Public Diplomacy

The Senate confirmed earlier today the nomination of Evan Ryan to be Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs at the Department of State, CQ.com and The Hill both report. President Obama nominated Ms. Ryan for the post in early July, and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) held her confirmation hearing on July 30. The SFRC approved her nomination last week, leading to today’s full Senate confirmation. 

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In an effort to “revamp America’s ‘digital diplomacy’ efforts,” the Department of State has tapped Macon Phillips to lead its Bureau of International Information Programs, the Washington Post reports.  Phillips was the 2008 Obama campaign’s “digital guru” and has been responsible for many White House digital innovations, including its “We The People” online petition site. Phillips will report to former Time magazine managing editor Richard Stengel, who has been nominated as Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs [the Alliance reported].

President Obama nominated yesterday Richard Stengel, Managing Editor of Time magazine, to be Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, according to a White House press announcement.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) approved by voice vote this afternoon the nomination of Evan Ryan to be Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs at the Department of State, CQ.com reports. Ms. Ryan's nomination next heads to the full Senate for a final confirmation vote. It is unclear at this time when that vote might take place. 

Richard Stengel, Managing Editor of Time magazine, is likely to be nominated to succeed Tara Sonenshine as Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, various news sources including the New York Times and Politico report.

In a video message last week, Secretary of State John Kerry announced that the U.S. will join the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which will help protect the rights of disabled Americans abroad.

According to Secretary Kerry:

In an address to the 2013 Class of Fulbright-Clinton Fellows, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton honored the legacy of Senator William J. Fulbright and stressed the importance of people-to-people connections in international relations.

Clinton said:

Nineteen months after its Congressional authorization lapsed [the Alliance reported], the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy (ACPD) has officially been reinstated, according to an email announcement by Katherine Brown, the Commission’s new Executive Director.

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In a Senate confirmation hearing this afternoon (July 30), Evan Ryan, President Obama’s nominee for Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), said that exchanges “capitalize on American strengths and appeals,” and that ECA is “the lifeblood of public diplomacy”.

Speaking before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Ryan underlined the powerful role people-to-people exchanges play in advancing U.S. public diplomacy and foreign policy goals.

A loss of cultural and educational exchanges is an often-overlooked consequence of the political turmoil in Egypt, writes Tara Sonenshine, former Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, in a recent Al-Ahram Weekly article.

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