Center for Strategic Communication

Courtesy of Bruce Gregory, Professor of Media and Public Affairs, here is the latest update on resources that may be of general interest for teachers, students, and practitioners of public diplomacy and related courses and activities. Suggestions for future updates are welcome.

ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller, “Arab Youth Survey 2012,” May 2, 2012. In this fourth annual survey of young Arabs in 12 countries, 82 percent say economic concerns, “fair pay and home ownership,” are their top priority, displacing “living in a democracy” as their greatest concern. Other findings: optimism about the future and trust in government have increased; lack of democracy and civil unrest are viewed as obstacles to progress; the UAE is seen as a model country; views of France, China, and India are more favorable; and “news consumption skyrockets” with TV viewership declining and online activity up dramatically. A 24-page White Paper, “After the Spring,” discusses the survey’s findings and methodology.

Robin Brown, “The Four Paradigms of Public Diplomacy: Building a Framework for Comparative Government External Communications Research,” Paper delivered at the International Studies Association Conference, San Diego, April 2012. Brown (University of Leeds) urges a comparative research agenda that looks at why public diplomacy is the way it is — an approach he distinguishes from an agenda grounded in how to make it better. He discuses four ideal types that give rise to fruitful propositions about the purposes and nature of public diplomacy and how it should be conceptualized: (1) public diplomacy as an extension of diplomacy; (2) public diplomacy as national projection, now viewed as nation-branding; (3) external communication for cultural relations; and (4) external communication as political warfare. Brown discusses the utility of these paradigms for understanding organizational differences and mapping changes across time and countries.

Caitlin Byrne, “Public Diplomacy and Constructivism: A Synergistic and Enabling Relationship,” Paper delivered at the International Studies Association Annual Conference, San Diego, April 2012. Byrne (Bond University) looks at ways in which constructivist theories of international relations can inform public diplomacy practice. She draws on Australia’s approach to diplomacy and explores what diplomatic practice offers as “a vehicle for operationalizing constructivist approaches.” A diplomacy practitioner turned scholar, Bryne approaches the connection between theory and practice “with an element of caution” and keen awareness of its possibilities.

Derek Chollet and Samantha Power, eds., The Unquiet American: Richard Holbrooke in the World, (Public Affairs, 2011). Chollet (author of The Road to the Dayton Accords: A Study of American Statecraft) and Power (founding executive director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, Harvard University) compile essays by Holbrooke’s colleagues, journalists, and others who had a special relationship with him. Includes contributions by Kati Marton, Strobe Talbott, E. Benjamin Skinner, Jonathan Alter, Gordon M. Goldstein, Roger Cohen, Derek Chollet, James Traub, John Tedstrom, David Rhode, and Samantha Power. The essays provide insights into Holbrooke’s personality, opinions, diplomatic skills and style, and events in his life and career. For an essay-length critique of the book and an argument that “Holbrooke’s actions and philosophy were problematic,” see Ted Galen Carpenter, “The Hagiography of Mr. Holbrooke,” The National Interest, Number 119, May/June 2012, 71-80.

Eliot A. Cohen, Conquered Into Liberty, (Free Press, 2011). Cohen (Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies) looks at how two centuries of conflict among British, French, Canadians, Americans, and Indians in the corridor between Albany and Montreal shaped a “distinctive American way of war.” Because Americans episodically “discover” public diplomacy in wartime, there is much of interest to diplomacy scholars and practitioners. An early French advantage over the English in woodland diplomacy and propaganda. Lessons learned by the American colonies from British mistakes. Canada’s “practical anthropology” skills in engaging Indian cultures. Mastery of Indian languages by French Jesuits. America’s use of armed conflict as an instrument of democratization. In a public letter distributed widely to the citizens of Quebec, Congress wrote: “You have been conquered into liberty, if you act as you ought.” Instructions to Benjamin Franklin for his diplomatic mission to Canada in 1776 contain this early “say-do” gap in American diplomacy: “You are to establish a free press . . . and give directions for the frequent publication of such pieces as may be of service to the cause of the United Colonies.”

Edward Comor and Hamilton Bean, “America’s ‘Engagement’ Delusion: Critiquing a Public Diplomacy Consensus,” International Communication Gazette, March 28, 2012. Comor (University of Western Ontario) and Bean (University of Colorado, Denver) challenge the central concept of engagement in the Obama administration’s diplomacy. Their claim: engagement’s conceptual emphasis on dialogue and interaction masks intent in practice to use social media and other tools of engagement to persuade audiences to support US policies. An “ethical public diplomacy,” they contend, should embrace genuine rather than contrived dialogue.

