"The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place."

--George Bernard Shaw; image from


J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board Explores "'The Fulbright Effect' and the Future of Public Diplomacy and Global Education: yumanewsnow.com: "The J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, in partnership with The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, will host a public discussion, The Fulbright Effect: How do we shape the future of public diplomacy and global education?, on Thursday, May 8, 2014, from 4:00 pm to 5:30 pm EDT. An international online audience will engage with four prominent experts to explore new ideas and developments in the field of international education and research. This global outreach event will be live streamed at www.watchitoo.com/show/wav-772 and will take place at the Wilson Center, Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, One Woodrow Wilson Plaza, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 20004 (6th Floor Moynihan Board Room). ... The U.S. Government’s Fulbright Program is supported by the people of the
United States
and partner countries around the world. Since 1946, the Fulbright Program has provided more than 325,000 participants from over 180 countries with the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns. The J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board was established by the United States Congress. "


[LISTEN] U.S. Public Diplomacy in a Digital Context - thepublicdiplomat.com: "Michael Ardaiolo discusses the 
public diplomacy’s shift toward a digital world

with Dr. Craig Hayden." Hayden image from entry


Lois Roth Endowment - Anne Barbaro, PDAA Today [scroll down link for item]


U.S. Increases Support for Media, Press Freedom in Ukraine - iipdigital.usembassy.gov: "The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is providing an additional $1.25 million to the U-MEDIA program in Ukraine, a project of Internews and its Ukrainian partner organizations aimed at supporting Ukrainian media outlets as they prepare for the Ukrainian presidential election on May 25. Members of the media in Ukraine have faced serious challenges and dangers over the past several months, USAID said in announcing the grant on its website May 2. More than 500 journalists have been harassed, beaten or abducted since November 2013, and one journalist was killed.

Media outlets have been attacked and news-gathering equipment has been seized or destroyed, USAID said. 'USAID supports a strong and independent media in Ukraine,' said Paige Alexander, USAID assistant administrator for the Bureau for Europe and Eurasia. 'This additional funding will help to protect vulnerable journalists while also advancing press freedoms and democratic governance in Ukraine.'" Image from entry, with caption: A masked pro-Russian man blindfolds Ukrainian journalist Irma Krat after she was shown to journalists in Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine, April 21. USAID says more than 500 journalists have been harassed, beaten or abducted since November 2013.

Putin: Ideological, Putin: Ideological, Not Irrational - Mark Movsesian, firstthings.com: "Last Friday on MSNBC’s 'Morning Joe'— the breakfast salon of the bien pensant — Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Rick Stengel took on Vladimir Putin. Stengel attempted to explain how Putin’s conduct in Ukraine damages Putin’s own interests. Putin, Stengel told his interlocutor Steven Rattner with an air of frustration, 'is making fundamental errors' that would get him in trouble with the Russian people. 'He’s moving further away from the West,' Stengel said, at a time when 'people want to be closer to the West.' Rattner agreed that Putin is being 'irrational.' Isn’t it obvious? In fact, it isn’t at all obvious that Putin is being irrational or that people around the world want to be closer to the West, at least not in the way Stengel seems to think. It is very difficult for Americans to understand this, but on many issues we are cultural outliers. America, especially its professional class, has what psychologists call a WEIRD culture—Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic.

WEIRDs are very secular. They place great emphasis on personal autonomy; indeed, autonomy may be their most important value. That’s one reason why America works so hard to support movements like feminism and gay rights abroad. By contrast, most of the world’s cultures are not WEIRD. They are not secular and do not see personal autonomy as the most important value. ... Notwithstanding Stengel’s assertion, Putin is not acting against the wishes of his own people. Indeed, his popularity at home has been growing since the start of the Ukraine crisis. ... In other words, our conflict with Russia is not simply about politics, or economics, or even national security. It’s about culture and values. It’s not that Putin insufficiently appreciates what WEIRDness requires. He’s not a WEIRD at all. He doesn’t want to be. The people who run our foreign policy should understand this. If Stengel’s appearance on Friday is any indication, they don’t." Image from

