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

ISA Working Group on Public Diplomacy

The International Studies Association was founded in 1959 to promote research and education international affairs. Its annual conference is a significant event for relevant academic communities. The next annual conference will be in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, on March 16-19, 2011.

More significant for the readers of this blog, the 2011 conference has a new addition: Working Group on Public Diplomacy:

The primary objective of the Working Group on Public Diplomacy is to establish a productive community of scholars from across the disciplines and divisions of ISA in order to advance the scholarship and teaching on public diplomacy. Public diplomacy represents an increasingly important convergence of multiple research trajectories within the ISA – including theoretical and practical research on influence efforts and ‘soft power,’ comparative work on foreign policy and practices of public engagement, as well as the instrumental role of international communication and global media leveraged by state and non-state institutions. The Working Group invites scholars actively engaged in research and teaching that recognizes the increased salience of public diplomacy as a foreign policy imperative around the world, and, how public diplomacy has transformed conceptual boundaries between diplomacy, communication, and international politics.

This working group will be led by (and the result of the hard work of) Craig Hayden, professor at American University and occasional blogger, and Kathy Fitzpatrick, professor at Quinnipiac University.

The working group includes one all-day pre-conference workshop on March 15 and two follow up meetings on March 17 and March 19. The schedule is below.

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Influence and Propaganda Conference

IandP Conference Sign The Influence and Propaganda Conference continues tomorrow. Today’s discussion was fantastic with valuable insights from Todd Helmus, Ted Tzavellas, Steve Shaker, Adam Pechter, Bryan Rich, Michael Dominque, Steve Luckert, Lee Rowland, Glenn Ayers, Glenn Connor, Tim Hill, Cliff Gilmore, and Al Bynum.

Tomorrow is another day beginning with a presentation by Brad Gorham. This is followed by arguably the best panel of the conference: the media panel co-chaired by Russ Rochte and myself. The panel will include Jamie McIntyre, Bill Gertz, and Wally Dean. Following this panel is Mahan Tavakoli, Nancy Snow, Mike Waller, Amy Zalman, Cori Dauber, Carol Winkler, and Jim Farwell. Friday, the last day, has Brian Carlson, Evan Mitchell Stark, Joel Weinberger, John Foxe, and Wil Cunningham.

The conference is presented by the IO Institute, in partnership with the MountainRunner Institute. The IO Institute will post a transcript after the event.

Follow (and catch up) on live tweets from the event with the hash tag #iandp.

Influence and Propaganda Conference this week

2010iandpadThis week is the Influence and Propaganda Conference in Verona, New York, outside of Syracuse. Put on by the IO Institute in partnership with the MountainRunner Institute, the conference will be a frank and open discussion on the nature, purpose and format of propaganda and activities intended to influence. This conference comes at a critical time as the volume and quality of disinformation and misinformation increases in an environment that empowers virtually anyone. The gatekeepers of yesterday, governments and major media, are increasingly bypassed, ignored, reactionary or co-opted as today’s information flows across geographic, linguistic, political and technological borders with increasing ease and speed.

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Event: Rethinking the Future International Security Environment

The Johns Hopkins University / Applied Physics Laboratory announced the 7th year of its Rethinking Seminar Series. This year’s theme is Rethinking the Future International Security Environment and the objective is the “exploration of possible future international environments including potential adversaries and threats to US National Security.” Topics to be covered include:

  • Regional areas of concern (i.e., the Middle East, China, Russia, and N. Korea)
  • Economics and National Security through examinations of potential economic threats to the US and her allies including:
    • The use of sovereign wealth funds to manipulate markets and currencies
    • Nation state economic collapse, sovereign default, and nation state instability
    • US and Allies’ budgets, deficits and their ability/inability to fund robust national security infrastructures
  • Resource Competition and Scarcity including issues of energy, water, agriculture and strategic minerals competition

The free events will occur about every month near the Pentagon. Video, audio, and usually the presentation and even notes are posted to the web about one week after each meeting.

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Event: Influence and Propaganda Conference

imageThe Information Operations Institute, in partnership with the MountainRunner Institute, invites you to attend the Influence and Fighting Propaganda Conference.

Identifying and countering propaganda and misinformation through dissemination that avoids the label of propaganda will be the key themes of the event. Discussions will explore who, how and why can people or groups be influenced, and difference between engagement from the lowest to the highest levels of leadership.

Russ Rochte, retired US Army Colonel and now faculty member at the National Defense Intelligence College, and I will co-moderate a panel on the media exploring the tension between "Media as an instrument of War" and the journalist’s traditional obligations to the truth, objectivity, informing the public, and verification. What is the impact on the media’s relationship with itself, its readers, and its sources as the media struggles for mind-share and relevance in a highly competitive environment of diminished resources, intensified news cycles, and direct audience engagement by news makers, and pressure to de-emphasize journalistic ethics. What constitutes the media and how does an organization like Wikileaks change the environment? How does this show in the natural conflict between the government and the media and how is it exploited by America’s adversaries?

This will be a two-hour panel, October 14, 10a-12p, with:

  • Wally Dean, Director of Training, Committee of Concerned Journalists (confirmed)
  • Jamie McIntyre, Host: "Line of Departure", Military.com (confirmed)
  • Dana Priest, Washington Post investigative reporter (invited)
  • Bill Gertz, reporter for The Washington Times (confirmed)

The agenda for the conference is below.

Event website is here
Date: October 13-15 (2.5 days)
Location: Turning Stone Resort, Verona, New York (map)
Registration Fee: Students/Faculty: free; Government: $50; Military: $25; Corporate/Industry: $200
Registration: online or PDF

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Event: Influence and Fighting Propaganda!

