As Secretary of State John Kerry has pointed out, “Now more than ever, economic policy is foreign policy.” Rivkin’s appointment to lead the Economic and Business Affairs bureau comes after a long, entrepreneurial career in the entertainment industry, making him the first non-career bilateral ambassador to hold the position. 

2014 marked the ninth annual Summer Institute in Public Diplomacy, ran by the USC Center on Public Diplomacy at the Annenberg School. 

This intensive two-week training program allowed professionals from across the globe to immerse themselves in the growing field of public diplomacy. The Summer Institute equipped students with tools to better understand the role of public diplomacy, analyzed the impact of new communication technologies, and employ innovative approaches for improving the image and impact of their country or organization.

American Film Showcase, a joint project of the U.S. State Department and USC School of Cinematic Arts, held a private discussion with the members from APDS. AFS is a unique cultural diplomacy initiative which screens provocative (and often critical of the U.S.) documentaries abroad, and engages local filmmaking communities in 25-35 locations each year including China, Israel and Palestine, Pakistan, Algeria, Vietnam, Venezuela, Armenia, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe.

On Sunday, September 22, 2013, al-Shabab, a Somali-based al Qaeda cell unleashed gunfire on a Kenyan shopping mall, murdering 72 people and injuring over 200 others. The deadliest terrorist attack in Kenya since the 1998 bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, the Kenyan mall shooting temporarily brought Africa to the forefront of U.S. news organizations like CNN, MSNBC, and Fox, who typically ignore the continent.

In June of 2013, reports revealed contemplation by the United Kingdom to impose a £3000 (US $4,715.4) bond on visa applicants from some five countries; India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Ghana, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh. According to the plan, this bond program and the visa applicants from the target countries will participate in a pilot scheme of a broad plan aimed at checking illegal immigration into the UK.

Since 2009, the U.S. Department of State has worked to strengthen and deepen U.S. diplomacy and development around the world through public-private partnerships (PPPs) that leverage creativity and innovation for greater impact. The proactive pursuit of PPPs by the State Department offers tremendous public diplomacy opportunities. To date, the State Department has worked with over 1,100 partners to support key foreign policy objectives.