At Citizen Diplomacy Summit, McHale emphasizes “enormous task lying ahead”

Judith McHale, Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, addressed the role and impact of citizen diplomacy last week during the U.S. Summit & Initiative for Global Citizen Diplomacy, hosted by the U.S. Center for Citizen Diplomacy.

During the conference’s opening plenary, McHale reflected upon necessary public diplomacy efforts in the 21st century:

“Simply put, we recognize that for us to succeed in advancing our national interests in today’s world, we must move beyond traditional government-to-government relations and find new ways to influence and inform people everywhere. We must engage with people at all levels, in all sectors of society. And, as President Obama has stated, we must engage with them on the basis of mutual respect and mutual understanding; an engagement which fosters a spirit of collective action to address our common problems."

“[T]he task ahead is enormous, and it is not one that government can or should do alone. If we are to do this job and do it right, we need the help and support of all our citizens. That is why the work you will be doing at this summit is so critical to our efforts.”

At the Summit’s closing plenary, McHale further noted that “American citizen diplomacy in the coming decade will be more essential than ever before.”

During the conference, Alliance Executive Director Michael McCarry chaired a roundtable on public policy issues for citizen diplomacy. Joining him as panelists were Ambassador Linda Jewell (Vice President, ISEP), Joyce Warner (Vice President of Education, IREX), Adam Weinberg (President and CEO, World Learning), and Michael Roberts (SIT Graduate Institute).