Voices of America: U.S. Public Diplomacy for the 21st Century

Voices of America: US Public Diplomacy for the 21st Century Kristin Lord’s report, published by Brookings, was released today. I wasn’t at today’s release, but had a chance to review it. Here is an excerpt from the executive summary:

This report presents concrete steps to strengthen America’s efforts to engage, persuade, and attract the support of foreign publics. As part of a comprehensive plan to enhance our government’s public diplomacy, it urges the creation of a nimble and entrepreneurial new non-profit organization, the USAWorld Trust, to complement and support U.S. government efforts. The USAWorld Trust will draw on the enormous goodwill, creativity, knowledge, and talent of the American people and likeminded partners overseas to

  • present a more accurate and nuanced vision of America to counterbalance the one-sided
    views sometimes promulgated by popular culture and foreign media
  • contribute to an environment of mutual trust, respect, and understanding in which cooperation is more feasible
  • promote shared values and their champions
  • inform and support our government’s public diplomacy efforts through the sharing of knowledge regarding communication, public opinion, foreign cultures, and technology.

The report recommends creating a new entity, the USAWorld Trust, a 501c3 non-profit. It would be in many ways a RAND-like organization but with the additional charge of executing public diplomacy programs, not just monitoring. It would conduct research as a hub for extranet engagement with the private sector, academia, and NGOs. As a non-governmental organization, it could receive external funding and at the same time operate like a venture-capitalist promoting public diplomacy programs from the tried-and-true to experimental. According to the report, the distance would not only create additional freedom of action but distance from the government to encourage participation by groups inside and outside the US who would otherwise be skeptical of collaborating with the government.

The report is posted here. I welcome your thoughts.

Brookings will post a transcript of the release event here.

See also:

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