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Sen. Bob Corker accepts the Walter Roberts Award from GW IPDGC Director Janet Steele. 


U.S. Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on Monday received the George Washington University Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication’s first annual Walter Roberts Award for Congressional Leadership in Public Diplomacy at a ceremony on Capitol Hill.

“Through my role as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I have had the opportunity to travel across the globe and see the positive impact that our nation has on the world,” Sen. Corker said at a ceremony in the Dirksen Senate Office Building.

“No matter the challenges we may face here at home, I am always reminded that we live in the greatest country on Earth, and that millions around the world strive to emulate us,” he said. “Telling that story and serving in this capacity has been an incredible privilege, and I thank George Washington University for this honor and for promoting public diplomacy that advances American interests abroad.”

Janet Steele, director of GW’s Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication (IPDGC), said the award was created for congressional leadership in public diplomacy to shed light on something that is invisible to many Americans.

“They may know of the Fulbright program or be aware of Voice of America, but it’s been my experience that the majority of Americans have no idea what public diplomacy even is, let alone how the programs that are carried out in their name provide direct benefits to the United States,” Dr. Steele said.

“As chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Corker has been a consistent supporter of U.S. public diplomacy, recognizing the impact that U.S. leadership and diplomacy abroad can have on our own economy and national security,” she said.

Sen. Corker is in his second term in the Senate. He is also a member of the Banking Committee and the Budget Committee. He was Tennessee’s commissioner of finance and mayor of Chattanooga before being elected to the Senate in 2006. He had spent most of his adult life in business.

He has visited more than 70 countries since taking office to gain a deeper understanding of the strategic relationships between the U.S. and other nations.

Once elected chairman in 2015, Sen. Corker quickly worked to build the committee’s emerging reputation for developing bipartisan consensus on major issues and reasserting the committee’s traditional role in foreign policy.

Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Marie Royce, Broadcasting Board of Governors CEO John Lansing and University of Tennessee Center for Sport, Peace and Security Director Sarah Hillyer also spoke at the event about the importance of American public diplomacy.

With Public Diplomacy on the minds of many nowadays, the Institute for Public Diplomacy, GW graduate and undergraduate students have launched Public Diplomacy Examined (PDx), an interview-based easy-access podcast of interviews with U.S. foreign service officers (current and retired), foreign diplomats, public diplomacy professionals, academics and researchers, media practitioners, cultural exchange specialists, and many others - all who share their experiences and insights into the latest thinking and trends of public diplomacy and global communication.

Our first two PDx episodes feature interviews with former top US public diplomacy leaders - Tara Sonenshine, former Undersecretary of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs at the U.S. State Department (April 2012- July 2013), and Bruce Wharton, retired U.S. ambassador and also former acting Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs (December 2016 to July 2017).

Check PDx regularly for more interviews.

Public Diplomacy and Foreign Policy: The View from State

In 2013, the United States faces a wealth of public diplomacy challenges. American diplomats today must engage new publics, on new issues, using new foreign policy tools. At the second Walter Roberts Annual Lecture, Tara Sonenshine, former Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs engaged in a discussion regarding the modern challenges of U.S. public diplomacy. Moderating the event was Frank Sesno, Director of the School of Media and Public Affairs, at the George Washington University.

The event transcript is HERE.

Global Challenges, Modern Solutions

Discussion with Brent Scowcroft

General Brent Scowcroft is the founder and president of The Forum for International Policy as well as the President of the Scowcroft Group, Inc. In this talk at the inaugural Walter Roberts Lecture Series, he discussed contemporary challenges in international affairs and policy formation and reflected on lessons learned from the end of the Cold War from the government's perspective.


Moderating the discussion is Frank Sesno, Director of the School of Media and Public Affairs, Professor of Media and Public Affairs and International Affairs.


The transcript is available HERE.

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