Public diplomacy was first defined forty years ago as the actions of governments to inform and influence foreign publics. The definition is changing with the times. Today it involves non governmental organizations such as the media, multinational corporations and of course classical NGO’s as much as sovereign governments.
With the legacy of former Fletcher dean Edmund A. Gullion who coined the phrase “public diplomacy” in 1965 and the legendary reputation for credibility of the Center’s namesake, the Edward R. Murrow Center for Public Diplomacy has a key historical role. Equally, it is part of the currency and evolving definition of public diplomacy today.
As Washington officials fret about the unpopular image of the U.S. with many overseas publics, as small countries like Norway, Canada, Costa Rica, Jordan and Singapore choose to play more than an honest broker role in world affairs, as multinational corporations worry whether their country of origin affects their overseas sales, the historical principles and contemporary practice of public diplomacy are often at odds.
This tension is well served by the Murrow Center. The impact of traditional governmental influence is reflected through the Fletcher School’s long and close associations with the foreign service. The impact of new non governmental influences are reflected in the School’s analytical and academic environment.
With its history, its resources and its enabling academic environment, the Edward R. Murrow Center has a place at the epicenter of the challenging field of public diplomacy today. This website provides a taste of this.
Crocker Snow Jr.