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September 17, 2008

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Comments

Jeremiah

Are you going to have to RSVP to attend?

aardvark

we will be taking rsvp's, but it will be open to the public.

Rudy Stoler

I can't make it (Jewish holidays), but I'd love to be there. Are there going to be notes for it posted somewhere - or maybe a podcast?

Solomon2

First day Rosh Hashana, can't be there. You've lost the War of Ideas before it ever began! Or will you reschedule?

Guardian reading liberal

What's the chances any of the speakers here are going to talk about the centrality of Israel/Palestine and what's going on in Gaza right now to "public diplomacy and the war of ideas"? Two of them are working for Haim "I’m a one issue guy, and my issue is Israel” Saban, the other's a Bush official who publicly argues Arab anger over Palestinians is some sort of transference, so that leaves you, Marc - and you want to be invited back, right?

aardvark

we risk running into the first day of the Eid too, which would be awfully special for a 'war of ideas' panel. but when you've got one panelist off to the gulf, another off to asia, the other with a busy govt job, and limited room options on campus what can you do?

Rudy Stoler

Are you willing to accept questions from those of us that can't be there? It'd be real nice if we could get notes from the discussion up on the site, or a digital sound recording. All the religious holidays are difficult to work around, but it is a public diplomacy panel - creativity is essential!

Zathras

Just out of curiosity, is it the intention here to convey the message that American public diplomacy's sole purpose is to enable us to relate to Arabs and other potentially homicidal Muslims in Southwest Asia?

I'd never deny that this ought to be one of its purposes. However, after five years in which the whole of American foreign and national security policy has been focused on the future of one, mid-sized Arab country my faith in official Washington's sense of proportion is in need or reinforcement.

Rudy Stoler

I don't think it's so much that public diplomacy is about improving communication/relationship with Muslims specifically in Southwest Asia. The problem is that the US (and most governments, quite frankly) really doesn't know how to portray itself to peoples outside its borders. At best, we acy in the form of public relations, which, although useful, limits us to a very uni-directional conversation. In order to reduce the amount of misinterpretation in international relationships, especially as individuals become more important, we need to build skills of how to share ideas with those beyond our state borders, and just as importantly, to receive "foreign" ideas and viewpoints.

The more two peoples understand each other, it stands to reason that the less they will view each other as incomprehensible enemies. Not that enemies dn't or shouldn't exist, but that many times communications can provide better solutions than forceful ones.

Solomon2

when you've got one panelist off to the gulf, another off to asia, the other with a busy govt job, and limited room options on campus what can you do?

Be a lot more sensitive in your choices, of course. Rosh Hashana is one of the holiest days on the Jewish calendar, so you are denying the possibility of participation by some of the people (and students; will their grades be affected?) most intimately concerned with the process and its results.

To paraphrase Frank Herbert, it leaves both those who attend and those who are excluded to harden their views and thus "rot in the stink of their own reflections." Thus, it might be better not to hold the panel at all! Two thumbs down.

Solomon2

"The problem is that the US (and most governments, quite frankly) really doesn't know how to portray itself to peoples outside its borders."

How amusing to a history buff like me. Of course, there is one way America excels at portraying itself to other peoples: as the Land of Opportunity, encouraging immigration. That started via private industry in the sixteenth through the twentieth centuries and IMO is in large measure the attitude of the State Department today. Remember how, after 9-11, they concentrated on telling Arabs how fine and tolerant a country America is for Muslims?

Jeremiah

Rudy,
I'm planning on taking notes at the discussion so I'll be able to type them up and post it somewhere

Amy H

Hi Marc, what's the location, and how do we RSVP? Thx.

aardvark

Hi Amy - it's at the Marvin Center, 3rd floor, corner of 22nd and H. Will post a reminder with full info soon. No need to RSVP to this one... we're still trying to work out our administrative assistant situation...

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