Cultural diplomacy: The linchpin of public diplomacy
Report of the advisory committee on cultural diplomacy: US department of state
The report of the advisory committee on cultural diplomacy, which was published by the U.S. department of state in 2005, seeks to advise US secretary of state on how to employ cultural diplomacy in the most effective way possible.
In order to practice effective cultural diplomacy the report recommends the US secretary of state to listen to the recipients in other countries and engage themselves with “curators” and writers or filmmakers. The report highlights America’s lack of use of cultural diplomacy, moreover that its image has been damaged by events such as the invasion of Iraq and scandals about the abuse of prisoners in Abu Ghraib. Furthermore, it points out that the US needs to reconstitute its “trust and credibility” within the international community with culture, rather than with military and economic power to influence others abroad. “Cultural diplomacy reveals the soul of a nation”, but the US only employs it when they are at war, therefore the report advises the US to create an effective cultural diplomacy in order to maintain the security of the country. One of the many recommendations for the US secretary of state from the report on how to achieve its goals is the “international exchange of persons, knowledge and skills”. The people who participate in such exchanges “carry to other nations information, knowledge and attitudes” and in reverse they bring those back to their own countries and this can only be achieved through personal experience and personal influence, which helps to sell a better image of the US abroad. Influential and important politicians from the past and today have all experienced such exchange programs.
However, the reports criticized the US that they do not cultural diplomacy enough, moreover after the cold war cuts have been made, which led to the closures of many cultural centres and libraries. Additionally, between 1995- and 2001 the attendees of the exchange programs decreased from 45000 to 29000, which left an enormous gap in the use of cultural diplomacy.
Globalization has changed the world and it had a massive impact on the procedure of diplomacy. Diplomacy has now taken different forms and different actors also play an important role, diplomats are no longer the only ones on diplomatic missions, also non-state actors, such as Ngo´s and celebrities engage themselves on those missions.
Due to the rise of new economic powers and the new media, traditional diplomacy is facing a challenge of legitimacy and efficiency. Celebrities have now become vital actors in supporting and raising consciousness about humanitarian issues, as well as negotiating with head of states.
Celebrities have long been involved in varying political and humanitarian causes. However, since Andrew Coopers, a professor of political science at the University of Waterloo, intriguing work about celebrity diplomacy, academics have begun to take a deeper look into the involvement of celebrities in International Relations as a form of diplomacy. In his book cooper presents an interesting concept and primary examples of the phenomenon. He argues that anyone can be a diplomat; however celebrities are a specific group that can embrace the role of the diplomat. The message which these individuals deliver is often informal in its nature and they are no experts in these fields with any formal training, also they use the new media and concerts, such as Bob Geldofs Live8 concerts to raise awareness.
Cooper argues that the influence of celebrities on global issues must be appreciated and recognized on a deeper level; furthermore advocates of celebrity diplomacy argue that this concept has immense potential and it draws attention and awareness of a complex set of global concerns to wider audiences, which might go unnoticed. Celebrities of any kind, like Movie stars, musicians or athletes have become rising diplomatic actors in promoting issues such as poverty, climate change, access to fresh water and human rights.
Unlike diplomats, stars like Angelina Jolie, Mia Farrow, Bono and George Clooney are taking action and they have become determined advocates to end the world’s poverty and misery.
For example, actress Mia Farrow has used the media as an open and effective tool to put pressure on the international community in order to intervene in Darfur, her deployment led to Sudan’s formal acceptance of UN peacekeepers in the conflict zone.
As a UNHCR goodwill Ambassador, Angelina Jolie is one of the most respected, important and influential celebrity activists. Her work has been crucial for the UNHCR, in both increasing donations and increasing awareness. With her status and her engagement in global issues she able to discuss humanitarian issues with politicians, policy makers and world leaders.
Also, George Clooney plays an important role in this new form of diplomacy as a UN Messenger of Peace. Clooney has donated millions of dollars in order to stop the genocide in Sudan and he also appealed to the UN Security Council to help stabilize the region.
However, the leading celebrity diplomat out of all of them is musician Bono, who worked closely with international leaders in the G8 summits, lobbying for debt relief in Africa.
Even though the world listens and pays attention when celebrities talk, which makes them more effective than traditional diplomats, there still is criticism from within the diplomatic arena. The critic’s state that celebrities have no knowledge in this domain and therefore are not qualified enough to be effective.
In spite of all the critiques, celebrity diplomacy has been proven very successful and effective in international affairs. Therefore, it needs to be taken serious, since they do a better and more effective job the “professional” diplomats.
