The art and science of communications: From strategic to personal

Category Archives: Cultural diplomacy

Strategic communication in the foreign policy, development and security arena – what’s that all about?

It’s about contributing to policy and guidance, providing strategic counsel, nurturing linkages and relationships between policy mechanisms, coordinating between national, international and non-governmental entities.

It’s about communicating in a highly charged, ethically challenging, fast moving, traditional and digital, multi-spectral, politically sensitive, conflict-ridden and culturally diverse environment.

It’s about employing media relations, advocacy, lobbying, grassroots activism, de-radicalisation, crisis management, new technologies and old.

It’s about the utility of forums, blogs, twitter, facebook, TV, radio, print, street chatter, posters, networks, crowdsourcing, mobile technology and academic discourse.

It’s about taking part in conversation, dialogue, consultation, education, monitoring, analysis, research, polling, cooperation and collective action.

It’s about understanding narrative, strategy, tactics, messages, identity, objectives, framing, behaviour, attitude, opinion and delivery.

It’s about appreciating sociology, anthropology, history, culture, group dynamics, behavioural ecomonics, organisational theory and psychology.

It’s about engaging with people, publics, stakeholders, governments, activists, opinion leaders, think tanks, NGOs and the military.

It’s about developing media industry, legal infrastructure, free press, media literacy, social activism, technology for development, institutional communications and public affairs.

It’s about managing media liaison, press releases, events, synchronisation, internal communications, spokespeople and social media.

But, simply put, what it’s really all about is bringing all of the above together.

That’s what it’s all about.

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Nation Branding in a Globalized World:  The Economic, Political, and Cultural Dimensions of Nation Branding

Berlin, 29th July –- 1st August 2010

Nation Branding in a Globalized World” is a 4 day international conference being held by the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy that will explore the concept of nation branding and consider its importance in contemporary international relations. The conference is based on the growing influence of nation brands and the increasing importance placed on such brands by politicians, private sector representatives, and other stakeholders in global politics and economics. The program aims to focus on the challenges and opportunities of strengthening a country’s image abroad, and the impact of such activity on international relations.

Nation Branding in a Globalized World” will consist of 4 complementary components:

What’s in a brand?

The program will begin by exploring in detail the history and development of term “nation brand”, its definition, and the extent to which the term is open to interpretation. The opening part of the conference will also address the extent to which a country is able to shape its own brand, and what factors may enable or hinder this process.

New Actors, New Strategies

Having considered the meaning of the term “nation brand”, the second part of the program will move to analyse the different actors involved in shaping a country’s image abroad – including governments, private sector companies, individuals, and civil society organisations. The interaction between these actors, and the ways in which they can influence a country’s brand, will be considered in detail.

Nation Branding ... more than just pretty logos

Economic, Political, and Cultural Benefits

The penultimate component part of the conference will explore the advantages for a country of having a strong nation brand – with particular reference to economics, politics, and the cultural sector. Case studies from across the world will be considered by an interdisciplinary group of speakers.

Nation Branding in a Globalized World

The final part of the program will consider the complex relationship between the process of globalisation and the generation of nation brands. It will explore the challenge of combining strong nation brands in an increasingly interdependent world, and will develop best practice guidelines for countries seeking to engage in nation branding.

Participant Papers – The Institute for Cultural Diplomacy encourages research and progressive thought into the fields of culture, globalization and international relations. In this regard, the ICD is welcoming participants of the Conference to submit papers on this subject. The papers can cover any topic within these fields, according to your own particular interests and passions. Participants can submit work that they have completed in the past for other purposes, ongoing research or a paper written specifically for the conference. Groups of students are also allowed to submit collaborative pieces of work

Further information:      www.icd-nationbranding.org


The Institute for Cultural Diplomacy is currently accepting applications to the international congress “Hard vs. Soft Power: Foreign Policy Strategies in Contemporary International Politics”.  Speakers will include leading figures from international politics and diplomacy, academia, civil society, the armed forces, and related fields, including:

Anna Fotyga – Former Foreign Minister of Poland

Teresa Patrício de Gouveia – Former Foreign Minister of Portugal

Dr. Solomon Passy – Former Foreign Minister of Bulgaria

Andrew Sparrow – Senior Political Editor, Guardian Online

Prof. Inderjeet Parmar – Professor of Government, Manchester University, Vice-Chair, UK International Studies Association

Jean Lambert – MEP for London (Green Party); Vice-President of the Greens/European Free Alliance Group

