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A Glance at Public Diplomacy


• As a strategic communication tool, public diplomacy is defined as the sum of the activities for "understanding, informing and influencing the public opinion". The objective of public diplomacy is not propaganda, but to establish a strategic communication language that depends on objective data and facts, and to put it at disposal of the different segments of the society.
• The public diplomacy activities are carried out within two main frames, which are "state-to-public" and "public-to-public". The activities on ´state-to-public´ axis require the state to present its policies and initiatives to the international society through official channels and tools. In the public-to-public direct communication activities, the non-state civil tools such as NGOs, research centers, public opinion research companies, media, opinion leaders, universities, exchange programs, associations and foundations,are used. In this sense, the public diplomacy goes beyond the communication activities that take place between "diplomats" and the “foreign public opinion” which are inherent in the original meaning of the concept. Public diplomacy covers an area wider than "diplomatic communication".

• Public diplomacy envisions a bilateral communication and interaction. The first objective is to listen to the addressed group, and to determine their priorities. The second goal is to inform, share, persuade and influence. Hence, public diplomacy is a dynamic and multi-dimensional communication process. Listening is as important as speaking, understanding is as important as telling, and being open to communication is as important as communicating.

• The "soft power" concept, which gained importance in recent years, is one of the most important tools of public diplomacy. A country´s soft power potential is among the elements that directly affect the success of the public diplomacy, as well as the righteousness and efficiency of the policies adopted by that country. The soft power depends on a "value-centered" definition of power, and reflects to what extent a country is considered attractive and worth to take as a model by others. When the policies adopted by a country are considered legitimate by others, the soft power capacity of that country increases. The concept of soft power covers the fields such as economy, education, culture, scientific research, arts, cinema and tourism, and it has also become one of the new major areas of competition among the states.

• Another important element of public diplomacy is the public opinion, which has increasingly undertaken a more central role in determining the national and international policies. The national and international policy processes are monitored closely, and are announced to world public opinion through the media. Without a certain support from the public opinion, it does not seem possible to determine or implement a policy in the fields of economy, foreign policy, energy or environment.


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