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Kathy Fitzpatrick

Public diplomacy has never been more important in international relations. Yet, public diplomacy’s future as a valued national resource and a respected profession is far from certain. Lingering historical misperceptions and contemporary debate regarding public diplomacy’s role and value in protecting and advancing national and international interests threaten public diplomacy’s advancement on both fronts. Grounded in public relations theory and steeped in common sense, this book advances the global debate on public diplomacy’s future by documenting the intellectual and practical development of public diplomacy in the United States and analyzing key challenges ahead. The author’s fresh perspective provides compelling insights into public diplomacy's purpose and value, the conceptual foundations of the discipline, and principles of strategic practice. Based on extensive primary and secondary research, including a comprehensive survey of veteran U.S. public diplomats, the book reveals lessons learned from the U.S. experience in public diplomacy that will be critical in determining public diplomacy's fate in the United States and throughout the world.
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Kathy Fitzpatrick

Abstract

As public diplomacy assumes a more prominent role in the diplomatic affairs of nations, scholars and practitioners are challenged to define the 'new' public diplomacy's purpose and goals, to develop the theoretical foundations of the discipline, and to articulate principles of practice for effectively and ethically achieving a nation's foreign affairs' objectives. This article demonstrates the potential for the public relations theory of relationship management to advance contemporary thought and practice in public diplomacy. The study finds that by defining public diplomacy's central purpose as relationship management, unifying the functions under one overarching concept, adopting a management (rather than communication) mindset, and recognizing the importance of diplomatic deeds that support communication practices, practitioners will be better equipped to conduct public diplomacy effectively.

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Kathy R. Fitzpatrick

Summary

This article addresses the issue of how strategic publics should be defined in public diplomacy. The article first reviews widely accepted theories of stakeholders and publics in business and public relations that help to explain the role and value of publics to organizations and provide alternatives for the conceptualization of strategic publics. It applies these concepts to public diplomacy in an effort to demonstrate their potential usefulness in identifying and prioritizing strategic publics at home and abroad. The article then suggests that although stakeholder theory and situational theory are useful tools for conceptualizing strategic publics in public diplomacy, these theories must be expanded to capture fully the complex nature of the contemporary diplomatic environment. An expanded framework that is based on networks of influence is suggested as an alternative for defining public diplomacy publics in a networked world.