Judith McHale addressed the Senate Foreign Relations committee following her appointment as Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs [Undersecretary McHale was confirmed on May 26, 2009.]. Given the recent arrival of TYO’s summer interns from the US, we wanted to share her comments, which so eloquently presented the philosophy behind TYO’s internship program.
The following are highlights from Undersecretary McHale’s May 13 address:
I believe passionately that public diplomacy is both integral to our foreign policy and essential for our national security… The challenges we face today require a complex, multi-dimensional approach to public diplomacy. We have to listen more and lecture less. And we have to learn how people in other countries and cultures listen to us. We need to understand their interests and aspirations, and use our leadership to provide them with information and services they value… We must tap into the spirit, optimism, and diversity of the American people, including our many Diaspora communities with their deep ties and networks spanning the globe…
I believe this is a moment of rare opportunity to renew our nation’s engagement with the people of the world, and restore our reputation as a global force for good.
TYO has many ideas in mind of how our efforts through the internship program can fit into Undersecretary McHale’s strategy. She outlined several “core principles” that would guide her work, including:
… results require resources. I look forward to working with you to ensure that public diplomacy receives the resources and support it needs, and that those resources are used efficiently and effectively. Fourth: rewards require risk. If we are going to develop new strategies, we must challenge the status quo, and create a culture that nurtures innovation and tolerates risk.
TYO represents just such an innovative approach to intercultural cooperation addressing real problems on the ground. Congratulations, Undersecretary McHale!