americas

Last month, All Azimuth published an article by Bean and Comor titled "Data Driven Public Diplomacy: A Critical and Reflexive Assessment." As the scholars note, the rise of digital technologies, and the utilization of digital platforms in public diplomacy, has seen a greater emphasis on measuring public diplomacy activities and their ability to influence foreign populations. From big data sets to social media analytics, public diplomacy and its evaluation is indeed data-driven.

Stopfake.org, a group of researchers from the Mohyla School of Journalism in Kyiv, have identified two strong narratives in their study of Russian propaganda about the Euro Maidan: first, that it was a coup d’état directed by the U.S.; and second, that power was seized in Kyiv by a fascist regime. [...] With a lack of clear narratives and facts from the Ukrainian government, the Western media fell for the Kremlin’s skillful falsehoods.

Medical diplomacy is the kind of foreign policy tool that the world’s most powerful nation should embrace. [...] Nations such as the United States that have the financial and logistical ability to respond to these epidemics should accept their moral responsibility to do so. In the case of the United States, “America first” does not mean “America only.” Spending a tiny fraction of this country’s wealth to save lives should be done without a second thought.

April 12, 2017

Facebook’s management has been reluctant to accept responsibility for a flow of fake news via FB that seems to have played a significant role — just like the Kremlin’s cover campaign of bots, hacking and leaks — in last year’s election. If we are determined to go after Russian “bots” and trolls, shouldn’t we also demand more accountability from those who influence greatly the news we are “fed” via social media?

City diplomacy luminary and Attorney Michael Shuman, a leader of the former Center for Innovative Diplomacy, reminds us that local government participation in foreign affairs is enumerated in and protected by the Constitution. Thus, when American local governments responded to the threat of nuclear annihilation vis-à-vis the U.S. arms race with the Soviet Union, to the federal government’s inadequate response to Apartheid, and to other problems from the federal-level, the resultant municipal activism was not only legal, it was defining of American federalism.

At the embassy level, ambassadors may be viewed as digital gatekeepers. Studies have shown that embassies headed by ambassadors who view digital platforms as an important resource are likely to be active online and to utilize digital tools in innovative ways. Conversely, embassies headed by ambassadors who view digital platforms as a risk are likely to be inactive online.

Government of Canada invests in three teams of Canadian and Latin American and Caribbean scientists to help address unanswered questions about Zika virus [...] “This initiative is key to helping protect populations in the Americas and Canada from Zika and other related diseases. This funding will allow leading researchers from Latin America and Canada to collaborate on cutting-edge research, discovering new knowledge and tools to more rapidly detect, respond and control the virus.” 

U.S. representative Raúl Grijalva said climate change is the greatest danger facing the world right now in his closing speech at the Science Diplomacy and Policy with Focus on the Americas conference in Tucson. Applause erupted from the conference attendees, speakers, panelists and organizers in the audience. [...] The conference aimed to provide a “state of the art” vision for the future in science diplomacy and policy. 

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