Creating an Independent International Strategic Communication Organization for America: Business Plan, SAGE: Strengthening America’s Global Engagement, Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars, March 2012. The SAGE business plan offers a roadmap for creating a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation — a “flexible, entrepreneurial, and tech-savvy partner” that will complement government public diplomacy. The plan draws on recommendations in reports by the Brookings Institution, the Defense Science Board, the Council on Foreign Relations and others. It was developed by five nonpartisan working groups consisting of some 80 former government practitioners and experts from the private sector and civil society. It was launched in Washington on March 26, 2012, at meeting hosted by Woodrow Wilson Center President Jane Harmon with a panel that included former US Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs Paula Dobriansky, former State Department Director of Policy Planning Anne-Marie Slaughter, former Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Goli Ameri, and SAGE Project Director Brad Minnick. For a brief summary and comment, see Matt Armstrong’s Mountain Runner blog of March 27, 2012.

“InterMedia’s Ali Fisher Discusses the Changing Digital Landscape,” Intermedia, December 21, 2011. In this brief video interview with Wilton Park Chief Executive Richard Burge, Fisher (InterMedia’s Associate Director of Digital Media) discusses advances in social media, tools that enable digital programming by non-specialists, and anticipated changes over the horizon.

John Lewis Gaddis, George F. Kennan: An American Life, (The Penguin Press, 2011). George Kennan, widely acclaimed as one of America’s most accomplished diplomats, is not usually thought to have contributed to the rise of public diplomacy in the second half of the 20th century. In this masterful biography, however, Gaddis (Yale University) shows there is much that public diplomacy scholars and practitioners can learn from Kennan’s career, organizational changes in the Department of State, and events with which Kennan was associated. Examples include:
– Kennan’s views on the psychological effects of actions, particularly his view that racism at home undercut diplomacy and America’s standing abroad.
– His entrepreneurial diplomatic style and willingness to take personal and professional risks in the field and Department of State.
– His public speaking in the United States at the request of Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs William Benton.
– A strong belief in professional education as a necessary complement to training.
– His storied role in creating a grand strategy studies curriculum for soldiers and diplomats at the National War College.
– His contributions to the creation of the National Committee for Free Europe and Radio Free Europe.
– His founding role and effective use of the State Department’s policy planning office as an instrument of strategic planning.
– State’s one time insistence on education as well as training. Kennan as a junior officer was sent to Tallinn and Berlin not only to learn Russian but for post-graduate studies — with instructions to gain “an education similar to that which an educated Russian of the pre-revolutionary era would have received.”
And much more.

Fergus Hanson, Revolution @State: The Spread of EDiplomacy, Lowy Institute for International Policy, Sydney, Australia, March 2012. Written while on a four-month professional Fulbright research project in Washington, Hanson (Research Fellow and Director of Polling, Lowy Institute) enthusiastically contends the “US State Department has become the world’s leading user of ediplomacy.” His study examines State’s use of Ediplomacy in eight program areas, with knowledge management, public diplomacy, and Internet freedom taking the largest share of resources and staff. Hanson’s sweeping and problematic conclusion: “State now operates what is effectively a global media empire, reaching a larger direct audience than the paid circulation of the ten largest US dailies and employing an army of diplomat-journalists to feed its 600-plus platforms.” He argues that Australia’s foreign ministry has “some catching up to do.”

Craig Hayden, “Audience, Mechanism, and Objective: A Comparative Framework for Soft Power Analysis,” Paper presented to the International Studies Association conference in San Diego, April 2, 2012. Hayden (American University and Intermap Blog) offers an alternative to categories of resources and behaviors in Joseph Nye’s analytical concept of soft power. Hayden’s constructivist methodology seeks an understanding of soft power through a pragmatic and contingent perspective grounded in three categories: (1) audience and scope, or the subjects and objects of soft power; (2) mechanism, the ways actors connect resources to behaviors; and (3) objectives, or the range of outcomes anticipated from effective uses of soft power. His article explores his reasoning in brief case studies of uses of soft power by the US and China. He examines what he calls “the facilitative turn” in 21st century networked diplomacy and provides helpful references to current literature in public diplomacy scholarship.

Nat Kretchun and Jane Kim, A Quiet Opening: North Koreans in a Changing Media Environment, InterMedia, Washington, DC, May 2012. In this report, Kretchun (Intermedia) and Kim (East-West Coalition) show “how North Koreans’ growing access to a range of media and communication technologies is undermining the state’s monopoly on what its citizens see, hear, know, and think.” Drawing on research among refugees, travelers and defectors from North Korea, the authors conclude that despite lack of evidence that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un plans to loosen state control of media and information, the reach of uncensored media is expanding and giving many North Koreans alternative news and views.

