Our round-up of news, notes, tips, and tweets exhibiting how public diplomacy affects the world each and every day.
Curious story that combines gastrodiplomacy, nation branding and a South Korean professor trying to influence international attitudes. A conspiracy!? Perhaps.
Who? What? When? Where? How? Why? All are standard questions, but: “Bulgogi?” That one-word question is the headline of an ad in the Wednesday print edition of The New York Times. I was busy reading an article about Ukraine (that’s what you do if you work at NPR) when I saw the ad. On my first, second and third read, I was baffled. Was this an ad for a Korean-American restaurant association? Perhaps for a beef trade group of some sort? Was the ad seriously promoting grilled, marinated beef as an essential part of a spring training regimen? Is that why a Texas Rangers outfielder (called Choo Shin-soo in the ad but listed as Shin-Soo Choo by the Rangers) was inviting us all to try bulgogi? [NPR]
A writer for the Council for Foreign Relations says that the public diplomacy push of Michelle Obama’s trip to China is not enough; policy must be forwarded as well. Could improving bi-lateral relations via public diplomacy be the policy though?
Fine and good, but the First Lady has the opportunity to do much more. While the Chinese media have positively reported on the fact that the first lady will not touch the sensitive issues, the U.S. media have been less supportive, drawing some relatively unfavorable comparisons between the limited political aspirations of Mrs. Obama’s trip and those of previous first ladies. Mrs. Clinton’s speech at the 1995 women’s conference in Beijing, for example, stands out for its bold call for China to improve its human rights, and her successor Laura Bush called on China to do more to influence the repressive regime next door in Myanmar. [Council for Foreign Relations]
— Lena O (@LenaOsipova) March 17, 2014
My formative experiences were the result of being a public diplomacy officer apprenticing in a specific context – USIA. I worked with legendary PAOs who were forces to be reckoned with inside an Embassy. Among Embassy section chiefs, it was PAOs who had the best insight into how the interagency functioned because they always worked across bureaucratic boundaries. It was PAOs who knew how the host country worked, so they knew how to get things done, and what was likely to unfold. These experiences of working across boundaries, connecting ideas and people, were essential when I became an Ambassador, the Embassy’s interagency team leader. [Public Diplomacy Council]
I’m a little late with this, but interesting post about the travel restrictions on the U.S. embassy personnel in Ukraine.
What I find worrisome is that the staff of the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine may not know either. The staff has been under a travel cap imposed by the Department since December of 2012. The Inspector General (OIG) at the State Department identified this as a problem last October. In a country where 90 percent of the 46 million population lives outside Kyiv, the capital city where we have our only post, U.S. diplomats have tightly limited funds to travel in the countryside. The OIG inspection report commends the embassy for its past political reporting to Washington, but wonders aloud whether – in view of the resource limits – the embassy will be able to continue that kind of sophisticated analysis and information gathering. There is no specific information on when an American diplomat last spent any time in Crimea talking to the people and learning what they think. [Public Diplomacy Council]
— Rick Stengel (@stengel) March 15, 2014
The European Centre for Development Policy Management’s latest journal takes on the topic of “New Diplomacy and Development.” A few articles on economic diplomacy and cultural diplomacy, among others.
— Tamara Juricic (@TamaraJuricic) March 17, 2014
Food diplomacy refashioned as electoral shenanigans in India. Yikes.
The new recipe for political success, it seems, is food diplomacy. Small wonder, politicians are giving voters plenty of food for thought. While Narendra Modi, the prime ministerial candidate of the country’s largest opposition outfit — the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party — is offering hot tea over sizzling discussions to his followers at street corners, the country’s Grand Old party, the 127-year-old Congress, is ladling out Rahul milk and Priyanka khichdi (porridge), eponymous items named after the Gandhi scions of course. Joining the food fray is Jayalalitha, chief minister of the southern state of Tamil Nadu. Amma (or mother as she’s referred to), has ostensibly gone the whole hog. She has launched a chain of restaurants across the capital city of Chennai to serve fluffy idlis, flavour-charged sambar rice, piquant curd rice and more to hungry masses at rock-bottom prices. The way to a voter’s heart is through his stomach? Absolutely! [Khaleej Times]
— USC PD Magazine (@PD_mag) March 15, 2014
Interesting opinion piece about Pakistan correcting its entanglements with engagements (with shout-outs to public diplomacy).
However, public diplomacy has evolved much since the days of Edward R Murrow. Unfortunately, despite some valiant efforts in fits and starts, our institutional buy-in to meaningful public diplomacy remains shaky. Public diplomacy is not simply the occasional showcasing of the ‘softer side’ of Pakistan. It is constructing a well-articulated narrative and implementing a thought-through strategy of engaging a multitude of international actors (states, and beyond states) in an alternative discourse. Importantly, good public diplomacy requires buy-in at the very highest levels. [The International News]
— Ilan Manor (@Ilan_Manor) March 15, 2014
India and Australia combine economic diplomacy with academic exchanges.
The Australian Government is keen that foreign investment in their country grows and towards that is prioritising `economic diplomacy’, according to Stuart Campbell, Deputy Consul-General to South India, Australian Consulate General. It is also interested in making the student exchange programme more two-way and hopes its `New Colombo Plan’ that enables Australian students to study in Asian universities, would lead to Australian students studying and working in India, he said. [The Hindu BusinessLine]
— Adam Cathcart (@adamcathcart) March 12, 2014
photo credit: The New York Times