Public opinion holds more sway now than at any previous time in history. Information and communication technologies are cheap and ubiquitous. It is in this context that the United States must increasingly engage, persuade and attract the cooperation of foreign publics to achieve its national interests. Yet, the United States must do this in a world that has changed markedly in the years since its public diplomacy institutions were created.
On November 25, the Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World and Foreign Policy at Brookings hosted Kristin Lord, who presented Voices of America, a new Brookings report on the effectiveness of public diplomacy that includes specific recommendations for the next administration. Drawing on extensive research, approximately 300 interviews and the advice of a distinguished board of ten advisers, Voices of America presents a comprehensive vision for U.S. public diplomacy in the twenty-first century. It argues for the creation of a new non-governmental organization to tap extensive private sector expertise and mobilize the talents of Americans and partners around the world. The report also presents wide-ranging recommendations regarding strategy, leadership, organization, resources and methods of U.S. public diplomacy and how this important instrument of statecraft should be integrated into a broader foreign policy strategy.
Lord was joined by a distinguished panel of experts including Strobe Talbott, president of the Brookings Institution; Thomas A. Miller, vice president of Business for Diplomatic Action; and Charles Vest, president of the National Academy of Engineering. Senior Fellow Martin Indyk, director of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy, offered introductory remarks and Carlos Pascual, vice president and director of Foreign Policy, moderated the discussion.