On World Press Freedom Day, how free is the Burmese media? - Angus Watson, dvb.no: "UNESCO has proclaimed 3 May as World Press Freedom Day as a 'reminder to governments of the need to respect their commitment to press freedom'. Yet the Burmese media landscape is blighted by the existence of six imprisoned media workers while the Ministry of Information (MoI) appears driven by an agenda seemingly at odds with a revitalised Burmese media community. ... US Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Richard Stengel last week visited Naypyidaw where, according to a US Embassy statement, he affirmed that 'the [Burmese] political space has opened significantly in the last three years, and the government has taken important steps to cultivate an environment conducive to free, fair and independent media, a critical element of a vibrant democracy.' ... Yet 'while press freedom conditions in Burma have generally improved, there are elements in government, including the Ministry of Information, that are uncomfortable with the more open reporting environment and are trying to reassert control over the press,' said Shawn Crispin, Southeast Asia representative to the Committee to Protect Journalists."

Department of State Public Schedule May 6, 2014 - rockycoastnews.blogspot.com: "UNDER SECRETARY FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS RICHARD STENGEL 11:00 a.m. Under Secretary Stengel meets with People’s Republic of China Vice Minister of Education Hao Ping, at the Department of State."

Racism: We buried an empty casket - Wordsmithtotle in Global Affairs: "Th[is] photo

was published ahead of Obama’s state visit to the Netherlands and Belgium. There was furore and public condemnation of De Morgen and the newspaper thereafter tendered an apology. I’m a member of the Young African Leaders Initiative Network, a brilliant initiative by President Obama to 'support young African leaders as they spur growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance, and enhance peace and security across Africa'. In a tweet-meet we held at about the same time that the controversy was raging, I tweeted questions at

Evan Ryan (Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs), Rick Stengel (Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs), Macon Phillips and the YALI Network using the Twitter hashtag #YALIChat. I asked the following questions: If the President of The United States can still face such a racist, insensitive act, how do young African leaders deal with this sort of thing? As African youth try to integrate in the global village, we will still face racism. What do we do? To canvass global support against covert and overt racism, shouldn’t Belgium have been struck off President Obama’s itinerary? That measure has been adopted by FIFA and UEFA in football. Black players have even walked off the field of play. ... Sports, music, fashion, entertainment and other forms of cultural diplomacy will in the evolving ecosystem of the 21st century, play pivotal roles in bridging gaps and healing the wounds inflicted in the hearts, minds and bodies of people all over the world. I find it instructive and particularly commendable that it is the NBA, a privately-owned organization that has taken such a bold, unrelenting stand against racism." Images from entry

No, Obama is Not Spending $2.7 Mil on Communist Propaganda in Vietnam - Peter van Buren, We Meant Well: "A number of conservative outlets have featured a story like this one, 'Obama Spending $2.7 Mil to Broadcast Communist Propaganda to 
.' The article quotes from somewhere (no attribution or link): ['] The Department of Health and Human Services is spending $2,797,979 on a study that brings television to more than a dozen remote villages in Vietnam to study its impact on their culture and reproductive behavior. [']  ... The media claiming the 
 is funding Red propaganda, and/or just throwing away money, are, not surprisingly, wrong. Reading the actual grant from the U.S. National Institute of Health (for only $705k; not sure where the $2.7 million number came from), we learn that the purpose has little to do with Commies: ['] Billions of dollars are spent worldwide on television campaigns to promote population health even though we lack clear evidence of a causal link between television and family formation and reproductive health.

Although a substantial research literature documents television’s effects, existing research is primarily associational; making it impossible to establish a causal direction or to eliminate the possibility that a third variable is responsible for the observed associations. In defending these existing research problems, many note that because television is so widely available, it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to randomly assign members of a target audience to comparison and intervention groups. ['] The idea of researching the impact of something at the cost of maybe millions to better spend billions seems to make sense. The idea of finding a place without any TV that is also safe to work in and somewhat accessible means that isolated hill villages in 
 are exactly the kind of location you need." Uncaptioned image from entry

Leading Change and Innovation from Inside and Out: Building Models of Social Responsibility - Nathan Hoffmann, fulbright.be: "One of the most exciting aspects of being a Fulbright grantee in Belgium this year has been the numerous opportunities to meet driven individuals from a variety of backgrounds who are all trying to change the world for the better.

