Following our research insight and case study on the public diplomacy strategy of Catalonia as stateless nation earlier this week, today we’d like to introduce you to Nicholas (Nick) Cull, Professor of Public Diplomacy at the University of Southern California Annenberg School. Nick has been at the forefront of public diplomacy research and teaching for many years and, together with Robert Govers, edits the Palgrave Journal Place Branding and Public Diplomacy.
- Public diplomacy – what it is all about;
- How Nick’s view of public diplomacy has changed over the years;
- How nation branding links to public diplomacy;
- His key insights so far as Professor of Public Diplomacy at the University of Southern California (Annenberg);
- His thoughts on nation brand rankings – which ones he follows;
- The future of public diplomacy.
Nick, do you remember the first time you heard about public diplomacy?
I was born in 1964 and grew up in the UK. As long as I can remember, I was fascinated by both the broadcast media and international affairs.
Even as a child I was aware that the memories and political experiences of my family members were not always in step with the dominant story of the British government or press let alone the picture of the world presented by Hollywood, and the word ‘propaganda’ soon loomed large as a catch-all description of the maze of overlaps and disconnects between the media and international relations.
Specifically I was fascinated by the US government’s spinning of the Bicentennial in 1976, by the discrepancies between BBC news broadcasts for foreign and domestic audiences during the Falklands War of 1982, and – in my own life – by the power of personal interaction with people from elsewhere in Europe, whom I met during summer holidays on a farm in Denmark. All of these experiences touch on the field of public diplomacy.
I was fortunate that when seeking a chance to study international history at degree level I found a wonderful program at the University of Leeds, where a small group of historians led by Nicholas Pronay and Philip M. Taylor were studying propaganda.