Our round-up of news, notes, tips, and Tweets exhibiting how public diplomacy affects the world each and every day.
Reuters connects the dots between South Korea’s cultural dominance of Asia and its massive currency swap deals this month, both leading toward a very confident South Korea.
Its most recent effort to leverage brand “Korea” – three currency swap deals worth more than $20 billion that were announced this month. South Korea had the seventh largest currency reserves in the world at the end of August, worth $331.1 billion, according to the Bank of Korea. It can easily afford to match cultural diplomacy with economic muscle as it competes with Japan and China for influence. K-Pop icons such as Psy, whose “Gangnam Style” hit went viral in 2012, and even Korean food are used by Seoul to build South Korea’s brand, while Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and Hyundai Motor Co are firms with global reach. [Reuters]
Google announced the launch of uProxy, a browser extension that allows users in countries that track dissidents via the internet to assume the online identity of a friend in a country that does not.
Starting Monday, Google users in places like Iran, Syria, China, and Russia will be able to mask their online identity with the help of a friend in a censor-free country. Human-rights groups will have a new tool to stop their governments from shutting down their websites. And the world will have a new way to watch where the most cyber attacks are coming from. The first tool, a browser extension called uProxy establishes an encrypted link between two users who know and trust each other—one who is trying to evade detection and one who is allowing that first user to assume his or her online identity. A Syrian activist, for example, can now experience the internet through the browser of a friend in the United States. It’s like a social networking tool for dissidents. [The Daily Beast via PDiN]
— UniversityWorldNews (@uniworldnews) October 22, 2013
Tara Sonenshine reacts to Donald M. Bishop’s speech to the Public Diplomacy Council, which argued that U.S. public diplomacy is “weak, lacks direction, and increasingly focuses on feelgood issues.”
His remarks are bold and insightful. I found myself agreeing with many of his individual points – but I take issue with the overall, rather dire view and negative view, that America’s public diplomacy is weak, lacks direction, and increasingly focuses on feel good issues. Ironically, the speech attempts to suggest a more focused, perhaps narrower set of issues for public diplomacy to concentrate on… but in the course of the critique – a multitude of issues and directions are outlined including social media, innovation, countering violent extremism, religious outreach, etc.— a laundry list as long as those the author laments that public diplomacy already faces. All good issues, by the way. [Take Five]
More N.S.A. revelations have led to the castigation of the U.S. by usual allies France and Mexico.
The French government castigated the United States on Monday for carrying out extensive electronic eavesdropping within France, the latest diplomatic backlash against the National Security Agency’s wide surveillance net and another example of how disclosures about the program have strained relations — at least temporarily — with even the closest of Washington’s allies … On Sunday, Der Spiegel, a German newsmagazine, reported that the N.S.A. had intercepted communications inside the cabinet of the former Mexican president Felipe Calderón. [New York Times]
— Dan Garrett (@DanGarrett97) October 22, 2013
China’s National College Entrance Examination—a test that determines the future of soon-to-be higher education students—will soon score English substantially less while boosting the point value of the Chinese section.
According to the timetable of Beijing’s education system reform plan, from 2016, the scores for English in the Beijing college entrance examination will be reduced to 100 points from the previous 150 points. Of the 100, the scores for listening ability will increase to 30 points. And for Chinese, the total scores will increase from 150 points to 180 points. Some say the English testing system in China needs to change as it puts too much emphasis on high marks and ignores the development of student’s comprehensive language capabilities. [CCTV]
Chinese President Xi Jinping announced his support of gaining education overseas as a means of continued development in China.
China has expanded the number of students sent to study abroad since the adoption of the reform and opening up policy in 1978. By the end of 2012, 2.64 million had been sent abroad, among whom 1.09 million returned. Overseas-educated scholars were encouraged by Chinese President Xi Jinping to serve as a talent pool, think tank and a vital force for people-to-people diplomacy, at the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Western Returned Scholars Association held in Beijing on Monday. [Xinhua]
— USC Public Diplomacy (@PublicDiplomacy) October 21, 2013
Daya Kinshan Thussu of the University of Westminster released a new book this month on the power of culture and communication in modern India.
Global communications scholar and Indian media specialist Daya Kishan Thussu has released his sixteenth book, Communicating India’s Soft Power: Buddha to Bollywood. This innovative study examines India’s cultural influence in the global community. Thussu focuses on international communications and media, emphasizing the Indian historical experience in his analysis. This comprehensive perspective shows how India has developed into the rising soft power that we know today. [USC Center for Public Diplomacy]
India is hosting a global photo competition that aims to capture worldwide perceptions of the country.
India is organising a global photography competition to showcase its growing “soft power”, factors that influence the opinion of individuals and organisations towards the country through the medium of culture. The competition also aimed at inviting the world to share its perception on what India is, along with the aspiration to bring people from all over the world closer to India and its culture. [Business Standard]
— ChinaFile (@ChinaFile) October 21, 2013
For the students out there, the National Council for International Visitors is seeking a ‘Public Diplomacy Intern.’
The National Council for International Visitors (NCIV) is now accepting internship applications for the Spring 2014 Semester. Interns start no later than the second week of January and continue through the spring semester. NCIV’s mission is to promote international understanding, nonprofit leadership, and global engagement. NCIV represents and provides services for a national network of independent program agencies and community-based nonprofit organizations involved professional exchange programs. Through professional exchange programs, the NCIV network connects emerging foreign leaders with their American counterparts to solve global challenges. The NCIV network is a proud partner of the U.S. Department of State and U.S. public diplomacy efforts. [Idealist]
Welcome to Twitter, @SimonAnholt!
— ICD by Riman Vilnius (@ICD_Newsblog) October 22, 2013