Today the Office of Public Diplomacy and the Commercial Service of the U.S. Embassy here in Brussels provided one such opportunity with a panel discussion on 'Leading Change and Innovation from Inside and Out: Building Models of Social Responsibility,' the latest installment in the Embassy Federal Women’s Program series on 'Women in Leadership in International Relations.'” Uncaptioned image from entry

U.S. Sports Envoy Brings Optimism, Hope to Palestinians - Richard Buangan, geneva.usmission.gov: "This blog post by Richard Buangan originally appeared on the State Department’s Dipnote blog on May 4. Buangan serves as a public affairs officer at the American Consulate General in Jerusalem. ... [T]his April, U.S. Consulate General Jerusalem was honored to host Olympic gold medalist

Jackie Joyner-Kersee, the first-ever U.S. Sports Envoy to Jerusalem and the West Bank. ... Whether meeting with prominent Palestinian athletes, cheering on Palestinians with disabilities who were participating in sports camps in table tennis and wheelchair basketball, or encouraging university students interested in fitness and health sciences to pursue their dreams, Jackie Joyner-Kersee was a superstar — both on and off the track. She helped reinvigorate the true meaning of public diplomacy in a region struggling for peace and stability, and proved that not only is she one of the greatest all-around athletes in U.S. history, she is a talented goodwill ambassador who can build bridges between Americans and other people of the world." Image from entry, with caption: American track and field great Jackie Joyner-Kersee poses with a Palestinian woman in Ramallah.

Engaging with People through Public Diplomacy - Donald Bishop, Public Diplomacy Council: "A fundamental reassessment of Public Diplomacy’s premises, programs, priorities, and doctrines is long overdue, but I don’t see anyone in the Department who realizes the need for renewal, reform, reassessment, or what Ambassador McNamara called 'rebalance.' There’s another factor. We used to say that Public Diplomacy was to 'tell America’s story to the world.' That presumed there was one story – the story of freedom, progress, and prosperity. But our new awareness of American diversity has led us to take a more candid look at our history. ... A world without American leadership – think about it. In such a world, there would be more predators, more pirates, more terrorism, more ethnic strife, more border tensions, more poverty, less freedom of religion, less opportunity, and less security. Public Diplomacy can play an important role as part of American leadership. Or, to use David Brooks’ phrase, it’s part of the ecosystem of the liberal international order. It’s also where Americans in many walks of life join diplomacy in tangible, face-to-face ways. So, here’s my message. Let the debates swirl on foreign affairs, foreign policy, and diplomacy. But know that the White House, Capitol Hill, the Pentagon, and the think tanks have no exclusive role. In Public Diplomacy particularly, Uncle Sam needs you. The world needs you."

What Is Hillary Clinton Afraid Of? – Glenn Thrush and Maggie Haberman – POLITICO Magazine - slinkingtowardretirement.com: "[Philippe] Reines and Cheryl Mills, Clinton’s tough right-hand woman at Foggy Bottom, also sought to bring more of their bare-knuckles political sensibility to the vast State Department PR shop, decreeing that while basic questions about policy would still be funneled through Assistant Secretary of State P.J. Crowley, anything that even remotely touched on the secretarial person was to be considered the exclusive province of Reines and Mills. That worked just fine for the Clinton palace guard, but it sowed confusion in a building accustomed to prescribed lines of authority and sapped morale to the point where the department’s inspector general was called in to investigate, concluding that Clinton’s staff needed to improve ‘internal communication’ with everybody else. Reines, the IG wrote, ‘has important access to the Secretary, but needs to communicate information transparently to the Assistant Secretary and other colleagues and to draw more upon the talents of Foreign Service and Civil Service employees in the bureau.’ Reines, a novice in the elaborate world of diplomatic protocol, soon became famous for his email flame wars with reporters and played a minor walk-on role in history as the aide who had the lame idea to hand Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov a gimmicky red ‘reset’ button, all the more embarrassing when the translation proved to be wrong. But the political bent of the communications team also served 
’s public diplomacy ambitions.

, then the department’s spokesman, remembers a 2010 trip to 
, where 
 calmly moved among news crews in 
 and cheerfully fielded any question thrown her way. ‘She brought a political perspective,’ 
 says. ‘It was really a campaign approach she was using. … Perhaps a question now is whether she’ll use what she learned at State on a campaign.’ Despite 
’s dismissal of 2016 presidential talk, it was clear to veteran observers that she was conducting herself in a way that wouldn’t preclude future ambitions. She ‘was very careful to frame everything in the context of the administration’s policy,’ says Andrea Mitchell, who traveled often with 
 as NBC’s chief foreign affairs correspondent. ‘That said, she didn’t take on some of the more politically charged challenges that could be problematic down the road for someone running for president. And the contrast with [Secretary of State John] Kerry, her successor, is very obvious. He’s taken a lot of risks.’”
Clinton image from entry

PDAA Honors Professionals Who Are Making a Difference - "[T]he 17th annual PDAA Award for Achievement in Public Diplomacy ... [honor] efforts to advance U.S. foreign policy through creative, innovative and effective public diplomacy strategies.

