Our round-up of news, notes, tips and tweets exhibiting how public diplomacy affects the world each and every day.
Despite even the most frosty of relations between countries, science diplomacy, and especially medical-based science, can take root and prosper. Just ask the U.S.-Russia Health Engagement.
A new report published by the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS), U.S.-Russia Health Engagement: Still on the Agenda, argues that such collaboration remains both “feasible and valuable.” Writing in The Practice of Public Diplomacy, Elise S. Crane offered a similar argument stating that “it would be a mistake to overlook a region still plagued by authoritarianism.” She asserted that outreach to “Russia’s populace must be a priority.” Dr. Judyth Twigg, the author of the CSIS report, points out that even during the darkest days of the Cold War, the U.S. and the Soviet Union found reasons to cooperate on public health initiatives such as the campaign to eradicate smallpox and the development of the polio vaccine. According to Dr. Twigg, Russia has provided significant support to U.S. global health priorities and has the potential carry out global health-related work in areas where the U.S. is not as effective, such as in parts of the Islamic World. [CPD Blog]
Make sure to join the Diplomatic Courier’s digital diplomacy town hall today. Starts at 8am EST.
Diplomatic Courier is excited to present the Diplomacy+SocialGood Summit in Washington, DC on April 22nd, bringing together embassy communicators, public diplomacy experts, and technology innovators to discuss the future of diplomacy and technology for social good. [Diplomatic Courier]
— The PIE News (@ThePIENews) April 22, 2014
Skateboard diplomacy! Not every sports diplomacy initiative requires the use of a ball.
Skater Tulio de Oliviera acts as an ambassador for Brazilian skateboarding when he competes in skateboarding contests in the United States and abroad. His skateboarding skills have launched him into fame in countries such as China, Spain, Germany, and the Netherlands. Tulio is sponsored by various international companies including Citystars Skateboards, Mountain Dew, and Airwalk Footwear. In each country and city he visits, Tulio takes the time to engage with the skaters within the community, the local people and to search out skateable terrain. By projecting good will during his travels, Tulio helps shape people’s opinion of both skateboarding and skateboarders and of the Brazilian people. [CPD Blog]
— Jonathan Henick (@J_Henick) April 21, 2014
An initiative supported by the U.S. Embassy in Prague aims to introduce Islam to schoolchildren in the Czech Republic in order to fight stereotypes at an early age. Unsurprisingly, a heated debate over the project ensued.
The Czech government has approved a new project aimed at promoting Islam in public elementary and secondary schools across the country. The project—Muslims in the Eyes of Czech Schoolchildren—is being spearheaded by a Muslim advocacy group and is being financed by American taxpayers through a grant from the US Embassy in Prague. (The US State Department is also promoting Islam in other European countries.) The group says the Czech Ministry of Education has authorized it to organize lectures and seminars aimed at “teaching Czech schoolchildren about Islamic beliefs and practices” and at “fighting stereotypes and prejudices about Muslims.” But critics—there are many—say the project’s underlying objective is to convert non-Muslim children to Islam by bringing proselytizing messages into public schools under the guise of promoting multiculturalism and fighting “Islamophobia.” [Gatestone Institute via John Brown’s Public Diplomacy Press and Blog Review]
— SU Public Diplomacy (@suPD) April 21, 2014
Though the desired audience is the Irish diaspora, it will be interesting to see if Ireland’s new international TV station doubles as a public diplomacy contribution.
A new Irish TV station is to target the diaspora in America, Britain and Australia when it launches this summer. IrishTV will be available on Public Broadcasting Services in the US and on Sky in Britain. O’Reilly, who previously lived in New York, said that the emphasis will be on community news. He said, “Each of the 32 counties will have their own half-hour ‘County Matters’ show once a week, produced by IrishTV’s own nationwide production network. “We are putting three-person teams in place in each county to produce them. The theme of the county matters shows is simple – Irish rural life is unique, with its own cultures, traditions and events. At the heart of these events are people, and wherever people gather, we’ll be there,” said O’Reilly. [Irish Central]
— Lena O (@LenaOsipova) April 22, 2014
— Twiplomacy (@Twiplomacy) April 22, 2014
photo credit: Julia Nagel / CSIS