Random: getting to know Lichtenstein

imageSubscribing to State’s Background Notes is fun. Notes on countries are emailed as they are updated. Usually I just give a quick look over to learn at least one thing about the country, but something about Lichtenstein just jumped out – maybe it was the castle picture or the Austro-Swiss diplomatic support. Whatever it was, it appears here on the blog as a random diversion…

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Invitation to a play: True Friendship by a VOA journalist

Unrelated to my article on the Voice of America is this invitation to a play written and directed by David Vandy, a journalist with VOA’s English to Africa service (BTW- I received the invite before I wrote the article):

Voice of America invites you to a production of the play True Friendship

Written & Directed by David Vandy, Journalist, VOA English to Africa Service

Original story by Koleh Durah Suma

Performed by Sierra Theatre Productions

Friday, August 14
2:00–3:30 p.m.

Voice of America
Wilbur J. Cohen Building Auditorium
330 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20237
(Please use Independence Avenue Entrance)
One block from Federal Center Southwest Metro (Blue & Orange lines)
Three blocks from L’Enfant Plaza Metro/Exit 7th St. and Maryland Ave. SW
(Yellow, Green, Blue, Orange lines)

Photo ID required

Please R.S.V.P. to VOA Public Relations at
(202) 203-4959 or askvoa@voanews.com

Unfortunately I won’t be in town to attend. However, I did confirm that you’re welcome to RSVP and attend.

This play raises an interesting issue, even though directed at a domestic audience, the play is put on with the appearance of VOA-sponsorship (original invite had VOA logo, it’s at VOA, writer/director is VOA), does this mean they are relying on me (and other subversives) to propagate word of the event because it’s illegal for them to disseminate the invitation? Things that make you go hmmm…

CNAS grows

CNAS, aka Center for a New American Security, grew a little bit this week. Certainly they have some empty to fill after so many left to join the White House and the Departments of State and Defense, but that doesn’t diminish the importance of their latest.

While Spencer waxes on about my friend Marc Lynch, nobody’s given Bob Killebrew the love he deserves. Check out CNAS’s press release for his short bio. It will be interesting if Marc Lynch, Tom Ricks, or Andrew Exum get Bob to post (he has one post at SWJ), but he’ll probably work quietly in the background and offer up his deep knowledge and incisive analysis of current and future stabilization requirements.

As CNAS grows, it has redefined the think tank as it (cautiously or a bit clumsily) inserts itself into the public discourse of national security. From conferences broadcast on the web to Twitter to blogging, they have gone the route that sharing information is power. Their knowledge, publically displayed, gains mindshare and marketshare. That is not to say other models are obsolete but the when the field has changed due to the strategy and tactics of an ideological competitor (and think tanks are ideological competitors) you may want to take notice.

Bouncing Around London

British Council signEnjoyed walking around London today. Stopped to watch the march that closed Piccadilly for a minute and then got bored. Had only a couple of meetings this afternoon. A couple more on Sunday and then non-stop Monday and Tuesday(here and here).

Came across the office of the British Council and realized the last time I walked around London I went right passed the same office without a second look. However, that was before I knew about public diplomacy (not that I know anything about it now).

Done for the day with dinner at 10:30p. Seems late, but as I’m still on DC time, not so bad.

Off topic: updates on some of my friends…

Blogging will resume shortly. After several days in Ankara, Turkey, presenting at the NATO Center of Excellence Department Against Terrorism – subject: Treating Terrorism as the Propaganda Act It Is – I came home to be a dad (taking care of / enjoying the kids on Friday) and a husband (painting, sanding and priming metal stairs, grouting, plumbing, etc).

As author Dave Berry said, not writing is easy and it gets easier the more you don’t write. So, I’ll start of this first post in a while with something completely different: updates from friends that have nothing to do with public diplomacy or strategic communication.

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CSC Seeks Postdoctoral Fellows for Grant Project

My friends at the Consortium for Strategic Communication are searching for three postdoctoral fellows to support an Office of Naval Research grant studying extremist narratives in contested populations. The positions are funded for two years, and the primary qualification is language & culture expertise in SE Asia, Southern Europe/Northern Africa, or the Middle East. Desirable qualifications and other details of the position are listed in the job advertisement at http://comops.org/asu-csc-postdoc.pdf.
The deadline is short, with applications due April 7 and a planned start on May 15.

For further information and application instructions, read http://comops.org/asu-csc-postdoc.pdf.

Abu Muqawama gets promoted

Andrew Exum will now be a paid blogger

Because the fact that I am joining CNAS on Monday morning will affect this blog and the way we do business, I felt the need to explain a little bit about the move and my future. So I sat down with myself over breakfast and did a little Q&A. This is a bit meta, so bear with me here.

Read the whole interview at the AM blog. Congrats Ex. Next beer’s on you. The second should be on John…