u.s. department of state

David Duckenfield, currently president of Balsera Communications, has been appointed deputy assistant secretary for public affairs at the US Department of State. Duckenfield will lead the State Department's public liaison and domestic outreach efforts and will seek to broaden understanding of American values by communicating with both the American people and global audiences.

U.S. lawmakers apparently now believe that the way to counter Russia's information offensive is by supplying propaganda of our own. The code for this is "messaging" -- in other words, the priority should be on "getting America's message out."

Considering the month of April alone, the State Department said it was "deeply concerned" about each of these situations: justice in Turkey; peaceful challenges of official Chinese policies; restrictions of freedom in Egypt; a Ugandan raid on a U.S.-funded medical facility; the humanitarian crisis in Burma and certain actions of the Republika Srpska, among other various and diverse issues — many extremely serious.

The US Department of State is transitioning into a digital context and public diplomacy is evolving in the process. Michael Ardaiolo discusses the U.S. public diplomacy’s shift toward a digital world with Dr. Craig Hayden.

I had to laugh when I heard about the U.S. Agency for International Development’s botched effort to create a Twitter-like platform for Cuba intended to undermine the communist regime. Even the name — ZunZuneo — to the State Department’s credit, sounded like something cooked up in Silicon Valley, not Foggy Bottom.

Afghans have long been resistant to central authority — as the United States has found to its frustration — with Afghanistan divided along tribal, cultural, religious and linguistic lines. Its mountains and valleys have stood in the way of communications breakthroughs that have unified other societies.

Moscow is subjecting Ukrainians, Russians and the rest of the world to an intense campaign of disinformation that tries to paint a dangerous and false picture of Ukraine’s legitimate government. Russia Today, the Moscow-based TV network financed by the government, is a key player in this campaign of distortion. Along with its Russian operation, RT operates an English-language broadcast out of Washington.

It's easy for most of us to get behind the theme for World Intellectual Property Day this year: "Movies, A Global Passion."  From Santa Monica, where I spent almost 20 years working in the entertainment sector, to Paris, France, where I most recently served four years as U.S. Ambassador, I have witnessed firsthand people's excitement and reverence for films -- Hollywood's in particular.

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