum in a few days will announce new top leadership pre-selected behind closed doors by a tiny fraction of its 1.2 billion citizens, installing a new party chairman, Xi Jinping, and a powerful politburo standing committee whose members have not yet been made public.

By all accounts, that contrast should be a Western public diplomacy practitioner’s dream.

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Joe B. Johnson

Board member


Joe B. Johnson consults on government communication and technology after a career in the United States Foreign Service.  He is an instructor for the National Foreign Affairs Training Center, where he teaches strategic planning for public diplomacy. authors name for more info

Author: Joe Johnson

Election 2012: PD Implications?

Wednesday, November 7th 2012

When I think of the "implications for public diplomacy" in the wake of the 2012 election, I can only come with—zero, zip, zilch.  This never-ending political phantasmagoria we have just witnessed produced zero serious discussion of any foreign policy matter. The prospect of any new or telling involvement of our national government in matters of PD is also about zero, especially because we are looking at a future where expanding resources for any kind of  government action in almost any sphere is, again, around zero. (especially in foreign affairs). The fact also that the shape of our national institutions, the Executive and the Congress, are roughly status quo ante, means exactly as much interest in PD matters as in our recent past—almost zero.

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Michael Canning

Board member

Summary: As an officer with the US Information Agency (USIA), Mike Canning worked for 28 years as a press and cultural officer in eight countries on four continents and, in retirement, he retains his interest in promoting a vigourous public diplomacy (PD). authors name for more info

Author: Michael Canning

U.S. Elections and America's Changing Story -- Seen From Inside the Polls

Wednesday, November 7th 2012

Yesterday's Presidential elections offered a rich vein of information and insights for public diplomacy officers around the world.

No matter your politics, the turnout and the changing demographics of the American electorate combined with the spectacle of ordinary voters having their say.  The election's outcome leaves undecided how the campaign's bitterly fought policy issues may be resolved, but that leaves a playground for pundits and prognosticators at embassy presentations.  If I were still a public affairs officer, I would rubbing my hands in glee at the program possibilities.

I'm no longer a PAO, but yesterday I saw the voting from the inside as an officer of elections for Arlington County, Virginia.

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Joe B. Johnson

Board member


Joe B. Johnson consults on government communication and technology after a career in the United States Foreign Service.  He is an instructor for the National Foreign Affairs Training Center, where he teaches strategic planning for public diplomacy. authors name for more info

Author: Joe Johnson


The Public Diplomacy Council is a nonprofit organization committed to the academic study, professional practice, and responsible advocacy of public diplomacy. Founded in 1988, the Council serves the community of public diplomacy professionals, professors and students interested in public diplomacy.





First Monday Lunch Forum

Dec. 1st - Russian Propaganda Along its Western Border with Jeffrey N. Trimble, Deputy Director, International Broadcasting Bureau, and Alen Mlatisuma, Internet Managing Editor, VOA Eurasia Division. 


PDC Council Meetings

Feb. 2nd - AFSA, 10:30 am-11:30 am

May 4th - AFSA, 10:30 am-11:30 am


PDC Board Meetings

Jan. 21st - USC Washington Office, 11:00 am - 1:00 pm

Apr. 22nd - USC Washington Office, 11:00 am - 1:00 pm

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