Persuasion and Power: A UK Report

The House of Lords Select Committee on Soft Power and the UK’s Influence published a 2014 Report, ‘Persuasion and Power in the Modern World’. The Committee found that British influence and effectiveness in a changed world now requires different methods of exercising power in order to safeguard national security and maintain prosperity.

This report precedes Brexit by two years.



Public Diplomacy Syllabus

Dr. Nancy Snow, Pax Mundi Professor of Public Diplomacy
Kyoto University of Foreign Studies
Spring 2018 (course website) (personal website)

EdwardRMurrow (personal website)

Required Reading

Nancy Snow & Philip M. Taylor, Eds., Routledge Handbook of Public Diplomacy

 Recommended Readings

The United States Information Agency: A Commemoration

Propaganda, Inc. by Nancy Snow (New York: Seven Stories Press, 2010)

Japan’s Information War by Nancy Snow (CreateSpace: Amazon, 2016)

Course Overview

Retired diplomat Edmund Gullion coined the term Public Diplomacy (PD) in 1965 while serving as Dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in Massachusetts (USA). The Fletcher School established The Edward R. Murrow Center for Public Diplomacy in memory of Murrow (1908-1965). Upon Gullion’s death in 1998, he received a write-up in the New York Times, which does not include the words “public diplomacy” but infers its value with reference to The Murrow Center, which “intended to establish direct communications with the peoples of other lands and to build mutual understanding. It also fit nicely with Mr. Guillion’s view, expressed just recently: ‘I always thought journalists and diplomats could learn a great deal from one another.’”

Public Diplomacy is a cross-section of international communication and diplomacy. It is a relatively new paradigm (pattern, model) in the field of international relations and the practice of diplomacy. Unlike traditional diplomacy, which only focuses on state-level relations, PD acknowledges the multifaceted nature of international communications, and can be carried out by individual citizens and NGO’s, as well as governmental agents and agencies. Simply put, PD focuses on the strategies, techniques and practice of influencing public attitudes and opinions.

Course Schedule


Week 1: April 12: What is Public Diplomacy?

 Week 2: April 19: How to Think About and Improve It

Week 3: April 26: Rethinking Public Diplomacy


Week 4: May 3: Golden Week (no class)

Week 5: May 10: Credibility and Public Diplomacy (Snow & Taylor, Chapter 13)

 Week 6: May 17: Guest lecturer

Week 7: May 24: Public Diplomacy, Key Challenges and Priorities

Week 8: May 31: Dialogue-based Public Diplomacy: A New Foreign Policy Paradigm?


 Week 9: June 7: Hard Power, Soft Power, and Smart Power

  • Get Smart,” Foreign Affairs, by Joseph S. Nye, Jr. (July/August 2009)
  •  “Public Diplomacy and Soft Power,” Nye, The ANNALS (March 2008)
  • “Soft Power,”  Joseph S. Nye, Foreign Policy No. 80, (Autumn, 1990)

Week 10: June 14: Public Diplomacy: A Euphemism for Propaganda?

 Week 11: June 21: Grassroots Movements in Public Diplomacy

(Snow & Taylor, Part 4: Chapters 16-20)

Answer the following questions before coming to class:

  • What are the roles of non-state actors and individuals in PD?
  • Do states, governmental agencies, or international organizations dominate PD?

Week 12: June 28: Media and Public Diplomacy

(Snow & Taylor, Chapter 5)

Answer the following questions before coming to class:

  • What is the importance of media in forming public opinion?
  • What kind of media coverage does public diplomacy get?
  • How does the celebrity/spectacle penchant of the media help/hurt?

Week 13: July 5 : Creating a National Brand with Public Diplomacy

(Snow & Taylor, Chapters 21-23)

Naomi Klein (2002): America is not a Hamburger

Answer the following questions before coming to class:

  • What is a nation brand? Can a nation be brand?
  • Is PD a part of nation branding?
  • How can you create a brand for a nation?

Week 14: July 12: Public Diplomacy & You

What comes to mind when you think about public diplomacy?

