Putting a public face on public diplomacy

A Newhouse professor created The Public Diplomat “to help people tell stories about international engagement” on the SU campus and beyond.

What is public diplomacy? The average person might have a hard time defining it.

The concept of public diplomacy is the dialogue established by foreign publics with the intent to inform and influence. According to Guy Golan, creator of ThePublicDiplomat.com, it is defined as the intersection between public relations, international relations and political communication.

The Public Diplomat is the brainchild of Golan, a Newhouse associate professor of public diplomacy and public relations. He created it because he had one mission: “to help people tell stories about international engagement.”

Through the collection of world news, tweets, interviews and other kinds of social media interaction, The Public Diplomat is able to analyze and categorize examples of public diplomacy, and organize it into a medium that is aesthetically pleasing and accessible to the public.

Just a few minutes of playing around on the website allows a user to read articles about the interactions of foreign entities, listen to podcasts analyzing cultural and political trends and watch videos of important happenings around the world.

With its wide reach and social media standing, The Public Diplomat is able to obtain information from anywhere on the globe and disperse it via social media.

“It is all about getting that small tribe of public diplomacy fanatics energized and help each other connect,” said Golan.

The Public Diplomat is different from other campaigns similar to it due to its impressive social media presence. Golan said that this is due to the fact that “journalism is no longer a one-way street. It is a two-way interactive, user-generated world.”

There are 20 podcasts on iTunes created by The Public Diplomat team. This is audio that can be downloaded and listened to from anywhere, at any time, with a goal to inspire interest in learning about public diplomacy. It is Golan’s way of putting a “public face on public diplomacy.”

Golan emphasized the idea that public diplomacy requires constant learning; to be a public diplomat, one must have passion, enthusiasm and an interest in telling a story.

The Public Diplomat is ready and willing to help anyone tell a story about international engagement. The interconnectedness of social media helps this goal as it enables the exchange of countless ideas from many different voices.

While The Public Diplomat has enjoyed great success in the past year, Golan is not finished expanding. His long-term goals are to build a network of public diplomacy enthusiasts, enable storytellers, connect people and get students engaged and involved.

“I’m trying to connect people – not just the younger generation – everybody, whoever loves public diplomacy; whoever cares about NGOs, and international communication to foreign policy,” he said. “Whoever wants to be there, we want to help you tell that story,” Golan said.

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