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UNITED STATES: Public diplomacy

The US promotes public diplomacy, which is an excellent idea. There is an Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy, which held a meeting with members of the office of the Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy, led by Christopher Ross. He spoke of the perception of US abroad, and asked "Why does the world hate us so?". He skirted around the Israel-Palestine dispute, but that was obviously on his mind. He reported that in Morocco every member of the US mission, down to the guards, has been trained in public diplomacy and goes around talking in schools. Morocco was clearly chosen because it is the least hostile of the Arab countries. He did not discuss obvious problems. It is highly unlikely that all the members of the mission know Moroccan Arabic, so presumably they talked to classes of children studying English. He gave no information as to how well they were received. Another plan is to draw up a list of all the foreigners who have come to this country with a grant in order to involve them in public diplomacy. Presumably this will be more of s two-way street.

Ronald Hilton - 5/25/02