Our round-up of news, notes, tips, and Tweets exhibiting how public diplomacy effects the world each and every day.
The voting for the next director-general of UNESCO begins in early October. The incumbent, Irena Bokova, who is being criticized for the organization’s decline in prestige, is being challenged by candidates from Djibouti and Lebanon.
Bokova has been damaged by an external audit of UNESCO by French government body the Court of Audits in March. The auditors’ report strongly criticised UNESCO’s management, describing decision-making as “hesitant”, and “sometimes ambiguous and incoherent”. A planned reduction in staff costs has been “too slow” in being implemented, according to the auditors. And their high credibility and clout makes it difficult for Bokova to shrug off the report, say diplomats. [SciDev.net]
India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh makes the United States the first stop of his major power economic diplomacy tour.
As the two leaders prepare to meet again at the White House on Friday for a working bilateral meeting, Obama is under pressure from lobby groups and lawmakers seething at what they see as India’s protectionism and lax enforcement of intellectual property rights. India’s $60 billion trade with the United States is widely seen as less than it could be and is just an eighth of U.S. trade with China. Even India’s national security adviser accepts there is a perception the relationship is drifting off course. [Reuters]
— SU Public Diplomacy (@suPD) September 25, 2013
Lech Walesa, former president of Poland and Nobel Peace Prize winner, calls for the unification of Poland and Germany on economic and defense grounds.
The Nobel Peace Prize winner and former Polish president, whose Solidarity trade union played a key role in bringing an end to the Cold War, said the world had changed and needed new ways of organising itself. “We need to expand economic and defence cooperation and other structures to create one state from Poland and Germany in Europe,” he said. [National Post via The Public Diplomacy Update]
Colombia’s new international tourism ad campaign describes itself using “magical realism,” the literature genre closely associated with crossover South American writers, most notably Gabriel García Márquez.
Whenever I’m in conversation with someone from South America about literature, they will inevitably stick a (real or metaphorical) finger in my chest and point out — and often without solicitation — that “magical realism” does not define South American literature. It served as a convenient literary ambassador for a short time, but is in fact a dated reference and a unfortunate cliché. Still, as a slogan for tourism, I think it’s quite catchy. [Publishing Perspectives]
— Cor Hersbach (@CorHersbach) September 26, 2013
Smart power, and how the Baltic states can use it to build international support to counterbalance Russia’s influence, was the major topic at the Annual Baltic Conference on Defense.
Soft power, channeled through public diplomacy, could better establish the political and cultural identities of these states in ways that would help them build international constituencies. If other countries’ publics feel that they “know” the Baltic nations, they might pay more attention to them and be inclined to support them in disputes with Russia. [The CPD Blog]
— ArtsDiplomacyNetwork (@ArtsDiplomacy) September 26, 2013
Israeli diplomats once again use social media much more loosely than one would expect from official diplomatic accounts: they create a satirical LinkedIn account for the new Iranian president.
A message posted on the official Twitter page of the Israeli Embassy on Tuesday morning drew attention to a parody LinkedIn account for President Hassan Rouhani. The mock résumé of Mr. Rouhani’s career, filled with sarcastic asides, described him as “President of Iran, Expert Salesman, PR Professional, Nuclear Proliferation Advocate.” [New York Times]
— Mosharraf Zaidi (@mosharrafzaidi) September 25, 2013
Colombia sent a group of young singers and dancers to Ghana after the recent opening of diplomatic relations between the countries.
A group of young Colombian musicians known as “Cantares del Pacifico” is crossing the Atlantic for five days in a cultural exchange of music and dance with the west African nation of Ghana. The visit comes after opening diplomatic relationship between the two countries following the establishment of shared embassy between Colombia, Mexico, Chile and Peru in Ghana under the Cali Declaration made in recent accord with the Pacific Alliance. [Colombia Reports via PDiN]
— American Security (@amsecproject) September 25, 2013