The art and science of communications: From strategic to personal

Tag 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 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?


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


The Instutute for Cultural Diplomacy in Berlin is hosting an International Congress on Interdependence and Cultural Diplomacy from November 6-9th. “A World without Walls”, hosted in honor of the 20 year anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall, will bring together an international group of young leaders, political and diplomatic representatives and individuals from the private sector and civil society for a four-day program of lectures and seminars in Germany’s capital.

icd-logo-center

During the program, participants will consider the development of international relations over the past two decades, explore the challenges and opportunities of interdependence, and look at the importance of cultural diplomacy in ensuring sustainable multilateral cooperation. The speakers at the event will be leading international figures from politics and academia, who will be able to add unique perspectives on these three issues under consideration.

A selection of already confirmed speakers can be found below:

  • Mr. Janez Janša, Former Prime Minister of Slovenia; President of the Slovenian Democratic Party
  • Mike Kenneth Moore, Former Prime Minister of New Zealand, Former Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO)
  • President Dr. Alfredo Palacio, Former President of Ecuador, Former Vice President of Ecuador
  • President Emil Constantinescu, Former President of Romania
  • President Sir James Richard Marie Mancham, Founding President of the Republic of Seychelles
  • The Hon. Alan Baird Ferguson, 22nd President of the Australian Senate
  • Minister Dr. Igor Lukšič, Minister of Education and Sport of Slovenia
  • H.E. Yaşar Yakiş, Turkish MP, Former Foreign Minister of Turkey
  • Dr. Vasile Puşcaş, Romanian Minister for European Affairs
  • Zlatko Lagumdžija, Former Chairman of the Council of Ministers and Foreign Minister of Bosnia-Herzegovina
  • Ioannis Kasoulides, MEP; Former Foreign Minister, 2008 Cypriot Presidential Candidate
  • Danuta Maria Hübner, Polish MEP, Former Minister of European Affairs for Poland, Former EU Commissioner for Regional Policy
  • Dr. Erkki Tuomioja, Member of Parliament and Former Foreign Minister of Finland

Further information can be found under: www.world-without-walls.org or contact worldwithoutwalls@culturaldiplomacy.org


The International Symposium on Cultural Diplomacy

Berlin, 27 – 31 July 2009

symp

The Institute for Cultural Diplomacy is currently accepting applications For the forthcoming International Symposium on Cultural Diplomacy. The Symposium will bring together individuals from across the world for an interdisciplinary program that will consider the importance of soft power in addressing today’s global challenges. Confirmed speakers for the event include:

Jorge Sampaio, Former President of Portugal
Joaqim Chissano, Former President of Mozambique
Dr. Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga, Former President of Latvia
Cassam Uteem, Former President of the Republic of Mauritius
Dr. Erkki Tuomioja, Former Foreign Minister of Finland
Borys Tarasyuk, Former Foreign Minister of the Ukraine
Samuel Jones, Head of Culture, Demos
John Holden, Visiting Professor, City University London
Prof. Dr. Joseph S. Nye Jr.*, Distinguished Service Professor, Harvard University
Prof. Dr. Cynthia Schneider, Former US Ambassador to the Netherlands
Prof. Dr. Christian Armbrüster, Judge and Professor in Law, Free University Berlin

Who can apply?

The International Symposium is open to applications from students and young professionals with an active interest in international relations.

What will the Symposium involve?

The program for the International Symposium will consist of five days of lectures, seminars and panel discussions with leading figures from the political, diplomatic, academic and civil society spheres.

What are the aims of the Symposium?

The Symposium aims to provide the participants with a range of perspectives on the potential for soft power in international relations, as  well as highlighting key issues in the contemporary international environment.

What happens after the Symposium?

After taking part in the Symposium the participants become members of the ICD Young Leaders network and are supported by the ICD in conducting research, in organising and developing their own cultural exchange initiatives, and are invited to join the ICD’s Online Forum, where they can network with other young leaders from around the world.

More information about the Symposium, including the full speaker list and the application form, can be found under:
<http://www.culturaldiplomacy.org/academy/index.php?en_calendar_symposium-20
09> www.culturaldiplomacy.org/academy/index.php?en_calendar_symposium-2009