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