Public diplomacy today
1. In the field of international relations as a result of the evolutionary process of international society, priorities arise that require new methods in the field of diplomatic practice.
2. In this regard, public diplomacy has become a useful tool for achieving important foreign policy objectives. One of its main strengths is to enhance and consolidate the prestige and image of the country in order to generate the trust needed to facilitate the effectiveness of actions previously established. This form of diplomacy includes prominently projecting the values of the nation and disseminating its views.
3. Public diplomacy generates constructive dialogue (and other actions) in the long term among nations and creates better understanding. It not only involves shaping the message that the diplomat wants to display outside his country, but also within. This exercise should be analysed to understand the ways in which the message can be interpreted by various sectors of the society to which it is aimed. By this new strategy, States can promote important aspects of international relations through the media and especially when it is dealing with a wide range of non-governmental organisations.
4. Basically formed by a series of initiatives aimed at influencing public opinion abroad, this form of diplomacy seeks to establish effective and essential foreign policy actions. It proposes to provide empathy and adherence to a particular issue or to any act or important statement. Public diplomacy is also aimed at influencing the international community to achieve the peaceful acceptance of a particular point of view, or justify a certain action of the respective country.
5. Public diplomacy, of course, expands the boundaries of traditional diplomacy. In this regard, it is worthy to note that the United States’ National Security Strategy of 2006 set out its purposes as:
a) Strengthening public diplomacy in order to defend American policies and values in a clear, precise and persuasive manner to a world that is watching and listening.
b) Actively addressing audiences abroad, expanding opportunities for Americans to learn foreign languages and cultures and encouraging students and scholars from other countries to study in the United States.
c) Empowering the voices of American citizen as well as foreigners who share the commitment to a safer world, with more compassion, seeking private sector support, increasing channels for dialogue with Muslim leaders and citizens and confronting propaganda quickly, before myths and distortions take root in the hearts and minds of people in the world.
6. Internally, public diplomacy has an important role by providing local audiences to understand international affairs and foreign policy through public dialogue. This also facilitates the ability to develop domestic policies and may involve key segments of the population by allowing them to implement and develop actions to strengthen aspects relating to national identity.
7. Considering that knowledge is one of the elements of power, the first duty of those responsible for external actions of States is to have efficient mechanisms, both to learn and to be informed and also to inform. Public diplomacy serves these functions to a high degree.
© by Odeen Ishmael