PDAA, which is a volunteer, nonprofit organization of current and former State Department, broadcast, academic and private sector public diplomacy professionals, recognized the six awardees at an annual dinner held May 4 in Washington, D.C." Image from entry, with caption: Emerging Artists Workshop organized by The Phillips Collection and the U.S. Department of State at the Alhamra Arts Center in Lahore, Pakistan

A New Voice of America: U.S. international broadcasting gets a 21st-century upgrade - Review and Outlook (Europe), Wall Street Journal: "Voice of America and Radio Free Europe played an important role in winning the war of ideas against Communism during the Cold War. But more recently the U.S. international-broadcasting system has suffered mission drift: Its programs have at times run counter to U.S. foreign-policy objectives, and its massive bureaucracy is inefficient. Meanwhile, Washington's adversaries have created slick broadcast organs, such as the Kremlin's Russia Today and Beijing's CCTV, to advance their strategic interests and disseminate their illiberal worldviews. So it's welcome news that the House Foreign Affairs Committee passed a bipartisan package of reforms designed to address long-standing governance problems in the system. The legislation would create a new U.S. International Communications Agency, with a full-time CEO, to administer Voice of America and the various 'Freedom' broadcasters, including Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and the Middle East Broadcasting Network. ... Voice of America needn't become a crude propagandistic outlet. 'You need to have an open mind but not so much that your brains fall out,' as Jeff Gedmin, a former president of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, told us. 'If you need to run an interview with a regime figure, do it—but frame it, rebut it. Make it clear that we're not moral relativists, that we're not sympathizers of the regime.' By ensuring that Voice of America reflects American interests, and improving the system's governance, the House reform package will help retool U.S. broadcasters for the new war of ideas." See also

Voice of America Needs a Strategy - Michael Rubin, Commentary: "It’s clear that VOA should not be simply an ordinary news service. The private sector handles that better, and CNN, CNBC, and even Fox are increasingly available abroad. Even in autocratic countries like Iran, Syria, and Saudi Arabia, residents can access a plethora of satellite stations, even when such access isn’t really legal.

So, here’s a modest proposal: The Broadcasting Board of Governors should identify in each country hostile to the United States or behind an iron curtain what journalists in that country aren’t allowed to pursue. ... Given limited resources, VOA broadcasting to that country should focus on those banned subjects. That would guarantee relevance, an audience, and invariably bolster American interests as well." Image from

Voice of America English headlines paint an image of unpopular and collapsing Ukraine government - BBG Watcher, bbgwatch.com: "In contrast to other Western broadcasters and its own Ukrainian and Russian services, Voice of America English News headlines and news reports, which

appear more like commentaries than news reports, try to paint an image of the Ukrainian government in Kyiv as desperate, unpopular and near collapse. In this respect, VOA English News has become more like Al Jazeera and Russia’s RT." Image from entry

Obama dropped by a White House meeting on Ukraine with Ashton –- Voice of America failed to report - BBG Watcher, BBG Watch: "United States National Security Advisor Susan Rice held talks Tuesday at the White House on Iran and Ukraine with Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, but U.S. taxpayer-funded Voice of America (VOA) failed to report on this meeting. VOA News also failed to report that President Obama dropped by the meeting with Lady Ashton at the White House. VOA News did report in two sentences on an earlier meeting in Washington between Catherine Ashton and Secretary of State John Kerry."

How Putin Is Reinventing Warfare: Though some deride Russia for backward thinking, Putin's strategy in Ukraine betrays a nuanced understanding of 21st century geopolitics - Peter Pomerantsev, foreignpolicy.com: "The Kremlin's approach might be called 'non-linear war,' a term used in a short story written by one of Putin's closest political advisors, Vladislav Surkov . ... Surkov writes: ... [']In the primitive wars of the 19th and 20th centuries it was common for just two sides to fight. Two countries, two blocks of allies. Now four coalitions collided. Not two against two, or three against one. All against all.' [T]he Kremlin's 'non-linear' sensibility is evident as it manipulates Western media and policy discourse. If in the 20th century the Kremlin could only lobby through Soviet sympathizers on the left, it now uses a contradictory kaleidoscope of messages to build alliances with quite different groups. ...[C]apacity building is needed for both Ukraine and the West to deal with Kremlin disinformation and to formally track the role of Kremlin-connected influencers. So far, this work is happening ad-hoc as intrepid journalists reveal Kremlin lobbyists and triple-check leaks.