Teresa La Porte, “The Legitimacy and Effectiveness of Non-State Actors and the Public Diplomacy Concept,” Paper delivered at the International Studies Association Conference, San Diego, April 2012. La Porte (University of Navarra) examines the rise of civil society organizations as public diplomacy actors. She proposes an approach to public diplomacy that goes beyond dialogue and networking in state-centric terms to include actions by non-state actors. Her paper explores what this might mean in terms of analytical concepts and boundaries. She calls for taking analysis beyond a focus on actors as “subjects” to a focus on the “objects” of their actions. Two such objects, the “legitimacy” of actions and “perceptions of effectiveness,” she argues, are important pre-conditions to recognizing civil society organizations as diplomatic actors. She discusses these pre-conditions in the context of two practice scenarios and the European Union’s public diplomacy.

Marc Lynch, The Arab Uprising: The Unfinished Revolutions of the New Middle East, (Public Affairs, 2012). Lynch (George Washington University) brings scholarship, Arabic proficiency, his standing as a leading voice in online discourse, policy advisory connections, and a deep understanding of the Arab public sphere to this account of the origins and implications of changes in the Middle East. Hard power and wealth will continue to matter, he argues, but loosened state control, independent mobilization of activists, and unification of Arab political space are generating three challenges that will matter more: (1) the ability to credibly align with the Arab public on its core issues will become a greater source of influence; (2) unified political space will increase linkages between issues in the region; and (3) the ability to intervene in the domestic politics of others, while resisting penetration of one’s own politics, will determine whether a state is a player or an arena for the proxy wars of others. Lynch’s pragmatism and historical insights form the basis for an assessment of America’s grand strategy and public diplomacy in the region.

Meridian International Center and Gallup, “US Global Leadership Track,” The U.S.-Global Leadership Project, April 20, 2012. Findings in Gallup’s third annual survey of international perceptions in 130 countries show median global approval of US leadership at 46%. Three countries “experienced double digit gains. Many more showed double digit losses. Africa gave US leadership the highest median approval rating, while the Americas gave it the lowest. In Europe and Asia, approval ratings held relatively steady.”

Metzgar, Emily T., “Public Diplomacy, Smith-Mundt and the American Public,” Communication Law and Policy, 17:1, 67-101. Available online: January 9, 2012. Metzgar (Indiana University) explores political, legal, policy, conceptual, and practitioner issues relating to the US statutory ban on domestic dissemination in the Information and Educational Exchange Act of 1948 as amended (aka, the Smith-Mundt Act). Her article, framed in the context of US international broadcasting, looks at consequences of continuing or ending the ban and potential policy advantages that might result from its repeal. Includes numerous references to current and historical literature.

Joseph S. Nye, “Soft Power — Culture and Society,” Keynote address at the launch of Macquarie University’s Soft Power and Advocacy Research Center (SPARC), Sydney, Australia, April 17, 2012. Nye (Harvard University) discusses concepts of soft power in the context of the “rise of China,” US relations with China, and evolving relations between China, India, and Australia. His address (with Q&A) is available as a 90-minute ABC “Big Ideas” video and audio webcast. Macquarie’s SPARC Center seeks to advance the study and practice of soft power and public diplomacy through research, education and training, post-graduate courses in public diplomacy, and other initiatives.

Office of Inspector General, US Department of State, “Inspection of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs,” Report No. ISP-I-12-15, February 2012. In a 68-page report (some sections redacted), State’s Inspector General concludes that the Department’s exchange programs “enhance mutual understanding” and “are increasingly aligned with foreign policy priorities.” Their effectiveness is undermined, however, by “long-standing institutional weaknesses.” Key judgments include employee resistance to changes “fundamental to operating efficiently,” needed senior management restructuring, “unfettered growth and weak regulation” of the Summer Work Travel program, inadequate strategic planning, and deficiencies in program monitoring and evaluation.

PBS NewsHour, “China’s Programming for U.S. Audiences: Is it News or Propaganda?” March 23, 2012. The NewsHour’s Ray Suarez reports on CCTV’s news programs for American audiences recently launched from a state-of-the-art broadcast studio in Washington, DC. Includes views of CCTV America’s director Ma Jing and news anchor Philip Yin and analysts Susan Shirk (University of California) and Philip Cunningham (Cornell University).

