Sunday, July 13th 2014
Seven decades ago, fascism was in its death throes. A quarter of a century ago, the Berlin Wall fell, setting in motion the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War. In this century, however, those world-shaking events seem to be “history” as our nation faces an array of grave new challenges.
The recent death of Walter Roberts – broadcaster, diplomat, architect and builder of Public Diplomacy, educator, and co-founder of the Public Diplomacy Council – reminds us that those events are still within living memory. They shaped the future we all inhabit. The institutions of Public Diplomacy that were founded during the struggles of the twentieth century remain, ready for refocus and renewal in a turbulent new era.
Friday, July 8th 2011
Voice of America is:
A. A tool of American public diplomacy.
B. An editorially independent news organization.
C. A strategic asset.
D. All of the above.
You may be surprised to hear that these descriptions are controversial, and even hotly debated. But I think the right answer is D, and I’ll explain why.
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?
Tuesday, May 31st 2011
The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) does not often find itself in the headlines, but its budget request for fiscal year 2012 may change that. The reason: The BBG has proposed halting all of Voice of America’s Mandarin and Cantonese radio and TV broadcasts to China, and relying instead on an enhanced web-only platform using expanding new media technologies.
Not everyone believes this is the right move, or the right time to make such a move….
Friday, April 8th 2011
In a tiny, crowded conference room on Capitol Hill April 6 --- ignored by camera crews covering what appeared to be an imminent U.S. government shutdown --- a decades-old struggle on the content of America’s publicly-funded international broadcasts surfaced once again.
The setting was the first meeting of the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on oversight and investigations, chaired by Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA). The hearing’s title: “Is America’s Overseas Broadcasting Undermining our National Interest and the Fight Against Tyrannical Regimes?”