Mark C. Donfried – Director & Founder – the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy

Martin Bell – UNICEF UK Ambassador, Former British MP (Independent)

Samuel Jones – Head of Culture at Demos; DCMS Fellow

Simon Berry – Founder and Director of Colalife

Further speakers will be updated regularly under www.culturaldiplomacy.org/cambridgeforum

“Hard vs. Soft Power” is open to students and young professionals, journalists, political and diplomatic representatives, and other individuals with an active interest in international politics and the drivers of foreign policy.  The Conference will be split into three complementary parts. The program will begin by looking in detail at the concepts of “hard power”, “soft power”, and “smart power” — where they have come from, how they have developed, and their application in contemporary international relations.

Case studies from across the world will be used to provide practical examples of these approaches.

The second part of the program will focus on the foreign policy strategies of the United Kingdom at present and in the coming decade. Speakers will consider the evolution of British foreign policy priorities, the strategies that are being used to pursue these objectives, and the role of the media in interpreting and shaping government activity.

The third and final part of the conference will consider the future of international relations at the global level. It will explore the changing nature of global politics, the emergence of global public goods and other trans-national challenges, and will provide case studies through which the strategies of hard and soft power can be assessed.

“Hard Vs Soft Power” will be based in the Cambridge Union, home of the university’s largest student society and the oldest student debating society in the world. The Union is located in the heart of Cambridge, surrounded by the city’s historic colleges and a short walk to the River Cam.

Further information about the conference can be found here.

Members of the Cambridge Union are able to attend at a reduced rate.


The International Symposium on Cultural Diplomacy 2010:

“Culture, Globalization, and International Relations over the next Two Decades” – Berlin, May 23rd – 30th, 2010

Symposium Agenda

The International Symposium 2010 will be split into three complementary parts. The program will begin by looking in greater detail at “culture” and identity” and how these terms are used and understood today. During this part of the program participants will have the opportunity to experience Berlin’s famous “Carnival of Cultures”.

The second part of the program will build on these components by considering the role that culture plays in contemporary international relations and the process of globalization. During these three days the concepts of cultural diplomacy” and “soft power” will also be explored in more detail.

The final part of the program will apply these discussions to one of the key issues that will determine global politics over the coming years: Afghanistan and stability in Central Asia.

The Symposium will be split into the following three parts:

“Defining and Understanding Culture in an International Context” : 23rd – 25th May)

A Three Piece Puzzle – “The Relationship between Culture, International Relations and Globalization” : 26th – 27th May

“Understanding Afghanistan and Central Asia: Supporting Democracy and Stability – The Path Ahead” : 28th – 30th May

This final part is being held in cooperation with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the German Marshal Fund (GMFUS), UNESCO, the European Commission, the US State Department and in partnership with leading international organizations.

Further details about the event can be found at the icd website:

<http://www.icd-internationalsymposium.org>

http://www.icd-internationalsymposium.org


On 1 April, 2010, the UK military’s Defence Cultural Specialist Unit (DCSU), consisting of military specialists in Afghan culture and language, came into being, over eight years since military forces arrived in Afghanistan.

As part of ISAF, DCSU personnel will be a major part of General McChrystal’s renewed counter insurgency strategy – which places the people of Afghanistan at the centre of operations.

From an ISAF Press Release:

The DCSU – based at RAF Henlow in Bedfordshire – has been established in consultation with other government departments to ensure that its activities support the wider comprehensive approach and link into other government and Afghan initiatives.

Assistant Chief of the Defence Staff (Operations) Air Vice-Marshal Andy Pulford said that a focus on cultural issues is essential to success in the country.

He said: “Cultural awareness is at the heart of General McChrystals Counter Insurgancy Strategy. This unit will help improve the military understanding and appreciation of the region, its people and how to do business there.”

Commander John Garratt RN, the MoD team leader for implementing the unit explained:

“This has come about as a response to the operational demand to better understand the people we operate with so as to make smarter decisions and improve military effectiveness. The DCSU is the spearhead of a broader Defence Cultural Capability and will provide both the home for the specialists and the focus for wider capability development”.

The new unit’s Operational Commander, Colonel Nick Hubberstey, stressed the importance of having a dedicated unit.

“The DCSU represents a real opportunity to further improve our understanding of the current operational environment. By continuing to develop our understanding of the people we are working amongst, how they think, their culture, beliefs, hopes and fears, we can do much more to bring our mission in Afghanistan a speedy and satisfactory conclusion”.

The Brits are getting to 'know' these chaps ...

