Public Diplomacy: Taxonomies and Histories - Dr. Nicholas J. Cull

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Public diplomacy is a term much used but seldom subjected to rigorous analysis. This article—which draws heavily on a report commissioned by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the spring of 2007—sets out a simple taxonomy of public diplomacy’s components and their interrelationships. These components are (1) listening, (2) advocacy, (3) cultural diplomacy, (4) exchange, and (5) international broadcasting. It examines five successful and five unsuccessful uses of each individual component drawing from the history of U.S., Franco-German, Swiss, and British diplomatic practice. The failures arise chiefly from a discrepancy between rhetoric and reality. The final section applies the author’s taxonomy to the challenges of contemporary public diplomacy and places special emphasis on the need to conceptualize the task of the public diplomat as that of the creator and disseminator of “memes” (ideas capable of being spread from one person to another across a social network) and as a creator and facilitator of networks and relationships.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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