0001201 - Using Philanthropy for Diplomacy Thomas C. Foley...

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Spring 2008 The Ambassadors REVIEW 48 Using Philanthropy for Diplomacy Thomas C. Foley United States Ambassador to Ireland cannot remember who first mentioned prior to my posting to Ireland that I should consider promoting philanthropy as one of my objectives at post. It may have been during consultations with Richard Haass at the Council on Foreign Relations or Michael Gallagher, Director of the Office of United Kingdom, Benelux and Ireland Affairs at the State Department. Whoever it was, it was an excellent idea. Ireland has cleverly orchestrated a rapid rise in incomes and wealth over the last fifteen years, going from the lowest per capita income in the European Union to the second highest behind Luxembourg. Ireland’s hard-earned and well-deserved economic growth has brought wealth and bounty unimaginable only a half generation ago. * Ireland’s already very generous culture is now aligned with new capacity creating a nascent interest in large- scale giving. Embassy Dublin saw an opportunity to share the US philanthropy experience with Ireland as it develops a philanthropic model of its own. In Ireland, like most western European posts, we have been challenged to maintain the positive public image of the United States and the broad public support for US foreign policy that we enjoyed before the Iraq war. To meet this challenge, Embassy Dublin has developed a two-part public diplomacy strategy. First, we seek opportunities to explain US foreign policy to audiences who may not understand our policies or the motives behind them. Our standard isn’t to win-over these audiences, but rather to show them there are two sides to the story. I believe we are meeting that standard. Second, we try to focus dialogue on areas where we agree or share things in common, and build relationships among opinion leaders in the arts, academia and the media. An example of how we conduct the latter has been a series of dinners where we honor prominent Irish-Americans involved in the arts. We have had a poetry dinner with Billy Collins, a literature dinner with Frank McCourt, a comedy dinner with Conan O’Brien, and a visual arts dinner with Sean Scully. With 50-60 guests, we include people from the same art genre as the guest of honor as well as government leaders and opinion leaders from the business, academic and media communities. In addition to being very enjoyable events, these dinners provide an opportunity to showcase American talent and remind audiences of the many artistic and cultural contributions the United States is making around the world. The dinners also provide the opportunity to build personal * Editor’s Note : According to The Washington Post of April 3, 2008, Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern, “said [on April 2] that he would resign [on May 6] after almost 11 years in office. Ahern, 56, announced his
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This note was uploaded on 01/25/2012 for the course POLS 494 taught by Professor Garymoncrief during the Fall '11 term at Boise State.

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0001201 - Using Philanthropy for Diplomacy Thomas C. Foley...

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