1. Measuring Success in Public Diplomacy: An Overview [14 entries]
Johnson, Joe.“How Does Public Diplomacy Measure Up?”
Foreign Service Journal. Vol. 83, No. 12 (Oct. 2006): 44-52. (Accessed 21 Apr. 2010)
This article by a former U.S. Foreign Service Officer reviews efforts by the State Department to evaluate its public diplomacy (PD) programs, while examining the challenges posed to that effort by a rapidly changing technological and communications environment. The author argues that evaluation is key to a successful PD regime but notes that a clear definition of what constitutes success has eluded even practitioners. Johnson also discusses different approaches to measurement in the various constituent parts of United States Government (USG) public diplomacy, in particular in the field of international broadcasting.
Steven, David. "Evaluation and the New Public Diplomacy,"
Presentation to the Future of Public Diplomacy, 842nd Wilton Park Conference, River Path Associates. 2 March 2007: 1-20. (Accessed 11 Jan. 2010)
In his 2007 presentation to a Wilton Park Conference, Steven provides an overview of how research and evaluation can benefit the “new public diplomacy,” which he says is marked by an increase in the influence of non-state actors, with a concomitant decrease in the power of states, a growing focus on multilateral problems requiring global and/or regional solutions, and asymmetric security challenges which tend to diminish the effectiveness of hard power. In this new PD environment, Steven argues the need to develop a “theory of influence” for PD, i.e., how PD can shape public opinion; investigate the interplay between elite, mass, and media audiences; and marshal an effective response across organizational or interagency boundaries. Doing so, he argues, will provide a better understanding of what we can reasonably expect PD to achieve. The article includes a discussion of the value of logic models, the importance of a systematic approach to performance management, and the range of evaluative instruments available to PD practitioners.
Pahlavi, Pierre C. "Evaluating Public Diplomacy Programs,"
The Hague Journal of Diplomacy, Vol. 2, No. 3 (2007): 255-81. Pahlavi’s article provides a good overview of the relevant issues in PD evaluation. He notes that while developments in international politics and communications have raised public diplomacy’s profile as a foreign policy tool, the absence of an evaluative framework to measure its effectiveness has kept PD from playing a more important role in the international affairs arena. He reviews the challenges to measuring success in public diplomacy, which include the lack of clear goals, widespread confusion between outputs and outcomes, limited resources, flawed or insufficient audience information and analysis, and over-reliance on and/or misuse of polling data. On the key issue of whether public diplomacy (in Pahlavi’s words “soft power diplomacy”) can have hard effects, i.e., can contribute to achieving foreign policy goals, he says the jury is still out. No one has yet come up with a methodology to determine the strategic (i.e., long-term impact) of PD, but he argues that research in the area of public relations evaluation might prove fruitful, given the similarities between the two disciplines. He also argues for the importance of focusing on short-term and intermediate goals as promising indicators of end results. Pahlavi concludes by reviewing the reasons why a strong evaluative regime is important and offers his assessment that, while nascent, momentum is building within foreign ministries for a more professional approach to PD measurement.
"Public Diplomacy: Key Challenges and Priorities"
Report on Wilton Park Conference WPS06/21, Friday 10-Sunday 12 March 2006. In association with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Foreign Affairs, Canada and the U.S. Embassy in London. (Accessed 12 Jan. 2010).
This report recaps the main points of a 2006 Wilton Park Conference on Public Diplomacy. It includes a brief section on evaluation, which asserts that the “merits of measurement” are still a subject of “debate and uncertainty.”
Gonesh, Ashvin and Jan Melissen. "Appendix"
Public Diplomacy: Improving Practice.The Hague: Netherlands Institute of International Relations Clingendael, December 2005: 28-48 (1-20). (Accessed 28 Jan. 2010).
