John Brown, “What We Talk About When We Talk About Cultural Diplomacy: A Non-Desultory Non-Philippic,” American Diplomacy, March 2016.
Brown (compiler of the Public Diplomacy Press and Blog Review
) examines a variety of “cultural diplomacy” definitions on offer from scholars and practitioners for more than half a century. His knowledgeable essay discusses tensions that derive from lack of consensus on the meaning of cultural diplomacy and differences in the priorities and methods of practitioners. He examines distinctions between cultural diplomacy and cultural relations and attempts by some to differentiate between cultural relations and cultural exchange. Brown presents a lively discourse at the intersection of government, diplomacy, politics and culture. Detailed footnotes and numerous web links add to the mix.
Louis Clerc, Nikolas Glover, and Paul Jordan, History of Public Diplomacy and Nation Branding in the Nordic and Baltic Countries, (Brill / Nihoff, 2015).
Clerc (University of Turku), Glover (Stockholm University), and Jordan (University of Glasgow) achieve two goals in this excellent collection of essays. First, they provide an innovative conceptual framework. The title’s conventional categories, public diplomacy and nation branding, are a point of departure. Their primary intent, however, is to develop an innovative conceptual distinction between domestic “imaginings”
and external “images”
of nations – and the complex ways in which they interact – as a heuristic tool to explore patterns of national representation. Second, the case studies contribute much needed analysis of the representation practices of small states and fresh insights into the historically contingent tools of branding and public diplomacy. Brill continues its steep pricing of high quality academic books in diplomacy studies. However, good used copies at reduced cost may be available at online booksellers.
— Louis Clerc and Nikolas Glover, “Introduction: Representing the Small States of Northern Europe: Between Imagined and Imaged Communities”
— Andreas Akerlund (Uppsala University), “The Nationalization of Swedish Enlightenment Activities Abroad: Civil Society Actors and Their Impact on State Politics”
— Chiara Tessaris (Columbia University), “Open Diplomacy and Minority Rights: The League of Nations and Lithuania’s International Image in the Early 1920s”
— Kaarel Purimae (Tartu University), “Countering ‘The Obtuse Arguments of the Bolsheviks’: Estonian Information Work in Sweden, the United States and Britain, 1940-1944”
— Svein Ivar Angell (University of Bergen), “The Office for Cultural Relations: Representing Norway in the Post-War Period”
— Kristine Kjaersgaard (University of Southern Denmark), “A Public Diplomacy Entrepreneur: Danish Ambassador Bodil Begtrup in Iceland, Switzerland and Portugal, 1949-1973”
— Nikolas Glover, “A Total Image Deconstructed: The Corporate Analogy and the Legitimacy of Promoting Sweden Abroad in the 1960s”
— Louis Clerc, “‘Gaining Recognition and Understanding on Her Own Terms’: The Bureaucracy of Finland’s Image Policy, 1948-66”
— Carl Marklund (Sodertorn University), “American Mirrors and Swedish Self-Portraits: US Images of Sweden and Swedish Public Diplomacy in the USA in the 1970s and 80s”
— Una Bergmane (Sciences Po, Paris), “Diplomacy and Diasporas, Self-Perceptions and Representations: Baltic Attempts to Promote Independence, 1989-1991”
— Paul Jordan (University of Glasgow), “Walking in Singing: Brand Estonia, the Eurovision Song Contest and Estonia’s Self-Proclaimed Return to Europe, 2001-2002”
— Mads Mordhorst (Copenhagen Business School), “Public Diplomacy vs. Nation Branding: The Case of Denmark after the Cartoon Crisis”
— Kazimierz Musial (University of Gdansk), “Benevolent Assistance and Cognitive Colonization: Nordic Involvement with the Baltic States since the 1950s”
— Christopher Browning (University of Warwick), “Concluding Reflections, Small-State Identities: Promotions Past and Present”
Future FCO, Report Commissioned by the Permanent Under Secretary, British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, May 9, 2016.