Citizen diplomacy is the concept where the individual has the right, perhaps even the responsibility to help form its countries foreign relations. Everybody can represent their nation and become a citizen diplomat; they can be students, artists, business people, teachers, athletes, humanitarians or musicians. Their role and responsibility is to engage themselves with the rest of the world in an important, equally and favorable dialogue.
In the globalized world that we live in today people experience their most lasting impressions through personally made experiences, such as travelling abroad. Therefore, citizen diplomacy is a powerful tool in defining one’s own nation to the rest of the world. Citizen diplomacy has the potential to create a group of individual relationships to maintain goodwill when formal diplomacy undergoes disruptions. Historically, this kind of people-to-people interaction was almost impossible through the enormous distances, however in today’s world with the rise of the internet and collapse of distances and increased travel more individuals on the international stage are able communicate and influence one another. For example, Joseph Nye believes that the best way for a country to sell its story to a foreign country is the use of citizen diplomacy, because “selling a positive image is often best accomplished by private citizens”.
The Nigerian government adopted “citizen diplomacy” in 2007, which was based on the ideas of the former foreign affairs minister, Chief Ojo Maduekwe. Nigeria seeks the support of Nigerians at home and in Diaspora, in order to help to develop the country economically and politically. Citizen diplomacy in Nigeria is construed from a different angle of understanding; this means that its foreign policy will be focused on the Nigerian citizens at home and abroad. The foreign minister argues that they are not shifting away from the traditional approach to foreign relations, however that they have “rebranded” this tool and that the focus is more on the citizen. In this sense, citizen diplomacy for Nigeria is a mechanism to protect the “image and integrity” of Nigeria and react against nations which are hostile and who label them as corrupt.
Report to be accessed under: http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=SPEECH/08/494&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en
The report presents the Vice President’s of the European Commission, Margot Wallstrom’s, speech at the Georgetown University, the purpose of which was to state the role of public diplomacy (PD) in the European Union’s (EU) relations with non-member states.
Wallstrom specifically highlights the relation between the EU and the United States on the platform of public diplomacy, as both honour the same democratic values in theory but use different approaches in practice.
The report also emphasises, that nowadays the concept of public diplomacy needs to be “refreshed”. If it is to work effectively, factors such as communication in a globalised world, modern technology and reaching many complex networks of individuals have to be considered while utilizing PD’s tools.
Furthermore, it expresses the extreme importance for the EU to realize the shift in power and decision-making and in its efforts of tackling the most important global issues, to try to “go local“. The latter is a crucial public diplomacy element as one must remember that it is about building relations with foreign and not domestic publics.
Wallstrom also recalls the necessary components of a modern PD strategy according to Nicholas Cull, such as attentively “listening and responding” to citizens‘ opinions, connection of practice with policy, “going local”, credibility etc. and relates them to EU’s external affairs.
It is beyond a dispute that Wallstrom is correct in claiming that PD must adapt to the changing world. Also, all the components she mentions are vital for this adaptation’s success however, it seems that the report does not explore the role of public diplomacy in EU’s policy but rather tries to explain how does the EU respond to all the requirements of the modern PD structure as according to her and Cull. Thus, it appears as a persuasion that EU is doing excellent in fulfilling all the necessary PD-related assignments more than stating what is the specific aim that EU aspires to achieve via the use of PD‘s tools. For comparison, what I have expected from the speech, was identification of some PD stepts that EU is taking or must take soon in order to deal with some current global policy issues. For instance, it could be a development of a European Strategy of External Cultural Policy in response to a strategic vision of a role of culture in external relations as was once proposed by Slovenia during its presidency in the EU.
Nevertheless, the report still touches upon a few key issues in PD, probably the most crucial being the need for credibility. Its importance relates to the fact that PD’s messages recipients often look at the information through the prism of the messenger and cannot differentiate between a mere propaganda and an attempt to create a “partnership” with the public. Fortunately for the EU, its position as a world leader in providing world’s development aid and fighting climate change increases it legitimacy.
EU also manages to create a link between its PD strategies and its defined policy objectives thus allowing the public to understand them and engage in a mutual dialogue.
Also, thanks to diversity of member states, EU is better prepared to target communication with states outside the EU.
Despite those undeniable attributes, some sources still show that “brand Europe” is far more popular than “brand EU“ as it is comonly associated with all the historical and cultural heritage of the Old Continent. In the report it can be seen that EU has adopted a long-termn approach and is patiently but actively pursuing its goals while trying to reflect what it is and what it stands for rather than what it aspires to be which hopefully will improve its reputation with time. This may be a right path for the EU if considering for instance Anholt’s view on building a brand to increase its credibility.
All in all the report could have focused more on what EU is willing to build and how it s going to meet its targets. Instead it presented more of a strategic outreach to the US thanks to which it will be able to improve its image in the eyes of American students by emphasizig the goals in common.
