Public Diplomacy: Books, Articles, Websites #59

Courtesy of Bruce Gregory, Professor of Media and Public Affairs, George Washington University.
Intended for teachers of public diplomacy and related courses, here is an update on resources that may be of general interest.  Suggestions for future updates are welcome.

Bruce Gregory
Adjunct Professor
George Washington University
Georgetown University

Asia Foundation, Afghanistan in 2011: A Survey of the Afghan People, November 15, 2011. While nearly half (46%) of Afghans say their country is moving in the right direction, more respondents (35%) than at any time since the Foundation began polling there in 2004 say Afghanistan is headed in the wrong direction.  Attacks, violence, and terrorism are cited.  The survey also found, however, that Afghans see progress in access to education, drinking water, health services, and in household financial well-being.  Sympathy for armed opposition groups declined dramatically in 2011, reaching its lowest level since the Foundation’s surveys began.

Tom Bartlett and Karin Fisher, “The China Conundrum,” The New York Times, November 6, 2011. In this NYT Education Life feature, Bartlett and Fisher argue that American colleges have been slow to adjust to challenges caused by the rapid rise in Chinese undergraduates — now the largest group of foreign students in the United States.  In their eager competition for students from China’s expanding middle class who can afford to pay full tuition, American colleges contend with application, language, and acclimation problems as they “struggle to distinguish between good applicants and those who are too good to be true.”  The article is a collaboration between The New York Times and The Chronicle of Higher Education.

British Council, Corporate Plan 2011-2015, posted September 2011. The British Council’s vision for 2015 anticipates significant reductions in government funding, more collaboration with corporate and civil society partners, increased income from paid services, and greater priority to countries with strategic importance to the UK.   Includes a foreword by Council CEO Martin Davidson and sections on English teaching, education and society, the arts, sports, science, climate change, digital platforms, regional programs, and a financial plan.  See blog comments by Alex Case on implications of a 26 percent cut in government funding and keeping an eye on the Council’s “increasing commercialism.”

British Council, “Trust and Why it Matters,” Culture Report, EUNIC Yearbook 2011, pp. 190-193. Calling for an evidence-based approach to trust building, the Council reports on its survey of young urban, educated, and online “influencers” (age 16-34) in India, China, Poland, and Saudi Arabia.  The survey tested for levels of trust in the people and governments in the UK, the US, Germany, and France.  The Council found “a clear positive association” between self-assessed levels of trust and some form of cultural relations activity involving the base line countries as well as a willingness to engage further with those countries.  Levels of trust were significantly higher for the UK, Germany, and France than for the United States.

Broadcasting Board of Governors, Impact Through Innovation and Integration, BBG Strategic Plan, 2012-2016, posted November 2011. In this brief (seven pages) and imaginative five year plan, the BBG outlines a strategy for US international broadcasting intended to address fundamental changes in the global information environment.  Its strategy includes a revised statement of mission, a vision for “altogether new ways of doing business” in programing and use of new technologies, making internet censorship circumvention and anti-jamming a top priority, and transformational changes in the identity and organizational structure of the BBG and its broadcasting services.  See also the BBG’s press releaseand “Frequently Asked Questions.”

Massimo Calabresi, “Hillary Clinton and the Rise of Smart Power,”Time, November 7, 2011, 26-33. Time magazine’s cover story chronicles US Secretary of State Clinton’s efforts to face different situations, threats, and opportunities with smart combinations of diplomacy, development, and military hard power.  Her tools include the “convening power” of connections with civil society organizations, greater control over US foreign aid strategy, expansion of political advisors in the Department of Defense, and immersing “everyone from entry-level foreign service officers to newly appointed ambassadors in social media.”  Many of her initiatives, Time observes, are low on budget, “long on jargon and short on deliverables,” and run out of her office making their duration problematic.  Includes a Q&A with the Secretary by Time’s Managing Editor Richard Stengel.

Daryl Copeland, “Science Diplomacy: What’s It All About?” Center for International Policy Studies, Policy Brief No. 13, November 2011. Copeland (Canadian diplomat and author of Guerrilla Diplomacy) calls for greater attention to science diplomacy in addressing global issues that challenge development and security.  He distinguishes between science diplomacy (a subset of public diplomacy with governance connections) and international scientific collaboration among corporate and civil society partners.  His paper frames conceptual issues and outlines difficulties flowing from dominance of defense-related funding and lack of awareness and capacity in foreign ministries, multilateral organizations, and science-based institutions.

Mai’a K. Davis Cross, “All Talk and No Action,” Culture Report, EUNIC Yearbook 2011, pp. 20-25. Cross (University of Southern California) looks at rising Euro-pessimism in the United States and finds widespread lack of awareness of Europe’s political, economic, and military achievements.  She suggests three images that Europe should strive to promote:  a Europe “united in diversity,” a Europe that acts and doesn’t just talk, and a Europe that effectively combines hard and soft power in facing 21st century challenges.  Cross examines the role the European External Action Service can play in addressing US misperceptions with particular emphasis on the value of networked cultural diplomacy.

Recent articles by Professor Cross also include:  “Building a European Diplomacy: Recruitment and Training to the EEAS,” European Foreign Affairs Review, (2011), 16: 447-464.  On building professionalism, expertise, flexibility, and collective identity in the European External Action Service.  “Europe, A Smart Power?” International Politics (2011), 48, 691-706.  On the meaning of smart power and Europe’s use of soft and smart power.

European Union National Institutes of Culture (EUNIC), Culture Report, EUNIC Yearbook 2011. This fourth edition of the Culture Report — published for the first time within the framework of EUNIC (a network of 19 European cultural diplomacy organizations) — examines the current state of Europe’s external cultural relations.  Includes chapters by 30 scholars and practitioners from 20 countries that examine external perspectives on Europe, the role of culture in Europe’s external affairs, and the evolution of the EUNIC network.

“2011: Facets of Diplomacy,” Exchange: The Journal of Public Diplomacy, Association of Public Diplomacy Scholars, Syracuse University, November 2011. Graduate students at Syracuse University have published their second edition of online journal Exchange. Includes:

Bruce Gregory, “American Public Diplomacy: Enduring Characteristics, Elusive Transformation,” The Hague Journal of Diplomacy, 6 (2011) 351-372. This article looks ways in which characteristics of an American approach to public diplomacy are rooted in the nation’s history and political culture.  These include episodic resolve correlated with war and surges of zeal, systemic tradeoffs in American politics, competitive practitioner communities and powerful civil society actors, and late adoption of communication technologies.  The aarticle examines these characteristics in the context of the Obama administration’s strategy of global public engagement and three illustrative issues:  a culture of understanding, social media, and multiple diplomatic actors.  It concludes that characteristics shaping US public diplomacy significantly constrain its capacity for transformational change.

Craig Hayden, The Rhetoric of Soft Power: Public Diplomacy in Global Contexts, (Lexington Books, 2012). Hayden (American University) asks why do international political actors increasingly believe communicating with foreign audiences is crucial to their interests?  His answers are provided in a significant new inquiry into the theoretical nature of soft power and the variety of ways soft power is interpreted and implemented in the public diplomacy initiatives of different actors.  Hayden draws on concepts and methods in international relations and communications to develop a theoretical treatment of soft power and public diplomacy.  He then examines discourses and practices of soft power in case studies of the public diplomacy and strategic communication policies of China, Japan, Venezuela, and the United States.  Hayden is particularly concerned with the rhetoric of soft power — the reasoning, policy discussions, and public arguments that shape how public diplomacy programs of these actors are imagined and what they view to be necessary political action through communication.

