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US Support for Public Education in Brazil

February 22, 2011

A couple of days ago I commented on the need for public diplomacy scholarship to bridge the gap between the macro level of International Relations and the micro level of Communications.  This translation is not just an intellectual problem because  organizations struggle to link strategic priorities with what happens on the ground.  With this thought in mind I came across this 2009 cable from the US Embassy in Brasilia discussing activities designed to support public education in Brazil.

I think what is interesting about this cable is that it details a clear rationale for the programme of work and that the elements of the programme reinforce each other.  For instance alumni of youth exchange programmes help to provide training for English language teachers.  This is also a programme that that supports Brazilian government objectives while advancing US priorities. The work is conducted through a network of Binational Centres and in collaboration with Brazilian government agencies and NGOs.

In total you can see a programme of work that promotes English language teaching in the context of an engagement with the US educational system in a way that  promotes American models and linkages and thus helps to support US influence in Brazil.  This is relational PD in action.  I think that an important point is that constructing a programme like this is not about identifying a message but about  organizing mutually beneficial activities.

From my point of view the Cablegate materials are most interesting because of the nuts and bolts sense of diplomacy at work and this is something that is valuable for scholars regardless of their disciplinary background.

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