Shawn M. Powers and William Youmans, “A New Purpose for International Broadcasting: Subsidizing Deliberative Technologies in Non-transitioning States,” Journal of Public Deliberation, Vol. 8, Issue 1, 2012, 1-14. Powers (Georgia State University) and Youmans (George Washington University) argue “a scaled down standard of deliberation is appropriate” in failed or failing states that lack advanced communication infrastructures, high literacy rates, and other elements of highly developed public spheres. Their paper examines the potential for international broadcasting strategies that seek to complement traditional roles by finding new purpose in “the development and promotion of deliberation technologies.”

Gary Rawnsley, “Approaches to Soft Power and Public Diplomacy in China and Taiwan,” Paper delivered at the International Studies Association Conference, San Diego, April 2012. Rawnsley (University of Leeds and Public Diplomacy and International Communications Blog) analyzes Taiwanese and Chinese views of soft power, their adaptation of the Anglo-American model of soft power, and their contrasting public diplomacy strategies and practices. He argues each faces different challenges that undermine their soft power capacity: Taiwan’s need to acknowledge limitations of its cultural approach to soft power and China’s struggle to bridge gaps between its outputs and how audiences perceive their credibility.

Philip Seib, Real-Time Diplomacy: Politics and Power in The Social Media Era, (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012). Seib (University of California) uses the Arab Awakening of 2011 as context for analyzing two questions. How have the speed and reach of information flows changed theories and practices of diplomacy? And how are social media affecting political structures and activism? His book provides an overview of political and media revolutions in the Middle East, comparisons of traditional and “rapid-reaction” diplomacy, a discussion of expeditionary diplomacy and public diplomacy, and analysis of debates on how social media tools are changing networks and creating ripple effects beyond the Arab world and beyond politics.

Science & Diplomacy, Center for Science Diplomacy, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). In this new online quarterly journal, the AAAS provides “a forum for rigorous thought, analysis, and insight to serve stakeholders who develop, implement, and teach all aspects of science and diplomacy.” Articles in the first edition include: “Science and Diplomacy: The Past is Prologue,” “Science Diplomacy and 21st Century Statecraft,” “Nunn-Lugar: Science Cooperation Essential for Non-proliferation,” “South African Science Diplomacy,” and “Rediscovering Eastern Europe for Science Diplomacy.” The editors (Vaughan Turekian, Tom C. Wang, and Caitlin Jennings) welcome submissions from scholars and practitioners. (Courtesy of Alan Kotok)

James Stavridis and Evelyn N. Farkas, “The 21st Century Force Multiplier: Public-Private Collaboration,” The Washington Quarterly, Spring 2012, 7-20. Admiral Stavridis (Supreme Allied Commander Europe, NATO, and Commander, US European Command, EUCOM) and Farkas (Senior Advisor for Public-Private Partnership) discuss growing US collaboration with private sector and civil society organizations to leverage their expertise and skills to mutual advantage in defense, diplomacy, and development. The authors view this “whole of society” approach as a step beyond an interagency “whole of government” approach. The biggest obstacle to such collaboration: “the mindset, mainly on the government side.” The biggest gain: enhancing US innovation, efficiencies, and effectiveness.

Strategic Public Diplomacy, Proceedings of the CEI Dubrovnik Diplomatic Forum, May 20-22, 2010, sponsored by the Diplomatic Academy, Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, Republic of Croatia, in cooperation with the US Embassy in Zagreb. In these conference proceedings, recently published online, diplomats from US and European countries explore issues and challenges in the study and practice of public diplomacy. Topics include public diplomacy in support of EU membership, nation branding, the role of cultural diplomacy, the Internet and social networks, and international foundations. The purpose of the Dubrovnik Diplomatic Forum is to encourage international debate from practical and academic points of view and to promote understanding of concepts, methods, skills and techniques of diplomacy and diplomatic training. (Courtesy of Mladen Andrlic and Tihana Bohac)

Gaye Tuchman, “Measured and Pressured: Professors at Wannabe U,” The Hedgehog Review, Spring 2012, 17-29. In one of several essays on “the corporate professor” in this edition of the Review, Tuchman (University of Connecticut) explores ways in which professors “have bought into or been shaped by the corporate culture of the university and seem strangely inarticulate about the purposes and worth of higher education.” She finds professors anxiously pursuing the metrics of productivity and impact often with more enthusiasm than administrators. Frank Donoghue (Ohio State University) in “Do College Teachers have to be Scholars?” (pp. 29-41) focuses on the motives of adjunct and tenured faculty and the consequences of the surge in adjunct hires for learning, scholarship, and society. Ethan Schrum (Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture) provides “A Bibliographic Essay on the University, the Market, and Professors” (pp. 43-51).