Institute for International Education (IIE), Open Doors 2011,November 2011. IIE’s annual report on cross border student flows finds international student enrollment in the US increased 5% in 2011. Students from China led the increase followed by students from India, South Korea, Canada, and Taiwan.  The top three countries comprise almost half of the international enrollment in US higher education.  Although only 270,604 American college students studied abroad in 2010-2011, there has been a steady annual rise with an increase of about 10,000 from the previous year.  Most US students still choose traditional destinations in Western Europe.  However, enrollment in less traditional destinations such as India, Israel, and Brazil is on the rise.

Robert Kelley, “Repairing the American Image, One Tweet at a Time,” The United States After Unipolarity, LSE Ideas, London School of Economics, 2011, 35-39. Kelley (American University) looks at the Obama administration’s public diplomacy.  He commends efforts to put “social media and technology exchanges into the toolkit of the public diplomat.”  In contrast with these innovations in method, however, he finds an “absence of a strategic framework for public diplomacy” and a “strategic incoherence” in which means matter more than content.

Michelle Lee, “Public Diplomacy: At the Crossroads Between Practitioner and Theorist,” Council of American Ambassadors, The Ambassadors Review, Fall 2011. Lee (a US Foreign Service Officer currently assigned at the Department of State) looks at reasons for the divide between practitioners and academics in public diplomacy and what might be done in the two communities to benefit from greater collaboration.  Her article discusses recent efforts to bridge the divide, the value of advanced educational as well as increased training for mid-career diplomats, and recommendations to strengthen the practice and study of public diplomacy.

Jan Melissen, Beyond The New Public Diplomacy, Netherlands Institute of International Relations, Clingendael Discussion Paper No. 3, October 2011. The Director of Clingendael’s Diplomatic Studies Program and co-editor of The Hague Journal of Diplomacy looks at changes in diplomatic practice in a world of multiple actors and diverse networks.  His paper assesses criticisms of public diplomacy; varieties of public diplomacy practices by states; the increasing public diplomacy roles of sub-state, regional, and civil society actors; and points of learning from the public diplomacy of East Asian countries.  Given these changes, Melissen argues the juxtaposition of “traditional” and “new” public diplomacy is no longer satisfactory.  Rather, public diplomacy and diplomacy are merging into a more inclusive and “societized” form of diplomacy.  In a polylateral world of multiple actors, states remain highly relevant, but their diplomacy can best be understood in a context where non-state and non-official actors have a much greater role in international relationships.  Practitioners, he suggests, can learn much “outside their comfort zone from how public diplomacy is practiced in distinct organizational and cultural settings.”

Pew Research Center, Global Digital Communication: Texting, Social Networking Popular Worldwide, December 20, 2011. Pew’s survey of digital communication in 21 countries finds overwhelmingly large majorities in most major countries use cell phones for text messages (75%), taking pictures/video (50%), and Internet use (23%) based on median percentages across the nations surveyed.  Social networking remains popular but with only marginal change in use since 2010.  Exceptions are Egypt and Russia where usage has increased from 18% to 28% in Egypt and 33% to 43% in Russia.  Multiple uses of cell phones and social networking correlates with youth demographics and education.Media release.

Paul Sharp and Geoffrey Wiseman, guest editors, “American Diplomacy,” The Hague Journal of Diplomacy, Vol. 6, Nos. 3-4 2011. In this special issue of the Journal, Sharp (University of Minnesota, Duluth) and Wiseman (University of Southern California) convene a team of scholars and practitioners to look at the conduct of American diplomacy, the character of its diplomatic culture, efforts to reform, and suggestions for what lies ahead.  Includes:

