Poland’s New Ways of Public Diplomacy

by Beata Ociepka (Author)
©2017 Monographs 242 Pages


This book analyzes when and how Poland implemented public diplomacy. The author explains it as a form of external political communication of governments conducted in cooperation with non-state actors to position the country internationally. The Polish case illustrates how a mid-size country in Europe attempts to impact the public opinion formation abroad while implementing soft power tools. Since 2004, when Poland joined the EU, the country has used public diplomacy to inform the world about its achievements. Poland’s public diplomacy has been strongly oriented on Europe and shaped by geopolitics. It integrated transmission and network models of communication. The Polish model reflects the relevance of public diplomacy domestic dimension and the focus on foreign politics on memory.
«The book (…) is the first monograph analyzing contemporary Polish public diplomacy written in English, being at the same time a methodologically sound piece of research, based on extensive primary source research.»
Professor Andrzej Mania, Chair of American Studies and the History of Diplomacy and International Politics, Jagiellonian University
«An excellent case study of public diplomacy. Ociepka systematically analyzed the Polish utilization of key public diplomacy instruments including cultural diplomacy, branding and Twiplomacy, and properly placed them within historical and theoretical contexts.»
Professor Eytan Gilboa, Director, Center for International Communication, Bar-Ilan University

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • List of Abbreviations
  • 1. Introduction
  • 1.1 Poland as a case for a public diplomacy study
  • 1.2 Brief history
  • 1.3 Domestic politics as a context
  • 1.4 Perceptions of Poland abroad
  • 1.5 Structure of the book
  • 2. Poland’s Re-Entry into the International Community: The Geopolitical Context
  • 2.1 Performing its desired geopolitical location
  • 2.2 Poland within the EU: The Eastern Partnership and Poland’s eastern policy as contexts for the new public diplomacy model
  • 2.3 How the EU and Russian soft power in Ukraine compete
  • 2.4 Poland’s minimalism in relations with Russia
  • 2.5 The missing global dimension
  • 3. Public Diplomacy as a Communication Model
  • 3.1 The explanatory power of public diplomacy as a communication model
  • 3.2 Public diplomacy as transmission
  • 3.3 Public diplomacy and propaganda as a model of asymmetric communication
  • 3.4 From transmission to listening: Public diplomacy as a network
  • 3.5 NPD’s domestic dimension: The intermestic context of public diplomacy
  • 3.6 Public diplomacy cube
  • 3.7 Mediated public diplomacy
  • 3.8 Public diplomacy as a structure within the government: The Polish model’s constitutive elements
  • 4. Messages and Images: Translating Poland with Key Messages and Logos
  • 4.1 Reputation challenges
  • 4.2 Branding Poland as a normal country that is striving for prestige
  • 4.3 A Country with many logos: The visual context of country branding
  • 4.4 Celebrities and soft power icons
  • 4.5 “Rules for Communicating the Polska Brand”
  • 4.6 First effects
  • 5. Cultural Diplomacy: From Paderewski to “Don’t Panic. We are from Poland”
  • 5.1 Main actors and strategies: Poland’s cultural establishments abroad
  • 5.2 Years and seasons of culture
  • 5.3 Poland’s cultural diplomacy: Fields of specialization
  • 5.4 “I, Culture”
  • 5.5 Student exchanges, science diplomacy and teaching Polish abroad
  • 5.6 Poland’s cultural diplomacy in Ukraine
  • 5.7 The Russian context
  • 6. Politics of Memory as a Core Element of Poland’s (New) Public Diplomacy
  • 6.1 The geopolitical context
  • 6.2 Milestones
  • 6.3 “Against Polish Camps”
  • 6.4 The multilateral dimension of Poland’s politics of memory: the European Network Remembrance and Solidarity
  • 6.5 Film as a tool of politics of memory
  • 6.6 Poland’s politics of memory toward Ukraine: The Russian context
  • 7. Mediated Public Diplomacy
  • 7.1 Poland’s rationale for involvement in international broadcasting
  • 7.2 The role of public service broadcasters: TVP and Polish Radio
  • 7.3 Broadcasting to the East: Belarus and Ukraine
  • 7.4 Staged media events
  • 7.5 Advertising
  • 7.6 Public diplomacy 2.0: Twiplomacy
  • 8. Development Cooperation and the Promotion of Democracy
  • 8.1 GONGOs and NGOs as hubs
  • 8.2 Public diplomacy in conflict situations
  • 8.3 Democracy promotion: Ukraine as a target country
  • 9. Soft Line of Economic Power: The Economy as a Brand
  • 9.1 Main actors of Poland’s economic diplomacy
  • 9.2 #eatapples: Agriculture, gastrodiplomacy, and foreign politics
  • 9.3 Tourism: The Polish Tourist Organization
  • 9.4 The Polish workforce abroad
  • 10. Bottom–Up: The Self-Government Dimension and Citizen Public Diplomacy
  • 10.1 The RODM network
  • 10.2 Self-government reform as Poland’s success story
  • 10.3 Regional and city diplomacy: Lower Silesia, Wrocław, and the Meeting Place
  • 10.4 Citizen diplomacy: Civil and uncivil society
  • 11. Conclusion
  • 11.1 Values
  • 11.2 Orientation on the past
  • 11.3 Niches
  • 11.4 The netmission model in relation to mediated public diplomacy
  • 11.5 Ukraine as a verifier
  • 11.6 Problems that lie ahead
  • List of Tables
  • Index
  • Interviewees
  • References
  • Documents
  • Literature
  • Series index

