GW Professor and former Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs on his most recent book, Red Line.
Mark Donfried, founder and director general of the Berlin-based Institute for Cultural Diplomacy (ICD), is not surprised at the comparatively low level of knowledge in the US about the Arab world, as revealed in a recent YouGov/Arab News survey. “Between 70 and 80 percent of Americans don’t have passports and so don’t go abroad. Most of the ones who do go to Canada and Mexico, some to Europe, but few of them make it to the Middle East,” he said.
Besides governments talking to each other in formal and informal settings, soft power is comprised of programs and policies that have an impact on people’s lives. Examples include PEPFAR (the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief), President George Bush’s signature initiative to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS; the prestigious Fulbright program, which for 71 years has brought scholars to the U.S. and sent American scholars abroad to teach and study; and our role in providing humanitarian assistance to countries in crisis.
A high-profile media forum to be held in Dubai next week will feature an Arab News panel discussion examining the region’s image abroad. [...] A report titled “The Arab Image in the US” will be unveiled at the event. It is based on an exclusive survey of how the American public views the Arab world, conducted in partnership between Arab News, the Dubai Press Club and research and polling specialist YouGov.
Non-resident Indians (NRIs) used to be looked at with skepticism once upon a time, but today India embraces their success, Ambassador of India to UAE Navdeep Singh Suri has said. Speaking at the 35th conference of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India - Dubai Chapter, Suri said the changing mindsets of diplomats and increasing social media use have aided in showcasing the hard work of NRIs and of diplomatic missions.
U.S. News and World Report’s 2017 “Best Countries Ranking” was released earlier this month and it hit the United States in the gut. The survey of 21,362 people from 36 countries across the globe ranks the world’s largest countries on a set of 65 attributes ranging from “most business friendly” to “best to visit” to “richest traditions.” America slipped from #4 in the previous ranking to #7 in the current report.
Focusing on the impact of social media on the youth, Pashollari said: “In the UAE, the youth represents 60 per cent of the population. Governments must therefore consult the youth before implementing policies, and social media represents the perfect medium to enable this two-way communication. In addition, it can encourage the youth to create public opinion on important international issues..."