Thursday, February 19, 2009

Leitmotif : Accessible Foreign Policy for Everybody

While researching on Germany’s international broadcasting Deutsche Welle I came across this interesting Web site called Atlantic Community. It is conducted by Atlantic Initiative - a non-profit organization based in Berlin, Germany, that aims at promoting the transatlantic cooperation and strengthening the German foreign policy culture.

The Atlantic Community is an open think tank where members (you have to sign up, but it is free) can discuss and debate on recent policy issues. The founders of the project “recognized the need for a new English-language venture that would strengthen European-American ties and thus reinforce the idea that today’s transatlantic agenda is global.”

In detail the goals of Atlantic Initiative are:
  • Spread the message that today's transatlantic agenda is global: International challenges like terrorism, the energy crisis, and the rise of new powers in Asia demand a unified Western policy.
  • Promote frank debates and collaboration between Europe and North America on issues of globalization and foreign policy.
  • Cultivate and improve intellectual exchange across the Atlantic through increased networking opportunities between decision-makers, senior experts, as well as a new generation of students and future policy professionals.
  • Promote and advance the future generation of decision-makers.
  • Analyze foreign policy and the challenges of the twenty-first century in such a way that everybody can understand them. Our leitmotif is: Accessible Foreign Policy for Everybody!

The issues dealt with are in direct relation to our course discussions and the contributing authors include Rüdiger Lentz, the head of the Deutsche Welle Washington office (he is also the head of the Atlantic Initiative in the US) and scholars who research in the field of transatlantic relations.

What I liked about the Web site is the approach to open the discussion to a wider public and make the issue of foreign policy accessible to those who are not as much engaged on a regular basis, but have their own visions and opinions.

The fact that such an online portal enters the foreign policy discussion is also characteristic for the current stage of public diplomacy. As discussed in class and described in the Gilboa reading "Searching for a Theory of Public Diplomacy," more and more new players engage in international affairs, investigate PD activities and become active themselves.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the link to

    I thought you might be interested in this article from Dr. Stefanie Babst, NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy Strategy:

    "NATO's New Public Diplomacy: The Art of Engaging and Influencing"

    She argues that public diplomacy needs to respond to the challenges of the Web 2.0 world and is encouraging NATO to be "more courageous in using digital tools to directly interact with the public. Why not host a permanent blog on the NATO website? Why not widen the debate about NATO's new Strategic Concept beyond the ‘usual suspects' and try to obtain new thinking through, for instance, online discussions with citizens on specific aspects of NATO's future role? Let us hope that when Allies discuss NATO's future strategic course at the forthcoming Summit in Strasbourg and Kehl, they will also take a moment to sign up to a 21st century public diplomacy approach."