“U.S. International Broadcasting: Impact Through Innovation and Integration,” Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), 2011 Annual Report, Released April 16, 2012. The BBG’s report summarizes activities of US funded broadcasting services: Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio and TV Marti, Radio Free Asia, the Alhurra TV and Radio Sawa, and the International Broadcasting Bureau.

Guido Westerwelle, “Explaining Europe – Discussing Europe,” Federal Foreign Office, Federal Republic of Germany, February 29, 2012. Germany’s Foreign Minister outlines “a new concept on communicating Europe” in a paper presented to the Federal Cabinet. He argues it is time to look beyond Europe’s debt crisis to the future of “Europe as a political project,” because “there can be no bright future for Germany without a united Europe. The paper discusses three communication themes: building confidence among European neighbors, promoting Europe in the world, and campaigning for Europe in Germany. (Courtesy of Anna Tepper)

R. S. Zaharna, The Cultural Awakening in Public Diplomacy, CPD Perspectives on Public Diplomacy, Paper 4, 2012, April 2012. Zaharna (American University) looks at culture as an under-examined force relevant to every aspect of communication between nations and publics — and to every aspect of public diplomacy “from policy, to practice, to scholarship.” In part one of her paper, she discusses the importance of culture as a fundamental dimension of public diplomacy that nevertheless “gets lost in political, economic, and bureaucratic factors.” In part two, she explores ways to “develop cultural awareness and knowledge [of others and self] and learning how to recognize culture’s eloquent signs in communication, perception, cognition, values, identity and power.” Her study does not focus on culture as a tool of public diplomacy. It is about awareness of the intersection of culture and public diplomacy and implications for study and practice.

Ethan Zuckerman, “A Small World After All?” The Wilson Quarterly, Spring 2012, 44-47. Zuckerman (Center for Civic Media, MIT) sees a central paradox in an age of connection: “while it’s easier than ever to share information and perspectives from different parts of the world, we may be encountering a narrower picture of the world than we did in less connected days.” Studies of social media find a locality effect in which users are more likely to connect with those in close physical proximity. “The Internet has changed many things,” he argues, “but not the insular habits of mind that keep the world from becoming truly connected.”

Blogs of Interest
Robert Albro, “Aspiring to an Interest-free Cultural Diplomacy?” April 26, 2012. “Cultural Engagement as Glocal Diplomacy,” May 12, 2012. Posted on the CPD Blog and Public Policy Anthropologist Blog.
Craig Hayden, “Terministic Compulsion” [on definitions and terms in public diplomacy], April 13, 2012. “Some Lessons from ISA 2012,” April 10, 2012. Intermap Blog.
Matt Armstrong, “Public Diplomacy Achievement Awards 2012,” May 8, 2012. See also Public Diplomacy Alumni Association website. “Science and Technology for Communication and Persuasion Abroad: Gap Analysis and Survey,” May 1, 2012. MountainRunner Blog
P.J. Crowley, “Actions in Beijing Speak Volumes,” May 7, 2012. Mary Jeffers, “Everybody’s Talking About World Press Freedom Day,” May 3, 2012. William Lafi Youmans, “The Transitive Problem,” April 25, 2012. Take Five, The IPDGC Blog on Public Diplomacy and Global Communication.


Gem From the Past

George Orwell, “Politics and the English Language,” (December 11, 1945) pp. 954-967 in John Carey, ed., George Orwell: Essays, (Alfred A. Knopf, 2002). Orwell’s classic essay continues to serve as a superb guide to good writing for students and scholars. His insights on problematic political uses of “meaningless words” such as “freedom” and “democracy” — words for which there is “no agreed definition” and each user “has his own private definition” — also continue to prompt reflection. What is the point of using such words, he asks, other than as perhaps some kind of general praise or framing of a positive good? Such words whose multiple meanings cannot be reconciled, Orwell argues, allow countries and individuals to use them for purposes that lack meaning and mask differences in application and intent. Orwell’s views come to mind at a time when US broadcasters (and other public diplomacy practitioners) proclaim the following mission statement: “To inform, engage, and connect people around the world in support of freedom and democracy.”


Recent compilations of Public Diplomacy: Books, Articles, Websites are posted at Arizona State University’s COMOPS Journal, Matt Armstrong’s website, and George Washington University’s Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication. For previous compilations of Public Diplomacy: Books, Articles, Websites, visit an archive created by the University of Southern California’s Center on Public Diplomacy.

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