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In February 2018, the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy organized a Research, Evaluation, and Learning Summit at the U.S. Institute of Peace to highlight best practices and identify key gaps and areas for improvement in efforts to continually assess, learn, and improve the effectiveness of public diplomacy programs. By bringing together members of the State Department’s research and evaluation community with experts from the inter-agency and the private sector, the Summit advanced our mission to measure and design impactful public engagement efforts. Coinciding with the Summit, ACPD commissioned M&C Saatchi World Services to conduct an audit of global best practices in assessing public diplomacy programs, the results of which are included in this report. Put simply, this field-defining effort is a comprehensive accounting of best practices from around the world. Drawing upon 28 detailed case studies, it provides in-depth analysis of the research and assessment practices from 17 countries.

The Commission invites you to explore this report in great depth. The findings are both instructive for research and assessment professionals, but also aspirational for those overseeing public diplomacy campaigns, offices, and operations. The report’s Foreword includes a set of recommendations for improving research and assessment efforts supporting U.S. government public diplomacy activities, including:

  1. Consolidate existing evaluation units across the R family into a single, cohesive unit able to coordinate and synchronize all public diplomacy research and assessment efforts;
  2. Establish a strategic framework to guide the structure and decision-making processes of public diplomacy research and evaluation operations;
  3. Consolidate existing knowledge management platforms into a single user and mobile friendly system that is streamlined, adaptable, and reduces the burden for diplomats in the field;
  4. Create ACPD’s Research and Assessment Subcommittee to provide external expertise to help inform ongoing research and assessment activities.

Download the report:

Download Report [60 MB]

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future