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September 21 PDAA Panel Analyzes PD Audiences and Outreach Challenges

Roxanne Cabral

Roxanne Cabral

Updated 27 September 2015. PDAA kicked off its 2015-2016 program year by hosting a panel of current senior PD policymakers who discussed the key audiences for PD material and services and whether today’s PD tools are effective in reaching and influencing these audiences.

Entitled “Defining Public Diplomacy’s Audiences to Meet 21st Century Challenges,” the luncheon program took place on Monday, September 21, 2015 at the DACOR-Bacon House, 1801 F Street NW, Washington, DC.

These questions have been discussed for the last 60 years, but both the PD tools to advance policy objectives and the methods used to measure effectiveness have changed as PD has evolved. In the Bureau of International Information Programs (IIP), for example, social media has become the primary outreach tool.  But how does State know whether anyone is reading its tweets and other social media content it is producing? The panel will outline the kinds of polling and audience analysis that is currently being conducted within the R family and how it is being used to shape the message and drive the development of new programs and services.

Headlining the panel was Roxanne Cabral, director of the Office of Policy, Planning and Resources for the Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. A member of the Foreign Service since 1997, Roxanne recently held the 2013-2014 Department of State Senior Fellowship at the Washington, D.C.-based think-tank The Atlantic Council, during which she co-authored a white paper entitled “Diplomacy for a Diffuse World.” She served as PAO in Guangzhou, China from 2010-2013 and has had postings to Taiwan, Albania, Mexico, and Ukraine. She also served as public diplomacy advisor in State’s Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, focusing on Balkan issues.

Jeff Daigle

Jeff Daigle

In September 2014, Cabral told the U.S. Advisory Committee on Public Diplomacy: ”The way we connect with people, inform people, inspire people and persuade people has changed. It’s shifted. How we communicate and influence in the world today is not like it was five years ago. Evaluation metrics are going to be important in the way that we look at the global environment and the way that we conduct public diplomacy from here on out.”

Our second speaker, John “Jeff” Daigle, was the deputy coordinator for products in IIP.  Among his other responsibilities, Jeff is responsible for creating and curating editorial products that support U.S. foreign policy goals and he leads the U.S. Speakers Program.  He served for in Cambodia as DCM and Charge d’Affaires, as the public diplomacy and coordination officer in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, as the public diplomacy officer for the Babil Provincial Reconstruction Team in Iraq, and in a variety of positions in France, Nigeria and the United Nations.

Mark Taplin

Mark Taplin

Rounding out our panel was Mark Taplin, who oversees policy coordination and evaluation for the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs within the State Department as well as with other government agencies and foreign governments. He also oversees the Office of Alumni Programs, the Cultural Heritage Center and specialized units devoted to fostering cross-sector partnerships and innovation in exchange programming.

Mark, a 35-year veteran of the Foreign Service who holds the rank of Minister-Counselor, has served as DCM and Charge d’Affaires at the embassies in both Paris and Bucharest.  Mark was director for Ukraine, Moldova and Belarus in EUR, PAO in Kiev, and served tours in Russia, Brazil, Haiti and Mauritius.  An author of a book on traveling through Russia, Mark has also taught and conducted research as a Public Diplomacy Fellow at George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs.

(Photos by Alan Kotok)

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