The View from CPD

One of the many advantages of being based in Los Angeles is our proximity to the world’s most prolific media hubs. From up close, we can see content being produced, hear directly from movie and television producers, writers and directors and even personally encounter the individuals influencing the media landscape, some of whom – i.e. the co-founders of Invisible Children - were trained right here at the University of Southern California.

The USC Center on Public Diplomacy prides itself on being forward-looking while remaining grounded in solid academic principles. Our research and publications focus on both traditional and newer forms of public diplomacy, but we are equally interested in what is around the corner.

Since early in the 20th century, the United States has been a muscular presence on the world scene. When President Theodore Roosevelt dispatched the Great White Fleet on its around-the-world journey in 1907, he was announcing to other nations that the United States had an ample arsenal of hard power at its disposal. As it displayed to great effect in two world wars, America could summon the resources and resolve to impose its will.

The New Year has begun in rousing fashion thanks to the team of Public Diplomacy students from USC whose winter break trip to India has produced a stream of insightful reports about how India is elevating its public diplomacy to match its growing stature in global affairs.  The content of this issue of PDiN Monitor provides insights from our students and from India’s top public diplomacy official, Navdeep Suri.

China’s recent public diplomacy efforts have been anything but subtle. Its Confucius Institutes have popped up around the globe. Chinese students are flooding into Western universities. China’s international broadcasting is expanding its reach after the infusion of the equivalent of billions of U.S. dollars. In countries rich in natural resources, China is trying to win friends by building roads, football stadiums, and other projects the locals once thought they would never see. 

This past month has offered up a plethora of PD stories from around the world for our amusement and analysis.  From Deutsche Welle’s feature about Queen Elizabeth II‘s entry into Facebook to columns about Ghana‘s ecotourism efforts, not to mention the trove of diplomatic cables publicized by WikiLeaks which will undoubtedly shape and deform foreign opinions of U.S. diplomatic practices and personnel.

When we decided to feature Turkey’s Public Diplomacy in this month’s PDiN Monitor, the devastating earthquake had not yet hit. It seems, therefore, especially appropriate to dedicate this issue to Turkey.

The 10-year anniversary of 9/11 came and went without incident. There were, of course, countless tributes to that tragic day: scores of articles, retrospectives, commemorative events and memorials – both physical and virtual – were produced, not just in this country, but around the world. The United Kingdom unveiled a monument created from the wreckage of the Twin Towers, as well as a website dedicated to teaching schoolchildren in Britain about the events around this anniversary.