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What Became of the New Public Diplomacy? Recent Developments in British, US and Swedish Public Diplomacy Policy and Evaluation Methods

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SummaryThis article examines the relationship between theories of the ‘new’ public diplomacy and recent attempts by foreign ministries in the United Kingdom, United States and Sweden to develop public diplomacy strategies for the early twenty-first century. It provides a summary of policy debates in each nation alongside analysis of the evaluation methods that have been designed to support them. The article argues that expressions of a new public diplomacy are best explained within the constraints of different institutional and national cultures. Innovations in public diplomacy have typically taken place within the context of domestic demands for public accountability and value for money, pressures for empirical data to inform policy-making, and the increased centralization of public diplomacy activities. Evaluation plays an important role in improving actors’ capacities for newer forms of public diplomacy, but often by measuring the public diplomacy institution and its objectives, rather than whether the needs of foreign publics are met. This suggests that any paradigm shift from old to new public diplomacy has in practice centred on domestic and organizational concerns rather than the achievement of normative goals such as increased dialogue with foreign citizens.

1. FN11) Jan Melissen (ed.), The New Public Diplomacy: Soft Power in International Relations (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005), p. 23; and Nicholas J. Cull, Public Diplomacy: Lessons from the Past, CPD Perspectives on Public Diplomacy, University of Southern California (Los Angeles CA: Figueroa Press, 2009), p. 12.
2. FN22) R.S. Zaharna, ‘Mapping out a Spectrum of Public Diplomacy Initiatives: Information and Relational Communication Networks’, in Nancy Snow and Philip M. Taylor (eds.) Routledge Handbook of Public Diplomacy (London and New York: Routledge, 2009), pp. 86-100 at pp. 88-89; Geoffrey Cowan and Amelia Arsenault, ‘Moving from Monologue to Dialogue to Collaboration: The Three Layers of Public Diplomacy’, in Geoffrey Cowan and Nicholas J. Cull (eds.), The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 616 (Thousand Oaks CA: SAGE Publications, 2008), pp. 10-30; and Shaun Riordan, ‘Dialogue-based Public Diplomacy: A New Foreign Policy Paradigm?’, in Melissen (ed.), The New Public Diplomacy, pp. 180-195.
3. FN33) Melissen (ed.), The New Public Diplomacy; Brian Hocking, ‘Rethinking the “New” Public Diplomacy’, in Melissen (ed.), The New Public Diplomacy, pp. 28-43; and Phillip Seib (ed.), Toward a New Public Diplomacy: Redirecting US Foreign Policy (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2009).
4. FN44) Brian Hocking, ‘Introduction: Gatekeepers and Boundary-Spanners — Thinking about Foreign Ministries in the European Union’, in Brian Hocking and David Spence (eds.), Foreign Ministries in the European Union: Integrating Diplomats (Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan, 2002), pp. 1-17; and Hocking, ‘Rethinking the “New” Public Diplomacy’, provide a succinct introduction to this context and its challenges to foreign ministries. See also Ali Fisher and Aurélie Bröckerhoff, Options for Influence: Global Campaigns of Persuasion in the New Worlds of Public Diplomacy (London: ‘Counterpoint’/British Council, 2008); Alex Evans and David Steven, ‘Towards a Theory of Influence for Twenty-First Century Foreign Policy: Public Diplomacy in a Globalized World’, in Jolyon Welsh and Daniel Fearn (eds.), Engagement: Public Diplomacy in a Globalized World (London: Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 2008), pp. 44-61; Melissen (ed.), The New Public Diplomacy; Nicholas J. Cull, ‘Public Diplomacy: Taxonomies and Histories’, in The ANNALS 616, pp. 31-54; Nancy Snow, ‘Rethinking Public Diplomacy’, in Snow and Taylor (eds.), Routledge Handbook of Public Diplomacy, pp. 3-11; and Bruce Gregory, ‘Public Diplomacy: Sunrise of an Academic Field’, in The ANNALS 616, pp. 274-290.
5. FN55) Stanley J. Baran, and Dennis K. Davis, Mass Communication Theory: Foundations, Ferment and Future (Belmont CA: Wadsworth, 1995), pp. 74-75.
6. FN66) Kathy R. Fitzpatrick, ‘Advancing the New Public Diplomacy: A Public Relations Perspective’, The Hague Journal of Diplomacy, vol. 2, 2007, pp. 187-211 at pp. 201-202.
7. FN77) Robin Brown, ‘Information Technology and the Transformation of Diplomacy’, Knowledge, Technology and Policy, vol. 18, no. 2, summer 2004, pp. 14-29 at pp. 25-26. See also Hocking, ‘Rethinking the “New” Public Diplomacy’, p. 35; and Riordan, ‘Dialogue-based Public Diplomacy’.
8. FN88) James Pamment, New Public Diplomacy in the 21st Century: Evaluating Policy and Practice(London & New York: Routledge, 2012).
