Sports diplomacy is often presented as a slam dunk approach for building relations across political divides. Last week veteran NBA star Dennis Rodman took a shot at “basketball diplomacy” in North Korea and showed how professed good intentions can go afoul. It also demonstrated the deft role of the media as the tables turned on the NBA players following a confrontational interview between Rodman and CNN New Day anchor Chris Cuomo. The NBA players not only lost control of the ball but became the ball on CNN’s court.
Congratulations are in order for CPD as Jay Wang took the helm this fall and began engaging with the public diplomacy community as the new CPD director. As often happens with such beginnings, the focus intuitively turns to the future. I would like to suggest a counter-intuitive move and challenge public diplomacy scholars around the world to explore the contributions of ancient heritages to the practice of public diplomacy. My suspicion is that contrary to the prevailing view of public diplomacy as the “new diplomacy,” public diplomacy is actually as old, if not older than traditional diplomacy. This is my…... Full Text
Watching the events unfold in Egypt over the past weeks has been akin to watching a slow moving train wreck as two powerful forces – the army and the Muslim Brotherhood – collide together. Both have strong wills, resources, and high stakes in the outcome. Whereas social media played a pivotal role in uniting the Egyptian public during the January 25 revolution in 2011, it appears that mass media may be playing the critical role in dividing the Egyptian public during the current events. This crisis situation is an opportune time to underscore the need for a new lens for…... Full Text
What happens when the domestic public seemingly overtakes a country’s public diplomacy agenda? Brazil looked like it had scored a double goal when it secured the bid to host the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics. A massive promotional campaign to garner world attention was well underway. And then came the massive protests by the Brazilian public. Initial protests in early June were tied to an R$.20 hike in bus fare. On June 20, a million people took to the streets more than 80 Brazilian cities. The fare increase was revoked in an effort to calm the streets. However, protests…... Full Text
A previous Culture Post explored cultural assumptions about who is the ‘public’ in public diplomacy and suggested an expanded vision of “the public” that includes the domestic, diaspora, and foreign publics. Failure to see a public and the role it plays can leave a nation vulnerable to blind spots in its public diplomacy. This Culture Post takes a closer look at five critical roles of the domestic public in public diplomacy. Because traditional public diplomacy has focused primarily on foreign publics, the role of the domestic public may have been overlooked rather than absent. In that sense, the roles may…... Full Text