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Public Diplomacy E-Reader

Blockseminar “The Future of Public Diplomacy”
July 10–12, 2009, Lutherstadt Wittenberg


Public Diplomacy and Soft Power
Joseph S. Nye, Jr.
The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 2008; 616; 94
The online version of this article can be found at:

Soft power is the ability to affect others to obtain the outcomes one wants through attraction rather than coercion or payment. A country's soft power rests on its resources of culture, values, and policies. A smart power strategy combines hard and soft power resources. Public diplomacy has a long history as a means of promoting a country's soft power and was essential in winning the cold war. The current struggle against transnational terrorism is a struggle to win hearts and minds, and the current overreliance on hard power alone is not the path to success. Public diplomacy is an important tool in the arsenal of smart power, but smart public diplomacy requires an understanding of the roles of credibility, self-criticism, and civil society in generating soft power.

Cultural Diplomacy: The Linchpin of Public Diplomacy
Report of the Advisory Committee on Cultural Diplomacy
U.S. Department of State
September 2005

Cultural diplomacy is the linchpin of public diplomacy; for it is in cultural activities that a nation's idea of itself is best represented. And cultural diplomacy can enhance our national security in subtle, wide-ranging, and sustainable ways. Indeed history may record that America's cultural riches played no less a role than military action in shaping our international leadership, including the war on terror. For the values embedded in our artistic and intellectual traditions form a bulwark against the forces of darkness.

What is Public Diplomacy?
Edward R. Murrow Center for Public Diplomacy, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University

Coined at Fletcher in 1965 by then Dean Edmund A. Gullion, "public diplomacy" deals with the influence of public attitudes on the formation and execution of foreign policies. It encompasses dimensions of international relations beyond traditional diplomacy; the cultivation by governments of public opinion in other countries; the interaction of private groups and interests in one country with those of another; the reporting of foreign affairs and its impact on policy; communication between those whose job is communication, as between diplomats and foreign correspondents; and the processes of inter-cultural communications. "Central to public diplomacy is the transnational flow of information and ideas."


Demokratie beruht auf Anerkennung
Marcus Hawel
Copyright: Goethe-Institut, Online-Redaktion

Von der Re-Education zur Re-Orientation im Nachkriegsdeutschland
Ein positives Identifikationsangebot ging vom amerikanischen Lebensstil aus, weil dieser durch seine lockere, legere und lässige Art als ein absoluter Kontrast zum preußisch-autoritären und soldatischen Habitus empfunden wurde. "Demokratie ist sexy!" war die Botschaft der amerikanischen Kulturindustrie, die über die Medien und über die Kulturpolitik der "Amerika-Häuser" nach Deutschland


The Case for Cultural Diplomacy: Engaging Foreign Audiences
Helena K. Finn
Foreign Affairs 82, no. 6 (Nov./Dec. 2003), 15–20

Early in the Cold War, American efforts at cultural diplomacy were funded by the CIA as well as the State Department's Division of Cultural Relations. Although CIA sponsorship would be inappropriate and counterproductive today, that history is a useful reminder of how seriously Washington once took the promotion of mutual understanding through cultural exchange. Policymakers understood the link between engagement with foreign audiences and victory over ideological enemies and considered cultural diplomacy vital to U.S. national security. Such a perspective is sorely lacking today, when many policymakers appear to believe that military force has become a sufficient response to radical Islamist terrorism. They would do well to keep in mind what their predecessors knew: that dialogue is essential to winning the hearts and minds of moderate elements in societies vulnerable to radicalism. Throughout the postwar era, desperate and disenfranchised young people in developing countries sought solace in communism. Rather than allowing this trend to continue unchecked, American officials mounted a determined, and ultimately successful, ideological campaign in response. As the scholar Rajan Menon notes, "Few Americans appreciate the degree to which knowledge about American culture, whether acquired by participating in our exchange programs, attending our cultural presentations, or simply listening to the Voice of America, contributed to the death of communism." Today, the youth of the Muslim world, deeply confused about their identity and critical of their own corrupt and autocratic rulers, seek refuge in another extreme ideology that promises a better and more dignified life. The United States, heeding its past successes, must offer a more compelling alternative.

What Can Public Diplomacy Achieve?
Alan K. Henrikson

Public diplomacy, or 'PD', is rarely if ever the decisive factor in foreign policy initiatives. It usually has been an accessory service. Nonetheless, the use by governments of public means of communication as well as contacts with organizations, groups, and individuals within other societies can 'make a difference' in achieving political success. PD is becoming more important as the conditions of international relations, particularly the telecommunications revolution, have changed so radically. Today a 'new conception' of public diplomacy is developing which shifts the focus from indirectly influencing the policies and actions of other governments-essentially still a state-to-state interaction-to shaping the attitudes of other societies, the people themselves-a direct state-to-society interaction. Tight 'coordination' of PD efforts with other governmental efforts abroad may be less effective than a looser 'partnership' arrangement between policy makers and cultural diplomats and media specialists. Five general categories of strategy in which public diplomacy plays a major role are: (1) consolidation, (2) containment, (3) penetration, (4) enlargement, and (5) transformation. Actual cooperation across national lines including exchanges and relationships with private and official 'partners' inside other countries can be a key to political achievement through public diplomacy.

