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People, Places, Power - Episode 22: Systems and Structures: Organizing Public Diplomacy

Sep 10, 2021


Note from the CPD Blog Manager: This post features the podcast People, Places, Power co-hosted by CPD Faculty Fellow Nicholas J. Cull and Good Country Index founder Simon Anholt. The podcast is produced by Elizabeth Islas USC M.A. Candidate of Specialized Journalism (2021), and features Cull and Anholt in weekly discussion on international reputation, foreign policy and related issues along the way. Future episodes will further cover specific nations, building trust and more.

Previously: Ep. 1: Biden's America | Ep. 2: Brexit Britain | Ep. 3: In Search of the Good Leader | Ep. 4: The European Union | Ep. 5: What Price Monarchy? | Ep. 6:  Cities and International Image | Ep. 7: Mega Events? Buyer Beware. | Ep. 8: Germany: From Pariah to Paragon | Ep. 9: Culture: Decorative or Useful? | Ep. 10: Can Individuals Make a Difference? | Ep. 11: Migration Nations | Ep: 12: Credible India? | Ep. 13: The Bad Image | Ep. 14: Populism | Ep. 15: Oh, Canada! | Ep. 16: Digital Disruption: New Technology & Soft Power | Ep. 17: Japan at the Crossroads I Ep. 18: Scotland's Next Step | Ep. 19 Public Diplomacy and Place Branding | Ep. 20: The Talent Trade: Who's Looking for Einstein? | Ep. 21: France: Trouble at the Top?

Episode 22: Systems and Structures: Organizing Public Diplomacy

This episode considers the best way to structure and coordinate the elements within a nation's bureaucracy responsible for public diplomacy. It looks at best practices and common shortcomings. Simon and Nick agree that fitness for purpose seems to be the last things considered in setting up institutions. Proposals for good practice include Simon's suggestion for Iceland of a single "house of Iceland" to house all elements of outreach. Nick notes the problem of elements undermining one another and the virtues of the German system of separate institutions for each function. Turning to structures of coordination, Simon recalls working within the British structure in the later Blair period. Nick stresses the value of a single agency or individual coordinating a collective effort, and the correlation of historical success with a special relationship between the senior official and head of state as with Churchill and Brendan Bracken or Reagan and Charles Z. Wick. Simon and Nick conclude that the best results seem to come from organizing a shorter-term collective campaign working toward a collective objective.


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