Public Diplomacy

European and Latin American Perspectives

by María Luisa Azpíroz Manero (Volume editor)
©2016 Edited Collection 151 Pages


Public diplomacy is a diplomatic and international communication activity aimed at foreign publics and seeking to create a positive image and/or political influence, contributing to the achievement of foreign policy goals.
On June 9th, 2015, public diplomacy scholars and practitioners coming from Europe and Latin America gathered in a research seminar organised by the Centre for International Relations Studies (CEFIR), at the University of Liège. They contributed their works on public diplomacy from the perspectives of its cultural, communicative and image components. The result of that seminar is this book, which reflects the current diversity of theoretical aspects and practices of public diplomacy.
Taking the European Union, some Latin American countries (Venezuela and Mexico) and even civil society organisations as the actors whose public diplomacy actions are studied, this book provides both reflections and empirical analysis of public diplomacy strategies developed from different angles.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Table of Contents
  • Acknowledgements
  • Agradecimientos
  • Introduction
  • Introducción
  • European Union Public Diplomacy in Latin America: Opportunities and Challenges
  • Diplomacia mediática de la Unión Europea y visibilidad en la prensa de sus socios estratégicos latinoamericanos: Brasil y México
  • The New Narrative for Europe and the Culture-Identity Nexus in European Union Public Diplomacy
  • Diplomacia mediática en América Latina: Luces y sombras del caso Telesur
  • Mexican Public Diplomacy in European World Expos: 1992-2015
  • Improving Efficiency in Public Diplomacy Practices: Advising Non-State Actors’ Strategies in the EU Framework
  • Authors
  • Series Index

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The publication of this book would not have been possible without the contribution of public diplomacy academics and practitioners that presented their works in the research seminar organised at the University of Liege on June 9th, 2015: Beatriz Nadia Pérez Rodríguez, Steffen Bay Rasmussen, Gustavo Martínez Pandiani, César Corona and María Teresa La Porte. Neither would it have been possible without the financial and logistic support provided by the postdoctoral fellowship “BeIPDCOFUND” of the University of Liege and the Marie Curie Programme of the European Commission: thanks specially to Jeni Atanassova and Raphaela Delahaye for their help during these two years. My gratitude also to the Centre for International Relations Studies (CEFIR) where I have completed my postdoctoral project on European Union’s public diplomacy in Latin America, to my tutor Sebastián Santander, and to my colleagues Gabrielle W. Cusson and Ilaria Colussi for their collaboration in the development of the seminar.

María Luisa Azpíroz



La publicación de este libro no habría sido posible sin la contribución de los académicos y profesionales de diplomacia pública que presentaron sus trabajos en el seminario de investigación organizado en la Universidad de Lieja el 9 de junio de 2015: Beatriz Nadia Pérez Rodríguez, Steffen Bay Rasmussen, Gustavo Martínez Pandiani, César Corona y María Teresa La Porte. La publicación del libro tampoco habría sido posible sin el apoyo financiero y logístico prestado por la beca postdoctoral “BeIPDCOFUND” de la Universidad de Lieja y el programa Marie Curie de la Comisión Europea: gracias especialmente a Jeni Atanassova y Raphaela Delahaye por su ayuda en estos dos años. Mi agradecimiento también al Centro para el Estudio de las Relaciones Internacionales (CEFIR) de la Universidad de Lieja, donde he realizado mi proyecto postdoctoral sobre diplomacia pública de la Unión Europea en América Latina, a mi tutor Sebastián Santander, y a mis compañeras Gabrielle W. Cusson e Ilaria Colussi por su colaboración en el desarrollo del seminario.

María Luisa Azpíroz
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In 1965, Edmund Gullion defined public diplomacy as an activity that deals with the influence of public attitudes on the formation and execution of foreign policies. An activity that would encompass dimensions of international relations beyond traditional diplomacy; the cultivation of foreign public opinion the interaction of private groups; the reporting of foreign affairs; media relations and inter-cultural communications (The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy). According to Joseph S. Nye (2008, 2011), the relevance of public diplomacy lies in its role as a tool to exert the power of attraction and persuasion (soft power) in international relations, mobilizing resources such as culture, values, ideas or foreign policy strategies.

