The Latvia Pavilion – Technology of Happiness

For the last couple of weeks, I was trying to find some time to take a closer look at the Latvia Pavilion at the World Expo 2010 . Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to write something about the project before the Expo was over. But still, I would like to acknowledge this novel idea. (Plus, apparently the Pavilion will be up for an auction this Tuesday. If you have missed the fun in Shanghai, it might be time to call your local amusement park).

I called the Latvia Pavilion a novel idea, because the project team managed to come up with a non-traditional but still straight-forward concept to exhibit within a traditional event. It is difficult to make use of ‘events marketing’ as a participant, yet it is not impossible. Here is Latvia’s Expo 2010 concept:

Latvia’s strength lies in its people, who through their industriousness and creativity, have become among the world’s best specialists in their respective fields. They have proven that things can be done differently, and with excellent results…hrough the creative use of innovative technologies and inventions, they hope to improve the quality of life in their communities, in their country, and in the world at large. Such is the TECHNOLOGY OF HAPPINESS on display in the Latvian pavilion. Taken from http://www.latvijaexpo2010.lv/en/latvijas-paviljons/koncepcija/

Latvia, a country that has been labeled as Communist, Soviet, Eastern Bloc, Eastern Europe, Central Europe, new European, new EU member in less than twenty-five ears, makes use of Expo to demonstrate a less-known (and probably more-fun) part of itself and its people. The design shows the country’s technological capabilities. The fact that it is a ‘toy’ (Lack of a better word, I would call this miracle a toy in quotation mark) shows the place of ‘fun’ in Latvian daily life.

When it comes to nation branding, several countries actually act with an image restoration understanding. There is always a seriousness, a desire to apologize, an eagerness to correct misinformation. But such messages only reach the interested audience. What if a visitor at Expo 2010 has no interest in Latvia, how can you communicate with him or her? Who will not stop to see a few people flying in a pavilion? This causal approach, I claim, helped Latvia to reach several people who would otherwise not be interested in learning about the country.

Moreover, we aspire to become overachievers in nation branding campaigns. If you look at the major definitions in the literature, they talk about policy changes, involvement of several agencies, high-level communication strategies etc. Even though, it is true that a large-scale nation branding program is likely to include several different aspects but a single project/campaign should be simple and straightforward. The messages should not bore the audiences. (I am 99% sure that Pavilion did not bore anyone).

Finally, the Pavilion project was supported by online communication technologies. Apart from the website and blog, the project was active on Twitter. The Vimeo Channel is still active and includes around fifty videos.

Long story short, The Latvia Pavilion was a successful and original nation branding project idea. Changing the perception of a nation necessitates more than a project (or more than a collection of project). Countries are obliged to have long-term strategies. However, these ideas are effective in short term. Expo 2010 was a media opportunity for all the participants, and Latvia cleverly used this opportunity.


PS: English subtitles would have been great in this video.

Social Diplomacy: This time on the streets…

As you might already know, I am working as the political communication consultant for Turkayfe.org project. Turkayfe is a Web 2.0 based online platform that invites people to share their experiences about Turkey with the community. Our main is to brand Turkey through people’s perspectives. Instead of using mass media and mass persuasion methods, we aim to reach a brand image through telling stories about the country. We label our attempt as a social diplomacy project. Even though, Turkayfe.org mainly utilizes online communication methods, it is important not to forget that social diplomacy is inherently a ‘social’ understanding of public diplomacy, and requires face-time with the target audiences.
Last Sunday, we were at the Turkish Festival in Washington, DC. We set up a table for Turkayfe, and made our first contact with the community in Washington, DC. The Turkish expats and students in the United States, as well as American citizens interested in Turkey are two of our main target audiences. Therefore, the festival was a great opportunity for us to connect with the community. You can read more about our impressions here and here.


Shortly speaking, social diplomacy projects taking place at a grassroots level cannot survive through solely online communication technologies. The projects need to ‘solidify’, in other words, the projects should focus on creating a real community around the idea who will eventually contribute to the online communication attempts.

The people in the post photo are (from left to right) Forest and Karalyn (alumni of Bilkent University), Gizem (our founder), and me.

Here are some of my observations after spending one day at the festival and engaging with the community:
– Communication is an important aspect of project management, especially if we are running public/social diplomacy or nation/place branding projects.
– Face-to-face communication enables us to get direct feedback from people about the project.
– Giving a face to the project increases your credibility. You are no longer only a website, you are the people who are running the website.
– Meeting people who are interested in the project, who love to talk about your project definitely increases the motivation of the team members.

