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.