Thoughts on Public Diplomacy

Group 2 of Applied Public Diplomacy

Wait. What’s my thing?

I felt inspired by Tory’s last blog post, and I wanted to write one of my own. Although I am not specializing in Public Diplomacy, I find it to be an integral piece of the way in which nations interact with foreign publics. Last week’s guest, retired Ambassador Brian E. Carlson spoke to us about some of the differences in the way that the Department of State and the Department of Defense approach what we are apparently no longer referring to as “Strategic Communication”/Public Diplomacy.

 For me, this lecture was a fascinating look at the way that communications are put out based on mostly bureaucratic differences. I can see that there is a lot of value in the idea that action is valued by the military, and that they do not like to wait to see plans implemented. I am a little like that myself, and if I am not immediately enacting a plan, I often abandon it due to lack of interest- or more often than not, something better comes along.

 The most interesting part of Ambassador Carlson’s talk though was his focus on the fact that we as practitioners need to bring specific skill sets to the field. It might not be enough just to be well versed in the art of public diplomacy- we need something to break us into the field so that we can show our colors. This idea left many of us asking ourselves, “wait, do I have a thing?” over the break. The challenge for us as a class now it to figure out what our specific subsets might be. Although this task is daunting, I think to avoid it will only prove more painful.


Just some food for thought. It’s been fun!


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