• Development,  Interagency,  Public Diplomacy,  State Building

    Ackerman: State Dept Project Signals Foreign Policy Shift

    Spencer Ackerman has an article at The Washington Independent on the forthcoming Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR) based on his interview of Anne-Marie Slaughter, the State Department’s influential Director of Policy Planning. The QDDR is the State Department’s initial foray into strategic planning. According to State’s website, the QDDR will provide the short-, medium-, and long-term blueprint for our diplomatic and development efforts. Our goal is to use this process to guide us to agile, responsive, and effective institutions of diplomacy and development, including how to transition from approaches no longer commensurate with current challenges. It will offer guidance on how we develop policies; how we allocate our resources;…

  • Development,  Interagency,  Public Diplomacy,  State Building

    USAID challenges reflect greater problems at the State Department

    Between this issue with USAID, the recent report by State's Inspector General on the dysfunction in the Africa Bureau, State's absence in the current imbroglio over the militarization of public diplomacy, the Administration, State and Congress should take a very close look at a Department that is successful in limited areas despite itself.

  • ICT,  Media,  State Building

    DOD issues instructions in support of ICT

    Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D) describes a general effort to overcome disconnectedness and to build up socio-economic capacity at the local level. It has tremendous potential for creating stable areas. Several years ago when I first started writing about the potential of ICT4D to deny sanctuary to extremism, a few pushed back suggested that keeping people in the dark and disconnected from any information was better lest the bad guys co-opt channels of communication to spread their hate, lies, and distortions.

  • Public Diplomacy,  State Building

    Development as Public Diplomacy

    From Patrick Madden writing at the Sister Cities International blog:  When many people think of Sister Cities International, they think cultural exchanges. A choir tour from South Africa or a young person visiting Germany for a few weeks in the summer as their first experience abroad. For 50+ years, we’ve done a tremendous job reaching our hands out across oceans and borders, navigating language differences to being a dialogue using culture as a means toward common ground. These are very valuable, and often life changing, experiences for the individuals or the delegation on the trip. But more and more local sister city programs are being asked to do more for…

  • Public Diplomacy,  State Building

    Guest Post: Democracy Building That Works

    The below guest post is authored by Charles N. Quigley. Mr. Quigley is the executive director of the Center for Civic Education, a nonprofit organization promoting education for democracy in the United States and in more than 70 other countries. Building democracy is often an announced goal of U.S.-funded public diplomacy programs. However, there’s democracy building, and then there’s democracy building. Lately, the term has been getting a bad name. As must certainly be evident by now, there is no “do-it-yourself democracy kit” that can be dropped into a country whose citizens, regardless of prior experience, will then spontaneously organize themselves according to the instructions provided. The arrival of a…

  • Counterinsurgency,  Psychological Struggle,  Public Diplomacy,  State Building

    Al-Qaeda is not the only threat

    John Sullivan, the co-founder of the Los Angeles Terrorism Early Warning group and lieutenant with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, focusing on emerging threats, reminds us that Al-Qaeda is not the only threat. As such, public diplomacy and strategic communication planning that focuses only on Al-Qaeda is too limiting. From Danger Room: While the public and media are occupied with wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the potential conflict with Iran, the downward spiral in Pakistan, and a global economic meltdown, a new, rapidly-evolving danger — narco-cartels and gangs — has been developing in Mexico and Latin America. And it has the potential to trump global terrorism as a threat to…