by Steven R. Corman
In an apparent budget cutting move, the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy was cut from the recently passed budget, and has ceased to exist. The move eliminates an organization over 60 years old.
The Commission was established under the United States Information and Educational Exchange Act of 1948 as the U.S. Advisory Commission on Information. It was merged with an educational exchange commission in 1977 to produce the current name and configuration.
According to its website, the Commission had only one permanent staffer (its Executive Director) and a budget of just $135,000. I can attest that the activities of the Commission were valuable. In a recent post I recounted some events from one of their meetings. That meeting also led to a connection between our group and a group in Afghanistan working on narrative issues there. It doesn’t take too many such connections to justify a budget that basically amounts to a rounding error in the Federal balance sheet.
The now-former Executive Director of the Commission is Matt Armstrong, whose mountainrunner blog went into hibernation while he had the gig. Matt is restarting the blog and I welcome him back to the PD/SC blogoshopere, though I wish it were under different circumstances.