This report recommends ways to make Britain’s diplomacy more efficient and flexible in an era when state hierarchies and authority are weaker, global challenges are greater, and digital technologies empower rival sources of influence. Written by an FCO team led by former British Ambassador Tom Fletcher, its key judgments focus on clarity of purpose, flexible structures, empowered heads of mission “who own cross government strategy,” new professional skills, imported expertise, calculated risk, and priorities that favor networks and supporting other government actors. Recommendations include: Abolish the home/diplomatic service divide. Develop cross-government country or regional strategies. Accelerate digital diplomacy. Establish a data director with a small team to drive innovation. Decide where the FCO can best add value to the rest of government, where it should lead, and where it should advise. Move to two security tiers with 95% unclassified information accessible on personal devices. Require all embassies to implement soft power strategies embedded in country plans. Assign 25% of directorate staffs to project-oriented, time-limited “campaign teams” run from London with posts as virtual participants. Reboot “desk officers” as “policy officers” who, “far less deskbound,” form relations with academics, think tanks, and others in expertise networks.
For British scholar Robin Brown’s informed take, see “The Future FCO Report,”
May 11, 2016, Public Diplomacy, Networks and Influence Blog.
Kailey Hansson, Canadian Public Diplomacy and Nation-Building: Expo 67 and the World Festival of Arts and Entertainment, CPD Perspectives on Public Diplomacy, USC Center on Public Diplomacy, Paper 3, 2016.
Hansson (Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario) explores the variety of ways communist and non-communist nations used Canada’s 1967 Montreal Expo to showcase their architectural creativity and talent in the performing arts and to channel their conflicting Cold War ideologies. For Canada, Expo 67 was an opportunity to demonstrate the nation’s performing arts and an attractive cultural identity that differed from the mass entertainment culture many perceived to be dominant in the United States. It was also viewed as a way to build national unity between Anglophone and Francophone Canada. In discussing these issues, Hansson contributes to an understanding of world fairs as venues for public diplomacy and cross-cultural communication. Her paper is a well-researched and evenhanded critique of strengths and limitations in Canada’s attempt to construct a link between public diplomacy and internal nation building.
IREX 2020 Strategic Plan, International Research and Exchanges Board, April 2016.
IREX’s new strategic plan focuses on four goals: empowering youth populations, cultivating leaders, strengthening institutions dedicated to prosperity and social justice, and broadening access to quality education and information. IREX was established in 1968 to consolidate exchanges with the countries of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Today, this non-profit organization has very different goals and a worldwide commitment to the exchange of scholars, students, and ideas through partnerships with government and private organizations in the US and abroad.
Michael Mandelbaum, Mission Failure: America and the World in the Post-Cold War Era, (Oxford University Press, 2016).
Mandelbaum (Johns Hopkins, SAIS) provides a full-throated critique of US foreign policy since the end of the Cold War. His central argument is that the US has used its military power and diplomacy in attempts to instill American values and transform internal political and economic systems in too many places (e.g., Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo, NATO expansion, Iraq, Afghanistan) where US interests were not at stake. Of particular interest to diplomacy scholars are his arguments on American exceptionalism, soft power and hard power, democratic transformation initiatives, counter-insurgency strategies, human rights policies, and counterterrorism strategies.
Ilan Manor, Are We There Yet: Have MFAs Realized the Potential of Digital Diplomacy? Results from a Cross-National Comparison, (Brill, 2016).
In this cutting edge monograph, Ilan Manor (Oxford University) addresses gaps in the growing literature on diplomacy and digital technologies and offers a series of claims relating to digital diplomacy models of foreign ministries (MFAs). (1) MFAs have institutionalized uses of social media through best practices and training for diplomats. (2) MFAs tend to use social media to influence elites rather than foster dialogue with broader publics. (3) Both MFAs and social media audiences are “negotiating their respective roles in the online communication process.” (4) MFAs remain state-centric and “fail to collaborate with non-state actors or use social media as a source of information for policymakers.” (5) Ambassadors “now serve as digital gatekeepers.” Manor provides empirical evidence for his claims through a comparison of foreign ministries in four countries: Poland, Finland, Norway, and Israel. Particularly useful are his literature review and thoughtful conclusions regarding his own and further research.
