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A Blog on Understanding, Informing, Empowering, and Influencing Global Publics, published by Matt Armstrong

American Avatar: The United States in the Global Imagination


One of the most important public diplomacy books you have never heard of is American Avatar: The United States in the Global Imagination by Barry Sanders.  An adjunct professor of Communications Studies at UCLA, an international corporate lawyer, President of the Board of Commissioners of the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks, Barry provides a unique, fascinating, and worthwhile exploration of the opportunities and risks of American global engagement.

In American Avatar, Barry looks at narratives, their foundations and  trajectories.  ”Now more than ever,” Barry writes, “foreign views of the United States also affects its national security.”

As a panelist at the November 2011 meeting of the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy, Barry explained that stories at the heart of everything: the study and practice of law, movies, group membership, and more.

Barry was in DC to discuss his book earlier this month.  Watch this meeting and read a discussion here.

I recommend Barry’s book for students and practitioners of strategic communication and public diplomacy.

Behavioral Economics Go to War: reviewing Behavioural Conflict, Why Understanding People and their Motivations Will Prove Decisive in Future Conflict

By Amy Zalman

Review of Behavioural Conflict, Why Understanding People and their Motivations Will Prove Decisive in Future Conflict, by Andrew Mackey and Steve Tatham

I cannot think of any books about warfare’s future that come across as hard-hitting, full of actionable pragmatism, and deeply humane all at the same time.  But Behavioral Conflict: Why Understanding People and their Motivations will Prove Decisive in Future Conflict is all three.  The authors, both career members of the British military, Major General Andres Mackey (Ret) and Royal Navy Commander Steve Tatham (who I count as a friend, having met him in Ankara a few years ago), make their case by drawing on a combination of their own experience, case studies and close analysis of how communication actually factors in war.

Continue reading “Behavioral Economics Go to War: reviewing Behavioural Conflict, Why Understanding People and their Motivations Will Prove Decisive in Future Conflict” »

Public Diplomacy: Books, Articles, Websites #55 (Courtesy of Bruce Gregory)

Courtesy of Bruce Gregory, Professor of Media and Public Affairs, George Washington University.

March 1, 2011
Intended for teachers of public diplomacy and related courses, here is an update on resources that may be of general interest.  Suggestions for future updates are welcome. 
Bruce Gregory
Adjunct Professor
George Washington University
Georgetown University

Continue reading “Public Diplomacy: Books, Articles, Websites #55 (Courtesy of Bruce Gregory)” »

Public Diplomacy: Books, Articles, Websites #54 (by Bruce Gregory)

Courtesy of Bruce Gregory, Professor of Media and Public Affairs, George Washington University.

January 3, 2011
Intended for teachers of public diplomacy and related courses, here is an update on resources that may be of general interest.  Suggestions for future updates are welcome. 
Bruce Gregory
Adjunct Professor
George Washington University
Georgetown University

Continue reading “Public Diplomacy: Books, Articles, Websites #54 (by Bruce Gregory)” »

Public Diplomacy: Books, Articles, Websites #53 (Courtesy of Bruce Gregory)

Courtesy of Bruce Gregory, Professor of Media and Public Affairs, George Washington University.

October 22, 2010
Intended for teachers of public diplomacy and related courses, here is an update on resources that may be of general interest.  Suggestions for future updates are welcome. 
Bruce Gregory
Adjunct Professor
George Washington University
Georgetown University

Continue reading “Public Diplomacy: Books, Articles, Websites #53 (Courtesy of Bruce Gregory)” »

Life from inside the storytelling machine: an author offers caveats on influence tools

By Dr. Amy Zalman

The inside cover promise to "unveil the workings of a ‘storytelling machine’ more effective and insidious as a means of oppression than anything dreamed up by Orwell," was incentive enough for me to pick up and start reading the recent English translation of French writer Christian Salmon’s Storytelling: Bewitching the Modern Mind.  Even more compelling for this reader: the ‘storytelling machine’ in question is one that I have been working in for the last  five years, as a proponent of the use of narrative as a tool of influence in U.S. strategic communication. 

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Public Diplomacy: Books, Articles, Websites #52 (Courtesy of Bruce Gregory)

Courtesy of Bruce Gregory, Professor of Media and Public Affairs, George Washington University.

Intended for teachers of public diplomacy and related courses, here is an update on resources that may be of general interest.  Suggestions for future updates are welcome. 
Bruce Gregory
Adjunct Professor
George Washington University / Georgetown University

Continue reading “Public Diplomacy: Books, Articles, Websites #52 (Courtesy of Bruce Gregory)” »

Recommended Reading List on Public Diplomacy

Netherlands Institute of International Relations logo.pngThe Netherlands Institute of International Relations Clingendael offers an impressive reading list on public diplomacy. Spanning over 20 pages, the compilation of literature includes articles from a wide range of publications including Foreign Affairs, State Magazine, Hague Journal of Diplomacy, Foreign Policy, journals focused on specific regions of the world, and more. This reading list is part of the institute’s series of compilations of articles dedicated to diplomacy; other topics include Branding; Citizen Diplomacy; City Diplomacy; Cultural Diplomacy; Economic Diplomacy; European level diplomacy and the European diplomatic service; Negotiation, Culture and Intercultural Communication; and Soft power and public diplomacy in (East) Asia.
In addition to diplomacy, the think tank, which advises organizations within the Dutch government, offers reading lists on a variety of topics relevant to international relations including international trade, NATO, articles relevant to geographic regions, conflict studies, and more.

Public Diplomacy: Books, Articles, Websites #51 (Courtesy of Bruce Gregory)

Courtesy of Bruce Gregory, Professor of Media and Public Affairs, George Washington University.

Intended for teachers of public diplomacy and related courses, here is an update on resources that may be of general interest. Suggestions for future updates are welcome.
Bruce Gregory
Adjunct Professor
George Washington University/Georgetown University

Continue reading “Public Diplomacy: Books, Articles, Websites #51 (Courtesy of Bruce Gregory)” »

Public Diplomacy: Books, Articles, Websites #50

Courtesy of Bruce Gregory, Professor of Media and Public Affairs, George Washington University.

Intended for teachers of public diplomacy and related courses, here is an update on resources that may be of general interest. Suggestions for future updates are welcome.
Bruce Gregory
Adjunct Professor
George Washington University/Georgetown University

Continue reading “Public Diplomacy: Books, Articles, Websites #50” »