Posts Tagged ‘Evaluation’

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The Elcano Global Presence Index

June 17, 2015

The Elcano Global Presence Index doesn’t get the same attention as the indexes of national branding but if you’re interested in questions of influence and soft power it’s actually more useful.

In its latest version the index ranks 80 countries from the US (1099.6) to Syria (3.5). The aim is to construct an index of ‘external projection’ based on three elements; economic, military and ‘soft presence’. The economic element is composed from exports of energy, primary goods, manufactures, services and investment and is weighted at 38.5%. Military presence is troops overseas (including in international missions) and naval and air systems weighted at 15.52%. Soft presence is a mixture of elements; attractiveness to migrants, tourists and students; sports; export of audiovisual products; patents; academic publications; internet bandwidth and development cooperation weighted at 45.98%. With an index like this you can argue about what’s in it and the weightings, there are discussions of the evolving methodological issues here and here. It’s been published since 2011 but the index has been calculated back to 1990.

The strength of the index is to allow comparison between countries and to look at change over time, the index also allows an exploration of the changing composition of presence. Presence isn’t the same as influence or power but it’s a start, from my historical research on public diplomacies governments tend to notice changes in the ‘presence’ of other countries. It’s also worth thinking about an index like this in relation to brand indexes, for instance China may not have great sentiment but its rapid increase in standing on an index like this indicates opportunities for other people which translate into influence.

OK if you haven’t looked at the Index who are the top 10 for 2014?

US 1099.6
UK 404.9
Germany 400.5
China 363.5
France 321.3
Russia 295
Japan 257.7
Netherlands 231.2
Canada 205.4
Italy 176
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Evaluating Terrorism Prevention (and Public Diplomacy) Programmes

February 13, 2013

The Center on Global Counterterrorism Cooperation has just put out a paper recording the discussions at a seminar they ran on Evaluating Terrorism Prevention Programs.   It’s worth a look in part because of the discussion of some of the practical problems of doing evaluations that apply to public diplomacy as well as their area of interest.

It strikes me that the issue that is only partially addressed is that many programmes (I’m British so I need two mm’s)  aren’t actually designed with evaluation in mind.  When faced with a challenge an organization needs to do something and reaches into its repertoire and puts some ‘programming’  together.  Alternatively, if it’s not faced with a new challenge organizations just carry on doing what they always done. The result is  that the programme is evaluated it’s  against its stated objectives (which may or may not have been feasible in the first place) or a broader set of policy objectives (look at the Dutch example in the paper ) not on whether its actually producing the intended real world results.

At least one of the presentations points to the significance of ‘theories of change’ in programme design. I’ve blogged about this before. This is the movement, particularly in the development community, to get away from formalistic planning models and to engage with what’s happening in the ‘real world’.   Your theory of change explains how  your intervention is going to produce the desired effect.  If you can do this you are in a better position  to work in appropriate evaluation metrics.  You may also do some useful learning in that you discover that your  intervention had the desired result for the reason you’d expected, that your causal mechanism operated but didn’t produce the desired results  or that you got your results but not through the change mechanism that you’d expected.

The question of theories of change is where academics can potentially make a bigger contribution to Public Diplomacy practice by helping to get a better model of how public diplomacy can and cannot produce the desired effects.