Minutes of the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy December 2004 Official Meeting

Remarks
United States Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
December 7, 2004


Participants:
Chairman Barbara M. Barrett
Commissioner Harold C. Pachios
Commissioner Jay T. Snyder
Commissioner Maria Sophia Aguirre
Commissioner Charles Evers
Commissioner Elizabeth Bagley
Razvigor Bazala, Executive Director of the Advisory Commission

 

Subject: The Commission sought ideas on publicizing the role of the United States in supporting and funding the United Nations

Background: The Commissioners met in New York on December 7, 2004, to discuss U.S. interaction with the UN. Prior to this meeting the Commissioners met first with U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Danforth and then with U.S. Ambassadors Ann Patterson and Stuart Holliday and other USUN officials. The Commission also reviewed the operations of the New York Foreign Press Center and the New York Program Branch of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). In addition, the Commission met with officials of the Institute of International Education (IIE), an ECA contract agency, and with foreign Fulbright exchange students at IIE to recognize the contribution academic exchanges make to advance U.S. public diplomacy.
 

The Commission's Open Meeting took place in the U.S. Mission to the United Nations conference room at 10:30 am. The Commission meeting opened with the continuation of a discussion with U.S. UN Ambassadors Anne Patterson and Stuart Holliday. Several observers including Susan Morrell of the non-governmental organization (NGO) Seeds for Peace were welcomed to the Commission meeting. Ambassador Patterson and the Commission discussed the extensive U.S. support and funding of the United Nations and how best to enhance understanding of the U.S. role.

As an example of U.S. support that is not recognized or appreciated, USUN Director of Communications Joseph Merante cited an ECA-produced poster show that was displayed during the U.S. Presidency of the Security Council. He said the display was restricted to an area where it could be seen only by UN representatives and staff to comply with regulations that confine the dissemination of ECA products to foreign audiences only. Copies of the poster show are available for display by U.S. Embassies to advance public diplomacy.

Positive examples of public diplomacy were also discussed. Ambassador Patterson described presentations made by USUN Representatives to the General Assembly before panels of non-governmental organizations affiliated with the UN's Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) as examples of effective USUN public diplomacy outreach. More than 1,500 NGOs are affiliated with ECOSOC around the world and about 300 follow UN developments and U.S. policies related to the UN closely, she said. Those presentations to ECOSOC-related NGO panels were at no cost to the State Department because U.S. Representatives traveled to address them at their expense.

Public/private partnerships were heralded as effective. To advance U.S. public diplomacy objectives Joe Merante suggested public/private partnerships, for instance to conduct multi-country exchange programs, particularly including individuals from Islamic countries. He said a robust program to enlist private sector support for this would be in place by March 2005.

Following further discussion with Ambassadors Patterson and Holliday, the Open Meeting adjourned at 11:00 am for the Commissioners to conduct site visits with the U.N., State Department, press and other operations of importance to U.S. public diplomacy.