Washington, D.C. – This week the Bipartisan Policy Center’s (BPC) National Security Project launched a new initiative designed to re-conceptualize America’s public diplomacy and outreach to audiences around the world. Co-chaired by Ambassador James Glassman and Secretary Dan Glickman, the Strategic Public Diplomacy Initiative seeks to develop recommendations on ways to tightly integrate public diplomacy with foreign policy to advance U.S. strategic interests in a new media age. The BPC believes U.S. policymakers should treat public diplomacy as a vital part of our foreign policy toolbox, on par with traditional diplomacy and military power.
“The Internet, cell phones and social networking are changing the way societies receive and transmit information. We’re in a communication revolution,” said co-chair Secretary Glickman, a Senior Fellow at the BPC. “Given the power and reach of the Internet and social media, we need to create a diplomatic strategy that is both technologically-savvy, leverages the potential of the private sector, and is tightly coordinated with our national security strategy and goals.”
Today, Islamic extremism and state fragility are key national security concerns. The BPC believes a strong, strategic public diplomacy program can play a significant role in achieving U.S. foreign policy objectives. According to initiative co-chair Ambassador James Glassman, Executive Director of the George W. Bush Institute and formerly Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, “One important task of public diplomacy must be pushing back and undermining the ideology behind violent extremism, while explaining and advocating free alternatives and diverting young people from following a path that leads to violent extremism.”
Over the course of the year, the initiative will: examine lessons learned from prior public diplomacy efforts; define the strategic uses and dimensions of public diplomacy; determine pressing short- and medium-term strategic challenges that public diplomacy can help address; and recommend specific proposals on how public diplomacy programming can be better targeted to audiences in particular countries, such as Pakistan, advance U.S. interests, and how best to engage the private sector for maximum impact around the world.
With the support of an expert, bipartisan steering committee and BPC staff, the initiative will present robust recommendations for renewing U.S. public diplomacy and effectively harnessing the potential of new media in an effort to win the war of ideas.
Members of the steering committee include:
- Initiative Co-Chair Ambassador James Glassman, Executive Director, George W. Bush Institute; former Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs
- Initiative Co-chair Secretary Dan Glickman, Senior Fellow, Bipartisan Policy Center; former Chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, and former Chairman of the House Select Committee on Intelligence
- Zainab Al-Suwaij, Executive Director, American Islamic Congress
- Dr. Peter Berkowitz, Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution
- Jared Cohen, Director, Google Ideas; former member, Policy and Planning Staff, Department of State
- Ambassador Paula Dobriansky, Senior Vice President and Global Head of Government and Regulatory Affairs, Thomson Reuters; former Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs
- Dr. Michael Doran, Visiting Professor New York University; former Senior Director, National Security Council
- Dr. Aaron Lobel, President, AmericaAbroadMedia
- Dr. Joseph Nye, Professor, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University; former Chairman of the National Intelligence Council
- Preston Padden, Adjunct Professor, University Of Colorado Interdisciplinary Telecommunications Program; former President, ABC Television Network
- Dr. Rob Satloff, Executive Director, Washington Institute for Near East Policy
Ashley Clark, Press Secretary