public diplomacy council

The partnership between UT and the US Department of State to engage women and girls from around the world through sports was named one of the nation’s ten best public diplomacy efforts of 2013. The Public Diplomacy Council ranked the US Department of State and espnW Global Sports Mentoring Program—the flagship component of the Empowering Women and Girls through Sports initiative—as the ninth best diplomatic accomplishment in 2013.

At the end of the year, we tend to look back and think of what was memorable or noteworthy about the 12 months past. There’s a cliché about lists – especially lists of the best – of whatever. Not to be outdone, we thought it a good idea to try to assemble a list of the best public diplomacy actions, ideas, programs or decisions of 2013.

Recently, I read a fascinating speech by Donald M. Bishop, President of the Public Diplomacy Council. He led U.S. public diplomacy in Bangladesh, Nigeria, China, and Afghanistan. He is a trainer, speaker, and mentor in public diplomacy and communication. He also speaks on history and leadership. His remarks are bold and insightful. I found myself agreeing with many of his individual points – but I take issue with the overall, rather dire view and negative view, that America’s public diplomacy is weak, lacks direction, and increasingly focuses on feel good issues.

When an encounter planned to generate good will disintegrates into violence, the important thing is to keep it in perspective and distill the right lessons from the event—not to limit further matches.

While intelligence analysts squinted at their reporting ... struggling to understand who the Libyan rebels were, the exiled diplomats recognized some surprising old contacts. A number of the opposition leaders, it turned out, had participated in the U.S. embassy's public diplomacy programs.