Friday, April 19, 2024

Public Diplomacy and Strategic Communication

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Diplomat Magazine
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DIPLOMAT MAGAZINE “For diplomats, by diplomats” Reaching out the world from the European Union First diplomatic publication based in The Netherlands. Founded by members of the diplomatic corps on June 19th, 2013. "Diplomat Magazine is inspiring diplomats, civil servants and academics to contribute to a free flow of ideas through an extremely rich diplomatic life, full of exclusive events and cultural exchanges, as well as by exposing profound ideas and political debates in our printed and online editions." Dr. Mayelinne De Lara, Publisher

By Dr. Eugenio Matos G.

A few ministries of foreign affairs (MFA) have effective departments with professional public diplomacy (PD) and strategic communication staff. Both elements are part of the same core of foreign policy soft power. Those who fail to assimilate experts in PD are dysfunctional. The purpose of these important instruments is to protect the image, the essential interests and national security of States.

An example of successful soft power and strategic communication in our region is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of El Salvador. Despite the strong incidents from the most solid local and international media, this small country has been able to maneuver and make it clear -with very little budget and a reduced diplomatic staff- that its hard power measures are not the only option to get its people out of one of the most serious social and national security disasters on the planet. President Bukele’s decision to prepare strategic communications with his accurate personal messages revalidated by his MFA and diplomatic corps is a great success.

The small country has been winning the battle by convincing national audiences (public affairs) and foreigners (public diplomacy) about the importance of terrorist imprisonments and massive deportations. The Central American head of State is beginning to extend his hand to countries that need to implement at least part of his model, aid that does not always appear in the media.

In the United States, the birthplace of public diplomacy as a new diplomatic profession, President Bush addressed his guests at the White House Summit on Malaria on December 14, 2006 as follows: “We also know that nations with free, healthy and prosperous citizens will be a source of stability, giving no chance to extremists filled with hatred and terror. By making the world more hopeful, we make the world more peaceful, and by helping others, the American people help themselves. Indeed, public diplomacy involves both understanding and assisting foreign audiences so they in turn cooperate with our foreign policy. It is a branch of international relations that works in two ways.”

In principle, strategic communication should take into account the following:

(a) The fundamentals of freedom, human rights and equality among human beings.

b) Reach out to those who share our ideals.

c) Support democracy and its freedoms.

d) To try to change those who promote hatred and differences among peoples.

Strategic communication provides the means to convey public diplomacy initiatives in the most effective way possible; public diplomacy gives the necessary form that strategic communication messages must take.

Communication and collaboration seeks cooperation between states, identifying those common points of targeted public diplomacy.

About the author: 

Dr. Eugenio Matos G. is a senior diplomat. He is one of the first Latin American experts in public diplomacy and recipient of several recognitions in International Relations. Lecturer in Public Diplomacy at the University of Ottawa, Canada.

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