The CPD Blog is intended to stimulate dialog among scholars and practitioners from around the world in the public diplomacy sphere. The opinions represented here are the authors' own and do not necessarily reflect CPD's views. For blogger guidelines, click here.

Strategically, the default to “propaganda” creates blind spots, its own reverse deception, and most importantly, a lost opportunity.

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. It also demonstrated the deft role of the media as the tables turned on the NBA players following a confrontational interview between Rodman and CNN New Day anchor Chris Cuomo. The NBA players not only lost control of the ball but became the ball on CNN’s court.

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.

What happens when the domestic public seemingly overtakes a country’s public diplomacy agenda?

Brazil looked like it had scored a double goal when it secured the bid to host the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics. A massive promotional campaign to garner world attention was well underway. And then came the massive protests by the Brazilian public.

A previous Culture Post explored cultural assumptions about who is the ‘public’ in public diplomacy and suggested an expanded vision of “the public” that includes the domestic, diaspora, and foreign publics. Failure to see a public and the role it plays can leave a nation vulnerable to blind spots in its public diplomacy.

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?

Recent Culture Posts have highlighted “relationalism,” which emphasizes relations, and by extension, networks. The term network is appearing with greater frequency in all things related to public diplomacy. It seems only a few years ago that Jessica T. Matthew was lamenting the fate of state actors as entrenched hierarchies in “Power Shifts".

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