To be effective, this work needs to be institutionalized, whether in think tanks or via public broadcasters such as Radio Free Europe, so every sound bite from a Kremlin-funded 'expert' is properly contextualized, every Kremlin meme deconstructed, and every British peer on Russian state company boards held accountable for their connections. And this needs to happen in both Western countries and Russia's 'near abroad,' where the Kremlin projects its non-linear influence through a variety of institutions, from the Orthodox Church, to entertainment television and business groups. Georgia, Moldova, and Latvia are particularly vulnerable, and their security services need to be prepared for the sort of indirect intervention we are seeing in eastern Ukraine. ... Perhaps, despite what Obama says, there is a battle of ideas going on. Not between communism and capitalism, or even conservatives and progressives, but between competing visions of globalization, between the 'global village' -- which feels at once nice, naff, and unreal -- and 'non-linear war.'" Uncaptioned image from entry

Russia to Sue Ukraine for Odessa Massacre - escambray.cu: "Public Council for International Cooperation and Public Diplomacy Sergei Ordzhonikidze reaffirms that Kiev’s actions

violate the April 17 Geneva agreements, adopted by Russia, United States, the European Union and Ukraine itself." Uncaptioned image from entry

Russian interests not limited to Ukraine alone - english.pravda.ru: "The interests of the Russian Federation are not limited to Ukraine. The Mexicans have a saying: 'Mexico is so far from God and so close to the United States.' This saying is a very good description for the attitude of many countries in the region to their northern neighbor. They constantly feel pressure from the States, including in the military sphere. Russia has global interests, and it will be implementing them, including in the Latin American region," Sergei Ordzhonikidze, the chairman of the Russian Public Council for International Cooperation and Public Diplomacy told Pravda.Ru."

China: Engagement vs. Estrangement - Elton C Parker, III, warontherocks: "Ultimately, we must be able to account for not only the intention of the words, images, and deeds, but perhaps even more importantly, how they will be perceived, interpreted, and then translated by our multiple audiences. Thus, we need to find the fundamental and harmonic frequencies — those that resonate best and most deeply — and then zero in on transmitting them in an unrelenting fashion.  ... This skillset is certainly not lost on our Chinese brethren, as described in an article in the Washington Free Beacon last month, which cited a study on the PLA’s embrace of a concept called ‘Three Warfares’, produced for the Office of Net Assessment. This report highlights the emphasis being placed on ‘psychological, media, and legal attacks’ by China as part of an effort to ‘diminish or rupture U.S. ties with the South China Sea littoral states and deter governments from providing forward basing facilities or other support.’ According to the report, the Pentagon defines psychological warfare as ‘efforts to influence or disrupt an enemy’s decisions-making capabilities, to create doubts, foment anti-leadership sentiments, and device opponents’. As such, this darker side of strategic communication — information operations — would include actions such as increasing diplomatic pressure, false narratives, harassment, and other forms of media or public opinion warfare. So how does one go about countering the so-called Three Warfares? The report advocates, logically enough, three distinct approaches: forceful legal action (‘lawfare’), freedom of navigation exercises (presence), and bolstering public diplomacy (strategic messaging). Putting aside the legal lane for the lawyers leaves physical engagement and communication. ... Ultimately, the bottom line is this: I see more good from pursuing a strategy of engagement than one of estrangement. I think we do our interests and ourselves a disservice by only painting the rise of 
 as solely adversarial."

