Our round-up of news, notes, tips, and Tweets exhibiting how public diplomacy effects the world each and every day.
Following in the wake of the cultural diplomacy tsunami that was Psy, South Korea is now pushing soju as the next breakthrough hit from the rising power.
In an effort to reach people who have no connection to Korean culture, Jinro has partnered with the Los Angeles Dodgers and started selling soju at games. They’ve also got PSY up on billboards around L.A. “We want to be at every store. Like everybody could just go into a store and see soju there,” says Tae Kim, sales and marketing manager for Jinro America. “That’s our main goal.” [NPR]
In America, newspaper op-eds are only read by about 5% of the country. So then, why do foreign leaders keep using them as public diplomacy tools?
“We know from the research that most readers in the United States do not read op-eds,” Guy Golan, who studies public diplomacy at the University of Syracuse’s Newhouse School of Public Communications, told me today. They’re typically read by about 5 percent of readers. But it’s typically read by politicians, journalists, issue advocates, and academics. The journalists then pick it up and it becomes salient in media where the readers become aware of it.” [Slate]
— IPDGC (@IPDGC) September 20, 2013
Putin’s use of the op-ed as public diplomacy signified that he is looking beyond pragmatic diplomacy toward an ideological battle with the U.S.
However, Putin’s op-ed, which appeared in The New York Times on September 11, 2013, showed that from Russia’s perspective it is a contest after all. By directly addressing the American people in this, a piece of carefully drafted public diplomacy, Putin attempted to alter the way his diplomatic victory is perceived in America. Whereas in conventional diplomacy, decisions can be based on pragmatism, the very nature of public diplomacy does not allow pragmatism. Engagement with foreign publics through creation of dialogue and appeal to common values and emotions always entails a normative component. With the op-ed, Putin has begun an ideological battle – one that, as I will argue, has little to do with the issue of Syria itself, but concerns Russia and the United States. [The CPD Blog]
— Dan Garrett (@DanGarrett97) September 23, 2013
As North Korea’s economy slowly turns itself in the right direction, it’s new “charm offensive” could be a sign that the Machiavellian state is evolving.
Additionally, Kim Jung-Un has allowed numerous cultural events to take place in North Korea this year. He hosted the Harlem Globetrotters once and Rodman twice. There have been movies produced, film festivals, and countless sports and music projects ranging from parkour to Christian music groups. There has even been an increase in student educational exchanges, as well as business exchanges, with scholars and non-governmental workers from all over the world. The South Korean flag was paraded in Pyongyang during a weightlifting event, while a North Korean movie, “The Flower Girl,” was preparing to hit the big screen in South Korea. Family reunions have also resumed. Unprecedented concessions are being made every day. Recently, a group of five motorcyclists from New Zealand were permitted to ride from Mount Peaktu, North Korea, down to Mt. Hala (Jeju Island) in South Korea — another historic first. Kaesong Special Economic Zone (SEZ) is back in full operation, with new terms of conditions dedicated to longevity, sustainability, and mutual respect. A “Peace Park” is being constructed, with the hopes that North and South Koreans will be able to meet, talk and eventually embark on inter-state travel through there. [The Fair Observer]
— Exchange Programs (@ECAatState) September 21, 2013
Professor Joe Nye appears on NPR to discuss how President Obama is shutting down his domestic soft power initiatives due to an unwelcoming audience.
Now that the GOP is threatening to shut down the government unless they can defund Obama’s signature health care law, White House aides sound a little exasperated. Spokesman Jay Carney lamented that, despite Obama shelling out for an expensive date at a fancy restaurant, Republican leaders once again are going home with the Tea Partiers. “He has used the powers that are available to him to try to convince, persuade, cajole Republicans into doing the sensible thing, which is not threatening to shut the government down, not threatening to default,” Carney said. Diplomats have a technical term for that “convince, persuade, cajole” routine: soft power. [KBIA]
Before its account was suspended, the Somalia-based Islamist group responsible for the terror attack in Nairobi over the weekend was using Twitter to communicate with the wider public.
Somalia-based Islamist group Shabab took to Twitter on Saturday, via its press arm, after masked gunman stormed an upscale mall in Kenya and killed an estimated 30 people in an apparent terror attack. The group had threatened malls before, The New York Times reports. And its use of Twitter has been an integral part of its strategy. [Fast Company]
Shortly after the massacre at the Westgate Mall in Kenya, the alleged terrorists, al-Shabab, began tweeting about their motivations from the now-suspended account @HSM_Press … As the hostage situation inside the mall continued, leaders and organizations from Kenya also used the social networking site to communicate new information and volunteer opportunities, and try to keep morale up. [Buzzfeed via PDiN]
— Nafisa (@TheNafisaIsa) September 20, 2013
At the 2013 Social Good Summit, the Executive Director UN Women says social media can be used to stop domestic violence against women.
She explained that men can make a difference by “tweeting about it, hosting conversations, fighting against those sites that abuse women.” Technology, she stressed, provides open access to education, which can help end violence. When information is available through open sources online, more people have the means to educate themselves. [Mashable]
— Jordi Arrufat (@Jordiarrufat) September 21, 2013