• Public Diplomacy

    Barry Zorthian, public diplomacy legend, passes away at 90

    A legendary member of the old guard of public diplomacy passed away December 30 at the age of 90. Barry Zorthian, seen at right at the 2009 Smith-Mundt Symposium, had a long career in the service of the United States and the media. I’m honored to have known Barry over the past two years. Barry was born in Turkey in 1920. Emigrating with his family to the US, he graduated from Yale University in 1941 and joined the US Marine Corps, serving as an artillery officer in the Pacific Theater. After the war, Barry worked at CBS Radio in New York and earned a law degree from New York University.…

  • Events

    Event: exploring an independent public diplomacy / strategic communication organization

    The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars is convening a non-partisan public diplomacy initiative next week, co-chaired by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former Secretary of Defense William Perry. The initiative will bring together a broad coalition of high-level experts, practitioners, including members from the corporate and foundation sectors, the think-tank and academic communities, and the Congress, to develop a business plan for the new organization to provide sustained, innovative, and high quality private sector support for US public diplomacy; and identify public and private sources of funding. The envisioned entity will be non-partisan and transcend Administrations. It will facilitate better coordination and implementation between the government and…

  • Cultural Diplomacy,  Public Diplomacy,  State Department

    A Tale from the Field about Religion, Culture, and Perception

    By Gregory L. Garland Matt’s blog has become a force to behold in the discussion about strategic communication, public diplomacy, and State/DOD relations. It has shined a light on what largely was a rarified, inside-the-beltway debate symptomatic of the old USIA’s domestic blank spot. What has been lacking are stories from the field outside the U.S. – examples of PD as it actually is conducted by PD professionals. Here’s one from my own experience that in many ways is typical. I’ve run effective PD programs that didn’t cost Uncle Sam anything except my own time. I’ve run next to useless PD programs so flush that I couldn’t spend all the…

  • Public Diplomacy,  State Department

    What does Microsoft and State’s Bureau of International Information Programs have in common?

    In today’s The New York Times, Dick Brass, a former Microsoft Vice President (1997-2004), describes a corporate paralysis that stifles the release of relevant and innovative products in his op-ed, Microsoft’s Creative Destruction. As they marvel at Apple’s new iPad tablet computer, the technorati seem to be focusing on where this leaves Amazon’s popular e-book business. But the much more important question is why Microsoft, America’s most famous and prosperous technology company, no longer brings us the future, whether it’s tablet computers like the iPad, e-books like Amazon’s Kindle, smartphones like the BlackBerry and iPhone, search engines like Google, digital music systems like iPod and iTunes or popular Web services…

  • Government Broadcasting,  Media,  Now Media,  Public Diplomacy,  State Building

    US International Broadcasting as an Untapped Resource

    Recommended: US International Broadcasting: an untapped resource for ethnic and domestic news organization (PDF, 139kb) by Shawn Powers. The American approach to public service broadcasting, which is severely underfunded when compared to the rest of the world, is also legally separated from U.S. international broadcasting, a firewall that inhibits effective collaboration between either. Indeed, the problem is worse, as U.S.-funded international broadcasting is prohibited from disseminating its journalistic features within the U.S., a ban that prevents effective use of its significant journalistic resources by both public and private news networks in the United States. including a large sector of ethnic media that could surely benefit from the 60 languages that…

  • Public Diplomacy

    Meeting of the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy

    According to the State Department, the US Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy will hold a public meeting on February 11, 2010, in the conference room of the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), 1850 K Street, NW, Fifth Floor, Washington, D.C. 20006. The meeting will be from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. The Commissioners will discuss public diplomacy issues, including interagency collaboration in advancing U.S. government public diplomacy efforts. The Advisory Commission was originally constituted as the Advisory Committee on Radio Programming by Assistant Secretary of State William Benton to provide oversight over America’s international broadcasting and to comfort Congress the programs would be responsibility administered. Members of this Committee…