Chinese leaders' wives step into limelight with foreign tours - zeenews.india.com: "'Wife diplomacy' has become the focus of China's new leadership as Cheng Hong, the well educated wife of Premier Li Keqiang who has kept a low profile so far, stepped into the limelight by accompanying him on a high-profile Africa tour. Her debut in public diplomacy was kept under wraps until she emerged with her husband out of the plane yesterday to greet the leaders and people at the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. She is the second high-profile spouse to get initiated into 'wife diplomacy' by the new set of leaders departing from the past practice of keeping the families of the leaders out of the limelight. The first to start the practice was President Xi Jinping, who took his famous wife Peng Liyuan, a well accomplished folk-singer and a household name in China for her television opera success, to his first foreign tour after taking over as President last year. Since then Peng became part of China's public diplomacy as she recently hosted Michelle Obama and her family for a week-long tour of China to promote good US-China ties."

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying's Regular Press Conference on May 6, 2014 -
fmprc.gov.cn: "Hua Chunying started the press conference with the following announcements: ... As we have announced on April 29, the 4th Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) Summit

will be held in Shanghai, China from May 20 to 21. For your better understanding of the theme and goal of the Summit, the Office of Public Diplomacy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the China Public Diplomacy Association will host a Lanting Forum at 2 p.m. on May 8 (Thursday)." Uncaptioned image from entry

Lithuanian ambassador talks economic, political policies - Emma Palasz, badgerherald.com: "Highlighting the importance of raising awareness and fighting for freedom, the Lithuanian ambassador to the United States spoke at the Pyle Center Friday on Lithuanian economic and political policies. ┼Żygimantas Pavilionis became ambassador of Lithuania to the United States in August 2010 and played a key role in helping the country become part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the European Union.

Pavilionis showcased Lithuania’s success as a nation, speaking on its promising numbers regarding economics and education. ... Pavilionis ... said neither the U.S. nor Lithuania could ignore what is going on in other countries if they do not want violent leaders to spread anti-democratic leadership. ... 'Stay inside the country and think nothing, and your freedom will disappear,' he said. 'We have to revamp public diplomacy. We have to fight for our freedom with ideas that were born [in the US] years ago.'” Uncaptioned image from entry

NATO's Biggest Mistake: The Alliance Drifted From Its Core Mission -- And The World Is Paying The Price - sassinstitute.blogspot.com: "Russia’s campaigns in Crimea and eastern Ukraine have not involved columns of tanks streaming across borders. Instead, Moscow has skillfully used staged provocations, local supporters, unmarked special forces, cyber-attacks, and massive disinformation campaigns to create instabilities that can be used as pretexts for annexation.

To date, the U.S. and European responses have been very modest and almost entirely traditional in character -- verbal assurances; some small, additional troop rotations in eastern Europe; and some small, additional military exercises. NATO needs to think hard and fast about countering Russia’s new form of warfare, especially for NATO members that have Russian minorities. This will entail substantially enhanced internal security, homeland security, training, intelligence, early warning, cybersecurity, and public diplomacy capacities. These will be the keys to deterrence and defense against destabilization operations." Uncaptioned image from entry

Broadcasting soft power: Australian telly inks new deal in China - Benjamin Day and Susan Harris Rimmer, eastasiaforum.org: "Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s recent trip to East Asia was all about drumming up business for ‘Team 
’. An unprecedented 630-strong trade mission, including three ministers and five premiers, fanned out through 
 to show 
 was ‘open for business’. Given this focus on dealmaking, it’s surprising how little fanfare greeted the Australia Network’s announcement that they had secured an agreement with the Shanghai Media Group — a deal which gives them ‘the most extensive access to Chinese audiences by any Western broadcaster’.  .    The agreement was due to be signed in early May but has now been pushed back to June, without clear reasons given.

The deal will allow ABC International — which runs the Australia Network — to ‘establish an online portal in 
 through which a range of ABC [Australian Broadcasting Corporation] and other Australian media content and services will be available to partner Chinese media organisations’. But this announcement comes as a cloud hangs over the purpose, funding and future of the Australia Network. ... 
 needs to be conscious of crafting the content for this audience to be sure it promotes 
’s national interest. Of course there is intrinsic value in 
’s leading cultural products having a global audience. That said, the Australia Network is funded with public money through DFAT and needs to take into account deeper foreign policy objectives. Public broadcasting is widely considered a cost-effective investment for promoting public diplomacy objectives. ...  The important thing is to have a strategy and for 
 to know what it wants out of this investment. It should use the investment to address any cultural misunderstandings, and to strengthen the appeal of getting to know 
’s different ways of looking at the world. Because it is not guided by a broader strategy, this deal could be a banana peel. 
 risks slipping on ad hoc initiatives until its soft power objectives are clear." Uncaptioned image from entry