Perl, Raphael. "Combating Extremist Ideologies: Measuring Effectiveness-Considerations for Public Diplomacy"
Connections QJ Winter Supplement, Vol V, No. 4-Countering Ideological Support for Terrorism (2006): 64-72. (Accessed 19 Apr. 2010)
Perl’s essay looks at the issue of using public diplomacy to mitigate extremism and how to measure success in that endeavor. He offers as possible performance measures a “skills and resources inventory,” which would track the language fluency of U.S. diplomats charged with waging the war of ideas and the resources (staff and funding) allocated to them. Another measure would be how well the U.S. recruits, trains, and deploys talented personnel. Perl also discusses the importance of targeted evaluation and selection in setting up an effective evaluation regime in what promises to be a long struggle in a time of diminished resources.
Fitzpatrick, Kathy R., The Future of U.S. Public Diplomacy: An Uncertain Fate, Leiden, Koninklijke Brill NV, 2010.
This comprehensive study of American public diplomacy contains a chapter on evaluation, in which the author examines three main issues: the neglect of evaluation in the period before 9/11; the question of what constitutes success in public diplomacy; and the development of a new approach to evaluation that embraces the idea of PD as a tool, first and foremost, for building relationships.
McDowell, Mark. "Public Diplomacy at the Crossroads: Definitions and Challenges in the 'Open Source' Era"
The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs, Vol. 32, No. 3 (2008): 7-15. (Accessed 15 Nov. 2010).
In this article, McDowell reviews the current status of public diplomacy, including how it should be defined (he adheres to PD having an element of government involvement), how globalization has impacted the practice of PD, and the different challenges and opportunities faced by small, medium and large states in doing PD. McDowell also addresses the difficulties of quantifying success in PD in such areas as relationship building (networking) and cultural programming, given the often long-term and diffuse effects of these activities. In this regard, he cautions against governments focusing too much on short-term quantitative results, arguing that this may crowd out consideration of programs and activities that show results over the long run.
Egner, Michael. Between Slogans and Solutions: A Frame-Based Assessment Methodology for Public Diplomacy.
Diss. The Pardee RAND Graduate School, 2009. (Accessed 28 Jan. 2010).
Egner’s dissertation argues that improvements in the design and diagnostics, and ultimately the effectiveness, of PD campaigns can be realized by implementing a frame-based approach rather than relying on the program as the primary unit of PD activity and analysis. Using frames, which Egner identifies as cues or arguments that emphasize individual aspects of any particular policy, policymakers can better target and adjust key messages. Framing works best, he argues, when it is done on a country-specific basis and when it relies on local advocates rather than when it is centrally devised and propagated globally by U.S. officials. The author uses U.S. PD efforts in support of the Iraq war to illustrate his points vis a- vis framing. The dissertation also includes a useful discussion of the relationship between the media and public opinion, the importance of audience research in setting and adjusting frames, and the strong influence that local elites, especially national leaders, have in media agenda setting.
Cull, Nicholas J. "Public Diplomacy: Taxonomies and Histories."
The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Vol. 626, No. 1 (2008): 31-54. (Accessed 21 Mar. 2011).
In an article on the taxonomy of public diplomacy, Cull notes the challenges associated with evaluation, in particular with the long-term nature of some results of PD activities.
Brown, Robin. "Measurement and Evaluation in Public Diplomacy."
Public Diplomacy, Networks, and Influence, 31 March 2011. (Accessed 2 Apr. 2011).
Brown here offers his reflections on the discussion of public diplomacy evaluation that took place at the March 2011 meeting of the International Studies Association in Montreal. He points out that the discourse on measurement focused on both the program level (e.g. surveys of exchange participants) and the national level (e.g. Anholt’s Nation Brand Index), but notes that the gap between the two often makes it difficult to connect the impact of program activities to macro-level perceptions. To improve the conceptualization of PD evaluation, Brown recommends drawing on the approach of the international development community and implementing a “theory of change” for programmatic activities that describes the intended effects. Such a process lets planners evaluate their own assumptions and highlights measurement and evaluation points throughout the process.