This blog post is also posted on http://placebranding.ning.com/

Altering the Discourse of Conflict in Cyprus

I was trying to find a paper that I wrote about THY (Turkish Airlines) and while googling THY and Efe Sevin, I ran into Yelena’s post about (Armenian) Diasporan public diplomacy. The comments section was maybe even more intriguing than the post itself. The discussion between Yelena and anonymous Turkish guy over the importance of rhetoric, the question of truth, and the political nature of the Armenian-Turkish-Azeri conflict(s) reminded me of a post that I was supposed to write – well – three months ago. My topic is how public diplomacy could and should be used to support the conflict resolution attempts in Cyprus.

I presented a paper entitled “Altering the Discourse of Conflict in Cyprus: Recognition and Resolution through Public Diplomacy” at the 9th METU Conference on International Relations in TRNC. Basically, I examine the dominant rhetorical strategies employed by official Greek, Turkish, Greek Cypriot, and Turkish Cypriot sources. I discuss the outcomes of negative discourses – with an aim to prove that the Cyprus conflict cannot be resolved as long as the competing narratives of different nations continue their existence. I argue that public diplomacy can be used “as a feasible political communication tool to alter the negativity of the discourses with the ultimate aim of resolving the conflict.”

Rhetorical strategies: All parties involved in the conflict have some common rhetorical strategies. In other words, when parties want to ‘encode’ certain kind of messages, they usually employ one of the two following strategies.

Self-victimization:

Parties try to show themselves as the victims and the other party/parties as aggressors. This strategy is mainly used when parties ‘frame’ the conflict.

Provocation:

When there is a need to justify a certain action, parties usually claim that the other party/parties’ ‘former act caused the subsequent act’*.

Negative discourses: These rhetorical strategies support the growth of negative discourses within the conflict. There are four important (meaning constructing an obstacle in the conflict resolution process) outcomes:

Multiple mediated realities:

There is no one truth or history. There are several different accounts of what has happened in Cyprus, and what constitutes the Cyprus Conflict. Parties believe their account is the ‘right’ one, while other accounts are pure propaganda products.

Constructed national identities:

Negative discourse is part of the national identity. Cyprus conflict has a fundamental place in Turkish/Greek Cypriot, Turkish and Greek national identities. The memories of the conflict are still being reproduced to support the national identities.

Rigid negotiation positions:

Given the multiple mediated realities, and the essential part of the conflict in national identities, it is not surprising to find out that parties have very rigid negotiation positions which leaves little or no space for bargaining.

International organizations:

As we don’t know what the conflict is, cannot clearly name ‘victims’ or ‘aggressors’, and cannot foresee a resolution; the role of the IOs in the island is not clear.

What can public diplomacy do?
Practically, public diplomacy is not a magical wand (- even though sometimes it is mistaken for one). Public diplomacy, and grassroots movements on the island and among the involved parties will put an end to the reproduction of negative discourses. The dialogue between parties might consolidate the competitive conflict narratives. PD might help the parties to re-write the history of the island based on facts rather than on victimization and provocation.

In short, let’s know the limits of public diplomacy – let’s not expect to reach perpetual peace just by executing pd projects. But, when there are multiple accounts of reality in a conflict, any resolution attempt without PD is very unlikely to succeed.

*In my paper, I used Benoit’s Image Restoration theory. Please see Benoit, W. (1995). Accounts, excuses, and apologies : a theory of image restoration strategies. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.

This blog post is also posted on http://placebranding.ning.com/

Social Media, Political Communication, and Turkey Vol.2: Turkayfe.org

Welcome to Turkey’s first online coffehouse:Turkayfe.org!

As part of my social media and political communication in Turkey posts, I decided to introduce a project that I have been working on for quite some time. We started the Turkayfe project in May 2009. After spending six months on the conceptualization, we recently launched our website,http://www.turkayfe.org/. Practically, the project is a place branding through storytelling attempt for Turkey. We aim to support Turkey’s branding attempts by using Web 2.0 technologies and by initiating a virtual grassroots movements. Together with the founder of Turkayfe, Gizem Salcigil White, we will be presenting a critical research paper about Turkayfe, the role of Web 2.0 in citizen’s diplomacy, and branding through sharing experiences at the 2nd Place Branding Conference in Bogota. I wanted to introduce the project to the blogosphere before getting ‘too academic’.

