Our round-up of news, notes, tips, and Tweets exhibiting how public diplomacy affects the world each and every day.
A new campaign by UN Women uses real search suggestions from Google’s autocomplete feature to highlight gender inequality.
Campaign creator Christopher Hunt, head of art for Ogilvy & Mather Dubai, offers this summary: “This campaign uses the world’s most popular search engine (Google) to show how gender inequality is a worldwide problem. The adverts show the results of genuine searches, highlighting popular opinions across the world wide web.” Each ad’s fine print says “actual Google search on 09/03/13.” [Adweek via PDiN]
Foreign commentators worldwide mocked the U.S. over the nearly 3-week government shutdown.
Outsiders have often grumbled that a political system of checks and balances designed 230 years ago is too lumbering for an age where billions of dollars can flee a nation in a second and nimble developing nations challenge U.S. primacy. Unlike foreign leaders with hefty parliamentary majorities, Obama cannot simply drive his agenda into law and since Congress retains the power of the purse, he must coerce and cajole. That can be tough even when his party controls Congress, but when the rival party has power — in this case Republicans in the House — it can be impossible. [Japan Times]
Bernard Vaussion, the retiring head chef of the Elysee palace, dishes on the dietary secrets of world leaders.
Bernard Vaussion, the retiring head chef who has cooked for French presidents for nearly 40 years, this week revealed the dietary secrets of the leaders at the top. According to Vaussion, Jacques Chirac savoured snails and sauerkraut, Francois Mitterrand had a taste for seafood, Nicholas Sarkozy took cheese off the menu and current president Francois Hollande likes “everything.” [The Telegraph]
— SU Public Diplomacy (@suPD) October 19, 2013
With the continued political strains between China and Japan, especially over the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands and official Japanese visits to the Yasakuni Shrine, experts call for grassroots exchanges to ease relations.
Experts who will join the coming dialogues said semiofficial or grass-roots exchanges will help bridge the gap caused by freezing ties. However, they also said visits will help only when participants can raise “constructive” ideas on thorny territorial and historical issues … Noboru Yamaguchi, a retired lieutenant general in Japan’s ground self-defense force and professor at the National Defense Academy of Japan, said academic and business people like him “can be more flexible than government officials” during the forum and can touch on territorial and historical issues”. [China Daily]
A commentary in Republica argues for Nepal to embrace its history of economic diplomacy after two decades of prioritizing political affairs.
The focus of Nepali diplomacy has to shift from mere political relations and foreign aid to increasing trade, tourism, investment, joint ventures and foreign employment generation. The income through the UN Peace Keeping missions is significant and it needs to be registered in government records. The role of the private sector could be significant if it could be made a part of decision-making and negotiations at global, regional and bilateral levels. [Republica]
Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro continues his predecessor’s war against the media, accusing the opposition of plotting coups.
Media conspiracies have been a staple of government propaganda since 2002, when Mr Maduro’s predecessor and mentor, Hugo Chávez, was briefly ousted after mass demonstrations cheered on by Venezuela’s four main television channels. That led the government to adopt a two-pronged strategy explicitly aimed at achieving “media hegemony”. It has vastly expanded the state’s media interests, from which all vestiges of dissent have been expunged; and it has gradually closed, browbeaten or infiltrated almost every independent outlet. [The Economist]
Paradiplomacy initiatives, or relations between subnational entities (cities, states, provinces), are gaining steam around the world.
Although building foreign communities abroad isn’t the goal of consulates and bilateral agreements, it certainly doesn’t hurt public diplomacy efforts. According to Tavares, Singapore recently opened an embassy in Brasília, the capital, but noted that the “diplomatic hub in the country is really in São Paulo.” By concentrating trade and other activities in the places where the people live – not just where they conduct official business – countries are maximizing their influence potential at the most accessible level. [Take Five]
— APDS (@USC_APDS) October 19, 2013
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javiad Zarif, or someone representing Zarif, continues to be active on social media, this time using Facebook.
The active presence of Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Facebook and Twitter has been a great tool and venue for Iran’s public diplomacy with Western journalists. It has also served as an unfiltered source of direct interaction between Zarif and the Iranian Internet-savvy youth. Three recent comments by young Iranians on the foreign minister’s Facebook page has caught the attention of Iranians on social media, and even Iranian domestic media. [Iran Pulse]
— The Africa Daily (@TheAfricaDaily) October 20, 2013
After Ethiopia fell to Nigeria in the first leg of its World Cup qualifier playoff, government officials and fans alike took to Twitter to try and persuade the skilled diaspora to play for the national team next time around.
But Ethiopian fans have now found something to cheer about as their largely-domestic based Walyas – named after an endemic antelope – could be boosted by a small contingent of players plying their trade in Europe. After Arsenal’s 16-year old prodigy Gedion Zelalem – who is also eligible to play for Germany and the United States – tweeted “Still proud” following Sunday’s loss, Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom took on the task of luring the young Gunner. “Hi Gedion. Good to hear from you. We hope you will play for Ethiopia soon,” he tweeted back. [Vanguard]
— British Embassy (@UKinUSA) October 19, 2013
South Korean activists released balloons across the DMZ carrying allegations that Kim Jong Un’s wife, Ri Sol-ju, once starred in a homemade porno.
The activists, led by prominent Christian rights campaigner Lee Min-bok, released a batch of balloons proclaiming that dictator Kim Jong Un’s attractive, 20-something wife, Ri Sol-ju, once starred in a homemade porno flick. Seizing on newspaper reports, the group also spread rumors that members of a state-run musical troupe she performed in were supposedly executed by firing squad for their role filming even more steamy sex videos and selling the recordings, reports KoreaBANG (the link is mildly NSFW) … The allegation, though, is still a spectacular and unproven rumor. [Global Post]
— Omari Faulkner (@ostreet3) October 20, 2013