Insights and Analysis

Reinvigorating Public Diplomacy

September 24, 2008

By Douglas Bereuter

My primary message is to emphasize that for a truly effective public diplomacy effort, America must return to (and I do emphasize the words “return to”), reinforce, and remind people around the world by example, what they had especially admired about our country and people.  It won’t be accomplished by an improved governmental public relation campaign, by governmental reorganization, or only by adding more State Department public diplomacy officers in our embassies, consulates, or Washington, D.C.  However, greater good will, respect, credibility, and support for our country can be regained.  Changes in policies and emphases, a smarter variety of public diplomacy, and perhaps governmental reorganization are part of the answer.  Yet the primary orientation of our effort must be to remind people abroad, and re-enforce by example and their direct experience, what they and their leaders traditionally have liked and admired most about Americans and our country.  We have done that well in the past; we can and must do it again.  Full Testimony.

On Tuesday, Asia Foundation President Doug Bereuter testified in front of the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs’ Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia on “A Reliance on Soft Power ” Reforming the Public Diplomacy Bureaucracy“. The above is an excerpt.


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