9. FN99) Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Panel 2000 Consultation Document (London: Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 2000). This report was heavily influenced by the development of nation brands in the United Kingdom during the late 1990s. See, for example, Simon Anholt, ‘Nation-Brands of the Twenty-first Century’, The Journal of Brand Management, vol. 5, no. 6, July 1998 (London: Henry Stewart Publications, 1998), pp. 395-406; and Mark Leonard, Britain™: Renewing our Identity (London: Demos, 1997).
10. FN1010) Robert Radcliffe, Through Other’s Eyes (London: British Council, 2000).
11. FN1111) Chris Wilton, Jonathan Griffin and Andrew Fotheringham, Changing Perceptions: Review of Public Diplomacy (London: Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 2002), p. 12. In the United Kingdom, such reports are commonly named after their lead author, hence Wilton Review.
12. FN1212) Wilton et al., Changing Perceptions, pp. 3 and 12.
13. FN1313) The FCO, BBC World Service (as observer), the British Council, Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), the Department for International Development (DfID), UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), Visit Britain, the devolved administrations, and the private sector were all represented.
14. FN1414) House of Commons, Public Diplomacy: Third Report of Session 2005-2006, House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee (HC 903), 7 April 2006 (London: The Stationary Office Ltd., 2006), p. 12; emphasis added to show the propositions added to the Wilton Report. ‘HMG’ stands for Her Majesty’s Government.
15. FN1515) Wilton et al., Changing Perceptions, p. 31.
16. FN1616) MORI, International Tracking Survey, 18 December 2003.
17. FN1717) Lord Carter of Coles, Public Diplomacy Review (December 2005), p. 15, available online at; House of Commons, Public Diplomacy, pp. 17-18; Jon Lunn, Vaughne Miller and Ben Smith, British Foreign Policy since 1997, research paper 08/56 (London: House of Commons Library, 2008), pp. 89-90.
18. FN1818) Carter, Public Diplomacy Review, p. 8; House of Commons, Public Diplomacy, pp. 14-15.
19. FN1919) Carter, Public Diplomacy Review, p. 56.
20. FN2020) River Path Associates, Measuring Public Diplomacy: Full Report of the Public Diplomacy Measurement Project (22 December 2006) (London: River Path Associates, 2006), pp. 36-37, hereafter River Path Report.
21. FN2121) Louise Vinter and David Knox, ‘Measuring the Impact of Public Diplomacy: Can it be Done?’, in Welsh and Fearn (eds.), Engagement, pp. 160-170.
22. FN2222) Conrad Bird, ‘Strategic Communication and Behaviour Change: Lessons from Domestic Policy’, in Welsh and Fearn (eds.), Engagement, pp. 106-119.
23. FN2323) US State Department, ‘Planning Group for Integration of USIA into the Dept of State, June 20 1997’, in J. Michael Waller (ed.) The Public Diplomacy Reader (Washington, DC: Institute of World Politics Press, 2007), p. 32.
24. FN2424) William Clinton, ‘Restructuring Public Diplomacy: Submission to Congress, 30 December 1998’, in Waller (ed.), The Public Diplomacy Reader, pp. 323-329.
25. FN2525) United States Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy, Getting the People Part Right: A Report on the Human Resources Dimension of US Public Diplomacy (Washington, DC: United States Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy, 2008), pp. 5 and 24-27.
26. FN2626) See, for example, Donald L. Kirkpatrick and James D. Kirkpatrick, Evaluating Training Programs: The Four Levels (San Francisco CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2006).
27. FN2727) Susan B. Epstein, US Public Diplomacy: Background and the 9/11 Commission Recommendations (RL32607) (Washington, DC: Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service, 2006); Nancy Snow and Phil Taylor, ‘The Revival of the Propaganda State: US Propaganda at Home and Abroad since 9/11’, The International Communication Gazette, vol. 68, no. 5-6) (Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, 2006), pp. 389-407 at p. 394; and Liam Kennedy and Scott Lucas, ‘Enduring Freedom: Public Diplomacy and US Foreign Policy’, American Quarterly, vol. 57, no. 2, 2005, pp. 309-333 at pp. 317-319.
28. FN2828) A. Kendrick and J. Fullerton, ‘Advertising as Public Diplomacy: Attitude Change among International Audiences’, Journal of Advertising Research, vol. 44, pp. 297-311.
29. FN2929) Peter G. Peterson, Jennifer Sieg, Kathy Bloomgarden, Henry Grunwald, David E. Morey and Shibley Telhami, Public Diplomacy: A Strategy for Reform, report of an independent task force on public diplomacy sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations (Washington, DC: Council on Foreign Relations, 2002), p. 5.
30. FN3030) Peter G. Peterson, Kathy Bloomgarden, Henry Grunwald, David E. Morley and Shibley Telhami, Finding America’s Voice: A Strategy for Reinvigorating US Public Diplomacy, report of an independent task force sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations (Washington, DC: Council on Foreign Relations, 2003), pp. 1-16.
