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The Cultural Parade

Private Sector Summit

The State Department and the PR Coalition have finally issued a report   on the "Private Sector Summit" held on January 10, 2007. The PR Coalition describes itself as "an ad hoc partnership of major organizations representing corporate public relations, investor relations, public affairs and related communications disciplines." In partnership with the State Department it brought together about 100 PR people, academics and agency staffers in Washington, D.C., to discuss public diplomacy.  (See my previous post  Rebuilding Brand America.)

Nothing earth-shaking came out of the meeting, but the Coalition's Ed Neider did a masterful job of summarizing the proceedings and making it seem even more practical and action-oriented than it was.   

Among the high-level recommendations:

  1. Develop Business Practices that Reflect Public Diplomacy.
    - Make public diplomacy actions a corporate officer’s responsibility.
    - Make U.S. business practices consistent with U.S. values.
  2. Promote Understanding of American Society, Culture and Values in Other Countries.
    - Become a part of the local community through employee volunteerism, strategic philanthropy and greater engagement with responsible NGOs.
    - Create “circles of influence” through relationships with organizations, chambers of commerce, journalists and local business leaders.
    - Create local opportunities to win internship opportunities in the U.S.
    - Provide English language training and overseas studies for disadvantaged students.

  3. Build Relationships of Trust and Respect Across Cultures.
    - Support the creation of a corps of “foreign service officers” made up of academics and business people with specialized expertise who could work abroad on short-term assignments.
    -  Provide incentives for the non-U.S. work force to visit America and for the U.S. work force to travel overseas.
    - Sponsor international short-term assignments for U.S. employees.
    - Hold public diplomacy summits in key geographies.
    - Provide financial support for some State Department educational and cultural exchanges.

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