We are “securitizing” yet another topic to increase its importance: communication. And here is my short rant on the topic after reading about the protests in Hong Kong.
I had previously looked at the vacancy data for the Under Secretary for Public Affairs and Public Diplomacy. In that particular blog post, I had an estimate about when Richard Stengel would step down. Stengel had outperformed outlasted all my expectations and was in office for a total of
1,035 1,030 days and currently has the longest tenure record.
Yet, it still was not good enough. Even when we account for two acting under secretaries, we marked 1,992 days as vacant – a 296-day increase since 2014. Given the fact that the position has been vacant since last October, the number is likely to go up. Below, there is a timeline visual showing who held the title since it was created in 1999.
I will update the visual and the data when a new under secretary is appointed.
I have a “teaching affects my research” moment! After a few months of discussing transmedia storytelling with my senior students, my take on diplomacy and public diplomacy is changing. I surely am not the first person to come up with this idea of taking a transmedia approach to public diplomacy. James Pamment of Lund University had a similar article published in 2015. Building on his work and my teaching experience, I argue that a transmedia approach that acknowledges media convergence might help different hyphenated diplomacy terms to converge (or might create Transmedia Diplomacy)
With the proposed budget cuts for the U.S. State Department – and USAID -, we once again started seeing soft power discussions on mainstream news outlets. For a scholar, seeing his/her research topic on news outlets is an interesting experience. On one hand, it is a validation of one’s research and academic expertise. If people are talking about your research topic, you are not irrelevant. On the other hand, after hearing the arguments made, all you want to do is to yell “YOU ARE ALL WRONG”. Well, thanks to internet, it is a lot easier to yell that!
You are all wrong, your understanding of soft power is incomplete and flawed. Here is why:
Recently, I was invited to be a panelist at a public diplomacy panel at Galatasaray University. Together with Phil Seib of USC, Asli Sancar and Dilruba Catalbas Urper of Galatarasay University, we discussed the state of Turkish public diplomacy. My talk focused on the gap between the study and practice of public diplomacy in the country. Below you can find a summary of my talk.
Currently, I am working on a research project on “digital” diplomacy. I will keep using my beloved quotation marks until I find a better concept to describe what I am doing without resorting to another instance of neologism.
Basically, I am still arguing that any kind of hyphenated diplomacy is still diplomacy. Let it be public diplomacy or nation branding or digital diplomacy, at the end of the day, we are looking at the same old traditional diplomatic processes such as recognition and signaling. In Traditional Meets Digital, I am exploring how these processes might take place within the digital media landscape. In more concrete things, I am trying to find the equivalents of diplomatic practices – such as alliance formation and power projection – on Twitter. Why Twitter? Well, because (i) everybody is on Twitter, (ii) Twitter is a ‘directed’ social network (i.e. I can follow you without you following me, whereas in most other social networks, we need to mutually be “friends”), and (iii) Twitter gives us great data!
Here are some preliminary visuals and a dynamic graph from the research:
International students and student exchanges are topics that I personally feel close to. Coincidentally, I was exposed to the studiy of public diplomacy (and nation branding) when I was (not knowingly) part of the Foreign Fulbright Program – the flagship exchange project of the US. Thus, I feel almost upset if I don’t get to write about the 2014 Open Doors report of the Institute of International Education.
I basically want to talk about on two points: (i) What do these new numbers mean? (ii) Can we international students as an agent/actor in public diplomacy.
Last Tuesday, I had the opportunity to attend the “Grand Opening of 2014 Theme Program: Going Glocal” at the Swedish Embassy in Washington, DC (also known as the House of Sweden). The event was particularly important for me as Sweden also unveiled Facing the Climate – a cartoon exhibit that includes the works of Swedish and international artists on climate issues. Also, Facing the Climate is one of the projects I study in my dissertation. It was a “geeky” and a “happy” moment when I finally saw the project that I have been interviewing, reading, and writing about for the past two year in person.
Update: With Stengel in the office, I updated the graph and the data. I also added three dates for Richard Stengel’s tenure in the office based on the shortest, average, and longest tenures Undersecretaries before him had. Here, I am not trying to forecast when he is going to leave his post. Rather, I plan to use these dates to make arguments about vacancies and high rate of turnover in R.
Let me share a short post about the vacancy data about the Undersecretary for Public Affairs and Public Diplomacy position. Everybody who works in or studies public diplomacy knows that the position has seen high rates of turn over and has been vacant quite often. I was playing around with the vacancy data and created this timeline visual.
Here is the data I used as a table.