(Snow & Taylor, Chapter 11)

 Week 15: July 19: Final Exam (open book); essay and short answer


Soft Power & Public Diplomacy

It’s been almost ten years, but US Soft Power never looked so promising as when Barack Obama was inaugurated in 2009. Just check out this Voice of America feature:



The king of soft power is Joseph S. Nye Jr., Dean Emeritus of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.  You cannot advance in your understanding of public diplomacy without a nod to Nye and what he has meant to our understanding of this concept. Soft power lies in the ability to attract and persuade. Whereas hard power—the ability to coerce—grows out of a country’s military or economic might, soft power arises from the attractiveness of a country’s culture, political ideals, and policies. That said, do not assume that soft power is a carpet of roses that leads nations into peace and harmony. If policies are bad, then no amount of soft power appeal will make a difference. Soft power follows good policies, and good policies reinforce soft power. 

Soft Power,  Joseph S. Nye Jr., Foreign Policy No. 80, (Autumn, 1990)

Think Again, Soft Power Foreign Policy (February 2006)

Get Smart Foreign Affairs, by Joseph S. Nye Jr. (July/August 2009)

The Soft Power 30

Q: Does being one of the best countries in the world enhance one’s soft power?

Congratulations, France

Eiffel Tower Daytime



Air New Zealand and Nation Branding

National airlines are major contributors (and detractors) from a nation’s brand image. Consider the 4-star Air New Zealand. Its award-winning airsafety videos are cheeky, humorous, and drenched in unconventional celebritydom. Let’s take a look:

Filmed at Warner Bros. Studio in Los Angeles.

As the official airline of Middle-earth, Air New Zealand has gone all out to celebrate the third and final film in The Hobbit Trilogy – The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.

The All Blacks’ video was created in association with Sony Pictures.

Betty White — Safety Old School Style

Golden Girl Betty White proves age is just a number as she gives us the old school version of Air New Zealand’s in-flight safety.

Let Richard Simmons get you fit to fly. Lose the baggage, fasten your safety belt, take a breather and let’s GO!

Trump & Obama: A Tale of Two Speeches



Trump’s Statesmanlike Speech in Riyadh

Elliott Abrams, National Review, May 21, 2017

 … any balanced strategy will require continued close partnerships with our regional allies to expand and improve the effectiveness of counter messaging programs, especially online. The inclusion of the Saudi Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology on the president’s itinerary was a good sign, but since September 11, 2001 we have seen far too many such initiatives fall short…. Although counter-messaging and counter-radicalization programs are not a cure all, they are a vital part of any strategy especially as America invests in its more military-focused initiatives.

Trump Changed His Tone on Islam—Will He Change Strategy?

Michael Leiter, The Atlantic, May 22, 2017

But the President’s address reflected a more substantive break. By focusing on Muslim governments rather than people, and by focusing on terrorism rather than the broader conditions of the Middle East that catalyze volatility and violence, he broke with his two immediate predecessors’ strategies for engaging the Muslim world.

Trump’s Speech in Riyadh Puts Ball Squarely in Court of Muslim-Led Governments to Fight Terrorism

Eric Trager, The Washington Institute for Near East Studies, May 21, 2017

Most important was Trump’s willingness to point to the ideology of Islamism as the enemy. This matters exceedingly for, just as a physician must first identify a medical problem before treating it, so a strategist must identify the enemy before defeating it. To talk about “evildoers,” “terrorists,” and “violent extremists” is to miss the enemy’s Islamic core.

‘This Wasn’t a Speech About Islam’

Mustafa Akyol and Wajahat Ali, The New York Times, May 21, 2017

I’m not a naïve, wide-eyed idealist and I didn’t drink the Halal Kool aid. I knew the bar was exceedingly low, so all Trump would have to do is stay on script, not say anything egregiously offensive and it would be considered an “improvement.” Which it was.  Mustafa Akyol: … I agree that it definitely did not come out as advertised…. This was a more modest, narrow and pragmatic speech, mostly appealing to Muslim leaders — in fact, only Sunni ones — for more cooperation against terrorism. But given Mr. Trump’s earlier views on Islam, it could have been worse!