The Office of American Spaces 2015 Annual Report, Bureau of International Information Programs, US Department of State, March 2016.
The report profiles the mission, characteristics, activities, funding, management, and challenges facing libraries and information resource centers, binational centers, American Centers, and American Corners.
Alex Oliver, “Do We Need Embassies Anymore?” Foreign Affairs, March 14, 2016.
“The embassy,” Australia’s Lowy Institute Director for Polling observes, “at least in its traditional form, is facing an existential crisis.” Her reasons include 21st
century transformations in diplomatic practice, shrinking budgets, reluctance to embrace innovation, lack of diversity, insufficient priority for social media and other digital technologies, competition from media reporting and exhaustive country analyses by NGOS and risk consultancies, increasing national preferences for trade offices and innovation hubs, and threats to embassy security. Nevertheless, Oliver cites reasons why embassies still have many significant roles in diplomacy and foreign relations. Whether they continue to have value, she concludes, will depend on whether they “can become more nimble and adapt to an increasingly fluid global environment.”
Office of the Inspector General (OIG), US Department of State and Broadcasting Board of Governors,“Evaluation of Embassy Baghdad’s Implementation of Line of Effort 6 in the President’s Strategy to Counter ISIL: Exposing ISIL’s True Nature,” March 2016.
The OIG’s key findings: (1) Embassy Baghdad operates public diplomacy activities “without formal strategic planning and goals;” (2) None of the embassy’s Integrated Country Strategy Goals contain language relating to public diplomacy or to countering the Islamic State’s messaging; (3) The Embassy is focusing more resources on social media; (4) About half of Iraqi Sunnis and Shia say they “completely oppose the global coalition to counter the Islamic State.” The OIG recommends that the Embassy include public diplomacy in its Integrated Country Strategy action plan and complete a public diplomacy implementation plan for fiscal year 2016.
James Pamment, “Rethinking Diplomatic and Development Outcomes Through Sport: Toward a Participatory Paradigm of Multi-stakeholder Diplomacy,” Diplomacy & Statecraft, Volume 27, Issue 2, 2016, 231-250, published online May 10, 2016.
Pamment (Lund University) analyzes how “sites and practices of sport diplomacy and sports development” can contribute to theorization of participatory models of multi-stakeholder diplomacy and ways stakeholders act as both “partners in, and objects of, diplomacy.” His article makes three arguments. First, sport diplomacy and sports development demonstrate the relationship between diplomacy, public diplomacy, and development and the possibilities for overcoming “knowledge silos” in diplomatic studies. Second, his article illuminates tensions between “instrumentalist and participatory paradigms of diplomatic influence” – and shows how sport diplomacy challenges instrumental approaches with participatory qualities that make diplomacy more diffuse and inclusive. Third, Pamment analyzes how evaluation techniques of diplomatic organizations buttress his case that changes in practice support “the participatory potential of multi-stakeholder diplomacy.”
Bryan Price, “A View From the CT Foxhole: The Honorable Juan C. Zarate, Former Deputy National Security Advisor for Combating Terrorism,” CTC Sentinel, April 22, 2016.
In this interview with CTC Sentinel,
Zarate (a private consultant and former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes), summarizes an array of counterterrorism challenges facing Europe and the United States. To deal with them, Zarate calls for strategies on two fronts: first, continued use of financial intelligence and tools, strengthened by increased “financial diplomacy;” second, a more robust “battle of ideas” against violent extremist ideologies. Because the US government “is neither expert nor credible in confronting an ideology grounded in interpretations of Islam,” the US must “empower a new type of coalition” – a “network of networks” that connects governments, civil society NGOs, philanthropists and others willing to engage not just in “counter-messaging but confronting directly the outbreaks and manifestations of this ideology, as with a pandemic.”
