The Dullard’s Guide to Diplomatic Speechwriting gives an iron formula. After the opening formalities, the speaker includes a positive passage rehearsing “contact between our two countries" down the centuries.
These are exciting days for those of us who teach and practice public diplomacy. Aimed at establishing mutually beneficial relationships between governments (as well as non-governmental organizations) and citizens of foreign nations, our field is viewed as transformative by some, while somewhat idealistic by others. With the stated goal of "winning the hearts and minds" of foreign publics, the U.S. government has invested large sums of money into a variety of international engagement programs.
HE La Celia A. Prince presented her credentials to President George W. Bush on June 6th, 2008. Prior to becoming Ambassador, she served as the Deputy Chief of Mission in the Washington Embassy from September 2005 until her appointment as Ambassador. She is also her nation’s Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States. Prior to her arrival to Washington DC, Ambassador Prince worked in multilateral trade negotiations in the Caribbean, Mexico, Geneva, and Brussels. She is a lawyer by profession, having studied at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Cave Hill Campus; Sir Hugh Wooding Law School, Trinidad; and Cambridge University, England. Ambassador Prince is currently the youngest foreign ambassador accredited to and serving in Washington, DC. The Diplomatic Courier caught up with Ambassador Prince to discuss her work, her country, and her experiences as a female ambassador.
Public diplomacy has always been an important tool in communicating a country’s policies, values, and culture. However, the means through which these goals could be achieved considerably changed in the last one hundred years, and politicians as well as scholars have had to face new challenges and adapt to a new media era. The same public diplomacy as we interpret it nowadays was born quite recently, namely with Woodrow Wilson’s “Fourteen Point” speech where diplomacy became exposed to media and, through them, to the wider public—which became an attentive and interested audience. Yet the latter would soon assume a direct active role in diplomatic relations with the wide diffusion of television broadcasts, internet, and especially of social networks. Immediately, questions on the benefit of such exposition raised and debates are still active today. However, it is undeniable that public participation has become a permanent feature of diplomatic negotiations. Politicians have a choice: disregard the current tools as part of a passing trend, or embrace new technologies to further develop communication programs.
A common mantra among entrepreneurs is that failure is good; the key is to fail fast and fail cheap. If you applied this mantra to diplomacy the objective would be to test new approaches, with the goal of positively impacting communities abroad and adding new tools to a diplomat’s tool belt, all while leveraging limited resources and responding to increasing demands. The challenge is that trying something new requires risk, and risk is not a trait synonymous with government. How do you encourage innovation in government and mitigate risk? The answer: develop strategic partnerships with partners who know how to innovate and manage risk and who have built-in platforms and systems to do so.
All happy speeches are alike. All unhappy speeches are different in their own particular way.
A youth unemployment rate in the single digits; scientific innovation highlighted by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN); a health care system regularly named among the best; and a happy and prosperous population.
A recent issue of The Economist featured a special report on American foreign policy. One of its main points is that the U.S. economy is known for its resilience, but that its shortcomings, oftentimes, are political in nature. This is a commonplace, and not just in the United States. The report goes on to describe an aspect of this resilience that may be unexpected. “Who would have thought,” the author, Edward Carr, asks, “that the latest boom would be in an old, declining American industry like oil and gas?”
Recent negotiations in Geneva between Iran and Western leaders over Iran’s nuclear program ended as both sides agreed to an interim deal. The leaders agreed to a six-month freeze in Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for a temporary lifting of some of the international economic sanctions that have plagued Iran.
In a victory for diplomacy, world leaders announced early Sunday that a deal had been struck with Iran over its disputed nuclear program. In what U.S. President Barack Obama called an "important first step" toward addressing the world's concerns over Iran’s motivations and actions and opening a path out of a three-decade long standoff, the deal will curb Tehran’s nuclear ambitions away from a bomb and toward a civilian capability, in exchange for limited relief—for now—from strict sanctions that have devastated the Iranian economy.
The Diplomatic Courier sat down with Thierry de Montbrial to discuss the ongoing negotiations with Iran, the impact of any deal on their nuclear program, and U.S. strategy in the Middle East. Mr. de Montbrial is a French economics and international relations specialist, President of the French Institute for International Relations, and the founder of the World Policy Conference.
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