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List of Abbreviations

← 12 | 13 →

“Don’t Panic. We are from Poland”
(Don’t Panic, 2016)

1.   Introduction

The title of this book intentionally goes back to a report on public diplomacy in 2013–2014 entitled New Ways of Diplomacy, which was published by Poland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) in 2015. At the time of its release, Poland had achieved a good position within the European Union (EU) as a credible and reliable political partner with a sound economy. This was at least partly because of the smart implementation of the New Way of public diplomacy in Poland’s foreign policy.

Public diplomacy (PD) is not a new field in international studies and international communication, but in the last twenty years it gained considerable popularity in research and became a fashionable tool of foreign policy that has been implemented worldwide. Even the neorealists started to realize that states can implement not only military and economic power, but can also activate their soft assets to improve their security (Andrei and Rittberger, 2015: 16). Thus, the theoretical models that attempt to introduce frames for the analysis of public diplomacy have largely been developed by the neoliberal school in international relations. In international communication research, public diplomacy is nowadays understood as a new paradigm, replacing – or following – cultural imperialism. Indeed, some researchers and practitioners equate public diplomacy not only with propaganda, but also with cultural imperialism.

The purpose of this book is to search for a model of Polish public diplomacy. Public diplomacy is understood in line with Jan Melissen’s approach (Melissen, 2005), but I elucidate it in the frame of external political communication. In this study, Poland’s public diplomacy serves as a possible model for medium-sized states and as an attempt to implement dialogical communication in foreign policy. Poland’s public diplomacy is analyzed as a tool of soft power in accordance with Joseph Nye’s concept (Nye, 2004). Europe and the European Union define the main geographical context for this study, because they were Poland’s main target areas.


ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2017 (June)
Foreign policy Soft power Branding International communication Network Public opinion
Frankfurt am Main, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Warszawa, Wien, 2017. 242 pp., 11 b/w tables

Biographical notes

Beata Ociepka (Author)

Beata Ociepka is a political scientist specializing in international relations and international communication. Her recent research has been focused on public diplomacy and international broadcasting. She is Head of the International Communication Section of the Polish Society for International Studies. She works at the Faculty of Journalism, Information and Book Studies, University of Warsaw, Poland.


Title: Poland’s New Ways of Public Diplomacy