Public Diplomacy and New Technologies

Beginning January 15, 2010, I will be teaching “Public Diplomacy and New Technologies” (PUBD510) at the University of Southern California. The semester-long course will meet every Friday for 3hrs as part of the Masters of the Public Diplomacy program. This is a practical class intended to make the student an effective information actor and capable of explaining to senior policymakers the requirements of the modern information environment.

The focus will not exclusively be on the “new technologies”. In fact, I’d rather call the course “Public Diplomacy in the Now Media Environment”. There is no “old” or “new” media, simply Now Media. When speaking with the BBC or The New York Times, are your comments restricted to the broadcast or print editions of the respective outlets? Today’s news and information is simultaneously instant and persistent, global and local, and moves seamlessly across mediums: print, broadcast, cellular, and online.

The course will explore the foundations of public diplomacy, the legislation (of course), and the convergence of old and new media into Now Media. We will spend time on the opportunities and constraints on the US government as an information actor, adversarial use of the global information environment, including their use of YouTube, and other actors such as China, NATO, and hackers. We will look at the tools to identify and monitor the listening being created as well as citizen diplomacy in “non-traditional” issue areas. There will be several case studies, including one on the US healthcare debate, private sector risk management, Afghanistan and Pakistan (of course), and another case study of the students’ choosing. Several guest lecturers will contribute their expertise, either in person or teleconference.

I look forward to teaching at my alma mater.