Public Diplomacy Collaborative Launches at Harvard Kennedy School

Contact: Kate Hoagland
Phone: (617) 495-4347
Date: September 17, 2009

Cambridge, MA—The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University celebrated the launch of its Public Diplomacy Collaborative Sept. 17 at an Ash Institute event featuring remarks by Judith McHale, U.S. Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. Housed at Harvard Kennedy School’s Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation, the Collaborative will help deepen the interaction between thought leaders across all sectors and disciplines, and public diplomacy officers at U.S. embassies around the world.

Matthew Baum, Marvin Kalb Professor of Global Communications at Harvard Kennedy School, will serve as faculty chair.

Joseph S. Nye, University Distinguished Service Professor and former dean of Harvard Kennedy School who has held senior positions at the State and Defense departments, described the Collaborative as “a lab for enhancing public diplomacy effectiveness, engaging in purposeful global discussion, and promoting new networks and new thinking on regional and global issues.”

“We plan to expand these networks domestically and internationally to include thought and opinion leaders from all walks of life, in order to increase in both quality and number the exchange of views and ideas necessary to developing bonds of understanding and trust at multiple levels,” Baum said. “And we will engage the academic community across disciplines in ways that can more productively and effectively inform U.S. public diplomacy practitioners at our embassies around the world about the societies and cultures in which they work.”

Jed Willard, the Collaborative’s director, added that “a number of such networks, both on-campus and virtual, have already been created in the course of the past year’s work to get the Collaborative established.”

In addition to Nye and Baum, other faculty affiliated with the Collaborative include Nicholas Burns, professor of the practice of diplomacy and international politics; Stephen Walt, Belfer Professor of International Relations; Richard Parker, lecturer in public policy; Rory Stewart, Ryan Family Professor of the Practice of Human Rights and director, Carr Center for Human Rights Policy; Monica Toft, associate professor of public policy; David Moss, Harvard Business School; Jessica Stern, Harvard Law School; as well as Tufts University professor William Rugh.

Doug Wilson, executive vice president of the Howard Gilman Foundation and public diplomacy specialist, will chair a ten-member board of directors. This group, along with a forty-member board of advisors, will give the Collaborative “an unusually broad and high-level combination of opinion leaders who are expert networkers in addition to being highly respected in their own fields,” said Wilson. “As a result, the Collaborative will be able to play a very proactive role in supporting effective public diplomacy.”

At the Sept. 17 launch, Undersecretary McHale delivered an address titled “Public Diplomacy in the Age of Obama.” Among the board members in attendance were Wilson; Robert Coonrod, president of the Public Diplomacy Council and former CEO of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting; Sam Fried, executive vice president for law, policy and governance at Limited Brands; Nathan Gardels, editor-in-chief of both New Perspectives Quarterly and the Los Angeles Times Syndicate/Tribune Media’s global services; Boston entrepreneur Al Kapoor, head of Millennium Ventures; Tom Korologos, former chairman of the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy; Mary Foerster, vice president for communications at Boeing’s Integrated Defense Systems; Tammy Haddad, president of Haddad Media and former senior producer for Larry King Live and Hardball; and Charles Eassa, chief of information operations for USEUCOM.

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