Suzan Johnson Cook, Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, presented the 2011 International Religious Freedom Report at the US Department of State. The report is the most comprehensive source of information on freedom of religion in the world. This year’s report documents key trends on religious practices globally, including an increase in antagonism among religious sects worldwide, as well as some notable political achievements in improving religious freedoms.
Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Tara Sonenshine held a conversation at the American Security Project about her plans for U.S. public diplomacy. In her remarks, Sonenshine stated that honest public discussion is an important element of PD, and pushed the notion that information is oxygen. The primary challenge of PD, as she sees it, is explaining the United States, including its policies, practices, and ideas in a way that expands into the public discourse. She explained that the U.S.
America Abroad Media recently partnered with Afghanistan’s Saba TV and Pakistan’s Dunya TV to host the first-ever televised town hall connecting Afghans and Pakistanis for dialogue.
This groundbreaking event brought together live studio audiences and government officials in Kabul and Islamabad to discuss the way forward for Afghanistan and Pakistan as the U.S. prepares to withdraw its troops in 2014, as well as the role Pakistan should play in the reconciliation process. The program broadcast last Friday night in primetime on Saba and last month on Dunya.
The 2011 uprisings in the Middle East proved that democracy retains its appeal, even to people who have long lived without it. They also illustrated how, in a high-speed, media-centric world, conventional diplomacy has become an anachronism. Not only do events move quickly, but so too does public reaction to those events. The cushion of time that enabled policymakers to judiciously gather information and weigh alternatives is gone.
June 5, 2010: Water the New Petrol, a water diplomacy initiative by students in Peru and Spain, won the grand prize at the 2012 Doors to Diplomacy competition sponsored by the State Department and GlobalSchoolNet.org
May 25, 2012: Dalia Mogahed, executive director for the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, explains how American public opinion of Islam has changed over the last decade and why she looks forward to the forum year after year.
May 4, 2012: International exchange, a tool of public diplomacy, is being used to resolve the recent diplomatic crisis stirred by Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng.
April 16, 2012: U.S. Ambassador-Designate Nancy J. Powell introduces herself and shares her interests in expanding engagement between the U.S. and India