  • Introduction
  • Paul Sharp and Geoffrey Wiseman, “American Diplomacy,” 231-234
  • Research Papers
  • Geoffrey Wiseman, “Distinctive Characteristics of American Diplomacy,” 235-259
  • David Clinton (Baylor University), “The Distinction Between Foreign Policy and Diplomacy in American International Thought and Practice,” 261-276
  • CHEN Zhimin (Fudan University), “US Diplomacy and Diplomats: A Chinese View,” 277-297
  • Michael Smith (Loughborough University), “European Responses to US Diplomacy: ‘Special Relationships,’ Transatlantic Governance and World Order,” 299-317
  • Karin A. Esposito and S. Alaeddin Valid Gharavi (School of International Relations, Tehran), “Transformational Diplomacy: US Tactics for Change in the Islamic Republic of Iran, 2004-2006,” 319-334
  • David Bosco (American University), “Course Correction: The Obama Administration at the United Nations,” 335-349
  • Bruce Gregory (George Washington University/Georgetown University),“American Public Diplomacy: Enduring Characteristics, Elusive Transformation,” 351-372
  • James Der Derian (Brown University), Quantum Diplomacy: German-US Relations and the Psychogeography of Berlin,” 373-392
  • Paul Sharp, “Obama, Clinton and the Diplomacy of Change,” 393-411
  • Practitioners’ Perspectives
  • Chas W. Freeman Jr. (US diplomat, retired), “The Incapacitation of US Statecraft and Diplomacy,” 413-432
  • Thomas Hanson (University of Minnesota, Duluth), “The Traditions and Travails of Career Diplomacy in the United States,” 433-450
  • Alec Ross (US Department of State), “Digital Diplomacy and US Foreign Policy,” 451-455.

Clay Shirky, Salant Lecture — Press Freedom in a Global Era, Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy, October 2011. Shirky (New York University and author of Here Comes Everybody) looks at press freedom as a relationship between technological capability and the regulatory power of legal and policy constraints.  Using Wikileaks and other examples, Shirky examines challenges to freedom of expression in “a post national environment.”  He argues the US and other democracies, which have been good at lecturing autocracies on freedom of speech, need to become much better at holding themselves to the standards they espouse.  (Courtesy of Bob Coonrod)

Russell Shorto, Descartes’ Bones: A Skeletal History of the Conflict Between Faith and Reason, (Vintage Books, 2008). Intellectual historian and journalist Russell Shorto tells the story of Descartes’ legacy and its relevance to today’s competing fundamentalist impulses (secular, Christian, and Muslim).  His lively and witty narrative uses the strange story of a centuries long struggle between scientific and religious authorities over the disposition of Descartes’ physical remains as a metaphor for understanding the continuing conflict between faith and reason.

Anne-Marie Slaughter, “A New Theory for the Foreign Policy Frontier: Collaborative Power,” The Atlantic, November 30, 2011. Slaughter (Princeton University) updates her inaugural Joseph S. Nye lecture at Princeton to frame a concept of “collaborative power,” — defined as “the power of many to do together what no one can do alone” — which she contrasts with Nye’s concept of “top down” relational power.  Elements of collaborative power include mobilization, connection, and adaptation of one’s preferences to enable meaningful dialogue.  For Slaughter, collaborative power is not held by A in relation to B.  Rather it is an “emergent phenomenon,” which leaders can learn to unlock and guide but not possess.

Tara Sonenshine, Under Secretary-designate for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, US Department of State, Testimony Before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, December 8, 2011. In prepared remarks for her confirmation hearing, Sonenshine (Executive Vice President, US Institute for International Peace) described public diplomacy as “a shared means to a shared goal of extending America’s reach and security by influencing how individuals around the world come to know and understand us.  It is about the advancement of foreign policy goals through people-to-people connections in a complex, global networked society.”  Successful public diplomacy, she stated, “is inextricably linked to national security.”  Public diplomacy “increases economic security through global engagement,” and it “must be agile and adaptive in using state of the art information technologies.”

In a Huffington Post blog, “America’s Next Move on Public Diplomacy,” co-authored with her USIP colleague Sheldon Himelfarb on May 5, 2009, Sonenshine offered her ideas to then incoming Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Judith McHale.

