Our round-up of news, notes, tips, and Tweets exhibiting how public diplomacy affects the world each and every day.
The EU wants to leverage its soft power in the Asia-Pacific reason to promote peace and stability, and this manages to anger both China and the U.S.
The European Union’s (EU) Asia-Pacific policies continue to receive criticism from China and the United States. Beijing views Brussels’ support for Washington’s Asian pivot as tacit approval for the US-led containment of China. Further complicating China-EU relations are Beijing’s complaints that Brussels ‘interferes’ too much in the country’s internal affairs. The view from Washington is altogether different. Endorsing and supporting the pivot is one thing, but the EU needs to do more to satisfy the United States. [ISN]
If India doesn’t better take control of its soft power assets, they could be reduced to watered-down cultural frivolities.
It is a measure of India’s timeless mystique that her culture and values continue to rekindle interest across the globe, especially the West, even in an Americanised world, as amply demonstrated by the celebration of Diwali by heads of state and their families … Cynics may dismiss such sartorial diplomacy as beside the point but they clearly reflect an acknowledgement of India’s soft power. The hitherto exoticised land of maharajas, snake charmers and rope tricks has an impressive line-up of cultural products that have been embraced worldwide, including textiles, performing arts, the near-mythic chicken tikka masala—it boasts a claim of being Britain’s national dish—and yoga. [The New Indian Express]
— MarieVandendriessche (@MaryVdd) November 8, 2013
If you missed Ambassador Thomas Pickering’s talk “Beyond Benghazi: US Public Diplomacy in Troubled Times,” here is a summation.
Pickering feels there are three major issues with public diplomacy going forward: 1) The US government in Washington is out of touch with the situation on the ground around the world. This is largely due to an increase in the number of ambassadors appointed for political rather than diplomatic reasons. As Pickering said, every administration wants its people in the key jobs, so the political appointees pile up. 2) The US has less capacity to actually listen to other governments and act on what they’re saying. The lack of flexibility doesn’t help the US. 3) American public diplomacy and public policy need to be made more mutually relevant. [Not What You Might Think]
— IPDGC (@IPDGC) November 7, 2013
Egyptian political rap is gaining attention both inside and outside of the Egyptian borders, including increasing and possibly detrimental support from foreign cultural divisions wanting to give voice to the dissenting Egyptian youth.
Egyptian rappers currently face many challenges, including logistical obstacles like an on-going state-imposed curfew, which began in August 2013. In the current atmosphere, these musicians tread on political eggshells as they contend with unprecedented societal polarization over the treatment of the Muslim Brotherhood. The usual audience for hip hop music Egypt has also turned to other musical genres like mahragan or rock for more lighthearted entertainment Facing restrictions on freedom of expression and a dwindling audience at home, Egypt’s rappers are nevertheless finding support and interest in their work in the West. Western governments, in particular, have become vocal supporters of Egypt’s “political” rap movement. While the reasons for this support are unclear, they may have a negative effect on the genre in the long run. [Muftah]
— USC Public Diplomacy (@PublicDiplomacy) November 7, 2013
In a discussion at Occidental College, four panelist discuss whether U.S.-Iran relations may finally be on the road to repair.
Russell said that too many conversations about the U.S.-Iran relationship leave out the people of both countries. And many of the 70 million people in Iran are consuming Western popular culture. Last month, 30,000 satellites around the country—many of which stream in the Rupert Murdoch-owned station FARSI1, which airs programs from all over the world—were bulldozed. And according to news reports, Paris Hilton may be more popular than Rouhani. Russell likened the conditions within Iran to those of the late-stage Soviet Union, in which Western culture ultimately inspired people to walk away from a totalitarian regime. [Zocalo Public Square]
.@PDCommission returns! 1st mtg “State of Public Diplomacy” Dec 2, 2-4p, reviews audits,scholarly research, int’l broadcasting, 2014 plan
— Matt Armstrong (@mountainrunner) November 8, 2013
More on the Cyrus Cylinder and its role as a conveyor of messages in a cultural diplomacy context.
As an art historian and museum professional who writes on the role of artifacts and their exhibitions as conveyors of messages, whether they be propagandist or otherwise, this subject is remarkably absent from studies of the history of propaganda and its dissemination through international exhibitions. Specifically, an art historical and museological approach that takes into account the history of the display of collections in the name of national prestige or, in this case, ideological branding is lacking. Fortunately, the field of museum studies is extremely holistic and trans-disciplinary. However, studying exhibitions can be a process fraught with pitfalls. The problem with “reading” exhibitions in general is that they may not say what their makers intended. Or, the intentions may be intellectually weak. [CPD Blog]
— PD_Dan (@PD_Dan) November 7, 2013
George Washington’s Elliot School of International Affairs is hosting a colloquium tomorrow: Korea and Cultural Diplomacy: Politics and Meaning in Arts, Industry and Civil Society.
The HMS Colloquium in the Korean Humanities series at GW provides a forum for academic discussion of Korean arts, history, language, literature, thought, and religious systems in the context of East Asia and the world. The Colloquium series is made possible by an endowment established by the estate of Hahn Moo-Sook (1918-1993), one of Korea’s most honored writers. The 21st HMS colloquium is co-organized with the Washington Korean-American Forum and the Korean Cultural Center of the Korean Embassy. We are grateful to our sponsors: the Korea Foundation and GW’s Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures, Sigur Center for Asian Studies, and Institute for Ethnographic Research. [George Washington University]
— Colleen Graffy (@Colleen_Graffy) November 7, 2013
— Jennifer Charlton (@Jen_Charlton) November 7, 2013
The USC Center on Public Diplomacy posted a video from their Conversations series featuring Richard Wike, Associate Director of Pew’s Global Attitudes Project.
— SU Public Diplomacy (@suPD) November 8, 2013