The image above is our front page image. We invite people to grab a coffee, sit down, and start sharing their experiences about Turkey. As our main strategy is creating a brand through people, we placed several people sitting (well some standing, singing, dancing, and playing instruments) at a cafe. The images stand for our seven main categories. For further information, feel free to contact me or pay a visit to Turkayfe.org. I will introduce two dilemmas, pros, and cons of starting a Web 2.0 place branding project.

Short Summary of Turkayfe Project

Dilemmas
1-Government/Non-government: Now, one of the most important decision we had to make was about government support. On one hand, the financial support from the Turkish government and state agencies can solve all our budgetary problems. But we started the project with an aim to project a candid story of Turkey. How candid can you be when you are supported by the state? On the other hand, if we continue as four young professionals without state support, do we have the legitimacy to create a branding platform for Turkey? We decided to keep Turkayfe as a non-governmental project as our goal is to present people stories – these stories also constitute the basis for our legitimacy claims.
2-New portal/Existing portal: One option for us was to use existing portals, such as Facebook, or existing framework, such as Ning and WordPress, to start Turkayfe. This option is cost-efficient. Moreover, it is easier to reach the audience. The second option was to build up a new website based on a new framework. We chose the second option to create a stronger sense of community and belonging among our users.

Pros
1-Avoiding clichés: A Web 2.0 project enables you to avoid several clichés in nation branding. As you (meaning the project team and contributors) aim to write about their daily life and experiences, the end product is usually an interesting story (rather than a misleading slogan on a glossy poster).
2-Young audience:Younger generations are more likely to use technologically advanced products. Apart from being an online project, Turkayfe.org also tries to present the newer web technologies to its users. Hopefully, this approach will make us popular among younger generations.

Cons
1-Language problem: The website is entirely in English. We currently do not accept submissions in Turkish… If a user posts an article in Turkish, it will not be published on the website. Even though choosing English as the only language on the website ensures open communication and interaction, it also limits our audience.
2-Inclusiveness: We want stories about people’s daily lives. We want all kinds of stories. Yet, in order to post on Turkayfe.org, you should have basic linguistic and technical capabilities. Our online coffeehouse unfortunately is only accessible if you have internet connection and can speak English.

In short, social media in Turkey, especially with regard to political communication, should not be seen as a paradigm shift. Social media has not replaced (and is not likely to replace) traditional media in the upcoming years. Yet, if you want to reach younger and more education people – go online, go viral! In order to look attractive and professional in social media, you need to invest – social media is not 100% free! Last but not the least, legitimacy in online nation/place branding campaigns is a huge problem. You need to make sure you have (at least you can claim) legitimacy on a few grounds before unveiling your project!

Diplomacy from the Block: J.Lo Not Performing in Cyprus

Jennifer Lopez was supposed to perform in Cyprus (TRNC) on July 24th to celebrate the grand opening of a hotel…also the 36th anniversary of Turkish Peace Operation on the island (also known as Turkish invasion of the island – Please click here for a historical introduction). Recently, she canceled her trip with a statement* on her official website. The statement was not welcomed by the Turkish audience. As of today, she also posted another statement**, apologizing from people that she might have offended. We will see if she is going to apologize once again from people who will be offended by her apology. (This sounds like a ‘welcome to the world of diplomacy’ party for J.Lo).

I will just try to summarize four important points with regard to J.Lo (not) performing in Cyprus from my own perspective:

The Cyprus conflict is a part of daily life. Especially in online media, we managed to see how deeply embedded the conflict is to our daily lives. One blog post had “Cyprus, Diaspora, Greece, turkey” as tags; there were reports about the event all over the media – talking about 1974 operation, Greek diaspora, lobbies in Washington DC, even a senator was named as a party to the cancellation. Turkish media presented one side of the story, and the Greek media the other. Turks tried to host the event, Greeks tried to get it canceled. It was no longer a J.Lo concert, it was a question of legitimacy. Can a singer perform in an ‘occupied’ territory? Is TRNC an ‘occupied’ territory? Even a concert of a famous (and not really that political) singer became part of the conflict.

Celebrity spectacle increases relevancy. Well, Cyprus is an important place for Turks, Greeks, and Brits. IR scholars are all aware of the situation, but at the end of the day, we are talking about an island in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. It might be difficult for several people to even point out the island on a map. But, as the J.Lo incident showed us once again, when a celebrity gets involved in a conflict, the issue becomes relevant, especially to young people all around the world. It might be possible to (ab)use this awareness in communication campaigns.

