(Excerpts from Diplo’s online course on Public Diplomacy – First lecture on Public Diplomacy: Concepts & Methods by Ambassador Kishan Rana)


Dean Edmund Gullion of the Fletcher School of Diplomacy coined the term ‘public diplomacy’ (PD) in 1965, but the notion of reaching out to foreign publics and influencing them is much older.

Alliance Française was set up in 1883, to promote the French language and culture outside France. Japan created a department of information at the Gaimusho in 1921, devoted to news propaganda for foreign policy objectives; in 1934 Japanese Foreign Minister Koki said in a speech:

‘…if each country could make its own culture and civilization understood, this will promote international understanding strongly. The government will coordinate official and private efforts, and equip them with appropriate external and domestic institutions.’[1]

In an essay written in 1939, EH Carr spoke of propaganda as an instrument of power in international politics; he felt that this was important because of greater mass participation in politics, and the development of techniques which reflected economic and technological changes.[2]

[1] Tomoko Akami, ‘The Emergence of International Public Opinion and the Origins of Public Diplomacy in Japan in the Inter-War Period’, The Hague Journal of Diplomacy, Vol. 3, No. 2, 2008, p.119.

[2] EH Carr, Propaganda in International Politics, (Clarendon, Oxford, 1939).



Printer Friendly and PDF