Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A New Form of Public Diplomacy

  This week I found Nye's piece on Soft Power and Diplomacy and the Powers and Gilboa's article on Al Jazeera to be the most enlightening. Nye clearly demonstrates the importance of soft power and how its effectiveness can be measured by changing minds, its ability to attract others, and moving opinion. He also mentions that Americans really didn’t recognize the importance in investing in soft power until after September 11th. He defines the three dimensions of PD being composed of daily communication, strategic communication, and the development of lasting relationships. He concludes the piece by stating that smart PD requires the understanding of the role of credibility, self-criticism, and the role of civil society in generating soft power.

  The Powers and Gilboa piece focuses on the emergence of Al Jazeera as an important player in international politics and as a new form of public diplomacy. They describe that the main reason for its reputation is due to the poor standing of other Arab media systems and the perception that it is a reliable and honest news source. Nevertheless, they mention that one must remember that they are a news source with a clear agenda and represent the views of Pan-Arab citizenry and serve as a counterbalance to the predominance of western media.

   Lastly, Glassman's speech touches upon the emergence of public diplomacy 2.0. He defines PD as a war of the ideas and describes PD 2.0 as being facilitated by the emergence of the web, social networking sites, and technology. He describes the main characteristics of PD 2.0 as one where indirection works best, the State Dept. convenes and facilitates, speed is essential, and expertise lies in the private sector.

   All of the readings this week touched upon the emergence of a new type of public diplomacy. They describe an environment where soft power is vital, technology is a crucial component, and civil society can become much more engaged and taken upon a much more active role than in the past.

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