Pamment, James. The Limits of the New Public Diplomacy.
Doctoral Thesis. Stockholm: Stockholm University, 2011.
This dissertation, published in book form by Stockholm University, looks at how three foreign ministries, the UK, Sweden, and the U.S., and affiliated cultural organizations (the Swedish Institute and the British Council), have tried to adapt their “old” PD regimes to the “new” demands of a globalized world, with a specific focus on the methods each uses to evaluate success. The author begins by reviewing the history of public diplomacy, the differences between the old and new PD, and three approaches to PD measurement (logic models, network analysis, and perceptions analysis). He then moves to a comparative analysis of PD as practiced by the U.S., UK, and Sweden, using a major PD campaign undertaken by each government to illustrate their prevailing policies and practices as well as the degree to which they have embraced new PD strategies in the face of national or institutional constraints.
The Challenge of Assessing Policy and Advocacy Activities: Part 2, Moving from Theory to Practice.
The California Endowment, October 2006 (Accessed 1 Feb. 2011).
This report is the product of a working session between evaluators, advocates, and grantees convened by the California Endowment to discuss the development of a framework to consider the role of advocacy work in policy change and the creation of measurable and meaningful indicators and benchmarks to assess progress. The report emphasizes the importance of setting goals and priorities from the outset and the use of multiple methods to achieve evaluation objectives. Further discussion focuses on strategies and recommendations for developing a theory of change to explain how a group’s activities are expected to contribute to achieving its long-term outcomes. Other recommendations address the development of benchmarks, indicators, and approaches to data collection. Finally, the report considers how results might be better utilized to improve the overall process. See also Part 1 of this report: http://www.calendow.org/uploadedFiles/Publications/Evaluation/challenge_assessing_policy_advocacy.pdf.
Kelley, John Robert. "U.S. Public Diplomacy: A Cold War Success Story?"
2005-2006 Cold War Studies Centre Seminar Series, Department of International Relations, London School of Economics and Political Science, 2 November 2005: 1-29.
The Cold War ended in victory for the West at least partly because of its effective public diplomacy. Kelley here examines this claim in an effort to determine whether it is possible to devise an effective PD strategy and whether the lessons learned during the Cold War can be applied to the issues confronting the world today. He notes that evaluation has long been a problem in U.S. PD. Today, it’s a matter of resources and commitment; during the Cold War, it was getting access to good data from closed societies. He also addresses the problem of attribution, noting that while news and information from radio and publications certainly penetrated the Iron Curtain, it’s not easy to assess the impact or influence of that information flow. One indicator that suggests a degree of impact can be found in the extent of Soviet efforts to keep Western information out. Kelley concludes that the claim that Cold War PD was a success is difficult to prove or disprove conclusively given the tendency of proponents to rely on anecdotal evidence and the lack of reliable, quantifiable data.
2. The UK Government's Approach to PD Measurement [9 entries]
Phillis, Bob (Chair). "An Independent Review of Government Communications"
Presented for the Minister of the Cabinet Office, January 2004. (Accessed 1 Feb. 2010).
This review of UK government communications asserts that the perceived rise in public alienation from government and the political process is the result, at least in part, of a communications style that seeks to manage, i.e., “spin” news, that does not factor communications into the policy formulation stage, and lacks a “strategic and measurable” approach. The Phillis study calls for greater transparency, greater coordination between agencies, and enhanced dialogue with the public among other measures. It also recommends the creation of a new position -- Permanent Secretary for Government Communications - as well as a new support body, Government Communications Network, to promote best practices.
"The Lord Carter Coles Public Diplomacy Review"
December 2005: 1-77. (Accessed 1 Feb. 2010).
The 2005 Lord Carter Coles review of UK public diplomacy is a follow-on to the 2002 Wilton review of PD and the 2004 Phillis Commission Report on government communications. The Carter review examines all aspects of UK public diplomacy, including a useful delineation of the differing roles of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), the British Council, and the BBC World Service and, while citing improvements in PD since 2002, notes that more needs to be done, specifically in the areas of strategic planning and coordination, performance measurement, and the development of new PD tools. Among its recommendations, the review calls for the adoption of a Public Diplomacy Board, a PD Laboratory, and a new definition of public diplomacy itself.
