Friday, May 1, 2009

What about Sec. Clinton’s First 100 Days?

With all the media hype surrounding President Obama’s first 100 days in office, it seems like Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's first 100 days have been somewhat overlooked.

Interestingly, the State Department posted a 100-day report outlining Secretary Clinton’s accomplishments.  The report also provides an overview of public diplomacy accomplishments, stating that engaging in public diplomacy is a priority and that some “early and significant progress” has been made in that area.  Here is the section of the report, specifically focusing on public diplomacy:

“Placed New Emphasis on People-to-People Diplomacy: While Secretary Clinton and the entire State Department are engaged in vigorous government-to-government diplomacy, Secretary Clinton has also invested unprecedented amounts of time and energy into engaging in people-to-people diplomacy in countries with whom we seek partnerships.

Hosted Town Halls, Webcasts, Roundtables, and More: On the first day of Secretary Clinton’s first trip, she hosted a town hall meeting with students at University of Tokyo where she answered questions from a diverse group of students ranging from US-Tokyo relations and the financial crisis, to nuclear power and gender equality. The Tokyo Town Hall launched a series of town halls hosted by Secretary Clinton at a university in Seoul, South Korea, in Brussels with European Parliament interns, and in Mexico via webcast with students across 40 educational campuses. Secretary Clinton has also hosted roundtable discussions with women leaders in Seoul and Beijing, students and teachers in Mexico and the West Bank, and with women entrepreneurs in Israel.

Leveraged Non-Traditional Media to Reach New Audiences: Through non-traditional media, Secretary Clinton is spreading the Administration’s broader diplomatic efforts by targeting audiences previously ignored. Secretary Clinton’s interview on the Turkish version of ‘The View’ reportedly caused positive ripples throughout the country. The Secretary’s appearance on the Indonesian pop culture television program, ‘Awesome,’ reached youth throughout the world’s most populous Muslim nation and beyond and her appearance on Telehit, the MTV of Mexico, likely targeted audiences otherwise unaware of her goals visiting Mexico.”  

Reviews for Secretary Clinton’s work so far have been mostly positive, but it remains to be seen how much of a priority engaging in public diplomacy will truly be for the State Department over the next four years.  After learning about the importance of practicing effective public diplomacy and the benefits it yields, I am hoping for the best.

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