Grassroots movements are crucially important. J.Lo, supposedly canceled her concert after receiving a few thousand e-mails from her fans. After seeing several comments on her website, she removed her initial statement and apologized from people. Internet seems to continue empowering individuals. It also facilitates the process of becoming an active citizen.

Do we still not care what the newspapers say about us as long as they spell our names right? Turkey, and to an extent TRNC, have been explicitly and implicitly accused of violating human rights and being invaders during the last few days by J.Lo and the media. I am pretty sure this image is not desirable for the aforementioned countries. Then again, it is true that several people heard TRNC, and maybe Turkey, for the first time in their lives. It is important to get media coverage, but there seems to be a need for a communication strategy to benefit from the coverage.

In short, appearance of celebrities means ‘news’, moreover celebrities attract the attention of young people. With a solid communication strategy, parties can use these short spans of time to ameliorate the situation and to resolve their conflicts. Unfortunately, in the case of J.Lo and Cyprus, the main motive of the parties was to present their sides of the stories and to exacerbate the situation.

* Jennifer Lopez would never knowingly support any state, country, institution or regime that was associated with any form of human rights abuse. After a full review of the relevant circumstances in Cyprus, it was the decision of her advisors to withdraw from the appearance. This was a team decision that reflects our sensitivity to the political realities of the region.
(Small note about the first statement. Lopez decided to remove it from her website after the initial reaction. I am pretty sure she has a very very large PR budget, and still the action to communicate with negative comments was to simply remove them. Are we going to pretend that the first statement was never made? what about those comments? They are all over the internet, so I guess one should face negative comments rather than hide them.)

** This whole situation makes me so sad. The statement that was issued by my representatives was done without my knowledge or consent. It is my personal policy not to comment on political issues between countries. I love my fans all over the world. I want to sincerely apologize if anyone was hurt or offended in any way. Again, I am truly sorry.
(Another small note: Statement issued without knowledge or consent? Blaming the ‘other’ guy?…J.Lo, if the PR agency bills you for this communication attempt, you should not pay them even a penny.)

Social Media, Political Communication, and Turkey

For the past few weeks, I have been working with my friends on a couple of social media projects. Long story short, we are trying to create online communication strategies for politicians. I was shocked to see the extreme gap between research and practice, as well as the impact of culture on social media habits. (Alright, I was expecting to see some differences between research and practice – also between American and Turkish social media habits… But I always thought as online communication studies were practice based, and globalization was bridging cultural gaps, the difference would not be this shocking).

Let me try to summarize my findings after my limited experience with social media and political communication in Turkey:

1- Social media is social in Turkey. The language used is very colloquial. I was trying to make a list of commonly used words on Twitter. For around a week, “lan” (mate, dude) was at the top of my list. Several words are misspelled, including names of politicians and political parties. Cursing is not very uncommon. Users are not afraid to use curses and tag celebrities in their tweets.
2- Social media is limited in Turkey. We LOVE Facebook, apparently Turks cannot live without Facebook. ( 1/3 of the population, including my mom and dad, is on Facebook. We are the leading producer of Farmville products, and the most dangerous mob in Mafia Wars. Twitter is gaining momentum. It is possible to find several people on LinkedIn and MySpace. But apart from these four platforms, social media does not exist.
3- Celebrities are important in Turkey. We have several Justin Biebers. We are more interested in what Demet Akalin (it is better if you don’t know who she is) has to say about her ex-boyfriend than in what politicians have to say. A widely know journalist, Ahmet Hakan, in fact gives everyone a lesson about how to use Twitter in Turkey. He is followed by over 35,000 users and he, himself, follows over 1,000. There is a constant dialogue between him and his followers. (There are also several pseudo dialogue tweets between him and other celebrities – including our president). Facebook is densely populated with fan pages and official fan pages.
4- Social media is blocked in Turkey. As you might all know, YouTube is blocked by a court order. Apart from that, several companies restrict access to social media websites at workplaces. I recently talked with a friend who works at the Corporate Communications department of a bank that wants to reach out to young people and restricts all social media and mail servers at the workplace.
5- We don’t know what tagging is. We use as many tags as possible, some of which are related and some of which are confusing. I realized that problem when I was trying to find Eurovision songs on Turkish video websites. All the video clips had the names of all the countries (and the years) as tags. So, there is no difference between Eurovision 2010 Germany Lena and Eurovision as search key words, they both yield the same results.
6- We translate strategies and data. There are several online communication consulting companies that translate American articles and data into Turkish and try to provide recommendations to the clients. Unfortunately, there is not enough data to build a substantive communication strategy.

