Engaging with the public is a key to global progress. That is why I am inspired by what I am seeing this weekend as the Public Diplomacy and Government Communication Forum in Dubai, a first-of-its-kind gathering for public diplomacy professionals in the region, gets underway.
Public diplomacy is an ancient art and yet one that’s more relevant than ever. The world is more interconnected—and just plain connected, through technology and social media—than at any time in history. And today, as the political climate around us continues to change, public diplomacy efforts must continue to evolve and engage—or risk being overwhelmed. And that’s not an option in a world where progress and cooperation are key.
Colleagues at the United Nations and those leading communications for some of today’s leading philanthropies and NGOs, together with some of the most innovative governments, have opened up new ways of thinking about public diplomacy. It is no secret that public diplomacy is aimed at helping to reach specific foreign policy goals…but it also helps achieve the shared agendas of a world at a crossroads. When public diplomacy works, a conversation with civil society can thrive. And that makes for an environment where innovation, authenticity, entrepreneurship and partnerships can help create a better world.
During my career, I’ve learned from the veterans and pioneers – some of the best in their field – and I’m constantly inspired by the newcomers who are turning tradition on its head. One of the best parts of the public diplomacy community is that the seasoned professionals love to learn from and help train the new generation of professionals. In that spirit, here are the five resources I regularly turn to for information, insights, and innovation.
1. USC Center on Public Diplomacy
The USC Center on Public Diplomacy, a partnership between the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and the USC School of International Relations, has an incredible wealth of news, research, and analyses, not to mention a thoughtful look at the definition of public diplomacy.
2. Public Diplomacy Council
The nonprofit Public Diplomacy Council, based in Washington, D.C., supports the “academic study, professional practice, and responsible advocacy of public diplomacy.” Its website includes news and events.
3. Shorenstein Center
The venerable Harvard Kennedy School Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy has news, research, audio and video resources, and a list of events. A weekly “Media and Politics Must Reads” column lives up to its name. This is a place where innovation isn’t just talked about, but is practiced, every day.
4. John Brown’s Public Diplomacy Press & Blog Review
Former U.S. diplomat John Brown shares his views about public diplomacy through his blog, updated frequently with his take on news items.
5. Diplomatic Courier
The Diplomatic Courier keeps a careful eye on public diplomacy issues and has a smart selection of articles on important topics.
What are your favorite resources on public diplomacy? What else should be on this list? Share here and let’s keep the conversation going. I don’t know where I fall within the spectrum of “veteran” vs. “newcomer,” but I know that the field of public diplomacy changes quickly enough that it welcomes each of us to share and learn as if we were students of the tradecraft. It is communication that matters. And communication with a purpose. And that blend makes for one of the best reasons to be part of the global communications world today.