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Abstract

The authors propose a new approach to conceptualizing and conducting public diplomacy, defined as a process of informing and convincing foreign publics, especially those in the Muslim world, that the ideals Americans cherish — such as pluralism, freedom, women's rights, and democracy — are fundamental human values that will resonate in their own countries. The approach they propose sharply differentiates public diplomacy from the marketing of commercial goods and services, focusing instead on the central roles of constituencies and adversaries in public diplomacy. Associated with this consideration are two questions rarely addressed in most discussions of public diplomacy:

  1. Should the U.S. government be the only, or even the main, transmitter of public diplomacy's content, rather than sharing this function with such other potential transmitters as nongovernmental (nonprofit) organizations and responsible business, labor, and academic entities?
  2. Should public diplomacy transmissions and transactions be viewed and conducted to encourage dialogue or "multilogue" (for example, through call-in shows, debates, and structured "cross fires"), rather than as a monologue through one-way transmission by the United States?

This research in the public interest was supported by RAND, using discretionary funds made possible by the generosity of RAND's donors and the fees earned on client-funded research.

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