Turkey’s internet consumption is rising, however, it is very difficult to use social media for targeted marketing purposes. Yet, it is still beneficial for companies and politicians to be active users on popular social media platforms because of the number of active users and the tendency to create unofficial/fake/demeaning accounts.

The Future is a Place – Paris-Val de Marne by CuldeSac

Over the weekend, I got an e-mail telling me about a new place branding campaign for Paris Val-de-Marne – “The Future is a Place”. A Spanish creative agency, CuldeSac, prepared the following video as part of their promotional activities. I was pretty excited to learn about this initiative. Because prior to “The Future is a Place”, I didn’t know anything about Val de Marne. The video clip, the website and the press release are my only sources of information.

This video clip clearly demonstrates one fact: Place branding campaigns have different missions and the messages/images should change accordingly. This particular campaign wants to attract capital to the region, and all related arguments are quite convincing (i.e. infrastructure, proximity to Paris, transportation, existing businesses etc.). The images (airport, transportation, other facilities) used in the video clip bolster the arguments.

At the very same time, the video clip shows us the difficulty of branding only one aspect of a place. I tried to think like an entrepreneur while watching the video. Although I was convinced in business terms to invest in the region, I wanted to know more about the place. Who lives there? What do people do for a living? Any important landmarks? Moreover, especially during the first part (up to 01:30 min) of the clip, I was highly depressed by the dark images, crowded places, lack of faces, and indoor images. In fact, I started thinking of the movie Noi albinoi (The movie is about a socially misfit teenager in a small fishing town in Iceland).

Everyone knows and talks about importance of audience. Your message should be tailored to fit your audiences’ needs. As this video shows, not only the content of your message but also your medium and even technical details you use should attract your audiences’ interest and gain their respect. The quality of the images will appeal to business owners. However, I am not sure whether online media platforms (Youtube, Vimeo) are the best ways to reach this specific audience.

In a place branding campaign, we shouldn’t forget that there will be many people who have no idea about what we are talking about. Therefore, it is important to refrain from unclear images and symbols. Frankly speaking, I am not sure what is happening between 2:10 and 2:30 in the video. I don’t know the people, I just assume that they are important figures in the development agency. They are sitting in post-modern chairs (I don’t know how to call those chairs), so they should be innovative and creative. But seriously, who are they? Why are they there?

As far as I can see the website and video are produced by two different agencies. Still, I would like to see a consistent message in terms of content and packaging. The colors of the website are different from the colors I saw in the video. As a person who has never been to the region, I don’t know what to expect from Val de Marne. The website also lays out five areas of expertise – five prominent industries. Though I don’t think I saw all five in the video. I saw some themes (life, sustainability etc) on the video which were not mentioned in the website.

There seems to be a theme with the lines and small triangles. We see them all through the video and also at the end when they come together to make the logo for The Future is a Place. I am also not sure why they form that particular shape after 02:32 and constantly move. (- I can go ahead and say well Val de Marne connects several industries in a dynamic way but frankly speaking this interpretation is based more on my communication studies than on the video itself).

Lastly, I think the music has made me think even more of Noi albinoi. Especially together with the darker images, I was a little bit depressed.

Long story short, I would say, The Future is a Place is likely to be successful in reaching its target audiences provided that appropriate media platforms are chosen. The clip looks professional, it is short, and dynamic. In other words, it attracts attention and doesn’t bore the audience. The line of reasoning is quite clear and persuasive. The professional imagery boosts the credibility of the messages. The tagline (The future is a place) cleverly summarizes the project and can be seen in the video. However, especially after seeing CuldeSac’s website, I cannot understand why there were so many cloudy scenes in the video.

This blog post is also posted on http://cc608.blogspot.com/ and http://placebranding.ning.com/.

Public Diplomacy 2.0: David Saranga at Kennedy School of Government

Last Wednesday, I had the opportunity to (finally) listen to David Saranga, former Consul for Media and Public Affairs of Israel’s NY Consulate. He came to Harvard to give a presentation on public diplomacy. After a heated discussion for around 45 minutes about the academic integrity of his focus group approach, the audience finally allowed him to talk about more substantive issues. I don’t want to undermine the importance of research methods here, but when the speaker is one of the most prominent experts on Public Diplomacy 2.0, you really don’t need to force him to talk about off-topic questions.