Public Diplomacy is aimed at informing foreign publics, its mission is the achievement of national interest by understanding, informing, engaging and persuading foreign audience, Public Diplomacy is as much about a process by which both sides learn, as it is to convince someone. However, there seems to be a disagreement between scholars what public diplomacy is, since some find a connection between public diplomacy and Propaganda.
Berridge, for example, relates those two concepts as follows, “Propaganda is the manipulation of public opinion through the mass media for political ends, whether it is honest or subtle or not.” Furthermore he states that Public Diplomacy is the modernised version of white Propaganda, which is aimed at influencing public opinion. In his opinion Public Diplomacy is just a euphemism for Propaganda, because governments who carry out Propaganda cannot call it Propaganda, because of its associations with something negative, evil and lies.
However, his opponent Jan Melissen does not completely agree with the critics of Public Diplomacy. He distinguishes the two terms by their concept of communication, he argues that “Public Diplomacy is a two- way street, it is similar to Propaganda in the sense of trying to persuade People what to think, however the main difference is that Public Diplomacy also listens to what people have to say, which is not the case with Propaganda”.
Joseph Nye also criticises the opponents of Public Diplomacy, he says that those who think that Public Diplomacy is just a euphemism of Propaganda misunderstood the whole concept of it. Public Diplomacy is compare to Propaganda about building relationships between nations it is used to create a better political environment. He furthermore states in his article that “the world of traditional power politics was typically about whose military or economy would win, however in today’s information age, politics is also about whose “story” wins. In current times the strongest element of Power is Public Diplomacy. In addition he argues that reputation was always important in world politics, but credibility has become more vital because of a “paradox of plenty”, therefore politicians should use more often soft power rather than hard power, since it is more effective.
Reflecting the definitions of Public Diplomacy and Propaganda the question arises if those two concepts are the same thing. There are indeed some who would argue that Public Diplomacy has the same intentions like Propaganda, both concept´s purpose is to narrow and close the minds of the people, by trying to tell them what to think. However, there will probably never be a universal agreement on both concepts, since both are difficult o define.
Berridge. G.R. (2010) Diplomacy: Theory and Practice
Melissen, J. (2005) The New Public Diplomacy
When Adolf Hitler occupied European countries and practiced holocaust to make more lebensraum (living space) for Nazi übermenshen (overlords) he certainly did know that it helped to create one of the most powerful and the richest people in the world – George Soros.
One the physical laws says: ”The subject stays in quite position or in stationary movement until it is pressured by external forces to change its status”. Sometimes it is possible to apply technical rules in politics. Possibly, without holocaust George Soros would stays in nativeHungaryand worked all the life for salary 2000 forint/month (equivalent approx $50) But Sores had had to move because of necessity for survival. He successfully moved toLondonand studied at London School of Economics. Later used knowledge obtained inLondonagainst this country when became one of the most dangerous sharks in ocean of global capital. One Chinese military report ranked him just behind Osama bin Laden because in ‘financial war’ against theUnited Kingdomin 1992 broke this country and the Bank of England had to pay millions ofGBPfor wasteful operations.
In the United States Soros proved that theories both of Adam Smith, father of liberal economy and Friedrich Hayek, who lectured at London School of Economics approximately at the time of Soros’ study (may be he was Soros’ professor) work and the United States’ market economy is the environment when everybody has an opportunity to become rich. Soros has become the billionaire currency trader, philanthropist and one of the most important people of public and cultural diplomacy. He helped with his millions to build a new education infrastructure inHungaryand other East European countries which after falling ofBerlinwall needed new millions to throw Marxism and Leninism to dust bins and to build a market economy that helped Soros to become an important meacenas. Maecenas is a person named as an honour for real person from ancient Roma -Gaius Maecenas, a rich patron of culture and friend and political advisor of Caesar Augustus.
Nevertheless, public and cultural diplomacy need also maecenases such as Soros, Ted Turner, the CNN founder who as a generous patron has given $1 billion to start the UN Foundation and support for UNICEF, Bill Gates and other post-modern diplomats. In the other hand critics of these celebrity diplomats argue that they intervene and interfere not only to the economies of states but also into international relations and security. For example, some politicians inRussiasee Soros as an agent of Western policy, but he is much more a “stateless statesman” who funded UN operations to “saveSarajevofrom Serbian fascism” (Khana, 2011, 41-44). Globalization increase gap between rich and poor and financial support of these post-modern diplomats is very necessary to implement some foreign aid programmes and to support the people who need financial help.
Khanna,P. (2011). How to Run the World: Charting a Course to the Next Renaissance, Random House,New York