Judith McHale

On her first trip to Bangladesh, Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Judith McHale met with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in Dhaka and discussed “the need for increasing people-to-people contact as one of the ways to further strengthen the existing bilateral relations between the two countries,” the Bangladesh Awami League reported.

Emphasizing the need for strong international relationships and increased person-to-person engagement, Judith McHale delivered her first speech as Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs yesterday at an event sponsored by the Center for a New American Security. McHale outlined her vision of an American public diplomacy that consists of two principal functions: communication (“the air game, the radio and TV broadcasts…websites and media outreach”) and engagement (“the ground game of direct people-to-people exchanges”).

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Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Judith McHale posted on the State Department’s DipNote blog on Monday, calling for “renewing America’s engagement with the people of the world”:

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Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) welcomed the confirmation of Judith McHale last week to be Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, and was hopeful both for her success and longevity in the role:

“This position has historically remained vacant for more than one-third of the time, with nominees staying, on average, barely over a year. I am hopeful that Ms. McHale will buck this trend.”

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Judith McHale was confirmed yesterday by the Senate to be Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, as noted in the Senate Daily Digest of May 21. 

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International exchange programs drew brief focus yesterday at two Senate committee hearings focused on the FY 2010 international affairs budget. Speaking before both the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed the same enthusiasm for educational and cultural exchanges that she has consistently shown since taking office. At the State and Foreign Operations subcommittee hearing, Clinton said:

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Emphasizing that the United States must not only “listen more and lecture less” but also learn “how other cultures listen to us,” Judith McHale briefly outlined her vision for the role of Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs at a confirmation hearing this morning held by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

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The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has announced that it will hold a hearing tomorrow, May 13, at 9:00 a.m. (Dirksen 419) to consider the nominations of Judith McHale to be Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs and Philip Crowley to be Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs, both of the Department of State.

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The Senate has officially received the nomination of Judith McHale to be Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, this morning’s Senate Digest confirms. The next steps for Ms. McHale’s nomination now include a Senate confirmation hearing and full Senate vote, both of which remain unscheduled.

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A White House press release yesterday announced the nomination of Judith A. McHale for Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs at the Department of State. No indication is given as to when confirmation hearings will be held.

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