"The Future of Public Diplomacy."
Report on the Wilton Park Conference, WP 842, 1-3 March 2007. (Accessed 1 Feb. 2010).
This report is a read-out of the main conclusions reached at a 2007 Wilton Park Conference on public diplomacy. It reviews post-Carter Report changes in British PD and also offers a look at the American perspective, including efforts by the U.S. business community to support USG public diplomacy efforts. The challenge of evaluating the effectiveness of public diplomacy is treated substantively. The report asserts that measuring PD needs to be approached on a systems basis and that PD strategies need to be structured in such a way that they lend themselves to effective measurement. It examines the UK’s use of logic models to frame PD initiatives and clarify their objectives, as well as some of the key instruments of data gathering that best identify progress toward the achievement of intermediate goals. The report also looks at the impact of new media on public diplomacy and the role of the military in PD.
"Public Diplomacy: Steps to the Future."
Speech by Lord Triesmen, London School of Economics, 23 April 2007. (Accessed 1 Feb. 2010).
In this speech, David Triesman, former Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Foreign Office with responsibility for public diplomacy, outlines the rationale for a new British approach to PD that eschews the “unmeasurable” task of image building in favor of engaging new audiences in dialogue on key issues.
Government Accountability Office. Actions Needed to Improve Strategic Use and Coordination of Research: Public Diplomacy
GAO-07-904, 18 July 2007: 36-43. (Accessed 1 Feb. 2010).
A portion of this GAO Report reviews recent changes in the British approach to strategic communication in the areas of planning, research and measurement and suggests that these changes offer a potentially useful guide to U.S. PD efforts. Such changes include the integration of strategic planning and research across agencies; using PD to support specific foreign policy objectives instead of nation branding; evaluation of PD on the basis of behavior rather than attitude change; and the importance of research and measurement in gauging progress toward objectives. The GAO takes special note of the UK’s creation of two new PD structures: the Public Diplomacy Board, which coordinates strategic communication planning, resource allocation and measurement across relevant agencies, and the Public Diplomacy Laboratory which draws on outside experts to develop innovative approaches.
Vinter, Louise and David Knox. "Measuring the Impact of Public Diplomacy: Can It Be Done?"
Engagement: Public Diplomacy in a Globalized World. Foreign and Commonwealth Office, July 2008. (Accessed 1 Feb. 2010).
This piece describes the FCO and British Council’s two-year effort, launched in 2007, to craft and test a pilot framework for evaluating the effectiveness of their public diplomacy programs. It begins by noting the challenges inherent in assessing PD: the long-term nature of some desired impacts; the problem of measuring intangibles; and the issue of attribution, i.e., finding a direct cause-effect relationship between PD initiative and desired outcome. To overcome these difficulties, the FCO and the British Council worked together to better coordinate their strategies and desired outcomes. This joint effort was aided by the development of a logic model that offered a common and consistent frame of reference for action and measurement. The article includes a useful description of the UK’s three “tracking tools” used to measure intermediate PD impacts: a media tracker; an influence tracker; and a concrete-changes tracker. It also describes in some detail the relationship between the logic model and the evaluation framework, with side-by-side visual representations of each to illustrate how public diplomacy activities can be viewed as a “journey” from input to the achievement of a policy goal, with sequenced measurement determining progress along the way.
Annual Report 2009-2010: Working for the UK Where It Matters.
The British Council, 2010. (Accessed 14 Sep. 2010).
The British Council’s Annual Report for 2009-2010 outlines how the UK’s international cultural and educational organization measures its effectiveness.
Wilding, Colin M."Measuring the Effectiveness of Public Diplomacy: The UK Approach"
Paper presented to the Annual Conference of International Radio Broadcasters, November 2007.