Public Diplomacy in the Digital Age, Part 1
Mark Hannah, Mediashift - PBS
February 23, 2009

"What is public diplomacy?" was the first question that Ted Koppel posed at the recent Media as a Global Diplomat conference attended largely by public diplomacy professionals. I was surprised that the panelists, including the outgoing Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy & Public Affairs, couldn't readily agree on an answer to this foundational question.
Audio/Video of the conference on United States Institute of Peace webpage

Public Diplomacy Practitioners: A Changing Cast of Characters
Crocker Snow Jr.
Reprinted from The Journal of Business Strategy
Link to the full article: http://fletcher.tufts.edu/murrow/readings/aboutpd.html

It's speculation—undocumented by papers or interview - that the late Edmund A. Gullion, a career diplomat in the 1940's, 50's and early 60's was thinking of international public reactions to America's political actions in the Congo and Vietnam when he coined the term "public diplomacy" in 1965. It's fact however that he had been US ambassador to the Congo from 1960-63, was stationed in Saigon for several years in the early 1950's and, as such, had led the then young congressman John F. Kennedy through that country on his first ever exposure to it. As a diplomat then, he had experienced the real and imagined effect of public attitudes on traditional diplomatic maneuver personally. So it is no surprise that he invented and used the public diplomacy phrase.

Public Diplomacy and National Security: Lessons from the U.S. Experience
Bruce Gregory
Small Wars Journal 2008

Seven years after 9/11, the nation's leaders agree. Public diplomacy is crucial to national security and must be improved. These calls for change sound strikingly familiar. The 2002 U.S. National Security Strategy also urged "effective public diplomacy" - "a different and more comprehensive approach" in "a war of ideas to win the battle against international terrorism." ...

Finding America's Voice: A Strategy for Reinvigorating America's Public Diplomacy
Peter Peterson, Chair,
Council on Foreign Relations Independent Task Force on Public Diplomacy, 2003,

Landon Lecture
Remarks Delivered in Manhattan, Kansas, November 26, 2007,
Robert L. Gates, U.S. Secretary of Defense,

The Future of Public Diplomacy

Voices of America: U.S. Public Diplomacy for the 21st Century Kristin M. Lord, Brookings Institution, November 2008

For generations, America's standing in the world has been a source of strength, security, prosperity, and legitimacy. That standing is now in peril, according to a wide range of studies that span the political spectrum. America's tarnished international reputation carries a price. Whether the United States seeks to draw more allied troops to Afghanistan, win votes in international organizations, or undermine support for terrorists, anti- American attitudes obstruct the achievement of national interests. Winning support is harder; our enemies' missions are easier.

The USA-World Trust
Bringing the Power of Networks to U.S. Public Diplomacy

Kristin M. Lord, Brookings Institution, Winter 2009

President Obama will face enormous challenges in the area of public diplomacy.1 Though the success of President Obama's foreign policy will depend on the cooperation of foreign nations, global public opinion is not on America's side. A wide swath of the global public not only dislikes American policies, but also distrusts American intentions.

Brownback Introduces Public Diplomacy Legislation
Press Release


WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Sam Brownback today introduced legislation that would establish the National Center for Strategic Communications, an agency similar to the now defunct U.S. Information Agency.
"As America continues to fight the war on terrorism, we cannot rely upon military force alone to defeat the threat posed by Islamist extremism," said Brownback. "Violence is increasing in Afghanistan, Pakistan and other places, and the ideas behind this violence continue to proliferate from Europe to Asia and across the Internet. While we spend a lot of time discussing tactics and troop deployments, we rarely analyze the broader ideological struggle." In addition to establishing a new public diplomacy agency, Brownback's proposal would abolish the existing Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy at the State Department and the Broadcasting Board of Governors. Their functions would be transferred to the new National Center for Strategic Communications where they would be managed by single director. The Director of the Center would oversee an interagency panel of representatives from other federal entities whose missions inherently involve strategic communications with foreign publics.

Improving the International Marketplace of Ideas
Helle Dale
Posted on 02.18.09 to Memos to Obama
PD: A publication of the Association of Public Diplomacy Scholars at the University of Southern California.
Winter 2009

Margaret Thatcher once said that America is the only nation in the world "built upon an idea." This idea-liberty-has transcended geography and ethnicity to shape American identity and to inspire political discourse, both domestic and foreign, since the nation's founding.
Indeed, John Adams wrote that the American Revolution occurred first "in the hearts and minds of the people." Ideas lie at the very core of this country. Unfortunately, the U.S. isn't doing a good enough job of explaining our ideas overseas.

