The Foreign Service Journal, April 2021

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | APRIL 2021 53 FEATURE T he key to successful public diplomacy is authentic engagement with citizens of the host country. Despite the prestige and prominence of our work in foreign coun- tries, our power and influence are often limited to persuasion or exhortation, and that is not always welcome. And though we may pay lip service to building relation- ships and “successor-generation” programs, our short-term assignments not only tend to preclude long-term relationships, but also handicap the means to monitor results and effective- ness. Yet it is the deeper, longer-term programs and activities that are more likely to change opinions and bring new ideas to young participants. The International Visitor Leadership Program and Fulbright exchanges come immediately to mind, but not all long-term engagements are of the exchange variety. As public affairs officer (PAO) in Bulgaria from 2009 to 2012, I had the opportunity to work with young leaders on a unique project that continues to play a vital role in that country’s development— Tuk-Tam (translation: “Here-There”). The experience offers lessons that are relevant today. Serendipity Soon after arriving in Sofia in the fall of 2009, during a cour- tesy call to the rector of the American College of Sofia (a private high school), I happened to read in the “class notes” section of the alumni magazine about the creation of an interesting nongovern- mental organization (NGO) by five recent graduates. The group Effective Public Diplomacy LESSONS FROM TUK-TAM Listen first, one retired PD practitioner advises. Here is his story of a very successful program. BY KEN MOSKOWI TZ Ken Moskowitz served in the Foreign Service for 30 years. He holds a Ph.D. in theatre arts from the National Academy of Theatre and Film Arts in Sofia, Bulgaria, and is a former director of the Tokyo American Center. He is an adjunct professor of political science at Temple University’s Japan Campus.