united states

Every other day or so, Hatem El-Gamasy connects to a news audience nearly halfway around the world, delivering hot takes on American politics, live from New York, but on Egyptian television. When the broadcast ends, he slips out his earpieces, opens the door of his makeshift studio and returns to his day job. Mr. El-Gamasy owns the Lotus Deli in Ridgewood, Queens, a place known for its sandwiches, extensive craft beer selection, and its gracious, friendly owner.

A friendship match is held at the headquarters of the United Nations in commemoration of the China-U.S. Ping-Pong diplomacy, 45 years after the Chinese Ping-Pong delegation came to the UN for the first time, in New York September 15, 2017. In 1971 and 1972, U.S. and Chinese table tennis teams exchanged visit after many years of estrangement and antagonism between the two countries, opening the door for the China-U.S. people-to-people contact.

“Economic development does work, but it does not work overnight,” Andrew Natsios, former Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (AID), told The Cipher Brief. The problem with common criticisms of aid programs – that they are wasteful and do not produce real results – is that results are often measured only in the short term. As a result, intra-governmental audits and external studies may miss the true dividends of economic development programs, which could come to fruition decades down the line.

September 15, 2017

This week's stories focused on non-traditional public diplomacy tools.

President Barack Obama's act of restoring diplomatic relations with Cuba at the end of 2014 could drastically change the cultural and artistic course of the island. But Cuban artists have used video and new media to explore its past and contemplate its future for decades. The new exhibit “Hope,” which opens to the public Sunday, Sept. 17, at the art laboratory ESMoA (El Segundo Museum of Art), looks at Cuban society through new media art, from the 1970s to present day with apps, projections and other installations. 

A new exhibition features works from Lima, Los Angeles, Mexico City, and São Paulo by artists of Japanese heritage.

Bhutan was never going to be an early adopter. It is a small and remote place — a little more than twice the size of Los Angeles and Orange counties combined, perched at the eastern edge of the world’s highest mountain range. The Buddhist constitutional monarchy, however, is steadily moving into the modern era, even as its 800,000 people struggle with how much of it to embrace.

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