Getting smart with public diplomacy

14:03, March 26, 2010      

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In modern times, public diplomacy is becoming increasingly important. Governments of countries worldwide attach great importance to public diplomacy to promote their soft power and influence. The upcoming Shanghai World Expo, with exhibitions from 240 countries and regions, will be a platform for various countries to carry out public diplomacy and self-promotion.

For many, public diplomacy is possibly a relatively new word. In order to understand Chinese public diplomacy, one must know the classical meaning of public diplomacy, how it differs from traditional diplomacy, as well as the characteristic and theory of Chinese public diplomacy.

Public diplomacy serves to influence public sentiment and opinion. Public diplomacy isn't fact-oriented compared to traditional diplomacy. It seeks long flowing streams and waters everything peacefully. It is also particular about telekinesis and the water flowing under the bridge.

In 1965, in order to commemorate the death of Edward R. Murrow, a politician who could speak the truth, Fletcher Law and the Diplomatic Institute of American Tufts University has established the Edward R. Murrow Public Diplomacy Research Center, which is the origin of the word public diplomacy in the modern times.

Professor Gullion, the founder of this center, defined public diplomacy as "the behavior of a government providing information to and exerting influence over the foreign public." What public diplomacy aims to solve is the problem of how the public manner affects the formulation and execution of the foreign policy. It has covers all of international relations except traditional diplomacy. Public diplomacy consists of governments cultivating public opinion in foreign countries, the interaction of the civil association and the benefit with other country, the reporting of foreign affairs and its influence, the diplomat and the foreign reporter's communication, as well as cultural exchange and so on.

"Compared with the U.S., Europe is still backward in public diplomacy," Antony, director of the Research Department of European Policy Center, said.

Although the overall public diplomacy is inferior to the United States, Europe has been diligently catching up in recent years. European Union's main member nations all attach great importance to public diplomacy and invest considerable fund to promote their image.

European scholar Dofe Lynch said public diplomacy should affect overseas public through communication and the promotion of understanding to build a friendly external environment for foreign policy.

Public diplomacy should be targeted at media, the public opinion manufacturer, and also youth organizations, high ranking officials from enterprises, non-government organizations and so on. Lawmakers and the local authorities should also be the audience, but, by no means, the most essential ones.

Public diplomacy manners various from traditional diplomacy to unofficial diplomacy, for instance, accrediting unofficial representatives to object countries (regions) , establishing culture ambassador, training young community, supporting the non-government organization, implementing widespread education exchange project, earnestly analyzing the public manner of the object countries and so on.
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