Established in 1948, the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy (ACPD) is authorized pursuant to Public Law 114-113 to appraise all U.S. government efforts to understand, inform and influence foreign publics. We achieve this goal in a variety of ways, including, among other efforts, offering policy recommendations, and through our Comprehensive Annual Report, which tracks how the roughly $1.8 billion in appropriated funds is spent on public diplomacy efforts throughout the world.
Part of the Commission’s mandate is to help the State Department prepare for cutting edge and transformative changes, which have the potential to upend how we think about engaging with foreign publics. This report aims to achieve precisely that. In order to think carefully about public diplomacy in this ever and rapidly changing communications space, the Commission convened a group of private sector, government, and academic experts at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution to discuss the latest research and trends in strategic communication in digital spaces. The results of that workshop, refined by a number of follow-on interviews and discussions with other organizations interested in similar questions, are included in this report.
Can Public Diplomacy Survive the Internet? features essays by workshop participants that focus on emergent and potentially transformative technology and communication patterns. The essays also highlight the potential challenges and opportunities these changes create for public diplomacy practitioners in particular and the U.S. government more broadly. We explore how public diplomacy practitioners can continue to productively engage with audiences around the world in the face of likely shifts in communication patterns, continue to effectively and efficiently help the United States to achieve its foreign policy priorities, and synchronize American interests with the interests of citizens and governments around the world.