Smart Power

Smart Power is the new blog by the Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. The blog is a platform for academics, practitioners and young professionals of public diplomacy to express their views and contribute to the greater discussion of public diplomacy as it relates to soft power, global issues, international politics, and policy.

Smart Power grew from IPDGC’s earlier blog – Take Five – which referenced one of America’s pioneering public diplomacy initiatives, jazz diplomacy.

{A little history: In 1959, jazz musician Dave Brubeck released the song, “Take Five,” from the now-classic album Time Out. Subsequently, he and his quartet were pegged to join the State Department’s Jazz Diplomacy initiative during the early days of the Cold War. The initiative consisted of tours and performances around the world, and included the renown jazz pioneer Louis Armstrong, to share America’s home-grown music abroad. In 2008, Brubeck received the Benjamin Franklin Award for Public Diplomacy from Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice.}

What is Smart Power?

Writing in the Atlantic Monthly in 1990, Harvard Professor Joseph S.Nye, Jr. (left), stated that “the richest country in the world could afford both better education at home and the international influence that comes from an effective aid and information program abroad.  What is needed is increased investment in soft power, the complex machinery of interdependence.”   He added in 2003 that neither hard power (coercion and payment) nor soft power (attraction) can produce effective foreign policy — what is needed in the modern world is a strategy the combines the tools of both into smart power.

This blog is an attempt to highlight the most thought-provoking articles, commentary, and graphics related to smart power – the world of public diplomacy and global communication. We welcome your suggestions of links and your own contributions and comments.  There are many sites on the world wide web that look at public diplomacy, public affairs, and foreign policy.  Our vision is that this site serves as a gathering place that helps inform and educate you about the opportunities and issues every modern nation faces, and how smart power can help them pursue their goals and overcome their challenges.

As Nye wrote in Foreign Affairs magazine in July 2009, “Despite its numerous errors, the United States’ Cold War strategy involved a smart combination of hard and soft power.  When the Berlin Wall finally collapsed, it was destroyed not by an artillery barrage, but by hammers and bulldozers wielded by those who had themselves lost faith in communism.  In today’s information age, success is the result not merely of whose army wins, but also of whose story wins.” 

We hope this blog will help you follow that amazing story.

About the Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication

The Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication (IPDGC) promotes studies and activities to advance the field of public diplomacy and global communication. IPDGC’s work includes:
  • Interactions between new media, national security, and public diplomacy
  • U.S. foreign policy priorities in the developing world
  • Challenges to the whole of government public diplomacy and strategic communication
  • Global perspectives and approaches to public diplomacy
  • Gender issues in security, communication, and diplomacy
IPDGC was established in 2005 by Dr. Walter R.Roberts, former associate director of the U.S. Information Agency and distinguished figure in U.S. public diplomacy.

Want to contribute?

To pitch ideas or submit a blog post, write to us.

Blog submissions will be reviewed on an individual basis and published at the discretion of the editor.


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