Public Diplomacy Leverages Innovation To Promote Economic Growth

August 23, 2012
Under Secretary Sonenshine Prepares for Her Swearing-in Ceremony

As we advance deeper into the 21st century, emerging countries are seeking to leverage their economic strengths as foundations for political and diplomatic leadership across the world. At the same time, from challenges facing the eurozone to those in the post-Arab Spring regions of the Middle East and North Africa, global markets and economic forces are driving an ever-larger share of our foreign policy realities.

The best way for America to remain central to the world's diplomatic leadership is to put a premium on advancing our economic statecraft, so that our foreign policy reflects the growing power of economic forces, and contributes to growth abroad and here at home.

As Secretary Clinton has said, our global challenges see no divisions between global economics and international diplomacy. Neither should our solutions. That's why the Department of State is using 21st century economic public diplomacy tools to address strategic challenges; encourage innovation; promote open, free, transparent, and fair economic systems worldwide; and promote economic renewal at home. With these and other initiatives, we can create better markets for our goods and services.

In order to achieve these goals, we are working closely with our Foreign Service officers and locally-employed staff at embassies overseas to generate and implement innovative economic diplomacy.

For years, our public diplomacy programs have worked to build a base of knowledge among foreign publics about the U.S. economic and financial systems and the benefits of open, free, and transparent market-based economies. We do this in a variety of ways, from the U.S. Fulbright scholars who teach in economics departments abroad, to the curriculums that integrate information about entrepreneurship into English lessons.

As part of the Secretary's Economic Statecraft agenda, we are redoubling these efforts. We are encouraging our diplomats to use 21st century economic public diplomacy tools -- not only to address important foreign policy issues, but also to support our own economic renewal at home.

One such example of retooling current programs to focus on economic statecraft is our Innovation Fund for Public Diplomacy. Over recent years, it has funded more than 150 public diplomacy projects in embassies around the world. So we created a "Special Edition" of the Innovation Fund, which encourages our men and women in missions abroad to submit proposals for creative projects that would enhance the economic objectives of U.S. foreign policy.

The response has been overwhelming. U.S. Embassies and consulates on every continent sent us 96 innovative proposals -- and the winning ones answered our challenge. They included empowering young entrepreneurs -- men and women -- from El Salvador to Ethiopia, engaging editorial cartoonists and budding artists to tackle corruption in Bosnia; and familiarizing business leaders in Zimbabwe with corporate social responsibility.

We are deploying these economic and public diplomacy tools to address even our most recent strategic challenges. In Libya, for example, we approved funding for a plan to place 15 Libyan economics and business administration students in summer internships at American and Libyan corporations in Libya. They will also create business plans for their own start ups.

Nurturing entrepreneurs to build their own societies is only part of the economic statecraft agenda. In China, where film piracy threatens the movie industries in both our countries, Consulate General Shanghai will invite young filmmakers to participate in a short film competition. The theme of this competition -- the adverse economic effects of piracy -- will foster awareness about intellectual property rights, particularly among youth.

What we like about these projects: They seek to leverage the aspiring talents and assets in communities across the world. By doing so, they can empower young people to fulfill their potential, strengthen their economies, and join the global community as problem solvers. With these public diplomacy efforts to strengthen U.S. foreign policy and the global economy, we can build a rising tide that can lift all boats while reinforcing our economic strength at home.



California, USA
August 24, 2012

B.W. in California writes:

Economic has to be strong by innovating new ideas to lead the global business.

Ashim C.
August 24, 2012

Ashim C. in India writes:

International Diplomacy can be hugely succesful if is synchronised with global economy. Now global economy has many constituents in large number of nations, which are in different stages of development and therefore thir needs and priorities are different. One seriously doubts if US diplomats stationed in different countries understand this.

Take India as an example. Not withstanding the fact that India has advanced in a few sectors, she remains one of the most backward countries in the world, which is well reflected in her poverty and many different parameters of human development index. One wonders if US diplomats in India have ever effectively placed before administration India's priorities and needs in the field of specific areas food production and security, criticality of food processing industry, delivery of basic health care and education, water management, education with emphasis on skill ddvelopment relevent to India, popularisation of birth control - list is endless- and all of these offer opportunities for selling products and services. Instead of availing those opportunities US diplomacy operates in a manner which is not quite in synch with political realities of coalition politics of India.

Given these realities, insistence on opening up retail, banking, insurance, avaiation - to take a few sectors - is misplaced. Instead of this US economic diplomacy in India should design an entry strategy through cooperation and collaboration with Indian Public sector companies of state and central governments. It is difficult to understand what Walmarts collaboration with say Food Corporation of India, Indian Postal Department and Indian Railways with their nationwide networks of godown and selling outlets in the last village of India cannot achieve which is sought to be achived through collaboration with bharti Group. Similarly, why can't US big, mid sized and small contractors and developers can't come and participate in infrastructure development activities like roads, ports, airports, house building of all kinds by collaborating with state sector firms like National Highway Authority of India, Indian Railways, Airport Authority of India, Port trusts, State housing boards, State electricity boards instead of seeking ewntry through Indian private sector companies and thus inviting political opposition.

US diplomats in India and any other underdeveloped must be able put things in proper perspective so that US business can avail the business opportunities and help US overcome it's economic difficulties in a manner which is acceptable to India. When one thinks of what possibly US diplomats have been able to achieve in terms of growth in economic relationship between India and compare that with the opportunities, which they may not even be aware of, one cannot help thinking they are a grossly iefficient lot and lack of vision somewhere else in the administrative hierarchy. This applies for Indian diplomats in US too.

United States
August 25, 2012

Mari in the U.S.A. writes:

After building the most spectacularly successful economy in world history between the 1930s and the 1960s, the US abandoned every policy that had been proven to work, and instead reverted toward a British-style economy based on speculative finance. Since that sort of economy is inherently parasitical, the US joins the British now in preaching to the rest of the world about "open, free, market-based economies," which in practice means we intend to pursue an imperial looting policy, and don't you dare think about defending yourselves.

Meanwhile, economies like China and Argentina, who have adopted the old US methods of fostering science, infrastructure and production while discouraging speculation and Ponzi schemes, are emerging as the economic powerhouses of the 21st Century.


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