In this paper, Wilding outlines the logic model the UK introduced in 2007 to help plan and measure its public diplomacy activities and discusses its implications for the BBC World Service. He reviews the BBC’s objective of being the most respected international news service and its “arms-length relationship” with the government, noting that these features make it largely incompatible with an approach that views PD as a tool to support foreign policy aims. Being the most respected global broadcaster may, as a useful byproduct, bring additional benefits to the UK, including support for Britain’s foreign policy aims, but it is an end in itself. The UK makes no effort to determine what those benefits might be, nor does it measure any impact on users other than how they feel about the BBC. In the U.S., on the other hand, the BBG’s mission is directed more toward accomplishing PD objectives, in spite of a mandate requiring its news to be “accurate, objective, and comprehensive.” In either case, it’s important to distinguish the role “their activities are meant to play in PD and to set performance targets accordingly.”
House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee. FCO Public Diplomacy: The Olympic and Paralympic Games 2012
Second Report of Session 2010-11, 6 February 2011. (Accessed 21 Mar. 2011).
This is a report by the British House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee on planned FCO PD efforts relating to the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympics. The report identifies the Foreign Office’s key PD strategies and objectives for the Games but does not systematically address the issue of how its efforts will be evaluated. Individual program case studies in Annex E, however, do offer an analysis of “impact and evaluation.”
3. PD Metrics in the U.S. Government [49 entries]
GPRA Legislation and the PART Process [17 entries]
[The Clinton Administration]
Sunal, Dennis W. and Cynthia C. Sunal. “Professional and Personal Effects of the American Fulbright Experience in Africa,”
African Studies Review, Vol. 34, No. 2 (Sep., 1991): 97-123. (Accessed 6 May 2011).
This paper looks at the personal and professional impact of the exchange experience on 280 American Fulbright scholars (not students) in Africa during the period 1968-1983. The authors examine in particular those factors that occasioned change, including the motivation of the participants themselves. Findings showed that most viewed the experience as a very positive one, personally and professionally. A majority also saw it as positive for their career goals (more than two-thirds in all age groups were promoted within three years of their return), even though nearly a third believed that their experience was undervalued by their home institution. Changes in the home or host institutions were more likely to be reported by full or associate professors than by lecturers or assistant professors, suggesting that rank made them more capable of effecting change.
Stangor, Charles, Klaus Jonas, Wolfgang Stroebe, and Miles Hewstone. "Influence of Student Exchanges on National Stereotypes, Attitudes, and Perceived Group Variability,"
European Journal of Social Psychology, Vol. 26 (1996): 663-675.
This paper looks at changes in stereotypes by U.S. exchange students in Britain and Germany. The students were surveyed before, right after, and 9-months after the conclusion of the program. Variables examined included degree of contact with host country nationals and important personal experiences, both positive and negative, that contributed to the students’ views of the host country. For students in Germany, perceptions of the British served as the control and vice versa. Results showed that attitudes and stereotypes toward the host country changed significantly during the exchange but remained stable upon return home. Group perceptions of the host country actually worsened during the students’ stay, possibly because of inflated early expectations, while those toward the control group remained unchanged. A strong determinant of positive change in attitudes and stereotypes was the degree of direct personal contact with host country members.
Atkinson, Carol. “Does Soft Power Matter? A Comparative Analysis of Student Exchange Programs 1980–2006,”
Foreign Policy Analysis, International Studies Association, Vol. 6, (2010): 1-22. (Accessed 6 May 2011).
Atkinson seeks to test the hypothesis that U.S.-hosted military and civilian exchange programs are a valuable tool in the war of ideas against extremism. Examining the human rights records of states that have sent military officers and students to the U.S. on educational exchanges, she concludes that such programs can diffuse liberal democratic values in authoritarian states, especially when three conditions are present: the exchangee has significant social interaction while on the program; the participant and the hosts “share a sense of community”; and the participant achieves a “politically influential position” upon return home.