This is, withoubt doubt a welcome move and commendable.  As part of any Information Operations capability, a deep understanding of the host poulation’s culture is utterly crucial.  In pure PR terms this is critical to what specialists call two-way asymmetrical communication – acquiring knowledge of a target public in order to establish the best appraoches to persuade and influence audiences to behave as an organization desires and then conducting such. Notably it does encourage research to find out how it publics feel about the organization.

However, theoretically (through organizational systems theory approach) the holy grail of modern communications, especially in the contemporary information age with the ubiquitous nature of information, is two-way symmetrical communication, whereby relationships demand the understanding of all publics of each other. This approach uses communication to negotiate with publics, resolve conflict, and promote mutual understanding and respect between the organization and its publics.

... and they 'know' the Brits.

This begs the question – how far can NATO’s effective communication go when the military know a lot about the host population but makes little effort to allow them to fully understand the military and foreign entities in their countries?  What’s more, when it comes to their own culture, ideals, motivations, how coherent are they to those military and foreign entities?

In any communication process there are always at least two cultures to consider and understand – oneself and ‘the other’.  DCSU is a very welcome addition to understanding ‘the other’ – but in the wider communication ‘battle’ it’s only half way there.

And, as welcome as it is, with the public sector, including MoD soon due to be squeezed even hard for cash, will DCSU survive any cuts?  Or will Hard power requirements take priority?


Organised by the University Association for Contemporary European Studies (UACES), Monday 22 March 2010 sees the final event of Communicating European Citizenship project, with a conference hosted by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London, uniting academic experts in communication, citizenship and European integration from a range of disciplines (politics, law, sociology, communications). Programme highlights include:

1)  The FCO’s Role in Communicating the EU to Young People – Alison Rose, Head of the Europe Communications, Institutions, Treaty and Iberia Group

2)  Perceptions of the EU and the Challenge of Communicating with Young EU Citizens – Jenny Fairbrass, Co-convenor of project/UACES Treasurer and Stephen Fairbrass, Co-convenor of project/Senior Lecturer in Citizenship Education, with feedback from the Continuing Professional Development and Year 9/10 conferences held earlier in 2010.

3)   Round Table to Consider Perceptions of the EU and the Challenge of Communicating with Young EU Citizenschaired by Alex Warleigh-Lack, Brunel University

*         Albert Weale, University College London

*         Don Rowe, Citizenship Foundation

*         Jean Lambert MEP

*         Andy Thorpe, Bradford Academy

*         Anna Neale, Longdendale Community Language College

4)  Ten Research Panels, each comprising three papers, on the following themes:

*       National dimension and citizenship

*       Economic issues and citizenship

*       Participation and elections

*       Education and citizenship

*       The media and citizenship

*       Social and Environmental citizenship

*       Legal issues

*       Civil Society

*       Active citizenship and local/regional issues

*       Communication strategy and discourse

Please see http://www.uaces.org/events/conferences/cec/for details of the project (co-funded by the European Commission), the programme of research panels, and in order to register.

Communicating European Citizenship - quite a task!


The current revolution in communications technologies and the emergence of new media platforms are transforming the practice of American foreign policy. Today’s diplomats are seeking ways to exploit new tools such as social media, short message service (SMS), and other mobile applications on the more than 4.6 billion mobile phones in use around the world. To respond to this changing environment, the U.S. State Department, under the leadership of Secretary Hillary Clinton, is exploring new avenues in 21st century statecraft, seeking to maximize the potential of these technologies in service of America’s diplomatic and development goals.

On December 17, the Brookings Institution will host Alec Ross, the secretary of state’s senior advisor for innovation, for a discussion of these new tools of diplomacy.  Before joining the State Department, Ross served as convener for technology, media and telecommunications policy for Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. Previously, Ross helped lead One Economy, a nonprofit organization addressing the digital divide.

Brookings Nonresident Senior Fellow Kristin Lord, vice president of the Center for a New American Security, will join the discussion following Mr. Ross’s opening remarks. Brookings Senior Fellow Theodore Piccone, deputy director for Foreign Policy, will provide introductory remarks and moderate the discussion. After the program, panelists will take audience questions.

Event Information

When

Thursday, December 17, 2009
10:30 AM to 11:45 AM

Where

Saul/Zilkha Rooms
The Brookings Institution
1775 Massachusetts Ave., NW
Washington, DC

Contact: Brookings Office of Communications

E-mail: events@brookings.edu

Phone: 202.797.6105