The Foreign Service Journal, March 2021

26 MARCH 2021 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL Public Diplomacy RE-ENGAGING THEWORLD W hile international faith in America’s global leadership is much diminished, there is residual affinity around the world for our values, goals and democratic heritage. The Biden-Harris administra- tion faces many global chal- lenges and will need to reinvent and revitalize the instruments of American statecraft. In this connected age, the public dimen- sion of U.S. global leadership will be decisive, because publics abroad are indispensable players in policy. As it restores America’s global relationships, the new admin- istration should emphatically embrace U.S. public diplomacy (PD). Through purposeful interactions with foreign publics, public diplomacy conveys American values and helps our leaders Eight steps to rebuild U.S. credibility as a world leader and a society worthy of emulation. BY SHERRY L . MUE L L ER AND JOE L A . F I SCHMAN Sherry L. Mueller is president of the Public Diplomacy Council, a U.S.-based nonprofit committed to promot- ing excellence in professional practice, academic study and advocacy for public diplomacy. Joel A. Fischman is president of the Public Diplomacy Association of America, a nonprofit, voluntary associa- tion for public diplomacy professionals. understand the range and roots of global opinion. It provides tools and platforms to rebuild critical relationships through effective programs and dialogues that build trust. We respectfully recommend that the administration invest considerable thought and resources to reinvigorate U.S. public diplomacy within the State Department. Here are the priorities: Build consistent leadership. Appoint a respected under secretary for public diplomacy and public affairs who (1) under- stands both foreign policy and communication, (2) can navigate the department and the interagency environment, (3) enjoys the evident confidence of the president and the Secretary of State and (4) intends to stay in the job. After the Secretary of State, this is the second most important appointment in the State Department. Open doors. Eliminate recently erected barriers to interna- tional education and exchanges, notably the proposed federal rulemaking on “duration of status” that would have an enor- mously negative impact on U.S. higher education, and the June 22, 2020, White House proclamation halting issuance of several categories of nonimmigrant visas. America’s academic and busi- ness communities will be vocal allies on these issues. Coordinate international communication. Strengthen the Department of State’s strategic public diplomacy planning and support for major global policy initiatives (e.g., managing the pandemic, climate change). The Bureau of Global Public Affairs is best positioned to manage substantive development of international public communication together with regional and FOCUS NOTES TO THE NEW ADMINISTRATION