Under Secretary's office releases "roadmap for public diplomacy"

The Office of the Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs released yesterday its “roadmap for Public Diplomacy” in a document titled Public Diplomacy: Strengthening U.S. Engagement with the World. In it, the Under Secretary, Judith McHale, lays out five “strategic imperatives” for 21st century public diplomacy:

  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).”

Within the second imperative, the roadmap identifies four principal means of expanding people-to-people relationships:

  1. “Build Public Diplomacy Programs for 21st century audiences,” including expanding participation beyond “traditional elites” and encompassing rural, less affluent participants and youth and women, as well as using social networking more effectively;
  2. “Emphasize programs which advance U.S. national interests and develop desired skills that provide opportunity and alternatives to extremism,” including expanded English language teaching and teacher training, encouraging collaboration in science, technology, and entrepreneurship, and expanding the U.S.’ worldwide network of educational advisors;
  3. “Expand Public Diplomacy platforms and venues for direct engagement with foreign audiences to present a new face to foreign publics beyond fortified compounds,” including re-establishing American centers and corners and scaling up cultural programming;
  4. “Sustain enduring relationships and ensure that USG fully leverages investments in relationships and skills,” including deepening connections with program alumni and considering longer or repeat assignments for Public Diplomacy FSOs.

The roadmap also notes that strong ties to the field and to the private sector are essential to the success of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Linkages between educational and cultural programming and foreign policy objectives and broad, strong partnerships with the American private sector are necessary to “broaden [the] impact of educational and cultural outreach.”