• Congress,  Public Diplomacy

    Isolated Overseas: Diplomatic Security Creates Challenges for American Public Diplomacy

    Guest Post By Mitchell Polman, originally posted at Understanding Government When Congress voted to abolish the U.S. Information Agency (USIA) in 1999, America’s public image abroad suffered a significant blow. This decision – inspired by the desire to shrink government and the predominant belief that USIA was an ineffective bureaucracy – closed many USIA-run American libraries and cultural centers around the world that were helping to promote better understanding of American culture and society. These gathering places – located in embassy buildings or in libraries and cultural buildings of host countries – were an important tool for U.S. public diplomacy. They organized English language classes, discussions about American society and…