News from Berlin
The Hon. Tara Sonenshine Addresses the Role of Public Diplomacy at ICD House Berlin
May 09th, 2014
News from Berlin - On May 9th 2014 the ICD had the honor to welcome The Hon. Tara Sonenshine, former Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs of the United States of America for a panel discussion at the ICD House in Berlin.
This great opportunity could not be missed by the students, interns and general public, as about fifty participants engaged in the panel discussion and subsequent interview with the the former Under Secretary. The Hon. Ms. Sonenshine addressed crucial questions for Cultural Diplomacy in her remarks to the students who were able to comment and ask several questions about her perception of public diplomacy that includes also Cultural Diplomacy.
The former member of the US government elaborated in detail on the question that, although we live in a more and more digitalized world, real live experienced culture and dialogue are still the key to mutual understanding. People would have the possibility to access most of intercultural content online, but in fact “people need people” to gain from cultural exchange. The world, as it offers more and more information for each and every citizen, also necessitates better informed individuals that not come short on the responsibility to empower themselves with an independent opinion.
As for Ms. Sonenshine, the surge of information also requires great leadership by institutions to state clearly their opinion and explain them as well as admit when they have made a mistake, if necessary. As an example she drew up the firing of Donald Sterling by the NBA commission due to his recent racist remarks in the US Basketball pro-league, where the NBA reacted decisively, by firing the owner of the LA Clippers for live from any league activity.
Accordingly she favored the decision by Hillary Clinton to maintain the tweeting of US embassies, although this could lead to bad publicity as well. As for the former Under Secretary, more communication is always better, if there is a mistake, the administration only has to step up to it appropriately.
She concluded that one of the most important elements in Public Diplomacy would be to tell your story and listen to the one of your fellow, although it might not always be happen in a strategic way and so there can also be mistakes. For one mistake though there are thousands of well-placed messages. News from Berlin - Berlin Global