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Public Diplomacy

European and Latin American Perspectives


Edited By María Luisa Azpíroz Manero

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 9 th , 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.
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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...

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