The IO Institute, in partnership with the MountainRunner Institute, presents a conference on Influence & Fighting Propaganda on October 13-14 at the Turning Stone Resort in Verona, NY.

The Information Operations Institute of the Association of Old Crows cordially invites you to attend a conference focusing on influence and propaganda.  Influence – what are influence factors, who can be influenced, how and why can people or groups be influenced, what are different approaches to influence and how is influence accomplished and how is it different at the personal level all the way to the national level?   Propaganda – what it is, enjoy a presentation of real examples of famous propaganda by infamous propagandists, discuss how we counter it, is it still going on today, how do we fight misinformation and how do we disseminate a meaningful message avoiding the label of propaganda?

On October 13 and 14, at the Turning Stone Resort in Verona, NY. Check below for the agenda. Online registration will be available soon.

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Now Media: Engagement based on Information not Platforms

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On July 6, 2010, the MountainRunner Institute, a not-for-profit non-partisan think tank, with the support of InterMedia, presents a one-day training event to prepare you and your organization for today’s cyber and non-cyber challenges. Now Media: Engagement Based on Information not Platforms will help you gain a better understanding of the capabilities, capacities, and authorities necessary to be effective in today’s global informational and physical environment. Registration and more information may be found here.

Topics include:

  • The Convergence of “old media” and “new media” into Now Media;
  • Mobilizing and even creating “diasporas” that facilitate engagement pathways and challenge traditional views of nationalism;
  • Moving from “target audiences” to “relevant participants”;
  • Adversarial use of online media;
  • Frank discussions on the organizational, doctrinal, and legal challenges (real and imagined) facing the US today.

Date: July 6, 2010 
Time: 8:30a – 5p (light breakfast at 8a, lunch and refreshments will be provided) 
Location: National Press Club in the McClendon Room 
Cost: $300 before June 27, $400 June 28 and after; group discounts are available for 3 or more; credit cards are accepted.

Speakers:

  • Matt Armstrong, President, MountainRunner Institute; publisher of the blog MountainRunner.us
  • Adam Pearson, White Canvas Group
  • Duncan MacInnes, Acting Coordinator, Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State
  • A representative from InterMedia;

Attending the second half of the event are four Indonesian bloggers, including the "father of Indonesian blogging", that are in the United States under the auspices of the Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program.

Questions should be directed to Matt Armstrong at blog@mountainrunner.us.

Register today.

9th Annual Information Operations Europe Conference

imageThe 9th Annual Information Operations Europe takes place 29-30 June 2010 at The Bloomsbury Hotel in London. The conference will provide information operations case studies from Afghanistan, future plans from the UK and an examination of New and Social Media from the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence, the US Defense Department, NATO, and Canadian Forces, and others.

Day One – 29 June – starts with three keynotes from the UK MoD followed by 40 minute presentations by Sarah Nagelmann and Matt Armstrong. The UK MoD presentations look at the purposes, capabilities, and challenges of strategic-level information and influence operations. Sarah will discuss the new media strategy for NATO SHAPE and EUCOM. Matt will discuss the modern Now Media environment, with attention to Wikileaks, an interesting non-state global influencer.

Other presenters on Day One include Matt Bigge (“Technology Based. Human Enabled: The Future Of Cultural Information Engagement”), George Stein (“The Influence And Intelligence Opportunities Of Virtual Worlds”), Ed O’Connell (“Informal Network Analysis And Engagement In Conflict Zones”), and David Campbell (“Innovative Use Of The Media For Outreach In East Africa”).

Day Two – 30 June – is heavily focused on Afghanistan, with case studies and lessons learned.

See also:

Event: understanding the information-based global environment

We live in a complex world. Concepts of “foreign” and “domestic” are merely myths as traditional gatekeepers and barriers of information are bypassed or manipulated as today’s battlefields over minds or territory are increasingly transparent. The past walls – be they costs, political, cultural, or geographic – are crumbling, circumvented, or simply gone. This has democratized influence, as well as destruction and disruption, as individuals and non-state actors can wield strategic power on par, and too often in excess of, with states.

On July 6, 2010, the MountainRunner Institute will, with the support of InterMedia, present a one-day training event to prepare you and your organization for today’s environment. Titled Now Media: engagement based on information not platforms, this discussion is designed to help you gain a better understanding of the capabilities, capacities, and authorities necessary to be effective in today’s global environment. While the emphasis is on actors and audiences relevant to national security, knowledge from the course will be readily applied in other areas. More information can be found here.

Topics include:

  • The Convergence of “old media” and “new media” into Now Media;
  • Mobilizing and even creating “diasporas” that facilitate engagement pathways and challenge traditional views of nationalism;
  • Moving from “target audiences” to “relevant participants”;
  • Adversarial use of online media;
  • Frank discussions on the organizational, doctrinal, and legal challenges (real and imagined) facing the US today.

Date: July 6, 2010
Time: 8:30a – 5p (light breakfast at 8a, lunch and refreshments will be provided)
Location: National Press Club in the McClendon Room
529 14th St. NW, 13th Floor, Washington, DC 20045 (map)

Cost: $300 before June 27, $400 June 28 and after; group discounts are available for 3 or more; credit cards are accepted.

Speakers: Matt Armstrong, President, MountainRunner Institute; Adam Pearson, White Canvas Group; a representative from InterMedia; and a special guest.

To register, send an email to Matt Armstrong at blog@mountainrunner.us.