The Foreign Service Journal, November 2019

12 NOVEMBER 2019 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL of Counterterrorism, interagency partners and NGOs, we identify vulnerable commu- nities and violent extremism influencers. In the Western Balkans in Novem- ber 2018, for instance, CSO convened more than 175 CVE stakeholders to link local-level initiatives with national-level strategies and identify ways to deal with ethno-nationalism, online and prison radi- I n the September Foreign Service Jour- nal ’s “Focus on Preventive Diplomacy, ” Anne Woods Patterson described the myriad steps that our diplomats have taken to build institutional relations with people and officials of other coun- tries. Preventing conflict is one goal of diplomacy, and there are many ways to go about this. One of the best—public diplo- macy—was not discussed in this issue of the FSJ . Perhaps today’s State Department officials take public diplomacy as a given— they should not. Moreover, “PD” is really a misnomer for the countless activities led by our Foreign Service officers, who use communication tools beyond traditional diplomatic contacts and negotiations. I spent my Foreign Service career in the U.S. Information Agency with seven overseas assignments. I spent my last few years in the State Department as its lead- ers struggled to understand what USIA’s mission and efforts were about. With the demise of USIA in 1999, institutional consolidation was the goal; America had won the Cold War; there was no need for a PD—A Powerful Tool of Preventive Diplomacy BY BRUCE K . BYERS calization and external malign influencers. At the global level, we are conducting CVE baseline research in Bosnia-Herze- govina, Kenya, Malaysia, Niger and the Philippines to establish empirical indica- tors on violent extremism and community resiliencies. Findings from these deep-dive analyses are used to developmetrics and program-impact assessments. I could not agree more with the idea, as expressed in the September FSJ , that a fundamental job of diplomacy is to use engagement to stabilize and advance rela- tions. This is at the core of CSO’s work. We look forward to sharing more about our efforts to prevent violent conflict and promote stabilization with the FSJ ’s read- ership in a future edition of the Journal . Cold War agency. How short-sighted that turned out to be. USIA’s accomplishments through directed efforts to change attitudes among foreign officials and significant cultural, academic, political and media leaders need to be recognized and understood for what they were: examples of highly effec- tive preventive diplomacy. President Franklin D. Roosevelt launched “public diplomacy” at the outset of WorldWar II when he saw how little European scholars, journalists and cultural leaders understood America. He initiated a program that still exists today: inviting individuals and small groups of people fromother countries to experience directly how our government works, and to travel to different parts of our country tomeet Americans inmany walks of life and learn about their professional work, personal lives and communities. This was and is the International Visitor Leadership Program. After the war, American opinionmold- ers andmedia leaders continued this work. President John F. Kennedy appointed legendary wartime journalist Edward R. Murrow to lead the U.S. Information Agency in countering Soviet propaganda and disinformation campaigns in postwar Europe at the height of the ColdWar. Murrow and his organization directed resources and tasked USIA cultural and information affairs officers with tak- ing every necessary step to reach out to important nongovernmental and official leaders and introduce them to the best that our country had to offer. USIA invested major resources in tar- geted publications in various languages to inform audiences behind the Iron Curtain, and sponsored top-flight musical groups, artists, authors, historians, academics, and business and economic experts on trips abroad to participate in programs set up by information and cultural affairs officers under the U.S. Information Service and its many cultural and English language centers. Many foreign leaders have learned about America through visits to USIS libraries when they were students. It was considered a privilege to have a library card. Each of the libraries contained the- matic book collections, films and videos that reached specific target audiences, and were often venues for seminars fea- turing visiting U.S. scholars. All of USIA’s and, later, State’s public diplomacy projects were keyed to specific country objectives established by ambas- sadors and public affairs officers and their