f_0022612_18604 - What Im Talking About When I Talk About...

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Spring 2011 The Ambassadors REVIEW 54 What I’m Talking About When I Talk About Strategic Public Diplomacy Joe Mellott Kathryn W. Davis Public Diplomacy Fellow, 2008-2009 Disclaimer: The author is a Special Assistant in the Office of the Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs and the 2008-2009 recipient of the Council of American Ambassadors’ (CAA) Kathryn W. Davis Mid-level Public Diplomacy Fellowship. The views expressed in this article are his own views and not necessarily those of the State Department or the US government. iplomacy is traditionally the business of governments talking to governments. It’s about delivering a message, clarifying a position, or making a stand. That model worked well in a world of one-way commu- nications where people watched the dialogue and were told what had been said. Today, that world is history. In today’s world the traditional model for diplomacy isn’t gone, but it’s only one part of what matters. Sure, governments still do and still must talk directly, both in public and behind closed doors, about their messages, their positions, and where they stand. But in today’s communications world, the public isn’t just a passive observer—the public is often a very active participant, with a stake, and a viewpoint, and a voice. Public diplomacy today has a direct and crucial role side-by-side with traditional diplomacy. So now we have to get public diplomacy right if we want to succeed. But there’s the rub—what does it mean to get it right? Traditional diplomacy had it easy—it was primarily one-way communication. Our government delivers its message to your government, and gets a response. Our government tells your government what it thinks of your government’s response. It was slow, measured, genteel, quiet. Public diplomacy is chaotic, multidirectional, multi-layered, loud. The participants often self- select, and where they are or why they matter may not be immediately apparent. But it is immediately apparent when you fail to include them. Most importantly, public diplomacy is not linear—it’s not about getting to an end, it’s about staying engaged in a process—a process that will go on with or without you participating. So it’s hard to know when you’ve
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This note was uploaded on 01/25/2012 for the course COMM 321 taught by Professor Erinmcclellan during the Spring '11 term at Boise State.

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f_0022612_18604 - What Im Talking About When I Talk About...

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