Our round-up of news, notes, tips, and Tweets exhibiting how public diplomacy affects the world each and every day.
Latin American leaders have embraced Twitter as a way of both communicating policy and personal interests.
They make serious statements, blasting US spying or claiming disputed territory. But they get personal too, musing about things like flowers. Among Latin American leaders, Twitter is red-hot. President Cristina Kirchner of Argentina, Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff are keen users of the popular messaging service, which is preparing to go public, likely this week. [Global Post]
Foreign embassies spend a lot of time and money bringing their own culture into the host country, but could they be just as effective as a catalyst in promoting the local culture?
Embassies generally busy themselves promoting their own culture and values, spending a large sum of their financial resources inviting cultural troupes from the countries they represent. What if, in addition to promoting their own culture, they could promote the culture and talent of their host countries without committing major financial resources? Wouldn’t it be a masterstroke in the practice of public diplomacy and economy of resources? … These programs have now become brands in themselves and are likely to be initiated in the five most populous cities of Nepal such as Pokhra, Nepalgunj, Birgunj, Biratnagar, and Janakpur. A large number of young people turn up for these events to learn from their elders as well as to share their ideas, opinions, and feelings with them and each other. Public diplomacy in this context could be redefined as putting the other country, its people, and culture first. [The CPD Blog]
— IPDGC (@IPDGC) November 6, 2013
Marvel is bringing back Ms. Marvel, but this time she is a Muslim teen, the company’s first Muslim superhero.
Ms. Marvel, the 1960s-era comic book heroine who inspired a generation of teenage girls as a crime-fighting former U.S. Air Force officer in an impossibly tight costume, is making a comeback. But in the iconic character’s next incarnation, she will look very different. The role of the previously blonde, blue-eyed Ms. Marvel will be filled by a Muslim teen, Kamala Khan … But her real power might reside in helping teach the American public about what it means to grow up as a Muslim girl in the United States, activists said. Khan is the first Muslim lead character in a Marvel comic series. [Al Jazeera America via PDiN]
— Politics & Education (@PoliticsAndEd) November 7, 2013
For the first time in decades, the OECD is reassessing the international rules for what counts as foreign aid and who is eligible.
The DAC is considering ideas on whether, and how, to change the official ODA definition, with the aim of setting concrete proposals by late 2014. “It’s too early to start guessing what the final result may be,” said Jon Lomoy, director of the OECD’s development co-operation directorate. “But we know countries have different positions, and some are more keen than others to open the ODA definition.” Amy Dodd, co-ordinator for the UK Aid Network, said there were concerns that this process would merely water down the meaning of foreign aid. “We could see a whole range of things included in a new definition that put the development and poverty eradication focus of aid at risk, such as harder loans, guarantees, etc,” she added. [The Guardian]
— Franco Frattini (@FrancoFrattini) November 5, 2013
As Sri Lanka continues to normalize its governing body, skilled foreign diplomats focusing on economic diplomacy are needed.
Economic diplomacy should be the primary focus of our diplomats and some performance appraisal measures should be in place to check its effectiveness. It is also imperative to select the best individuals to run our diplomatic missions overseas. It should not be an area for rewards for those who have supported the government agenda whilst on duty. There is a popular perception that those who have favoured the government of the day would be sent overseas as ambassadors. This is a wrong signal given to senior public servants … Economic diplomacy covers the entire gamut of governance and it is the use of all the economic tools of the state to achieve its economic objectives. Economic diplomacy covers imports, exports, FDI, environment, lending, securing development assistance from donors and signing FTAs with countries with economic benefits to Sri Lanka. It must also protect the interests of the country when it comes to events that have far-reaching economic consequences. [Daily FT]
— Vincent Baby (@vb2b) November 7, 2013
Russia Today has grown into one of the widely watched international broadcasters in the world, but is the coverage objective or biased?
When Russia launched the English-language television station RT in December 2005, there was little doubt about the Kremlin’s motives in pouring millions into this media outlet targeting Western audiences. RT, known as Russia Today before its rebranding in 2009, was conceived as a soft-power tool to address what was perceived as pervasive anti-Russian bias in mainstream Western media. Despite its undeniable success, RT remains a divisive issue for many. One one side, its penchant for controversy and alleged bias attract numerous critics who question its independence. One the other hand, the West has its own state-financed media outlets (BBC, Voice of America, Deutsche Welle, etc.), with mandates similar to that of RT. [Foreign Policy Journal via John Brown’s Public Diplomacy Press and Blog Review]
— NCIV (@NCIVNetwork) November 6, 2013