Wednesday, May 22, 2013

PD Undersec

Speaking of PD Undersec Sonenshine, although it is old news now, the news is that she is leaving her post this summer.  That is such a shame.  Out of all that have filled the position, I dare say she got it the best.  Undersecretary Sonenshine understood that public diplomacy is about listening.  Listening to your friends, your partners and your audience that you seek to engage.  She got that better than any of her predecessors, and I imagine, any that will follow to fill the position.

And she is leaving.  Why?  I am not privy to such conversations, but I can imagine.  Probably strung along over questions of her place in a Kerry State Dept since she was appointed by the previous secretary.  Mayhaps. 

Or maybe she was just tired after the strains of an unloved, overburdened position at State.  PD remains the redheaded stepchild of the State Department, in part because it has no business being there.  Public diplomacy is the antithesis of diplomacy. 

When she was appointed, I recommended that she march her staff back to her former stomping grounds at USIP and turn the place into USIPPD.  I can't say I feel any differently today.

Anyway, I wish Undersecretary Sonenshine all the best as she moves on.  I am sorry to see her go, but I truly understand such needs.  Her service in the realm of public diplomacy was a true benefit both to the field and to the country.

And on a final note, when the news came out, a PD friend nominated me on the APDS facebook page to takeover the position.  Actually, he nominated Prof. Nick Cull first, but that isn't even possible since Cull is a Brit.  But my name was next in the hat.  I gave my Sherman statement, and mentioned that rather I was angling for the Joint Secretary position at the Public Diplomacy Division at the Indian Ministry of External Affairs.  Instead I nominated my friend and co-editor of Public Diplomacy Magazine, Leah Rousseau: a black lesbian public diplomat par excellance.  Undersec Rousseau has a nice ring to it.

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