Public Diplomacy: Strengthening US Engagement with the World

image On March 10, 2010, the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs is expected to unveil her strategic approach for the State Department's public diplomacy efforts at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing titled "The Future of Public Diplomacy." Judith McHale will be preceded by three of her predecessors: Evelyn Lieberman, Karen Hughes, and Jim Glassman. (Note: the noon ET event will now be in Dirksen 430.)

Titled "Public Diplomacy: Strengthening US Engagement with the World" (PDF, 2.2mb), it is described as a "strategic framework" that "will serve as the foundation for public diplomacy's FY 2012 budget request. It is

intended to be a roadmap for Public Diplomacy, ensuring its alignment with foreign policy objectives, and bringing a strategic focus to how Public Diplomacy programs, resources and structures support those objectives.

The framework lists five "strategic imperatives."

1. "Shape the narrative (develop proactive outreach strategies to inform, inspire, and persuade);"

2. "Expand and strengthen people-to-people relationships (build mutual trust and respect through expanded Public Diplomacy programs and platforms);"

3. "Combat violent extremism (counter violent extremist voices, discredit and delegitimize al Qaeda, and empower credible local voices);"

4. "Better inform policy-making (ensure foreign policy is informed upfront by an understanding of attitudes and opinions of foreign publics);"

5. "Deploy resources in line with current priorities (strengthen structures and processes to ensure coordinated and effective Public Diplomacy)."

image There are two significant structural changes embedded in the framework:

Designate a Deputy Assistant Secretary to oversee international media support within the Bureau of Public Affairs (PA)... [to] support posts in media outreach and coordinate PA's functions focused on foreign audiences, including foreign press centers, regional media hubs, rapid response units.


Appoint a Deputy Assistant Secretary dedicated to Public Diplomacy in each regional bureau [to elevate] Public Diplomacy presence within regional bureaus [to] provide greater integration of Public Diplomacy activity and policy formulation and stronger links between R and regional bureaus.

Read the framework: "Public Diplomacy: Strengthening US Engagement with the World" (PDF, 2.2mb).

Additional details and timeline will hopefully be forthcoming from Wednesday's testimony and a conference call with Judith on Thursday. More to come.

See also: