The USC Center on Public Diplomacy

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The Center has this to say about itself:

The USC Center on Public Diplomacy at the Annenberg School was established in August 2003 as a partnership between the USC Annenberg School for Communication and USC College of Letters, Arts & Sciences' School of International Relations at the University of Southern California. It is a joint research and professional training organization dedicated to furthering the study and practice of public diplomacy as it is practiced internationally.
Since its inception, the Center has become an ambitious and productive leader in the public diplomacy research and scholarship community. The Center has benefited from unique international, interdepartmental, bi-partisan support from the academic, corporate, governmental and public policy communities. And it has become the definitive go-to destination for practitioners and worldwide international leaders in public diplomacy, while pursuing an innovative and cutting-edge research agenda.
In 2008, USC received one of four inaugural Benjamin Franklin Awards for Public Diplomacy from the U.S. State Department in recognition of the university's teaching, training and research in public diplomacy.[1]

This is run by 'Walter Lippman Fellow of the American Academy of Political and Social Science' Geoffrey Cowan who "served the nation as director of the Voice of America" run by USAID, where he was an associate director. Chairman of Advisory Board William H. Luers had a 31-year career in the Foreign Service sits on a number of corporate and non-profit boards, including the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the East-West Institute. The USC Center on Public Diplomacy advisory board contains none other than Charles Z. Wick, the Former Director of USIA.

The centre defines Public Diplomacy thus:

Traditional definitions of public diplomacy include government-sponsored cultural, educational and informational programs, citizen exchanges and broadcasts used to promote the national interest of a country through understanding, informing, and influencing foreign audiences.

The centre's web site offers several definitions, most of these have the ring of old fashioned US propaganda about them:

"Public diplomacy helped win the Cold War, and it has the potential to help win the war on terror;"
"Its global mission is central to foreign policy. And it remains indispensable to [national] interests, ideals and leadership role in the world;"
"To inform, engage, and influence global audiences. . . to reach out beyond foreign governments to promote better appreciation of the United States abroad, greater receptivity to U.S. policies among foreign publics and sustained access and influence in important sectors of foreign societies."

One of USC Center's other academics is Joseph Nye who coined the term 'Soft Power' to extend the definition of PD:

"Soft power is the ability to get what you want by attracting and persuading others to adopt your goals. It differs from hard power, the ability to use the carrots and sticks of economic and military might to make others follow your will. Both hard and soft powers are important in the war on terrorism, but attraction is much cheaper than coercion, and an asset that needs to be nourished."



  • Geoffrey Wiseman Director | Sherine Badawi Walton Deputy Director | Lisa Larsen Assistant Director, Programming and Events | Laudrell Tilmon Office Manager [2]



  1. ABOUT THE CENTER: VISION, accessed 10 July 2008
  2. USC Center on Public Diplomacy CENTER BIOS