r.s. zaharna

R.S. Zaharna, Photo property of CPD

Encouraging emerging PD scholars, contributing to the CPD Blog, and research for a book on public diplomacy and identity. 

Diplomacy expert Manuel Castells defined public diplomacy as “the projection in the international arena of the values and ideas of the public." Perhaps no other international entity embodies that definition better than the People’s Health Movement (PHM), a global network that brings together grassroots health activists, civil society organizations, and academic institutions from more than 70 countries.

A new public health collective is making great strides.

Sports diplomacy is often presented as a slam dunk approach for building relations across political divides. Last week veteran NBA star Dennis Rodman took a shot at “basketball diplomacy” in North Korea and showed how professed good intentions can go afoul.

Congratulations are in order for CPD as Jay Wang took the helm this fall and began engaging with the public diplomacy community as the new CPD director. As often happens with such beginnings, the focus intuitively turns to the future. I would like to suggest a counter-intuitive move and challenge public diplomacy scholars around the world to explore the contributions of ancient heritages to the practice of public diplomacy.

Watching the events unfold in Egypt over the past weeks has been akin to watching a slow moving train wreck as two powerful forces – the army and the Muslim Brotherhood – collide together. Both have strong wills, resources, and high stakes in the outcome. Whereas social media played a pivotal role in uniting the Egyptian public during the January 25 revolution in 2011, it appears that mass media may be playing the critical role in dividing the Egyptian public during the current events.

This Culture Post takes a closer look at five critical roles of the domestic public in public diplomacy. Because traditional public diplomacy has focused primarily on foreign publics, the role of the domestic public may have been overlooked rather than absent. In that sense, the roles may not be new. What is new is the perspective to see it.

Over the past decade there has been a near universal surge of interest in public diplomacy. Yet, as more nations venture into the PD realm it is becoming increasingly clear that understandings of PD concepts and practices are anything but universal. One area where different views are emerging is the role of the public. Who is the “public” in public diplomacy?