Janet Steele, “Justice and Journalism: Islam and Journalistic Values in Indonesia and Malaysia,” Journalism, 12(5) 533-549. Drawing on interviews with journalists in Jakarta, Surabaya, and Kuala Lumpur, Steele (George Washington University) looks at ways in which Southeast Asian journalists think about their work and implications for US public diplomacy.  She argues “journalists in Indonesia and Malaysia express universal values of journalism, but do so in an Islamic idiom” that privileges goals of economic justice and the legitimacy of those in authority more than freedom.  If the US wishes to engage journalists in these countries, Steele contends, “rather than focusing on ‘the role of a free press in a democracy,’ it would make far more sense to focus on ‘the role of independent media in a just society.’”

Kishan S. Rana, 21st Century Diplomacy: A Practitioner’s Guide,(The Continuum International Publishing Group, 2011). In this recent contribution to the Key Studies in Diplomacy series, former Indian Ambassador and DiploFoundation scholar Kishan Rana provides a guide to modern diplomacy for diplomacy practitioners and scholars.  His book is written with particular attention to its use in foreign ministry training courses and by teachers and students in academic institutions.  The book divides into three categories.  (1) A section on the international environment includes chapters on globalized, regional, and small states diplomacy; public diplomacy and country branding; and disapora diplomacy. (2) Chapters on institutions and processes look at foreign ministry reform, the reinvented embassy, decision-making and risk management, performance evaluation, information and communications technologies, the new consular diplomacy, and protocol.  (3) A section on diplomacy skills offers guidance on professional responsibilities, advocacy and public speaking, media skills, writing skills, and training exercises.

Websites and blogs of Interest

Robert Albro (American University), Public Policy Anthropology, a blog site that looks at cultural diplomacy, public diplomacy, intercultural dialogue, and other topics.

Intermedia’s AudienceScapes, an interactive tool and knowledge resource “on how citizens and policymakers gather, share, and use information for all sources.”  In a news release on December 15, 2011, Intermedia announced the appointment of Ali Fisher (Director of Mappa Mundi Consulting) as Associate Director of Digital Media Research.

R. S. Zaharna (American University), Culture Posts, an interactive blog site on USC’s Center on Public Diplomacy platform.

“U.S. Department of State Announces Launch of New Website,”Media Note, Office of the Spokesperson, October 12, 2011. The Department’s interactive Discover Diplomacy website seeks to introduce the world of diplomacy and the work of the State Department to high school and college students.

Gem from the past

Walter R. Roberts, “The Evolution of Diplomacy,” Mediterranean Quarterly, 17.3 (Summer 2006), 55-64. In this article, retired US diplomat and scholar Walter Roberts examines the origins of diplomatic practice as it focused increasingly on publics and differed from traditional diplomacy between governments during the second half of the 20th century.  It is a succinct overview of a transformation in diplomatic practice that led eventually to a global conversation on the meaning and methods of public diplomacy.  His article is a useful foundational reading as scholars and practitioners in the 21st century ask whether another transformation is occurring.  Has public diplomacy become so central to diplomacy that it is no longer helpful to treat it as unique theoretical concept and subset of diplomatic practice.  Mediterranean Quarterly lists “The Evolution of Diplomacy” as its seventh most cited article of the past eleven years.  His article is available online courtesy of the Public Diplomacy Alumni Association.

Walter Roberts career, which began in the Voice of America in 1942, included diplomatic assignments in the former Yugoslavia and elsewhere, service as an associate director of the US Information Agency, and a presidential appointment to membership on the US Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy.  He pioneered the teaching of public diplomacy at George Washington University in the 1980s and 1990s.

2 thoughts on “Public Diplomacy: Books, Articles, Websites #59

  1. matt,
    happy new year…..

    so sorry to see you go….but delighted to see mountain runner up and running again.

    thanks for including our strategic plan.

    best wishes.


  2. Dick,thanks for the comment and sentiment. I had looked forward to working with you more. There’s still a chance we will. If I do get inside again, I’ll be sure to make a condition the blog remains. After all, according to State’s FAM, I am not supposed to be denied the permission to blog as long as I do not violate security, operational or personal. We shall see.

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