U.S. State Department Ambassador Sets Out Vision for 'Waging Peace'
Ambassador Hughes has been tasked by President George W. Bush with leading efforts to promote America's values and confront ideological support for terrorism around the world. A long-time advisor to President Bush, she was involved in major domestic and foreign policy issues and led the communications effort in the first year of the war against terror.
“It's in all of our interests that we try to confront the rhetoric of hate and myth and misunderstanding and build greater trust and appreciation on both sides," she said in a speech titled “Waging Peace" at the annual International Public Relations Association (IPRA) Summit in London.
Addressing an audience of senior communications professionals from companies, governments and NGOs from more than 40 countries, Ambassador Hughes said all stakeholders had a role to play in shaping the complex tapestry of a nation's image.
“Public diplomacy should not be the job of government alone, just as people's views of a country are not formed by government policies and actions alone," she said.
Ambassador Hughes said U.S. public diplomacy is guided by three strategic imperatives: to offer people around the world a positive vision of hope rooted in America's deepest values; to isolate and marginalise violent extremists; and to nurture and foster common interests and common values with people of different countries, cultures and faiths.
She described how the State Department had adapted to a dramatically different communications environment.
“During the Cold War, we were trying to get information in to people in largely closed societies who were hungry to hear from the outside world. These days, with a few exceptions, there aren't too many people around the world waiting, eager to hear from America. Instead we are competing for attention and credibility in a very crowded and noisy communications environment."
Ambassador Hughes laid out a broad range of engagement initiatives, including empowering and encouraging U.S. Ambassadors and officials to give many more TV interviews.
“I have told our ambassadors, they don't need permission. They are expected to be the face and the voice of America, to get on television and engage with the media."
The U.S. public diplomacy drive is also increasingly operating in Arabic and other local languages, and reaching out to youth through new technologies.
Her keynote address opened a conference session on “Public Diplomacy: creating partnerships between government and the private sector". A debate followed on the topic of how to promote broader understanding of society, culture and values and to build relationships of trust and respect among business leaders, journalists, community organisations and NGOs.
The Ambassador's address was a cornerstone for this international idea exchange on successful cross-cultural communications. The IPRA Summit is the only high-level forum for senior PR professionals from around the world to network and discuss how globalisation is fundamentally changing the way organisations must communicate.
About the IPRA Summit:
The Summit is the annual global forum for the international PR industry. It combines strategic perspectives on the future of global PR with practical views on trends in communications tactics and technology. See www.iprasummit.org
The International Public Relations Association (IPRA) is the global body for international public relations professionals, with members in more than 100 countries. For more information see: www.ipra.org
NOTE TO EDITORS: 1) Press-quality photos are available on request from Sandra Vetter. 2) A transcript of Ambassador Hughes' speech is also available from Sandra. CONTACT: Dick Custin, Press Officer of Embassy of the United States of America, Tel, +44 Source: IPRA - International Public Relations Association; Embassy of the United States of America