Olberding, Julie Cencula and Douglas J. Olberding. "'Ripple Effects' in Youth Peacebuilding and Exchange Programs: Measuring Impacts Beyond Direct Participants,"
International Studies Perspectives, Vol. 11, (2010): 75-91.
This article argues that most exchange program evaluations only measure the impact on the participants themselves while ignoring the potential “ripple effects” on “indirect participants” such as escorts, host families and program staff. To remedy this shortfall, it recommends the implementation of a 360-degree approach to evaluation and offers a case study to illustrate how such an approach might work. The piece contains a good bibliography on the impact of study abroad programs.
Armstrong, Matt. “Survey of American Alumni of the JET Program,”
MountainRunner.us, 28 February 2011. (Accessed 4 Apr. 2011).
This piece describes the effort now under way by Prof. Emily Metzgar to assess the ongoing impact of the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program (JET) on the educational and professional experiences of American participants and on their opinions of Japan. Metzgar’s study utilizes an online survey to collect data from the JET program alumni and to evaluate their continuing connection to Japan in the years following their participation in the program. The study will also examine ways to evaluate the JET program’s impact on aspects of American political, media, and public opinion environments.
USG Exchanges [8 entries]
Mueller Norton, Sharon Lee,The U.S. Department of State IV Program: A Conceptual Framework for Evaluation,
Diss., Tufts University, 1977.
In her dissertation, Mueller devises a “conceptual framework” for the evaluation of the International Visitor Program (IVP), a short-term exchange program for young leaders carried out by the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). She reviews the relevant principles of evaluation, the history of the program, and the 24 existing IVP evaluation studies, most of which she finds outdated and/or flawed, especially by the lack of quantitative data and the failure to address the impact of the program on host-country individuals. Mueller concludes by outlining her framework, including useful discussions of the relevance of characteristics individual participants bring to the exchange and indicators or variables that condition the results of IVP projects and help facilitate comparative analysis.
Adams, Cherie M., Jessica Koehs, Sara Mason, and Stephanie Wolf. “Domestic and Social Economic Impacts of the International Visitors Program”
Alverno College, Applied Research SSC 353. Prepared for the National Council on International Visitors: March, 1999. (Accessed 11 Nov. 2010).
This qualitative study, undertaken in 1998 by the Alverno College Applied Research Team at the request of the National Council for International Visitors (NCIV), looks at the domestic social and economic impacts of the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor (IV) Program, (then administered by the now-defunct United States Information Agency). It is based on phone interviews with volunteer hosts from various local councils of the NCIV. The findings suggest that the IV Program has a significant impact on communities where the Councils are located by expanding the hosts’ networking opportunities, broadening their perspective on global issues, and by heightening awareness of and facilitating greater interaction with people from other countries.
Cerbins, Jennifer, Sarah Meier, and Ruth Miller.“Domestic and Social Economic Impact of the International Visitors Program”
Alverno College, Applied Research SSC 353. Prepared for the National Council on International Visitors: May, 1999.(Accessed 11 Nov. 2010).
A continuation of the 1998 NCIV analysis of the social and economic impacts of the IV Program, this update adds additional sites and then synthesizes the data from the two studies. It confirms the findings of the first study and adds a brief bibliography.
“Completed Program Evaluations.”
Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Office of Policy and Evaluation, U.S. Department of State. (Accessed 19 May 2010).
This website contains summaries of all program evaluations completed since 1997 by the evaluation division of the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural affairs. Below are two representative samples of evaluations of ECA programs.
“Outcome Assessment of the Visiting Fulbright Student Program: Executive Summary.”
