New Cold War Examined in Walter Roberts Lecture

Amb. Michael McFaul

Amb. Michael McFaul (Stanford University)

(25 February 2017). Ambassador Michael McFaul is the featured speaker in this year’s Walter Roberts Lecture, where the former U.S. envoy to Moscow will discuss, “Explaining Our New Cold War with Russia: Can Trump End It?” The event takes place on Friday, 3 March at 10:00 am, on the George Washington University campus.

U.S.-Russia relations have reached one of their lowest points since the end of the Cold War. Russia’s intervention in Ukraine and Syria, public distrust, evidence of Russian interference in the U.S. election, and sanctions imposed by both sides all signal a growing rift in bilateral relations. This talk examines potential explanations for recent tensions, considers the implications of deteriorating relations, and analyzes potential changes in U.S. policy towards Russia under the Trump administration.

Amb. McFaul is professor of political science, and director and senior fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at the Hoover Institution, affiliated with Stanford University. He served for five years in the Obama administration, first as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Russian and Eurasian Affairs at the National Security Council at the White House (2009-2012), and then as U.S. Ambassador to the Russian Federation (2012-2014). Dr. McFaul authored several books, including Advancing Democracy Abroad: Why We Should, How We Can and, with Kathryn Stoner, Transitions To Democracy: A Comparative Perspective.

Since 2011, the Walter Roberts Endowment has hosted an annual lecture with a prominent and distinguished foreign policy figure at GWU. Free and open to the public, the lecture provides a platform for students, faculty, and public diplomacy practitioners to hear different perspectives on issues related to public diplomacy and foreign policy.

The lecture is held on Friday, 3 March 2017, from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm, at the Jack Morton Auditorium in GWU’s School of Media and Public Affairs, 805 21st Street. in Washington, D.C. (Metro: Foggy Bottom or Farragut West). The event is free but advance registration is required. The event is presented sponsored by the Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication at GWU and the Atlantic Council.

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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

Peshawar consulate staff

2013 achievement award winners, Public Affairs Section, American Consulate Peshawar, Pakistan

(Update: 13 March 2017) PDAA will celebrate its 20th anniversary of honoring excellence in public diplomacy at its 2017 award ceremony and brunch to be held May 7, 2017.

In all but five years since 1993, PDAA has honored professionals in government agencies and 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.

The 2016 winners included Foreign Service officers and nationals serving in Kabul, Novi Sad, Ouagadougou and Tunis. Nominations for the 2017 recipients are being vetted as of this publication.

The program will allow attendees the chance to hear from the 2017 winners or their representatives about the public diplomacy challenges they confronted and their innovative responses.

The event will be held at Maggiano’s Little Italy located at 5333 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W., across from Mazza Galleria in Friendship Heights/Chevy Chase and easily reached by public transportation or car.  The doors open at noon with the buffet beginning at 12:30 followed by presentation of the awards.

The event is also a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with old friends and colleagues, and expand networks with new acquaintances.

The cost for the brunch this year is $40.00, which includes an expanded selection of items including:

  • Smoked salmon
  • French toast
  • Italian sausage
  • Spinach and tomato frittata
  • Yogurt parfaits with assorted fruit
  • Potatoes with roasted peppers and onions
  • Assorted muffins and croissants
  • Zucchini bread and coffee cake

Coffee, tea, and fruit juices also are included but cocktails, wine and beer are extra.  A cash bar will be open from 12 noon to 3:00 p.m. The event will be held on the second floor of the restaurant.

Also, please consider sending in a donation that helps PDAA continue to offer quality awards in future years to our public diplomacy colleagues.

Getting there

By car: 5333 Wisconsin Avenue, NW.  There is nearby street and garage parking.

Public transportation: Just one block from the Friendship Heights Metro station on the Red Line.

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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