Sunday, November 06, 2011

PD Notes and other stuff

-Iron Man Diplomacy:  Cal Ripken is now a cultural ambassador, and is on his way to the Land o' Rising Sun.  My friend Mike said he should be sent to the Dodgers; he is safer in Baghdad than Chavez Ravine.

-Mexican Taxicab Confessions: Mexico has a great tourism branding campaign: Mexico Taxi Project.  I like it because it is subtle, comes across as semi-authentic and deals with the security issue in a creative fashion.  If only Mexico did public and cultural diplomacy as well as it did tourism pr.

The smart thing about the campaign is that it delivers a message in a voice that is American, and comes across as a little more credible because the voice is recognizable to the target audience.  Meanwhile, the voyeuristic side of eavesdropping adds a little additional credibility.  Britain had a similar voyeuresque tactic for some of their public diplomacy campaigns towards the US during WWII.

-Hiplomacy: Al-Jazeera has a great op-ed on hip hop as American cultural diplomacy.  Some myopic dolt got on his square soapbox at National Review to criticize the smArt Power initiative and hip hop as cultural diplomacy.  Blah blah...hip hop is too ghetto represent American culture, blah blah...graffiti sends the wrong message...blah blah .  Funny that he holds up jazz diplomacy as an example of good cultural diplomacy, when that had its own critiques way back when, who said it was too associated with reefer, the inner city and other degradations of modern society.  Would you prefer we send Pat Boone and Billy Ray Cyrus abroad as cultural ambassadors?

-Finally, I noted that the new Undersec for PD Tara Sonenshine comes from USIP.  If I had my druthers, I would march PD out of State and across the street to #OccupyUSIP.  The new USIPD has a nice ring (or even USIPPD: U.S. Institute for Peace & Public Diplomacy).  And actually, really isn't bad to give PD the ability to think more long-term as USIP is able and willing.  Cultural diplomacy concerts could sure fill up that magnificent Safdie-designed hall.

An outside, independent institution like USIP would be a better model for a long term pd organization.  James Glassman noted that it may represent a shift to medium-term PD rather than long-term PD, but I think I oppose such short-term thinking.  PD must be a long-term endeavor, which is why it needs to be removed from its present home and left to its own devices.   In the Vinick State Dept, where I am Undersec for PD, I would make it so.

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