1980s-style campaign mooted to protect ABC from funding cuts - Henry Belot, Canberra Times: "Government funding for the ABC exceeded $1 billion for the first time when Wayne Swan delivered his final budget in 2013-14. And while the national Commission of Audit refrained from recommending direct cuts to ABC funding, it did call for the defunding of the Australia Network. ANU Asia Pacific College of Diplomacy director Dr Susan Harris-Rimmer said while the network could be better managed, it would be 'incredibly sad to lose an investment in public diplomacy without exploring its true potential'. 'To me, the huge value of the Australia Network is the potential for public diplomacy,' she said. 'Most of the top 20 powers invest in public broadcasting to project their soft power - with the BBC being the prime example.'"

Commission of Audit: 5 questionable recommendations (and 3 good ones) - lowyinterpreter.org: "My previous post analysed the Commission of Audit's recommendations on defence, foreign affairs and aid. Below, some of the less prominent recommendations made by the Commission in the realm of international policy, which range from sensible to questionable. ... Here are some questionable ones: ... Scrap the Australia Network, because it is, so the Commission says, 'an expensive option for meeting diplomatic objectives given its limited outreach to a small audience'. But expensive compared with what? No comparative data from the Commission, no analysis of efficiency. At $23 million per year, reaching 36 million homes and 46 countries, this is one of the few public diplomacy functions DFAT still funds, reaching out to publics in our region to inform them of our nation, values, culture and economy. Historically, international broadcasting is one of the most cost-effective ways of reaching audiences in their millions on a regular basis. With two recent distribution deals announced by ABC International, the recommendation to abandon it after nearly a decade of consistent investment seems premature and short sighted, and not about funding or efficiency. In any event, it is a matter more appropriate for party policy than a Commission of Audit."

The UK’s “Soft Power” – in a Word… - John Worne, uscpublicdiplomacy.org: "[T]he strength of UK culture resides in the fact its diverse, plural, and a bit messy. Messy in a gloriously creative, free-spirited and independently-minded way. ... What is GREAT about the UK?

Well when we asked them recently, here’s what British Council staff of different nationalities from all around the world said all of the words listed in the picture above. What it shows is it’s the right Royal mix of things that people think of when they think of the UK: history, creativity, countryside, universities, institutions, arts, cars, stars, fish and chips and Victoria sponge cakes." Image from entry

Fiddler on the Nakba - Philip Weiss mondoweiss.net: "Kay24 says: May 2, 2014 at 6:29 am They must be running short of recruits and desperate, they sound like they are in middle school at this point, although Haaretz reported: 'The Prime Minister’s Office is planning to form, in collaboration with the National Union of Israeli Students, 'covert units' within Israel’s seven universities that will engage in online public diplomacy (hasbara).

The students participating in the project, who would post on social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter on Israel’s behalf, will be part of the public diplomacy arm of the PMO, but would not identify themselves as official government representatives. About a week ago, the outgoing deputy-director general of the Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Ministry, Daniel Seaman, sent a document to the government tender committee seeking to exempt the national student union from being chosen as the partner in the project through a public bidding process. The PMO is looking to invest close to NIS 3 million to recruit, organize and fund the activities of hundreds of university students, as part of the country’s public diplomacy effort.' I think that is money (US tax dollars?) wasted. They cannot make a even a dent here!" Image from

New media and the changing narrative on Palestine - Victoria Brittain, opendemocracy.net: “[T]o reach the outside world, for more than a decade the Israeli government has systematically organised students and others in semi-military mode to flood the Internet with hasbara material, as anyone who has ever written anything critical of 
’s government knows.  Union of Israeli Students ‘covert units’ within 
’s seven universities have engaged in online public diplomacy and been part of the Prime Minister’s public diplomacy arsenal.” Image from

Israeli Independence Shabbat Dinner Celebration - picoshul.org: "In honor of Israel Independence Week, Pico Shul is throwing an Israeli-style Friday Night Dinner. Lots of food, fun, great people, inspiring discussion and our special guest speaker, Dana Ehrlich, the Consul of Public Diplomacy."

