On September 23, the Brookings Institution will host Senator Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) and Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) for a discussion on the future of U.S. public diplomacy and strategic communication. With increasing force and frequency, members of the United States Congress are calling for reforms to U.S. public diplomacy, strategy, organization and practice. These proposed reforms seek to improve U.S. relations with foreign societies, advance American interests abroad and counter extremist ideologies. Seven years after 9/11, the question remains: is the United States communicating effectively with foreign publics? Is it undermining support for extremist ideologies around the world?
Senator Brownback, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, will soon propose legislation to establish an independent agency to conduct U.S. public diplomacy and manage strategic communication efforts across the federal government. Similarly, Representative Smith recently attached an amendment to the House defense authorization bill requiring the Bush Administration to develop a comprehensive interagency strategy on strategic communication and public diplomacy and to address key gaps identified by the Government Accountability Office and numerous other agencies. The speakers will explore the proposed legislation and will detail their goals in shaping U.S. global communication in the coming months.
Former President of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Thomas A. Dine will provide introductory remarks and Brookings Fellow Kristin Lord will moderate the discussion. After the program, the keynote speakers will take audience questions.