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A White Oak for Public Diplomacy

The chronically poor state of American public diplomacy has been a topic of discussion in the foreign policy-mil-national security blogosphere for years. As with COIN on the military side of things, pressure has built from conversation to a greater public awareness of the inadequacy of American public diplomacy toward strategic planning and lobbying for reform. Few people have been more active on this important issue than my blogfriend Matt Armstrong, who recently participated in formulating the….

White Oak Recommendations: Rethinking Public Diplomacy (Updated)

Over the weekend of January 30 through February 1, the Howard Gilman Foundation, Meridian International Center, and The Public Diplomacy Council brought together seventy people – public and private sector stakeholders frustrated with this demise and determined to restore public diplomacy as a viable tool of foreign policy – to discuss the structure of America’s global engagement at the White Oak Conference Center in Florida.

The product of the conference is a short, easily read document of common sense recommendations that would otherwise be in larger reports. All but three of the conference participants endorsed the report. Those who abstained did so because their employers do not permit even personal endorsements. The report is simple and straight forward, so much so that the endorsements run longer than the report.

Download the Recommendations here (26kb PDF).

Download the Endorsements here (84kb PDF).

Matt also organized a blogger’s roundtable with members of the White Oak Conference ( he was kind enough to invite me but unfortunately, I had a schedule conflict that day):

On February 19, I moderated a sixty minute roundtable discussion between Doug Wilson of the Howard Gilman Foundation and Bob Coonrod of The Public Diplomacy Council. Tara Sonenshine was originally scheduled to attend but had a scheduling conflict at the last minute. The participants were Pat Kushlis of WhirledView, Shawn Powers of Intermap.org, John Brown of PDPBR (and now Notes and Essays), Kim Andrew Elliot of http://www.kimandrewelliott.com/, Steve Corman of COMOPS, Jennifer Bryson of Public Discourse, Chris Tomlinson of the AP, and Danielle Kelton from PD 101.

White Oak-Related posts:

Read the rest here.

American public diplomacy is beyond broken – it borders on non-existent. There’s a great deal of building that needs to be done and the White Oak Conference was an important step forward.

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