A Palestinian Resistance View: 66 Years of Israeli Brutal Occupation and Delusional Peace Talks - Stuart Littlewood, Al-Jazeerah: "Emmanuel Tierra, a former national security adviser to PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat and a former acting PLO chairman ... tells me he is currently a senior policy adviser and military analyst with the Provisional Interim Council of Government (PINCG), which is an unincorporated agency of individuals from all 17 Palestinian resistance groups, excluding the Palestinian Authority and Al-Qaeda-type organizations. ... [Tierra:] 'I am 100 per cent in agreement that Palestinian resistance agencies should incorporate public diplomacy. However, please understand that the Israelis since the 1960s have targeted for killing all Palestinian leadership that voice opinions that would unify Palestinians or expose the reality of Israel’s war criminal enterprise.'”

Brazil’s hopes on knife’s edge - Andrés Federman, buenosairesherald.com: "Brazil is hosting the FIFA World Cup next month and the Olympic Games in 2016. In theory, both events are the ideal showcase to project a country’s image. ... You cannot envisage a better way of engaging massive audiences, the target of any public diplomacy effort. True, the interest of much of this audience is limited to football, regardless of the venue. But football is amazingly democratic and attracts massive amounts of business and political decision makers. That’s the good news. The not-so-good news is that a significant number of Brazilians are in a state of protest. Their main grievance is that too much money is being spent on a wrong priority like the World Cup. They demand instead, better health, education and transport services as well as less inflation and corruption. ... [G]roups seem determined to stage more protests next month during the tournament. And there is no guarantee that the demonstrations will be non-violent. ... The people in charge of Brazil’s public diplomacy sitting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have good reason to feel unhappy."

Book Launch Daya Thussu Communicating India’s Soft Power: Buddha to Bollywood - hutnyk.wordpress.com: "Communicating India’s Soft Power: Buddha to Bollywood [by] Professor Daya Thussu ... As the world’s largest democracy with a vibrant and pluralist media system, India offers an excellent case study of the power of culture and communication in the age of mediated international relations. This pioneering attempt – the first book-length study of India’s Soft Power – from an international communication/media perspective, fills the existing gap in scholarship as well as policy literature in this area.

The book, published by Palgrave/Macmillan in New York in their prestigious Global Public Diplomacy series, has been described by Professor Ashis Nandy as an ‘excellent, comprehensive yet brief survey of the scope and limits of India’s Soft Power and the country’s changing status in global public culture and media’." Image from entry

Europe: Risk and Management Courses - journalriskcrisis.com: Among the institutions cited: Ilmenau Centre for Public Diplomacy Research and Training http://www.tu-ilmenau.de/public-diplomacy/

Farnsworth Gives Lecture - eagleeye.umw.edu: Stephen Farnsworth, professor of political science and director of the University’s [UMW]Center for Leadership and Media Studies, delivered a lecture entitled, 'The Global President: Public Diplomacy During the Obama and Bush Presidencies,' to the DACOR (Diplomatic and Consular Officers, Retired) Organization at the DACOR Bacon House in Washington, D.C. on May 6. The group consists of former U.S. ambassadors, foreign service officers, and military attaches as well as former USAID and CIA officers. The talk drew on Farnsworth’s co-authored book, 'The Global President: International Media and the U.S. Government,' which was published by Rowman and Littlefield last fall."

Manchester Community College Inaugural Asian Pacific American Heritage Month- April 30, 2014 - ctapaac.com: Three leadership awards will be presented at the opening ceremony for the first Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month celebration at Manchester Community College, Wednesday, April 30 . ... Dr. Saud Anwar, mayor of South Windsor, will receive the Community Leadership Award. Dr. Anwar, who will also deliver the keynote address at the ceremony, is the first Muslim and South Asian to be elected mayor in New England. ... In addition, he has worked with the British department of communities and local government on community integration and been a part of peace missions to Israel and the Middle East, as well as public diplomacy missions to Pakistan."

Divided Love: A Nanny’s Story - Bryony Inge, bendingborders.org: "As adventurer and cultural explorer, Bryony has always been fascinated by the people and customs from faraway lands. She grew up in the UK and has lived in Ecuador, France and Beijing. Bryony is currently studying radio and Public Diplomacy at USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, where she’s been discovering the power of radio to connect people and places through sound."


Why Russia’s Propaganda Machine Is Loving a NYT Report - Kirit Radia, ABC News: The New York Times is – improbably – the latest darling of the Russian propaganda machine. The paper this weekend published one of the most detailed articles to date on a group of separatists in eastern
. The report found no evidence of Russians within the unit&rsquo

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