Canadian Public Diplomacy Examined at Monday Forum

Canadian flag

(Shawn Harquail, Flickr)

(19 February 2017). Canada’s approach to public diplomacy as the country celebrates its 150th anniversary is the topic of the next First Monday Forum. The event takes place on Monday, 6 March 2017 at American Foreign Service Association (AFSA) in Washington, D.C.

Laurie Peters, Executive Director, Public Affairs and Public Diplomacy, Global Affairs Canada in Ottawa, will lead the discussion. Ms. Peters served previously as head of public affairs, culture, and education in Canada’s embassy in Tokyo, and director of the Aga Khan Foundation in Canada.

Monday forums are a joint project of the USC Center on Public Diplomacy, USC Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership and Policy, and Public Diplomacy Council. The event takes place on Monday, 6 March 2017, and begins at 12:00 pm at AFSA headquarters, 2101 E Street NW, Washington DC (Foggy Bottom metro). Sandwiches and refreshments will be served.

The event is free, but advance registrations by e-mail are required:

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Online Cultural Diplomacy Course Now Available

Unitar course


(19 February 2017). An online seminar in cultural diplomacy, Cultural Diplomacy in a Multipolar World, conducted by the UN’s Institute for Training and Research or Unitar, is now open for registration.

Cultural diplomacy has long been the Cinderella of foreign ministries. But, as with its close relation, public diplomacy, interest in cultural diplomacy has increased with growing understanding of the significance of soft power in achieving states’ objectives in the international realm.

This course examines the role of cultural diplomacy in the 21st Century. After first defining cultural diplomacy, the course discusses the concept of soft power and how this has informed the development of both public diplomacy and cultural diplomacy. There follows an account of the history of cultural diplomacy and of the influence of technological and societal change on its practice. Current practice in the field of cultural diplomacy will be analyzed, along with the varied institutional arrangements in key countries. Finally, there will be an examination of cultural diplomacy as conducted in multilateral fora.

The course is internet-based, moderated by senior international experts, asynchronous, and places emphasis on online discussions and self-paced learning. The participants will be primarily responsible for their own learning over the three-week span of the course.

The program runs 20 February to 12 March 2017. The fee for the course is $US 500.00. For more details, see the course page on the Unitar web site.

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2017 Public Diplomacy Awards Event Set for May 7

Dept of State


(11 February 2017) Awarding of the Public Diplomacy Achievement Awards for 2017 takes place on Sunday, May 7. PDAA will announce the awards at its 20th annual brunch for members and guests.

Since 1993, PDAA has honored professionals in government agencies or non-government organizations working in more than 50 countries and in the United States whose work makes a difference in projecting American policies, ideas, and culture to the rest of the world. On May 7, join PDAA at its 20th annual awards brunch at Maggiano’s Little Italy, located just one block from the Friendship Heights Metro station, with nearby street and garage parking.

Tickets to the event are $40.00. Reservations can be made by clicking on the Add to Cart button below. More detail about the event will be posted in March on and in the PDAA Today newsletter.

Learn more about the Public Diplomacy Achievement Awards and donations to support the awards.

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Virginia Foreign Affairs Group to Hear Alberto Fernandez

Amb. Alberto Fernandez

(Courtesy, Amb. Alberto Fernandez)

(7 February 2017). Foreign Affairs Retirees of Northern Virginia, or Farnova, will hear a talk by Ambassador Alberto Fernandez at its meeting on 22 March. The event takes place at the Fort Myer Officers Club in Arlington, Virginia.

Amb. Fernandez, now a vice-president at MEMRI, the Middle East Media Research Institute, authored an article in late January on the MEMRI web site titled, “Making The U.S. State Department Great Again: Why A Trump Refit Could Be Good News.” Before retiring from State Department, he served as State Department’s Coordinator for the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications from March 2012 to February 2015. Amb. Fernandez is also the 2006 recipient of the Edward R. Murrow Award for Excellence in Public Diplomacy.

Reservations for lunch are $25.00. The speaker begins at 12:15 pm on Wednesday, 22 March in the club’s Lamplighter Room, but attendees are encouraged to arrive after 11:30 am, since parking can be tight on the base.  Farnova is not yet taking reservations, but Michael Korff can answer questions about the event, at

The Fort Myer Officers Club is located on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Arlington. You can enter the base at the Hatfield Gate, on Washington Boulevard. When entering that gate, stay in the right lane if you have a State Department active or retiree badge, to avoid inspections and their delays. If you do not have a badge, stay in the left lane.

