Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service Conrad Turner looks at volunteering, active learning and the calling of a public diplomat.
As the media landscape continues to evolve, the U.S. State Department should consider adapting its public diplomacy strategy.
Two former ambassadors have rebuked the White House in an increasingly vocal backlash against its efforts to sideline the State Department. “Our leadership ranks are being depleted at a dizzying speed,” Barbara Stephenson, a former U.S. ambassador to Panama and current president of the American Foreign Service Association, the union for foreign service officers, wrote in a letter for the December 2017 issue of the Foreign Service Journal.
One of the most eye-opening moments of my time as the deputy assistant secretary for digital strategy at the U.S. State Department occurred on a trip to the country of Georgia, aimed at helping the government build its digital capacity to better serve its population. Our message was the same advice we’d given to countless governments: Focus on Facebook. It was the dominant player. Elites tended to use Twitter. Google ads were worth it if you had the money. But for governments wanting to reach real people on a global scale, Facebook was the scalable, smart solution.