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About PDAA

Jennifer Galt on Web chat

Jennifer Galt, a 2015 Public Diplomacy Achievement Award winner, conducting Web chat over social media. (U.S. Consulate General Guangzhou)

PDAA, an association for public diplomacy professionals and formerly the USIA Alumni Association, is a not-for-profit, voluntary, 501(c)(6) organization, with some 400 members. PDAA members have worked in or with the information, education, and cultural programs which the U.S. Government incorporates into the conduct of its diplomacy abroad.

Public Diplomacy Achievement Awards

Public diplomacy, when done right, combines leadership, imagination, resourcefulness, and plain determination, often under challenging conditions. PDAA recognizes outstanding achievement by individuals and teams at overseas posts and at State Department headquarters that display these qualities, among others.

Luncheon Speakers and Discussions

PDAA sponsors a speakers program for members and their guests four times a year; has completed more than 125 oral histories of distinguished USIA Officers; publishes a newsletter and directory and encourages members to write op-ed pieces and letters to editors and legislators about public diplomacy.

The association engages in social, education, and information activities related to the profession and discipline of public diplomacy. It actively promotes greater awareness in the United States of the public diplomacy dimension of American foreign relations.

PDAA or its predecessor organization have sponsored four major symposia (“Ike and USIA,” “THE U.S. – Warts and All,” “American Libraries Overseas – Their importance and Impact” and “Communicating With the World in the 1990s”) and published the proceedings of three of them.

It has produced and sold more than 300 copies of a two-part, hour-long educational video on public diplomacy. Part I is entitled “Public Diplomacy – Telling America’s Story.” Part II is “Public Diplomacy – The Road Ahead.” The video has been shown on public access TV in cities coast to coast, and updated in 2011.

Although USIA activities were transferred to the Department of State and USIA was abolished October 1, 1999, the Public Diplomacy Alumni Association will continue with its civic and social activities. Members receive the membership directory which is updated and published annually, as well as PDAA Today, published quarterly. The newsletter covers in pictures and text significant events in alumni affairs world-wide, information about individual alumni, and historic and contemporary articles concerning public diplomacy.

Topical conferences and dinners are held periodically. Luncheons are generally held three times per year. Speakers have run the gamut from senior U.S. Government officials to Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) to Robert Coonrod, president and CEO of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

PDAA Board of Directors

Amb. Cynthia Efird, President
Wendy Simmons, Vice-President
James L. Bullock, Treasurer
Charles Silver, Secretary
Amb. Greta N. Morris, President Emerita

Members-at-large:
Michael H. Anderson
Janice Brambilla
Kathleen A. Brion
Bruce K. Byers
Beatrice Camp
Alan Kotok
Chandley McDonald
Claude Porsella
Karyn Posner-Mullen
Jonathan Schaffer
Michael Schneider
Elizabeth Thornhill
Don Q. Washington
Dan Whitman

Newsletter editors:
Alan Kotok
Edmund F. Scherr

PublicDiplomacy.org editor:
Alan Kotok

 

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