Dr. Kathy Fitzpatrick:  Advancing Mutual Understanding

CPD Conversations in Public Diplomacy

The USC Center on Public Diplomacy was pleased to host CPD Research Fellow (2009-2011), Dr. Kathy Fitzpatrick. Professor Fitzpatrick spoke about her ongoing research project on U.S. Mutual Understanding.

"Mutual understanding" has long been part of U.S. public diplomacy's official mandate. Yet, historical and contemporary public diplomacy practices have focused primarily on increasing understanding of the United States among foreign publics, while virtually ignoring the need to increase Americans' understanding of foreign nations and peoples. Why has public diplomacy's "second mandate" been neglected? And, more importantly, what must be done to advance mutual understanding going forward? New findings and a brief outline of core criteria were presented.

To read more about this research project, please click here.

Dr. Fitzpatrick focused on the debate over whether or not the second mandate is necessary to pursue and the need for the US government to recognize that citizens can be more than citizen diplomats abroad. If it is assumed that the second mandate is necessary, questions arise regarding who should administer the project, its structure, funding resources, content and whether it would violate the Smith-Mundt Act. Dr. Fitzpatrick recommended looking at the Japanese model of public diplomacy in which most, if not all, of their efforts are focused on mutual exchanges of cultural knowledge.


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