Back to blogging

During the last couple of months (well last year), I wasn’t able to blog as regularly as I would like to. As a good doctoral student, I spent all of my time on my dissertation. I finally managed to finish my dissertation and get my degree over the summer. I am currently a faculty member at the Kadir Has University, Department of Public Relations and Information in Istanbul, Turkey.

Below you can find the executive summary of my dissertation. The table of contents can be seen on my Academia page. As I am currently on the market looking for a publisher, I will not be sharing the full text online.

Executive Summary

“Making New Friends? Relational Public Diplomacy as a Foreign Policy Instrument” is a doctoral dissertation written by Efe Sevin of American University under the supervision of Dr. Craig Hayden and Dr. Rhonda Zaharna. The dissertation examines relational public diplomacy projects of three countries, the United States of America, Sweden, and Turkey, through selected projects. The objective of the research is to understand how relational public diplomacy projects can be used to help achieve foreign policy goals.

Main findings of the research argue that public diplomacy projects are predominantly based on a country’s soft power assets. In other words, practitioner countries create projects based on their prominent cultural and political assets. Implementation of public diplomacy projects primarily influences the relationship dynamics between foreign publics and countries by positioning the country as an active actor in the social and political life of the host country. The secondary outcomes of the projects are introducing new topics of debates within target audiences, influencing the coverage of existing debates, and altering the perception of the practitioner country’s interests. Eventually, the public diplomacy projects are designed to encourage the host country to discuss the issues that are deemed by the practitioner country and establish an environment in which practitioner country and host country seem to share similar policy interests and goals.

The research argues that practitioners of public diplomacy need to have a broader understanding of policy dynamics to design more effective projects and to assess these projects more accurately. A framework composed of six pathways of connections – or mechanisms that connect public diplomacy to foreign policy – is created based on the existing theoretical knowledge in the literature and updated after introducing the empirical evidence gathered through case studies in this research. The framework is introduced as a structured way of thinking to be used in the design, implementation, and assessment projects.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the author.


Efe Sevin, Ph.D.

Kadir Has University

Department of Public Relations and Information



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