“What is new public diplomacy like?”, with Caterina García
30 June 2016
Last Thursday, on June 30th, the second article of the “FOCIR Pensament” collection, “La nova diplomàcia pública en un món de diplomàcies plurals” (“New public diplomacy in a world of plural diplomacies”), was presented at the 5th International FOCIR Breakfast, which took place with the support of the Barcelona Provincial Council.
The article was written by Dr. Caterina García, tenured professor of international relations at Pompeu Fabra University. It is a theoretical paper that strives to define the concept of “new public diplomacy,” to determine what continuity elements this concept displays, and to highlight the fact that public diplomacy is a soft power tool that is capable of influencing international relations, which take place in an increasingly complex environment.
Summary of the Breakfast’s main ideas:
- Diplomacy has undergone a series of important changes since the beginning of the 20th century.
- Public diplomacy is a tool that serves diplomatic practices. It is not a institution nor is it an end in and of itself.
- Three globalization processes have taken place that affect diplomacy and public diplomacy: the qualitative proliferation of international actors, the creation of a global agenda that affets different actors and brings about the need for global governance, and, thirdly, the impact of new technology on international relations.
- New public diplomacy has adapted to current circumstances. The concept is not a new one; it has continuity elements to it. It serves the same purpose: the capacity to influence the environment. New actors actively participate in this kind of diplomacy with their own strategies and goals. It has a bidirectional focus: one must observe and listen to what the other wants and says so that one’s own message is effective. It is about understanding alterity.
- New public diplomacy is a soft power instrument that can influence international relations. This includes three kinds of activities: informative ones, which take place over a brief period and justify what is done; the ones that attempt to influence concrete issues over a slightly longer period of time; and long-term activities that seek commitment to a cause.
- New public diplomacy is a tool that is not only used by states; there are also other actors involved. Sometimes (voluntary or involuntary) synergies are established between different kinds of actors. New diplomacy’s success depends, to a certain extent, on civil society’s involvement.
Many people with ties to Catalan institutions and FOCIR members, representatives of Catalan civil society organizations with an international presence, attended the event.