Matt Armstrong's blog on public diplomacy, international journalism, and the struggle against propaganda

Invitation to a play: True Friendship by a VOA journalist

Unrelated to my article on the Voice of America is this invitation to a play written and directed by David Vandy, a journalist with VOA’s English to Africa service (BTW- I received the invite before I wrote the article):

Voice of America invites you to a production of the play True Friendship

Written & Directed by David Vandy, Journalist, VOA English to Africa Service

Original story by Koleh Durah Suma

Performed by Sierra Theatre Productions

Friday, August 14
2:00–3:30 p.m.

Voice of America
Wilbur J. Cohen Building Auditorium
330 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20237
(Please use Independence Avenue Entrance)
One block from Federal Center Southwest Metro (Blue & Orange lines)
Three blocks from L’Enfant Plaza Metro/Exit 7th St. and Maryland Ave. SW
(Yellow, Green, Blue, Orange lines)

Photo ID required

Please R.S.V.P. to VOA Public Relations at
(202) 203-4959 or askvoa@voanews.com

Unfortunately I won’t be in town to attend. However, I did confirm that you’re welcome to RSVP and attend.

This play raises an interesting issue, even though directed at a domestic audience, the play is put on with the appearance of VOA-sponsorship (original invite had VOA logo, it’s at VOA, writer/director is VOA), does this mean they are relying on me (and other subversives) to propagate word of the event because it’s illegal for them to disseminate the invitation? Things that make you go hmmm…

Off Topic: Pushing the Limits – Diaries of an Ironman

Of interest, a movie on the training for Ironman by four men and two woman here in the Los Angeles area. Filmed in 2005-2006, it was a pilot for a mini-documentary never picked up by the networks. It has new life as a screening at the Independent Television Festival. Check out the trailer here or here in Facebook. I haven’t seen the movie yet but three friends are in it (Luis, Matt, and Liz).

CNAS grows

From conferences broadcast on the web to Twitter to blogging, they have gone the route that sharing information is power. Their knowledge, publically displayed, gains mindshare and marketshare. That is not to say other models are obsolete but the when the field has changed due to the strategy and tactics of an ideological competitor (and think tanks are ideological competitors) you may want to take notice.

Bouncing Around London

British Council signEnjoyed walking around London today. Stopped to watch the march that closed Piccadilly for a minute and then got bored. Had only a couple of meetings this afternoon. A couple more on Sunday and then non-stop Monday and Tuesday(here and here).

Came across the office of the British Council and realized the last time I walked around London I went right passed the same office without a second look. However, that was before I knew about public diplomacy (not that I know anything about it now).

Done for the day with dinner at 10:30p. Seems late, but as I’m still on DC time, not so bad.

Off topic: updates on some of my friends…

Blogging will resume shortly. After several days in Ankara, Turkey, presenting at the NATO Center of Excellence Department Against Terrorism – subject: Treating Terrorism as the Propaganda Act It Is – I came home to be a dad (taking care of / enjoying the kids on Friday) and a husband (painting, sanding and priming metal stairs, grouting, plumbing, etc).

As author Dave Berry said, not writing is easy and it gets easier the more you don’t write. So, I’ll start of this first post in a while with something completely different: updates from friends that have nothing to do with public diplomacy or strategic communication.

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CSC Seeks Postdoctoral Fellows for Grant Project

My friends at the Consortium for Strategic Communication are searching for three postdoctoral fellows to support an Office of Naval Research grant studying extremist narratives in contested populations. The positions are funded for two years, and the primary qualification is language & culture expertise in SE Asia, Southern Europe/Northern Africa, or the Middle East. Desirable qualifications and other details of the position are listed in the job advertisement at http://comops.org/asu-csc-postdoc.pdf.

The deadline is short, with applications due April 7 and a planned start on May 15.

For further information and application instructions, read http://comops.org/asu-csc-postdoc.pdf.

Abu Muqawama gets promoted

Andrew Exum will now be a paid blogger

Because the fact that I am joining CNAS on Monday morning will affect this blog and the way we do business, I felt the need to explain a little bit about the move and my future. So I sat down with myself over breakfast and did a little Q&A. This is a bit meta, so bear with me here.

Read the whole interview at the AM blog. Congrats Ex. Next beer’s on you. The second should be on John…

Remembering why East is west and West is East

Right off the bat in my Middle East studies class in the United Kingdom (Aberystwyth, Wales, to be precise), we talked about the origin of “Near East” and “Far East.” I don’t recall the same discussion in similar classes in the U.S. For an informative discussion on the subject, check out the latest post at Strangemaps:

If you’re American, geographically inclined and a bit of a stickler, this cartographic incongruity is a bit of an annoyance. From the US, the shortest route to what’s conventionally called ‘the East’ is in fact via the west. Going in that direction, you’ll hit the ‘Far East’ before you’re in the ‘Middle East’. And Europe, or at least that part usually included in ‘the West’, lies due east. So East is west, and West is east, in blatant contradiction of what’s probably Rudyard Kipling’s most famous line of verse: Oh, East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet