Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Nicholas Cull

Here's is this week's third entry on the best episode in public diplomacy and the most important element of soft power. Dr. Nicholas Cull is the new director of master's program in public diplomacy the University of Southern California’s Center on Public Diplomacy, and formerly taught American Studies at the University of Leicester, UK. In 2005 he published Selling America: U.S. Information Overseas, a history of the USIA.--PK

Public Diplomacy Dateline 1940: The British Cultivate Edward R. Murrow

My all-time public diplomacy coup would be the British decision to cultivate Edward R. Murrow as a means to address the neutral U.S. in 1940. It paid off big-time, both drawing the U.S. into the Second World War and building lasting links between British and U.S. broadcasting communities. I also suspect that Murrow's approach to public diplomacy was much influenced by his British experiences.

[See Murrow’s entry at the Museum of Broadcast Communications with bibliography. In this article, Murrow’s colleague Richard C. Hottelet unveils a plaque at Weymouth House, where Murrow lived during World War II and not only dramatized Britain’s struggle against Germany, but promoted the U.S. to Britain’s public on a BBC program called Meet Uncle Sam.--PK]

Soft Power: Byzantium Conquers Long After Its Conquests End

If soft power is conceptualized as the ability to exert cultural influence without matching military power—to punch above your weight—then for reach and endurability it is hard to match the soft power of the Byzantine Commonwealth, which spread Orthodoxy from the Bosphorus to the gates of Moscow and way outlasted the physical ability of Byzantium to enforce anything at all. Its reach can still be perceived 1,000 years later.

[Dimitri Obolensky’s The Byzantine Commonwealth is an influential review of the eastern Roman Empire’s (and Eastern Orthodoxy’s) influence over a thousand years of history.--PK]

Coming Tomorrow: Dr. Nancy Snow

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