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Report urges restructuring, more resources for U.S. public diplomacy

Jan 25, 2005

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WASHINGTON, Jan. 25 -- U.S. public diplomacy should be centered in a new federal agency with triple the current staff levels, according to a White Paper issued today by the Public Diplomacy Council, a non-partisan organization based here.

The report also recommends permanent off-budget funding for international exchanges, increased funding for international broadcasting and a cabinet-level interagency coordinating committee.

"United States public diplomacy is in crisis," the report stated. "Buffeted by a decade of budget cuts, hampered by bureaucratic structures that marginalize it and call on its expertise too late in the policy process, public diplomacy as currently constituted is inadequate to perform the urgent national security tasks required of it -- to inform, to understand and to influence world publics."

The report prompted a lengthy dissent from some members of the Council who said the recommendations were inadequate to meet the current crisis.

"In our view," the dissenters wrote, "the White Paper draws too heavily on the past and assumes that a restoration of an organization resembling USIA within the State Department, conducting the same programs but enjoying greater resources, will regain United States prestige and leadership on the global stage."

The dissent, in addition to supporting a call for more resources, called specifically for more face-to-face programs and "cultural comprehension."

"We need to conceive of a global communication strategy on the magnitude of our cold war effort with comparable time, societal and resource commitment," the dissent stated.

Read the entire report here.

Read the text of the dissent here.

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