Israel started its rebranding campaign by doing focus group studies in the US, but they excluded East and West coasts in this study – which was a fatal mistake according to the many people in the audience. As the sample didn’t represent the population, the results couldn’t be academically sound. Though I support the logic beyond Israel’s purposive sampling. At the end of the day, the aim was to frame Israeli image for ‘average’ American. You really don’t need to interview people where your embassies/consulates are actively working, where you have an active diaspora, or where there are 15 universities per person.

After the focus groups, they realized that Israel was practically know for the Palestinian conflict and religious conservatism. I believe no one was shocked by this outcome. A more important result was that Israel wasn’t able to reach liberals and youngsters (- It was difficult not to laugh when David Saranga admitted this at Harvard KSG.).

There have been many discussions about the definition of PD, and how to use social media. Thus, I’ll try to do my best to summarize his ‘original’ ideas from my point of view. First of all, Saranga wasn’t only a social media expert, he knew how to analyze the audience and how to find the best medium to reach the public. One of the projects he presented was, Maxim’s special issue.

Maxim - Women of the Israeli Defense Forces

Maxim - Women of the Israeli Defense Forces

Israel was irrelevant to the young people. If your target audience doesn’t see you as relevant, as a subject to learn more about, you really cannot explain yourself. So, Saranga invited Maxim to Israel for a special photo shoot and made Israel more relevant (for a specific audience for a short period of time).

Social media should not be seen as a substitute for traditional media, rather it should be used to amplify your communication endeavors. We are all very excited about Web 2.0, and 3.0, but still, it is wise for especially foreign diplomats to keep in touch with traditional media.

During his presentation, Saranga gave a great PD definition. The scholars get lost in details: should PD be executed by government? is it grassroots? which media can be used? how can you measure its effectiveness? He defined the PD understanding as “bringing your narrative in a sophisticated way, not in a propagandist way”. All PD-related terms in fact, such as nation branding, place branding, cultural diplomacy etc., carry this main understanding. The fundamental aim is to present a narrative. You are not very likely to be asked your perspective on every issue, therefore it is up to you to go public and present your narrative, and subsequently to ensure that your narrative is more credible and persuasive than competing narratives.

This blog post is also posted on http://cc608.blogspot.com/ and http://placebranding.ning.com/.

Why should you pay a grad student to visit your country?

I believe, my posts thus far are enough to explain the focus of this blog (as well as my respect for Dr. Nancy Snow and Dr. Philip M. Taylor). I will try to write about political communication, – specifically public diplomacy.

Two weeks ago, I was in Washington D.C. to participate in a Fulbright conference. Also I am looking forward to my very first publication. Hopefully, my article – More Than A Touristic Visit: Scholar Exchanges As A Communication Method In Public Diplomacy-* – will be published by April 2009. In other words, I have been spending nearly all my time thinking about the effectiveness of scholar exchanges. Does it really make sense to pay a graduate student thousands of dollars to study in your country?

Simply put, I claim that governments should “pay” graduate students and/or faculty members to continue their studies/researches in their country.

MiamiThis group picture is from my Fulbright “Gateway Orientation” in Miami Dade College. There were over 20 countries represented. For three wonderful days, we discussed cultural differences, intercultural communication and American culture – how to adapt to the society. – So,

  • How is all this related to public diplomacy?
  • How is all this related to the image of the United States in international arena?
  • Scholars are given the chance to “experience” the American life and culture first hand.
  • Scholars are (or have the potential to be) influential figures in their societies, hence they will be “ambassadors” of American image.
  • Scholars share their cultures, points of views and expertise with the United States during their stay.
  • Let’s hear it from Senator Fulbright: “…..These programs can increase the mutual and global cultural awareness and eventually contribute to the world peace, just like any other successful diplomacy attempts. J. William Fulbright espoused this principle in his speech on June, 26th 1986 by saying that “I’m sure that President Johnson would never have pursued the war in Vietnam if he’d ever had a Fulbright to Japan, or say Bangkok, or had any feeling for what these people are like and why they acted the way they did. He was completely ignorant.”

    *Here is the abstract of my paper:

    This paper discusses the concept of Public Diplomacy and the effectiveness of a specific Public Diplomacy tool: Scholar Exchanges as a tool of Public Diplomacy. The foreign Fulbright Program of the United States Government is introduced as a case study and for further interpreting the perceptions of the program, a survey is ran among 59 current grantees. Scholar exchanges programs are suggested to be implemented in order to overcome the barriers in communication processes in the international arena.