Public Diplomacy Forum - USIA The Rostrum

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Updated June 9, 1999

Issue:  Economic Prosperity

International economic threats increasingly engage world governments in complex negotiations seeking to sustain a prosperous worldwide economic climate. The United States is almost always a major player. People in other countries regularly question U.S. motives, sometimes agreeing, sometimes disagreeing, sometimes misunderstanding in the absence of accurate information. USIA conducts programs, events, and activities overseas to explain both the official American position and the thinking of American citizens to foreign audiences.

Discussion area

Hot Issue:   Global Financial Recovery; Corruption; Biotechnology; E-Commerce

USIA conducts programs, press and video conferences between high administration officials, for example, and journalists and opinionmakers abroad, to discuss the reasons behind U.S. policy and actions.

Program outlines:

American Speaker in Bulgaria Uses Bananas to Explain US-European Ties
USIA Supports Anti-Corruption Conference
NAFTA at Five: Where Have we Been? Where are we going? NAFTA Trilateral Partnership Spring Seminar examined the promise and effects of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

USIA's "Business for Russia" Makes Impact
Junior Achievement Introduced in Hungary
USIA's "Business for Russia" Makes Impact
USIA's "Business for Russia" Makes Impact
U.S.-South Africa Business Ties Praised

Ongoing Issue:   Development of Market Economies

About The Rostrum

The Rostrum (named for the speaker's platform in the ancient Roman forum) features comments to PDForum about public diplomacy and features on this site, as well as personal accounts of "citizen diplomacy."

Do you have an interesting story about dialogue between Americans and people of other countries? Send in your story to post on the Rostrum. If you see information on this website that you would like to respond to, or to debate another message, send us your comments and suggestions.

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We welcome your comments on this website and the themes of Public Diplomacy Forum. Comments on PDForum's themes and content will be posted on this site under the appropriate thematic heading.

USIA Programs

American journalist talks about bananas and a free press

American journalist Elizabeth Pond gave three lectures and one journalists' workshop recently in Sofia, including a lecture on "The Transatlantic Community" at the active Atlantic Club. Ms. Pond emphasized the deep ties that bind the US and Europe, despite occasional quarrels over bananas to an audience which included a number of Bulgarians keenly interested in joining NATO, including one general and several colonels. At the workshop with young journalists, Ms. Pond described the indispensable role of the media in a democracy in being a watchdog--but also in articulating policy choices for citizens in a fair and understandable way.

USIA publication highlights global fight against corruption

"Corruption: An Impediment to Development," a printed version of the popular USIA "Economic Perspectives" electronic journal of the same name was prepared earlier this year in support of Vice President Gore's "Global Forum on Fighting Corruption: Safeguarding Integrity Among Justice and Security Officials." The conference brought together representatives from some 60 countries, as well as from multilateral/multinational and nongovernmental organizations. The pamphlet featured an introduction by the vice president, articles on corruption and rule of law by Under Secretary of State Stuart Eisenstat, USAID Director J. Brian Atwood, and World Bank President James Wolfensohn, and an interview with Eleanor Roberts Lewis, chief counsel for international commerce with the Commerce Department. Another five articles offer practical advice on curbing corruption; a "facts and figures" section includes summaries of anti-bribery and related conventions. (June 1999)

Russians Point to "Business for Russia" as Model Program

At a conference on "Donor Cooperation in the Field of Vocational Education and Training" organized by the European Training Foundation, the Ministries of Education and Labor made presentations on the fields they considered ripe for donor involvement. The Ministry of Labor signaled out USIA's "Business for Russia" program as an example of successful cooperation with a foreign partner. "Business for Russia" was established on the rationale that a stable and prosperous Russia is in the U.S. national interest. Several Russian participants were very interested in USIA's distance-learning programs.

USIA Democracy Grant Brings Business and Schools Closer

American Chamber of Commerce members in Budapest recently praised a recent USIA-funded project to introduce Hungarian high school students to the world of business. The project sent business people to 22 schools around the country to speak about their jobs and advise on career opportunities. Feedback from school principals and students has been very positive and the business participants felt they also had benefitted from meeting the future generation and having the chance to talk about their jobs and the role business plays in the economic development of Hungary. USIA is looking into support for an expanded version of this project in the coming year, with an additional component providing summer job opportunities for high school students.

Contemplation of U.S.-South Africa Binational Commission Stills Vitriolic Pen

Simon Barber, Washington-based correspondent for South Africa's prestigious "Business Day," known mostly for his vitriol-soaked pen, produced a positive column on the work of the Gore-Mbeki Binational Commission recently. Based on Leon Fuerth's briefing at the USIA Foreign Press Center and quoting examples which drew heavily from the USIA-administered Binational Commissions Exchanges Support Fund, Barber noted, "it is easy to mock, but this is the stuff that affects people's lives. And who can knock a process that helps open the U.S. market to South African fruit and cut flowers, the cultivation of which may be key to land reform and job creation in the Cape..."

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