Public Diplomacy and National Security in 2017

Building Alliances, Fighting Extremism, and Dispelling Disinformation

Throughout the world, citizens are increasingly flexing their muscles and shaping their governments’ decisionmaking on domestic and foreign affairs. Expanded access to information, facilitated by new media and communication technologies, has greatly empowered nonstate actors and strengthened their role in international politics. In this environment, the U.S. government cannot afford to engage solely in state-to-state diplomacy. The new global landscape requires foreign ministries and diplomats to go beyond bilateral and multilateral diplomacy and broaden and deepen relationships with a broad and diverse range of actors. The public diplomacy (PD) toolkit of informational, educational, and cultural programs is central to this objective by creating and maintaining relationships with influential leaders and opinion-makers in civil society, commerce, media, politics, and faith communities worldwide. This paper attempts to capture the lessons that the U.S. government and PD experts have learned over the past eight years in applying PD tools in order to chart an effective course for the incoming administration.

Shannon N. Green

Katherine A. Brown

Visiting Fellow, Human Rights Intiative

Jian “Jay” Wang

Associate Professor and Director, Center on Public Diplomacy, Annenberg School, University of Southern California