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RFE/RL Future Explored at February Forum

Thomas Kent

Thomas Kent (

(28 January 2017) Thomas Kent, president of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, will lead a discussion of the future of these broadcasting services at the February First Monday Forum. Mr. Kent is expected to examine media freedom issues facing RFE and RL, including the safety of journalists, to provide news for its audiences. The event takes place on Monday, 6 February 2017 at American Foreign Service Association (AFSA) in Washington, D.C.

Thomas Kent joined Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in June 2016 after a career of more than 40 years at Associated Press. Most recently, he was AP’s standards editor, responsible for the fairness and accuracy of the news agency’s content in text, photos, video, audio, interactives, and on social networks. He also served with AP as international editor, World Services editor, Moscow bureau chief, Brussels-based correspondent for European institutions and NATO, chief of operations in Tehran during the Iranian revolution, correspondent in Sydney, Australia, and Hartford, Connecticut, and foreign desk editor in New York.

He has written and spoken worldwide on journalistic ethics, including ethical issues for such new journalistic platforms as virtual reality and automated news writing. An advisor to the Ethical Journalism Network, Kent has been a board member of the Organization of News Ombudsmen, a Pulitzer Prize juror in international reporting and an advisor to the Society of Professional Journalists on revisions to its ethics code.

Monday forums are a joint project of the USC Center on Public Diplomacy, USC Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership and Policy, and Public Diplomacy Council. The event takes place on Monday, 6 February 2017, and begins at 12:00 pm at AFSA headquarters, 2101 E Street NW, Washington DC (Foggy Bottom metro). Sandwiches and refreshments will be served.

The event is free, but advance registrations by e-mail are required:

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February 13 PDAA Program Examines Diplomacy in Space Exploration

International Space Station crew members

Crew members from U.S., Russia, and Japan aboard the International Space Station, December 2015. (

(14 January 2017) From John Glenn to Elon Musk, Americans who dare to go to space have inspired Americans from the first days of the space program.   Through State, the U.S. has been a leader at the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) and other international fora on space and earth sciences.

PDAA’s program on Monday, February 13 explored diplomacy’s role in the incredible accomplishments of last 50 years in space exploration and stewardship of our planet through the earth sciences.  Participants heard from three top experts in the field of space diplomacy about how space activities have bolstered diplomacy and how diplomacy has bolstered the cooperation.

The public’s interest in space and space exploration rarely flags, bolstered by the inspiring work of NASA and its formidable public affairs operations.  In cooperation with USAID, NASA’s satellite data has been used to track elephant populations in Botswana and floods in Bangladesh.  Kent Bress is the director of the Aeronautics and Cross Agency Support Division in the Office of International and Interagency Relations (OIIR) at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC.

Kent Bress

Kent Bress, 13 February 2017 (A. Kotok)

In his current position he oversees NASA’s collaboration with Europe and Canada, and supervises the negotiation of international agreements in the areas of aeronautics, space technology, education and public outreach.  From 1997 until 1999 he was NASA’s representative in Moscow, Russia.

The Office of Space and Advanced Technology (OES/SAT) ensures that U.S. space policies and multilateral science activities support U.S. foreign policy objectives and enhance space and technological competitiveness.  The United States, its allies and its adversaries around the world have established the goal of peaceful uses of outer space, and cooperate intensively to build and maintain the International Space Station.

Ken Hodgkins

Ken Hodgkins, 13 February 2017 (A. Kotok)

The Outer Space Treaty, signed by 105 countries, establishes the mechanics for this cooperation.   Ken Hodgkins is the Director for the Office of Space and Advanced Technology in the Bureau of Oceans, Environment and Science.  Mr. Hodgkins serves as the U.S. representative to COPUOS. He has been the State representative for major Presidential policy reviews on remote sensing, the Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) system, orbital debris, and the use of space nuclear power sources.

Founded in 1983, the Space Foundation is the foremost advocate for all sectors of space, and is a global, nonprofit leader in space awareness activities, educational programs and major industry events, including the annual Space Symposium, in support of its mission “to advance space-related endeavors to inspire, enable and propel humanity.”   As a non-profit foundation, the Foundation amplifies these efforts through research, outreach and support of educational and cultural programs throughout the U.S.

Bill Parker

Bill Parker, 13 February 2017 (A. Kotok)

Bill Parker, a retired FSO after 31 years, with multiple postings for USIA and State, is a Special Advisor for International Affairs to the Space Foundation.  He has trained Foreign Affairs Officers at FSI and the National Security Space Institute at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. Parker tells about his work with the Space Foundation in a recent essay on

The PDAA program took place place Monday, February 13, 2017 at the DACOR-Bacon House, 1801 F St NW, Washington, DC.

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