The 2009 Smith-Mundt Symposium brought together public diplomacy and strategic communication practitioners from the State Department, the Defense Department, the Agency for International Development, and other governmental and non-governmental groups, including academia, media, and Congress for a first of its kind discussion. The goal to have a frank and open discussion on the foundation and structure America’s global engagement was achieved. Held on January 13, 2009, just one week before the Obama Administration came into office and just short of the Smith-Mundt Act’s sixty‐first anniversary, this one‐day event fueled an emerging discourse inside and outside of Government on the purpose and structure of public diplomacy. The symposium was convened and chaired by Matt Armstrong.
Filling the largest room of the Reserve Officers Association on Capitol Hill, the symposium was a frank, on the record discussion among a diverse group of stakeholders, practitioners, and observers from the Congress, the Departments of State, Defense, and Homeland Security, and outside of government to discuss public diplomacy, strategic communication, or whatever their particular “tribe” calls communication and engagement. Many of the attendees never had a reason to be in the same room before, let alone share tables to discuss surprisingly common interests.
Recorded and almost televised (C-SPAN had planned to broadcast the event but the sudden scheduling of several confirmation hearings the same, including Hilary Clinton’s, took precedence and meant C-SPAN had to cancel broadcasting this Symposium), transcripts and audio are available below.
A 23-page summary report on the symposium is available here (434kb PDF).
The agenda, transcripts, the original audio recording of the event, and biographies are available below or at this page.
Morning Keynote by then-Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs James Glassman. Amb. Glassman’s remarks are preceded by opening comments by event chair Matt Armstrong.
- Transcript (65kb PDF). Glassman’s comments begin at the bottom of page 5, after Armstrong.
- Audio (54min, 13mb). Glassman’s comments begin at the 13:45 mark after Armstrong.
Panel 1: History of Smith-Mundt (transcript)
Panel 2: America’s Bifurcated Engagement (transcript)
Lunchtime Keynote by former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Support to Public Diplomacy Mike Doran
Panel 3: Rebuilding the Arsenal of Persuasion (transcript)
Panel 4: The View from the Hill (transcript, 140kb PDF)
Closing Comments by Matt Armstrong (transcript included above)
- Rear Admiral Greg Smith
- David Firestein
- George Clack
- Matt Armstrong
Matt Armstrong convened and chaired the symposium. Financial support came from Mr. Armstrong’s firm, Armstrong Strategic Insights Group, LLC, and promotional support was through Mr. Armstrong’s blog, MountainRunner.us. Additional financial support came from the Center on Communication Leadership.
Questions or comments should be directed to Matt Armstrong at firstname.lastname@example.org.