Public diplomacy is gaining international recognition as a necessary and important tool
needed for nations to successfully pursue their political goals. But what is public
diplomacy? Public diplomacy involves the transnational flow of ideas and the active
engagement of both government and non-government actors in policy development.
Public diplomacy can be used to influence governments through the public or merely
as a way to influence the public in order to build broad national relationships. Public
diplomacy can be effective because it supports traditional diplomacy, because of the
message it delivers or through the context a message is delivered in. To be effective it is
necessary for a government to clarify for themselves an understanding of public
diplomacy that matches their goals and objectives.
The growing importance of public diplomacy has been driven largely by globalisation
and the increasing impact many non-government actors are having on policy
development. Nations now recognise that in order for them to effectively pursue
national interests many actors need to be incorporated into creating an enabling
policy environment. Nations also realise that public diplomacy can have a positive
effect on their reputation which has important political and economic ramifications.
Public diplomacy is particularly important for small-medium sized nations who cannot
match the military or political powers of larger nations. Because public diplomacy is a
freely contested activity...