Prepared for U.S. Department of State by SRI International, June 2005: 1-6. (Accessed 4 Apr. 2010)
This evaluation of the Visiting Fulbright Student Program, conducted by a contract consultancy firm in 2004-2005, is designed to assess the impact of the program on the personal and professional lives of the participants, and to document the program’s success in promoting “mutual understanding.” The evaluation relied on both quantitative and qualitative evidence to measure success, using such indicators as participant satisfaction with the program, increases in learning, behavior change, professional enhancement, and the development of lasting relationships. The study’s findings strongly suggest the program is meeting its objectives.
“International Visitor Leadership Program Outcome Assessment: Executive Summary."
This IVLP assessment was also conducted by an outside contractor and had much the same objective – to assess the impact of the program on the participants and their affiliated organizations and to ascertain how well it met its legislative mandate of bolstering mutual understanding. The study examined participants from Georgia, Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine during the years 1996-2001. It was conducted from November 2004 to March 2005, a period that coincided with the Rose Revolution in Georgia and the Orange Revolution in the Ukraine, a reminder, the authors state, of the need to take context into account in evaluation. The findings, derived from over 800 personal interviews and multiple focus groups, were based on four outcome levels – participant satisfaction, professional learning, behavior change, and follow-on linkages – and revealed the program to be successful at each level.
Interagency Working Group on U.S. Government-Sponsored International Exchanges And Training (IAWG), Measuring The Performance Of International Exchanges And Training Programs.
August 2000. (Accessed 4 Apr. 2010).
This federally mandated report on performance measurement in USG-sponsored exchanges and training programs offers a primer on the topic, complete with glossary, step-by-step procedures for implementing a measurement regime, profiles of USG agency approaches to measurement, examples of various performance measurement plans tied to specific types of exchanges and training, and a bibliography.
Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of State and the Broadcasting Board of Governors. Report of Inspection: Management Review of Youth Programs
Bureau of Educational & Cultural Affairs, Department of State, ISP-I-10-16, October 2009. (Accessed 3 Dec. 2009).
This report by the State Department’s Office of the Inspector General looks at the question of oversight of four secondary school exchange programs conducted by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). The age group for participants in these programs is 15-18 years old. The report finds that ECA program staff, assuming that monitoring responsibility was transferred in the language of the grant, tended to focus more on monitoring the grant process rather than the exchange participants, resulting in a general lack of oversight. The report recommends enhanced training for program officers, additional staff and funds for site visits, and the development of improved monitoring procedures.
5. Cultural Programming [12 entries]
U.S. Perspectives [10 entries]
"Cultural Diplomacy: Recommendations and Research
Center for Arts and Culture, July 2004. (Accessed Nov. 2011).
This document outlines the activities of the Center for Arts and Culture in support of expanded U.S. efforts in the field of cultural diplomacy. It includes a series of recommendations, a public and cultural diplomacy timeline (starting from September 11, 2001), and executive summaries of five articles on the topic commissioned by the Center in 2003. Following are three of these articles.
Cummings, Milton C. “Cultural Diplomacy and the United States Government: A Survey,”
Cultural Diplomacy Research Series, Center for Arts and Culture, 2003. (Accessed 18 Jan 2011).
Cummings’ article offers a useful overview of U.S. cultural diplomacy policy since the 1930s and concludes with a comment on the difficulty of measuring its results.
Sablosky, Juliet Antunes. "Recent Trends in Department of State Support for Cultural Diplomacy 1993-2002," Cultural Diplomacy Research Series. Center for Arts and Culture, 2003.
Sablosky reviews the U.S. Department of State’s approach to cultural diplomacy during the years 1993-2003. She begins by tracing the history of U.S. cultural programs abroad, noting that funding and political support have always been sporadic. The most recent wave of funding cuts reached its apogee in the late 90s, by which time USIA’s budget had been cut by 33% and its staff by 29%. USIA itself was dissolved and its components rolled into the State Department in 1999. The author then examines funding and activity levels for key exchange and cultural programs. She concludes by asserting that cultural diplomacy has the potential to positively impact U.S. foreign relations, but that without a “clearly articulated rationale” for carrying out such programming, that potential may go unrealized.
