Communication Breakdown: Losing the War of Ideas

Communication Breakdown: Losing the War of Ideas

Public diplomacy efforts have been overshadowed by American foreign policy in Iraq and Afghanistan in recent years. What is America doing to fix this growing problem and is it too late to make a difference?  This episode of America Abroad looks at how engaging foreign audiences has become a prime focus of the US Department of State.  But there seems to be a disconnect between the government’s message and its target audience. 

Guests on the program include:

  • Karen Hughes, former Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs
  • Enders Wimbush, Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute and former Director of Radio Liberty
  • Kamal El Fouly, Professor of English Teaching Methodology at Minya University in El Minya, Egypt
  • Hisham Kassem, publisher and rights activist in Cairo
  • Professor Nicholas Cull, Senior Faculty Fellow at the USC Center on Public Diplomacy
  • Richard Burt, former Director of Politico-Military Affairs at the State Department
  • David Abshire, former US Ambassador to NATO
  • Stan Burnett, Counselor of the US Embassy in Rome
  • Hans Tuch, former American Minister for Public Affairs in Bonn
  • Dr. Angela Stent, Director of the CERES program at the Georgetown School of Foreign Service.
  • Nigel Chapman, Director of the BBC World Service
  • Martin Davidson, Chief Executive of the British Council
  • Dame Barbara Hay, British Consul-General to Istanbul
  • Jeff Streeter, Director of the British Council Ankara


Segment 1

Ray Suarez reports on the impact of educational exchanges in Egypt, and we talk to former Undersecretary of Public Affairs and Public Diplomacy, Karen Hughes, and other proponents of educational exchange and English education programs.

Segment 2

Deb Amos looks back at US diplomatic history in the 20th Century.

Segment 3

Ray Suarez analyzes American efforts to calm Europeans’ concerns about the deployment of missiles during the Carter and Reagan administrations.

Segment 4

Deborah Amos reports on Britain’s public diplomacy model and we talk to officials from the British Council, the BBC World Service, British Consul-General in Istanbul and the British Council Ankara in the final segment.