New Media Tools and Public Diplomacy
Interview, May 11, 2009
Interviewee: Elliot Schrage, VP of Global Communications, Marketing, and Public Policy, Facebook
Interviewer: Lee Hudson Teslik, Associate Editor, CFR.org

Just as advertisers have experimented in their uses of new media and social networking, so too have governments. The U.S. State Department now posts on Twitter, has a Facebook account, and has launched a social networking site on its own web server. Experts remain divided on the extent to which these tools will prove a useful means of public diplomacy. Elliott Schrage, Facebook's vice president of global communications, discusses in this interview how governments should think about new media. Schrage places an emphasis on authenticity, saying the medium provides a unique platform for users to reject what they deem to be spin.

Cultural Diplomacy — High Culture

Goodwill Hunting
Martha Bayles
The Wilson Quarterly
Repr. From the Summer 2005 Wilson Quarterly

Cultural diplomacy is a dimension of public diplomacy, a term that covers an array of efforts to foster goodwill toward America among foreign populations. The impact of any public diplomacy is notoriously difficult to measure. But there is scant encouragement in polls such as the one recently conducted by the BBC World Service showing that, in more than 20 countries, a plurality of respondents see America's influence in the world as "mainly negative." Doubtless such attitudes have as their immediate inspiration the invasion of Iraq and the abuse of prisoners in U.S. military detention facilities. But deeper antipathies are also at work that have been building for years and are only now bubbling to the surface.

Now Showing: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Americans
Exporting the Wrong Picture

Martha Bayles
The Washington Post
Sunday, August 28, 2005

When Benjamin Franklin went to France in 1776, his assignment was to manipulate the French into supporting the American war for independence. This he accomplished with two stratagems: First, he played the balance-of-power game as deftly as any European diplomat; and second, he waged a subtle but effective campaign of what we now call public diplomacy, or the use of information and culture to foster goodwill toward the nation. For Franklin, this meant turning his dumpy self into a symbol. "He knew that America had a unique and powerful meaning for the enlightened reformers of France," writes historian Bernard Bailyn, "and that he himself . . . was the embodiment, the palpable expression, of that meaning." Hence the fur cap and rustic manner that made Franklin a celebrity among the powdered wigs and gilded ornaments of the court of Louis XVI.
Today, as we witness the decline of America's reputation around the world, we're paying far more attention to Franklin's first stratagem than to his second. Indeed, despite a mounting stack of reports recommending drastic changes in the organization and funding of public diplomacy, very little of substance has been done. And most Americans, including many who make it their business to analyze public diplomacy, seem unmindful of the negative impression that America has recently been making on the rest of humanity—via our popular culture.

New Administration

Senate Confirmation Hearing: Hillary Clinton
Transcript, January 13, 2009

How the new president can boost high culture
Jed Perl
The New Republic
Wednesday, December 31, 2008

What is American about American art? Or American music? Or American literature? These venerable questions—to which there are certainly no simple answers and probably no definitive answers—have been on my mind for the past few weeks, since Barack Obama, on "Meet the Press," announced that "our art and our culture, our science, that's the essence of what makes America special." Skeptics might say, and say with good reason, that Obama was offering nothing more than a platitude. Is American culture more special to America than Russian culture is to Russia or Chinese culture is to China? And yet the very bluntness of Obama's statement—its platitudinousness, if you will—had a drama. There are times when a platitude is a wonderful thing—a crude version of the truth. And this could be one of those times.

Obama's Personal 'Public Diplomacy': A Very Preliminary Assessment
Robert Satloff, The Washington Institute
January 29, 2009

In his first week in office, President Obama spent the lion's share of his time on domestic economic issues, but international concerns—specifically Arab, Muslim, and Middle East—were an important focus as well. Collectively, the new president's actions and words constitute an unusually high-profile and personalized "public diplomacy" campaign to correct what he perceives as a serious strategic problem for the United States: a souring of the relationship between Washington and "the Muslim world."

Future of Public Diplomacy Unsettled at State
Experts Wonder Whether Vision Will Be PR or National Security

Spencer Ackerman, The Washington Independent, 2/17/09 6:00 AM

Websites and Sources

Public Diplomacy Alumni Association
Formerly USIA Alumni Association Conduct of Public Diplomacy

Edward R. Murrow Center for Public Diplomacy
The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University

Book Reviews

Public Diplomacy in a Changing World
Geoffrey Cowan and Nicholas J. Cull (Eds.)
Reviewed by Alan K. Henrikson is Director of Diplomatic Studies at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, for The USC Center on Public Diplomacy

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