VOA’s Kurdish service is the only international broadcaster that speaks to the Kurds of Iraq in their main dialects, Sorani and Kurmanji. The service, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this week, also attracts a significant audience in Syria, Turkey and Iran, all with sizable Kurdish minorities.

The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) recently released its 2013 budget request, which slashes Voice of America (VOA) funding by more than $17 million while increasing funding for major bureaucratic offices inside the International Broadcasting Bureau.

As her position holds a seat on the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), Sonenshine will be able to influence the BBG’s strategic planning process. This process has in recent years threatened to gut the U.S. international broadcasting services by redirecting resources from broadcasting toward Internet-only platforms, which are unavailable in many developing countries.

The new Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy, Tara Sonenshine, and a bundle of other diplomatic nominees received the Senate stamp of approval. Sonenshine’s challenge will be to grapple with several substantive issues including the challenge from China.

The Broadcasting Board of Governors and Gallup today detailed the ways in which their new partnership is helping the BBG inform, engage and connect with people worldwide in order to better serve their needs and support U.S. foreign policy and national security goals.

It is a message designed to entertain and to engage a particular audience: those without much knowledge of history and not particularly interested in current events but who can be easily reached by new media and easily counted in audience surveys.

“They are thirsty for information. They are thirsty for technology. Our big issue is access,” García Pérez said during a conference on the need for technological change in Cuba. He said, for example, Radio and TV Marti content is being distributed in Cuba via DVDs, flash drives and mobile devices.

The mission of public diplomacy is generally described as seeking to “understand, engage, inform and influence” foreign publics and elites in support of national policy objectives. Public diplomacy has been practiced, in one form or another, for a long time...