31. FN3131) Public Diplomacy Policy Coordinating Committee (PCC), US National Strategy for Public Diplomacy and Strategic Communication (Washington, DC: Strategic Communication and Public Diplomacy Policy Coordinating Committee, United States Government, 2007), available online at
32. FN3232) PCC, US National Strategy for Public Diplomacy, p. 12.
33. FN3333) PCC, US National Strategy for Public Diplomacy, pp. 33-34.
34. FN3434) United States Government Accountability Office (GAO), US Public Diplomacy: Actions Needed to Improve Strategic Use and Coordination of Research (GAO-07-904), 2007, pp. 1-4; and PCC, US National Strategy for Public Diplomacy, pp. 33-34.
35. FN3535) GAO, US Public Diplomacy, pp. 36-43.
36. FN3636) GAO, US Public Diplomacy, p. 13.
37. FN3737) See online at
38. FN3838) See online at
39. FN3939) The locations for the 2009 study were Ecuador, Germany, India, Indonesia, Morocco, the Palestinian Territories, South Africa and Turkey.
40. FN4040) See online at
41. FN4141) Kenneth Matwiczak, Public Diplomacy Model for the Assessment of Performance: A Report to the US Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy (Austin TX: University of Texas at Austin, 2010), p. 25.
42. FN4242) Office of the Under-Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, Public Diplomacy: Strengthening US Engagement with the World. A Strategic Approach for the 21st Century, 2009.
43. FN4343) Philip Seib, ‘US Public Diplomacy’s Flimsy New Framework’, 8 March 2010, available online at
44. FN4444) Committee of Inquiry into Swedish Cultural and Information Exchange Overseas, Kultur och information över gränserna, Utredningen om det svenska kultur- och informationsutbytet med utlandet [’Culture and Information over Borders’]. (SOU 1978:56) (Stockholm: Gotab, 1978).
45. FN4545) Kulturdepartementet, Internationella kulturutredningen [‘Committee of Inquiry on International Cultural Activities’] (SOU 2003: 121) (Stockholm: Regeringskansliet, 2003), p.121.
46. FN4646) Lars-Olof Lundberg, Bilder av Sverige i utlandet: en studie om förändringar, nuläge och mätmetoder [Images of Sweden Abroad: A Study about Change, the Present and Measurement Methods] (Stockholm: Utrikes Departementet, commissioned by the NSU, 2005).
47. FN4747) Kulturdepartementet, Committee of Inquiry on International Cultural Activities, p. 38. Lundberg, Images of Sweden Abroad simply repeats this definition.
48. FN4848) Government departments are abbreviated according to their ministry (in this case, the foreign ministry, Utrikesdepartement, as UD), and the initials of the name of the department in Swedish. Hence the Press-, informations- och kommunikationsenheten is shortened to UD-PIK, and the Enheten för främjande och EU:s inre marknad is shortened to UD-FIM.
49. FN4949) Lundberg, Images of Sweden Abroad, pp. 87 and 202.
50. FN5050) Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, The Role of Communication in the Foreign Service (Stockholm: Regeringskansliet/MFA, 2005).
51. FN5151) The Swedish name for Study of Sweden’s Image Abroad is Nämnden för Sverigefrämjande i Utlandet.
52. FN5252) Lundberg, Images of Sweden Abroad, pp. 185-203.
53. FN5353) Lundberg, Images of Sweden Abroad, p. 16.
54. FN5454) Magnus Ekengren and Bengt Sundelius, ‘Sweden’, in Hocking and Spence, Foreign Ministries in the European Union, pp. 238-249 at pp. 241 and 247.
55. FN5555) See online at
56. FN5656) Ambassador Cecilia Julin, Press, Information & Communication Department, MFA (UD-PIK), to the author, 20 February 2009.
57. FN5757) Swedish Institute, Årsredovisning 2008 [Annual Report 2008], Dnr 00511/2009 (Stockholm: Svenska Institutet, 2009), p. 8.
58. FN5858) Swedish Institute, Guide: Uppföjlnings- och utvärderingssystem [Guide: Follow-up and Evaluation Systems] (Stockholm: Svenska Institutet, 2009).
59. FN5959) Lundberg, Images of Sweden Abroad, pp. 14 and 16.
60. FN6060) Swedish Institute, Simon Anholt and Global Market Insite, Inc., Sverigebilden 2007 (Stockholm: Svenska Institutet, 2007).
61. FN6161) Sweish Institute, Håkansson Bengt, Brand Clinic, Simon Anholt and Global Market Insite, Inc., Sverigebilden 2008 (Stockholm: Svenska Institutet, 2008).
62. FN6262) Swedish Institute and Simon Anholt, Sverigebilden 2009 (Stockholm: Svenska Institutet, 2009).
63. FN6363) Swedish Institute and Simon Anholt, Sverigebilden 2010 (Stockholm: Svenska Institutet, 2010).
64. FN6464) Lundberg, Images of Sweden Abroad, pp. 14 and 16.
65. FN6565) See online at
66. FN6666) For a more developed discussion of the consequences of these issues, please see Ch7 of Pamment, New Public Diplomacy in the 21st Century.

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Affiliations: 1: Department of Media and Communication, Karlstad University 651 88 Karlstad Sweden, Email:, URL:


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