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As this year draws to a close, IPDGC would like to recap some of our activities of the Fall semester. We hope that you’ve had the opportunity to attend some of the events:

Your Country, Our War: The Press and Diplomacy in Afghanistan, September 25.

Asia Centre: Fake News Legislation in Southeast Asia, October 17.

Work-Life Balance in a 24/7 Organization panel, November 7.

Please do support IPDGC in the year ahead!

Mark your calendars for the 2020 Walter Roberts Lecture featuring Joseph S. Nye. The talk will be on “Do Morals Matter? Presidents and Foreign Policy”, to be held on Thursday, January 30, 2020, at the GW Elliott School of International Affairs.

More information HERE.

Dear Friend,

Thirteen years ago, the Walter Roberts Endowment was established with generous contributions from Dr. Roberts and the Roberts family. The Endowment was to ensure continued support for public diplomacy through higher learning and research, recognition of leadership and shared best PD practices.

The Endowment has assisted in funding activities of the Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication (IPDGC) at the George Washington University.

The Annual Walter Roberts Lecture for 2020 will feature Dr. Joseph S. Nye, who, 30 years ago, originated the term “soft power” in describing the persuasive approach in U.S. foreign policy. The Lecture will be held on January 30, 2020, at the Elliott School for International Affairs.

The Endowment continues to support IPDGC’s Walter Roberts Award for Congressional Leadership in Public Diplomacy, which honors members of Congress who have been consistently supportive of public diplomacy throughout their careers. These awards support public diplomacy micro-projects in institutions situated in the member’s state or congressional district.

The Endowment also encourages GW graduate students to excel in public diplomacy studies. Hence, to move ahead, we are trying to increase the size of the Endowment to allow us to provide grants to graduate students who could not otherwise afford to study public diplomacy at GW.

We encourage you to join with the Roberts family in continuing to support the vital public diplomacy outreach work that the Endowment underwrites.

At this panel event moderated by Public Diplomacy Fellow Emilia Puma (at right), Foreign Service Officers shared their experiences on maintaining a balance with work and life as they represent the United States in different parts of the world.

With varied experiences from length of service, to the regions served, job functions, personal and family needs – six Foreign Service Officers spoke on what they had to consider when making the choice to join, and continue, with a career that never “rests”. They shared how they surmounted those challenges and also enjoyed the benefits that came with the job.

The audience of students and a handful of former diplomats participated in the lively discussion.

Emilia Puma introduces the panel of foreign service officers speaking on how they balance their lives with the commitment to a  near-24/7 career.

Dr. James Gomez talking about Fake News Legislations in Southeast Asia.

Dr. James Gomez, Director for the Asia Center presented the organization’s project on Fake News Legislation and Freedom of Expression in Southeast Asia.

The Asia Centre is a not-for-profit organization that seeks to create social impact in the Southeast Asia region; based in Bangkok, Thailand. The Asia Centre serves as a think-tank, meeting space, project partner and social enterprise.

Dr. Gomez shared the findings of this three-year project and how the legislations and other practices being adopted by individual governments in that region was taking an impact on democracy, rule of law, and freedom of expression.

He shared this presentation: Fake News Laws and Freedom of Expression.

The event was jointly organized with the Sigur Center for Asian Studies.

Dr. Katherine Brown, CEO and President of Global Ties U.S. spoke about her latest book, Your Country, Our War: The Press and Diplomacy in Afghanistan – which takes a look at how news gathering and reporting can intersect with international politics. How the U.S. news media has an incredible reach and influence that can shape global perspectives, especially in the post-9/11 era.

Based on eight years of interviews in Kabul, Washington, and New York, Dr. the trajectory of the U.S. news narrative about modern Afghanistan and America’s never-ending war, and the rise of Afghan journalism, from 2001 to 2017.

The book also examines the impact of the U.S. news media inside Afghanistan, giving focus to the rapid development of a community of Afghan reporters who grappled daily with how to define themselves and their country during a tumultuous and uneven transition from fundamentalist to democratic rule.

Dr. Brown’s presentation gave rich details about the U.S.-Afghan relationship, especially former President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai’s convictions about the role of the Western press, what we have begun to understand about how journalists are not merely observers to a story; they are participants in it.

The panel discussion which followed included David Ensor, director of the Project for Media and National Security and former diplomat in Kabul, Afghanistan (2010-11); Sean Aday, SMPA associate professor who has been involved in global media and government capacity training projects, including work in Iraq and Afghanistan; and Ben Hopkins, director of the Sigur Center for Asian Studies and a specialist in modern South Asian history, in particular that of Afghanistan.

The event was jointly organized with the Sigur Center.


If you want to get into this opportunity and space, you must bring that passion 

That was the message at the panel talk arranged by the Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication (IPDGC) with the Elliott School’s Graduate Student Services (GSS) last Thursday, February 7.

The very experienced panel of public diplomacy practitioners shared personal experiences about opportunities and career paths, and the impact of PD work.


In welcoming the panel, Elliott School's senior career coach Tara Sonenshine spoke about her own experience when she was U.S. Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy at the State Department. Person-to-person communication was so critical to establishing that connection, she shared.

The panel comprised of Susan Crystal, Deputy Assistant Secretary (DAS), U.S. State Department; Monica Enqvist, Head of Public Diplomacy and Press, Embassy of Sweden; Holger Mahnicke, Head of Communication, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany; and Roger-Mark deSouza, President and CEO of Sister Cities International.

Susan Crystal


DAS Susan Crystal talked about how the State Department welcomed everyone who was interested in a U.S Foreign Service career. She explained that with five career tracks, there were options for those with different talents; it was not a “one size fits all” career.


Two senior diplomats from Germany and Sweden both talked with pride about how they helped their respective countries communicate successfully with the rest of the world.

Monica Enqvist

Monica Enqvist from the Embassy of Sweden recounted how every job change for her was a way to learn the different facets of communication and public diplomacy.


Holger MahnickeHolger Mahnicke talked about his excitement at being in the field and working on solutions to crises during his posting in central Africa.

Just as enthused about people-to-people exchanges, Roger-Mark deSouza described how he builRoger-Mark deSouzat on what he learned as a graduate student with three jobs, and then applied this knowledge to his different non-profit roles. He told the audience not to discount their experiences and always work to improve people skills as these would always serve them well.

Related links:

U.S. State Department:

Sister Cities International:

German Embassy in Washington, DC:

Embassy of Sweden:

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