Five decades after Gullion’s definition, the study and practice of public diplomacy has evolved parallel to international relations, which have been affected by factors like globalization, the communications revolution or the emergency of new international powers and actors. The so-called “new public diplomacy” highlights the importance of networks (between people and on the Internet), non-state actors, dialogue and mutual benefit, substituting the traditional instrumental perspective (top-down) for a more discursive perspective (bottom-up). Nowadays the range of public diplomacy actors has been widened: it is no longer exclusively an activity of state or governmental initiative, but also of supranational actors and civil society. Despite the changes, the old and new schools of public diplomacy coexist in practice, and the inclination for one or the other (or for the combination of both) depends on the objectives and resources of the actors.

This book reflects the current diversity of theoretical perspectives and practices of public diplomacy. It is a collective book that derives from a research seminar held on June 9th, 2005 at the University of Liege, where public diplomacy scholars and practitioners coming from Europe and Latin America contributed their analysis and reflections on this activity. The researches discussed in the seminar analysed public diplomacy from the perspectives of its cultural, communicative and image components.

The six articles of this book are sorted according to the actor who undertakes public diplomacy. In the first place there are three articles in which the European Union (EU) is the main actor. The first two articles coincide in addressing the case of EU’s public diplomacy in Latin America. In the first one, Beatriz Nadia Pérez Rodríguez presents EU’s ← 11 | 12 → public diplomacy mechanisms and programmes in general and regarding Latin America and Mexico, the results of surveys on knowledge about the EU in these places and the main opportunities and challenges for the EU. In the second one, María Luisa Azpíroz establishes a theoretical and contextual framework on EU’s media diplomacy, its working in Brazil and Mexico and EU’s relations with these countries in the period 2011-2013. In this same period, she analyses the visibility and receipt of EU’s message on bilateral relations with Brazil and Mexico in two Brazilian and two Mexican newspapers. In the third place, the article of Steffen Bay Rasmussen investigates the role of culture as a tool to communicate EU’s narratives, its potential and limitations for EU’s public diplomacy and the interaction that occurs in cultural diplomacy activities at the EU and Member States level.

In the second place there are two contributions in which Latin American countries (Venezuela and Mexico) are the main actors. The first one, written by Gustavo Martínez Pandiani, studies the case of the international news channel Telesur, an institutional media launched in 2005 by the Venezuelan government. It includes an analysis of the objectives of the launching of Telesur; of its legal, financial and organisational structure; comparisons with the cases of CNN and Al Jazeera and assessments of its functioning as a media diplomacy instrument. In the second contribution, César Corona reviews the nation-branding strategies developed by Mexico in five universal expositions held in Europe between 1992 and 2015.

The sixth contribution, written by María Teresa La Porte, does not investigate public diplomacy on the basis of a governmental actor. It proposes communicative strategies to improve the social influence of non-state actors – whether acting independently or in collaboration with governmental actors. These strategies stress the importance of defining and integrating agendas, creating an attractive and coherent narrative, developing innovative relations with stakeholders and actively participating in networks handling the social media. Special attention is paid to the collaboration between Latin American non-state actors and the European Union.


The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, “What is Public Diplomacy?”, http://fletcher.tufts.edu/murrow/diplomacy.

Nye, J., The Future of Power, New York, Public Affairs, 2011.

Nye, J., “Public Diplomacy and Soft Power”, The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Vol. 616, nº 1, 2008, 94-109.


ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2015 (December)
Latin non-state actor diplomacy culture-identity new narrative colonial history
Bruxelles, Bern, Berlin, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2015. 151 pp., 5 tables, 6 graphs

Biographical notes

María Luisa Azpíroz Manero (Volume editor)

María Luisa Azpíroz Manero is Postdoctoral Fellow in the Centre for International Relations Studies (CEFIR), at the University of Liege. Her fellowship was granted by the University of Liege and the Marie Curie Actions of the European Commission. She holds a PhD in Communication Studies from the University of Navarra, and was visiting researcher at Royal Holloway University of London and George Washington University. She was also Visiting Professor at Panamerican University, in Mexico. Her research areas are public diplomacy, discourse and media analysis. Some of her publications are: Soft Power and Public Diplomacy: The Case of the European Union in Brazil (2015); Framing and Political Discourse: Bush’s Trip to Europe in 2005 (2014); Framing as a Tool for Mediatic Diplomacy Analysis: Study of George W. Bush’s Political Discourse in the «War on Terror» (2013) and Framing the «Clash of Civilizations» in Europe: Interaction between Political and Media Frames (2009).


Title: Public Diplomacy
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158 pages