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U.S. Public Diplomacy: Background and Current Issues
Kennon H. Nakamura (au); Matthew C. Weed (au)
Public diplomacy is a term used to describe a government’s efforts to conduct foreign policy and promote national interests through directoutreach and communication with the population of a foreign country. Activities include providing information to foreign publics through broadcast and Internet media and at libraries and other outreach facilities in foreign countries; conducting cultural diplomacy, such as art exhibits and music performances; and administering international educational and professional exchange programs. After the 9/11 terror attacks, there was new interest in promoting effective public diplomacy, as a struggle against extremist ideologies became crucial to the overall fight against terrorism. This report discusses the issues for Congress concerning U.S. public diplomacy. Determining levels of public diplomacy funding, for programs and personnel, will continue to be of central importance. Establishing capabilities to improve monitoring and assessment of public diplomacy activities, as well as to leverage expertise and best practices outside government, may be important to increasing public diplomacy effectiveness. Questions of possible reorganization of public diplomacy authorities and capabilities, through legislation or otherwise, may be considered. Requirements for effective interagency cooperation and coordination, as well as creation of a national public diplomacy strategy and whole-of-government approaches may be created to improve effective communication with foreign publics. Several pieces of legislation proposed thus far in the 111th Congress concern changes to, improvements in, and funding for public diplomacy. Tables and figures.
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