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In the midst of the current global tumult, I decided to take an afternoon’s break and escort my young children to the local movie theater to watch the new animated feature film Rio. As the first brightly colored 3-D computer-generated images flashed up on the screen, I felt assured of at least ninety minutes’ respite from the so-called real world.

The ongoing release of 250,000 U.S. diplomatic cables by Wikileaks started in late 2010, in staggered releases coordinated with global news organizations, including: The New York Times, El País, The Guardian, Der Spiegel, and others. The released cables offer a look inside the American diplomatic process (and the diplomatic process in general), revealing the distance between public and private communication.

Whether Americans realize it or not, our public diplomacy touches the lives of people around the world on a daily basis in unexpected ways: whether it’s a cup of Starbucks coffee; a McDonald’s Big Mac; a sporting event on television; or a music concert at a theater. The very things Americans often take for granted at home—be it food, sports, or some other form of entertainment—are also widely available around the world, exported to other countries for the pleasure – and sometimes displeasure – of foreign publics.

Faith Diplomacy, the use of religion to communicate with global publics and its incorporation into foreign policy, is an element of international engagement that cannot be dismissed. Mutual understanding is a key pillar of public diplomacy and religion is often the core of national identity. Post-9/11, and arguably even pre-9/11, religion finds itself at the core of some of the greatest diplomatic puzzles.  It is therefore imperative that faith-based organizations and leaders are enlisted to help better engage foreign communities.

Public Diplomacy Legislation: September 2008 – November 2010

There is growing focus on social media and mobile technology as promising mediums for engagement and interaction in the public diplomacy toolbox. However, citizens and governments around the world are still experimenting with how best to use, and treat, these new communication tools. The process is certainly drawing media attention, and observers and practitioners alike are curious about the experiment. This spotlight overviews what types of mobile and social media initiatives have been undertaken recently, and what reactions and responses they have yielded.

Few stories have caught the scope of attention and imagination of both global public and press as President Barack Obama’s recent foray into the complicated landscape that is the Middle East.  Coverage and commentary was ubiquitous in all corners of the globe in the run-up to the president’s visit to Riyadh and Cairo and his speech at Cairo University. 

Media Coverage of the Iranian Election and Opposition Protests