Schneider, Cynthia P. "Diplomacy That Works: 'Best Practices' In Cultural Diplomacy,"
Cultural Diplomacy Research Series. Center for Arts and Culture, 2003.
Schneider argues here that cultural diplomacy is perhaps the best vehicle for America to convey its values to the world. To illustrate her point, she provides examples of creative uses of this vehicle by U.S. Embassy officials in a variety of countries. While asserting that the “returns” of cultural programs are “intangible,” Schneider says they form “an integral part of our relationship with other people and other countries.”
Advisory Committee on Cultural Diplomacy. Cultural Diplomacy: The Linchpin of Public Diplomacy.
U.S. Department of State, September 2005. (Accessed 12 Dec. 2009).
This 2005 report by the Advisory Committee on Cultural Diplomacy argues for the centrality of cultural diplomacy in U.S. public diplomacy specifically and foreign policy in general. The authors state that it is through cultural activities that a nation best expresses its ideals, but despite that, the U.S. has, since the end of the Cold War, consistently under-funded cultural programming. They also state flatly that cultural diplomacy suffers because “no metric or language exists by which to gauge the success of a cultural initiative.” Cultural diplomacy involves, as one writer puts it, a “certain degree of faith.” The authors conclude by issuing a set of recommendations, one of which calls for more training of U.S. public diplomats in the areas of research, polling, and new media.
“An Evaluation of the Jazz Ambassadors Program,”
Prepared for the U.S. Department of State by AMS Planning and Research Corp., May 2006: 1-10. (Accessed 19 May 2010).
Undertaken by ECA contractors, this evaluation looks at the impact of the Jazz Ambassadors program from 1997-2004, during which more than one-hundred individuals and groups toured the world. It relied on site visits, on-line surveys, and telephone interviews to ascertain how well the program met its goals, including strengthening mutual understanding, broadening target audiences, and deepening awareness of U.S. culture and values. The results suggest that the program is an effective public diplomacy tool.
“Evaluation of the English Access Microscholarship Program,”
Prepared for the U.S. Department of State by Aguirre Division of JBS International, Inc., December 2007: 1-118. (Accessed 19 May 2010).
This evaluation, undertaken in 2005-2006, looks at the effectiveness of an ECA program designed to offer scholarships to 14-18 year-old non-elite students to study English and learn about American society and values. Although originally focused on Muslim youth, the program has since expanded to include non-Muslim students. Findings suggest that the program is effective in enhancing students’ English language skills, deepening their understanding of American culture and society, and improving their views of the U.S. and the American people. The evaluation incorporated both qualitative and quantitative methods such as individual interviews, surveys, focus groups, site visits, and classroom observation.
Slackman, Michael. “A New Tongue to Win Hearts and Minds.”
The New York Times. 5 February 2009. (Accessed 9 Feb. 2011).
Slackman’s article examines the Access English language teaching program in Egypt, sponsored by the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. It offers an interesting analysis of the potential impact of the program on its participants, though largely through an anecdotal frame.
Kaiser, Michael. “How Helpful is Cultural Diplomacy?”
The Huffington Post, 21 September 2009. (Accessed 12 Dec. 2009).
Kaiser asks whether traditional cultural diplomacy – sending American arts groups and artists abroad – is an effective strategy for improving the U.S. image. His answer is “no.” He argues that cultural diplomacy is marketing and that marketing is only effective when repeated, and the USG simply doesn’t have the resources to sustain such an effort. Kaiser posits instead that a more cost-effective and results-oriented approach would be for the USG to focus on sharing U.S. expertise in arts management in order to help struggling arts organizations abroad achieve sustainability over the long term.
“Arts and Culture”
American Evaluation Association. (Accessed 18 Jan. 2011)
This is a topical interest group within the American Evaluation Association that focuses on the evaluation of arts and cultural programs. The site intends to respond to the needs of arts and culture evaluators by providing a venue for the discussion of best practices and the development of customized evaluation tools.
International Views [2 entries]