The Tightrope to Tomorrow: Reputational Security, Collective Vision and the Future of Public Diplomacy

In: The Hague Journal of Diplomacy
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  • 1 USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089, United States


A global crisis exists today, driven by a toxic mix of populist politics and disruptive social media. For public diplomacy to respond, it must remain true to its core principles: 1) begin by listening; 2) connect to policy; 3) do not perform for domestic consumption; 4) look for credibility and partnership; as 5) the most credible voice is not your own. 6) Public diplomacy is not always ‘about you’; but 7) is everyone’s business. These core principles must now be supplemented by the following future needs: 1) reframing soft power as a new category of reputational security, relevant to the survival of vulnerable states; 2) contest disinformation and engage in information disarmament; 3) counter victim narratives; and 4) articulate a compelling vision of the future. This article refuses to abandon an element of optimism and continues to see hope in the ability of humans to connect effectively with one another.