“Public Diplomacy.” Wikipedia.
Wikipedia’s article on “public diplomacy” is remarkably thin for a concept that figures so prominently in diplomacy studies and practice. Wikipedia states “the article has multiple issues” and cites two in particular: (1) Its examples and perspective deal primarily with the United States and do not reflect a global view of the subject. (2) The article may contain published material that conveys ideas not attributable to the original sources. Readers of this list may wish to contribute to much-needed improvement of the article.
“Public Diplomacy in Sub-Saharan Africa,” Public Diplomacy Magazine, Association of Public Diplomacy Scholars, University of Southern California Issue 15, Winter 2016.
This edition of PD Magazine, edited by graduate students in USC’s Public Diplomacy MA program, includes interviews, case studies, and brief articles intended to start a dialogue about the “practice and possibilities” of public diplomacy in Africa. Topics include Ethiopian millennial diasporas, basketball diplomacy, film and cultural diplomacy, and China’s public diplomacy in Africa.
Jedediah Purdy, After Nature: A Politics for the Anthropocene, (Harvard University Press, 2015).
US military and civilian leaders repeatedly identify global climate change as a severe and imminent threat greater than terrorism, WMD, and the current menu of regional conflicts. Yet leaders, as well as diplomacy scholars and practitioners, have paid relatively little attention to what Purdy (Duke University) calls “planetary engineering without design.” The facts of what geologists call the anthropocene (an epoch in which nature no longer exists apart from humanity) are scientific, he argues. But their meaning for how groups behave and connect in a global landscape of inequality creates questions for a politics that does not yet exist. Purdy’s book explores ways to think about one of the “wicked problems” in diplomacy’s context. He first discusses traditional ways of imagining the world and the place of humanity in it. He then argues the anthropocene requires new ways of imagining and discourse that adds emotional and bodily experiences to linguistics of political reasoning. We must “learn from, live with, and improve upon our panoply of failures,” he contends, in dealing with a global threat that confounds traditional ethical and political responses that have succeeded elsewhere.
Alec Ross, The Industries of the Future: How the Next 10 Years of Innovation Will Transform Our Lives at Work and Home, (Simon & Schuster, 2016).
Ross (Visiting Fellow, Johns Hopkins University, and former Senior Advisor for Innovation to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton) examines six transformational global trends: robotics, genomics, coded money, weaponization of code, big data analytics, and the geographic spread of domain expertise and urban innovation hubs. Ross uses stories, many drawn from his work at the Department of State, and evenhanded analysis of promises and challenges to convey his ideas about coming changes in markets, governance, diplomacy, war, and “what it takes for societies, families, and individuals to thrive.”
David Samuels, “The Storyteller and the President,” The New York Times Magazine, May 8, 2016, 44-54.
Samuels (a freelance writer for Harpers, The New Yorker,
and other publications) profiles the rise and work of Ben Rhodes, Obama administration speechwriter and Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communication. His controversial account portrays Rhodes as “the single most influential voice shaping American foreign policy aside from Potus himself” – influence Samuels’ sources attribute to his “mind meld” with the President. Samuels quotes Rhodes’ dismissal of the average press corps reporter as 27-year olds who “literally know nothing” about foreign affairs, cites his denigration of the American foreign policy establishment (he refers to it as the “Blob”), and provides a lengthy account of White House digital strategies on the Iran nuclear deal and other issues using non-traditional sources and an understanding of where constituencies are on each issue. “Now the most effectively weaponized 140-character idea or quote will almost always carry the day.” The article generated widespread critical comment on both Rhodes and Samuels.
US Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy, Reimagining Public Diplomacy’s Organizational Structure at the U.S. Department of State, May 12, 2016.
Presented as a “white paper” intended to contribute to “the conversation on structural reform on public diplomacy in the State Department,” the Commission makes five core recommendations for how it believes “the PD enterprise can become more strategically oriented and efficient in advancing global, regional, and bilateral policies and better support PD professionals in Washington and on the frontlines.” (1) Create a Global Strategic Priorities Unit and emphasize the need for regional planning. (2) Strengthen the PD administrative back office. (3) Coordinate PD financial resources with global, regional, and bilateral strategies. (4) Consider embedding regional representatives from the Bureaus of International Information Programs and Educational and Cultural Affairs inside the State Department’s regional bureaus. (5) Create a task force to review PD services that can be co-located or consolidated.
The Commission’s “white paper” treats public diplomacy as an enterprise in diplomacy with distinct structures and processes, and a separate career path within the Department of State. Its US model and approach to recommendations for change contrast sharply with the British model described in the Future FCO
report listed above. British practitioners no longer use the term public diplomacy, although they give high priority to soft power, civil society actors, networks, and the way digital technologies are changing diplomatic practice. These reports, released almost simultaneously, were written largely by insiders who focused on how their foreign ministries are dealing with forces driving change in diplomacy. Although the focus of the British report is broader, comparative assessments of the two reports would benefit scholars and practitioners.
USC Center on Public Diplomacy, Social Media Analytics for Digital Advocacy Campaigns: Five Common Challenges, Discussion Paper, April 2016.
The authors of this 13-page paper examine challenges in “bridging the measurement gap between advocacy operations (outputs) and ultimate outcomes” in digital advocacy campaigns. They discuss five areas in social media analytics that hold promise: search parameters, social media share of voice, the qualitative “who,” sentiment analysis, and demographics. The paper focuses on policy advocacy by governments using Twitter to target foreign publics on specific policy issues.
Manuela Zechner and Bue Rubner Hanson, “More Than a Welcome: The Power of Cities,”OpenDemocracy, April 7, 2016.
Zechner (Berlin Institute for Migration Research) and Hanson (University of Aarhus) explore how city governments are collaborating and reaching agreements in welcoming refugees, while challenging state governments that are inactive or deadlocked in creating imaginative migration policies. Networks of cities, they argue, are transforming governance and diplomacy. Cities are becoming essential actors in achieving security and social solidarity and dealing with the politics of fear “beyond the abstract notions of nation.” Their article suggests numerous ideas for case studies in city diplomacy. (Courtesy of Donna Oglesby)
Recent Blogs and Other Items of Interest
Gem From The Past
Walter R. Roberts, “The Evolution of Diplomacy,” Mediterranean Quarterly, 17.3 (Summer 2006), 55-64.
Summer 2016 marks the 100th
anniversary of the birth of US diplomat and scholar Walter Roberts. His family and friends, colleagues, and former students remember a distinguished career that began in the Voice of America in 1942 and thereafter included diplomatic assignments in the former Yugoslavia, service as an associate director of the US Information Agency, and a presidential appointment to the US Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy. Following his retirement, Dr. Roberts pioneered the teaching of public diplomacy at George Washington University in the 1980s.
The occasion prompts this re-listing of his seminal article on the transformation of diplomacy during the second half of the 20th century. Listed by Mediterranean Quarterly as one of the most frequently cited articles in its 27-year history, Roberts’ article provides a succinct overview of how government-to government diplomacy evolved to include widespread government-to-people diplomacy – a transformation that led to a global conversation on the meaning and methods of “public diplomacy.” It is a useful foundational reading as scholars and practitioners in the 21st century ask whether another transformation is occurring. Has public diplomacy become so central to diplomacy that it is no longer helpful to treat it as a siloed concept and subset of diplomatic practice? “The Evolution of Diplomacy” is available online courtesy of the Public Diplomacy Alumni Association.