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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Office of the Historian > More Publications > History of the Department of State During the Clinton Presidency (1993-2001)
History of the Department of State During the Clinton Presidency (1993-2001)   
Released by the Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs


10. International Information, Educational Exchange, and Cultural Affairs Programs

The Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs

The Department of State reorganization of October 1, 1999, which implemented the incorporation of the U.S. Information Agency (USIA) into the Department, provided for the new position of Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs (R). The Under Secretary was to advise the Secretary of State on public diplomacy and public affairs and provide policy oversight for the Bureau of Public Affairs (PA), and for two bureau-level functions formerly in USIA. One was the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (formerly known as the E Bureau in USIA, and as ECA in the reorganized Department of State), responsible for exchange and academic and cultural programs. The other was the Office of International Information Programs (IIP), successor to USIA's Bureau of Information (I), which was made responsible for development and production of information and policy advocacy programs for foreign audiences. The Under Secretary was also delegated authority for advising the Secretary on all facets of public diplomacy resources, including the allocation of those resources to the regional and functional bureaus and the oversight of their use in the bureaus.

Evelyn S. Lieberman was sworn in as the first Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs on October 1, 1999. She dedicated a considerable portion of her time during the first year of integration to extensive travel to field posts and to establishing and assessing public diplomacy's place in the Department of State. The Under Secretary's goals were to strengthen cultural diplomacy and make cultural programs more central to overall policy, to maximize the use of technology and have the Department fully involved in this vital communication sphere, and to bring the merger of public diplomacy to a successful conclusion, leaving a firm institutional foundation.

To this end, Under Secretary Lieberman on January 10, 2000, issued public diplomacy guidelines to all ambassadors to assist in the management of integration in the field. Noting that "This integration constitutes nothing less than a restructuring of the core apparatus of American foreign policy," the guidelines set out a "common set of understandings" to ensure that public diplomacy would contribute successfully to the foreign policy process.

The message to Ambassadors also noted that public diplomacy personnel and resources at posts should be dedicated to public diplomacy work and fully integrated into the work of the mission; that public diplomacy staff had to be fully conversant with all aspects of U.S. Government policy and should continue to reach out to diverse foreign audiences; that Educational and Cultural Affairs programs had to maintain their non-political character and be balanced and representative of the diversity of American life; that cultural programs could significantly advance the U.S. national interest; that the International Information Programs Office would use state-of-the-art technology tools and be committed to developing new and effective digital products in response to field needs; and that the Public Affairs Bureau would be responsible for Foreign Press Centers and interactive television programs.

The message further noted that Foreign Service National (FSN) professional employees were essential to public diplomacy, and training had to be preserved; that Public Affairs officers would work with Chiefs of Mission (COM) to effectively use public diplomacy resources, and that the COM retained ultimate responsibility for use of these assets; that fundraising efforts should continue to provide essential support; and that funds for public diplomacy programs and products could not be used to influence domestic public opinion in the United States. (Document X-1)

Other significant measures to provide an institutional basis for public diplomacy within the Department included the establishment of exclusive public diplomacy allotments at all embassies; creation of 27 new public diplomacy officer positions in the Department's functional bureaus; establishment of public diplomacy Internet capability as a separate Department communication enclave; placement of public diplomacy components in all Mission and Bureau Program Plans; and the development or strengthening of professional training programs, including public diplomacy tradecraft, new trends in media and technology, and cultural and information specialist training for Foreign Service Nationals (FSNs).

On October 31, 2000, in a joint message to all embassies, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Pickering and Under Secretary Lieberman asked ambassadors to give personal attention to public diplomacy as they focused on goals and new staff integration. The Under Secretaries noted that "the success of our foreign policy depends not only on influencing governments directly, but also on influencing the public, media, opinion elites, non-governmental organizations, faith-based organizations, and other advocacy groups. ... To meet the challenges of the information age, all of us need to think about our work in new ways, and your leadership and creativity in public diplomacy as Chiefs of Mission is critical. ... Indeed, public diplomacy must be a factor in policy formulation. We can no longer afford to defer consideration of public diplomacy until the [policy] implementation stage." (Document X-2)

Public Affairs

Secretary of State Christopher, in his confirmation hearing before the Senate in January 1993, underscored the importance he placed on ensuring that the Department of State's voice be heard by the American people, and that their voice in turn be heard by the Department. "Today foreign policy makers cannot afford to ignore the public, for there is a real danger that the public will ignore foreign policy....We need to show that, in this area, foreign policy is no longer foreign." The Department of State, although it was the senior cabinet department, traditionally lacked a strong and easily identifiable domestic constituency. "The state department of what? Which state?" was a question heard by State Department speakers, and by Diplomats-in-Residence at universities. Secretary Christopher frequently stressed his concept that the Bureau of Public Affairs (PA) was the "America desk" in the Department, whose job it was to relate to the concerns of business people, travelers, the media, students, teachers, and the American public generally.

During the next 4 years, the PA Bureau vigorously pursued the Secretary's interest in getting the Department's message to the American people and relaying their concerns back to policymakers. As in previous administrations, the Bureau also served as the Department's central point for the development and dissemination of information on the Department of State and foreign affairs issues. It fulfilled primary liaison functions with the federal and state and local governments, non-governmental organizations, and the media.

The Bureau carried out its activities in variety of ways. It conducted strategic and tactical planning to advance the priority foreign policy goals of the administration. It conducted press briefings for the domestic and foreign press corps. Its media outreach program enabled Americans everywhere to hear directly from key Department officials through local, regional, and national media interviews. It launched the State Department's web site at www.state.gov, and managed an ever-widening circle of web pages containing relevant and up-to-date information about U.S. foreign policy. The Bureau also answered a continuous stream of questions from the public about current foreign policy issues by phone, e-mail, or letter. It arranged town meetings and scheduled speakers who visited communities to discuss U.S. foreign policy and why it was important to all Americans. It produced and coordinated audio-visual products and services in the United States and abroad for the public, the press, the Secretary of State, and Department bureaus and offices. The Bureau oversaw the Department's liaison on media affairs with the White House and other agencies. It also oversaw the Department's official historical series Foreign Relations of the United States and other historical programs.

As part of Vice President Gore's National Performance Review, which called for "reinvention of government", Secretary Christopher instituted his "Strategic Management Initiative" (SMI) in the Department of State. In 1995 and 1996, a special SMI team within the Bureau of Public Affairs conducted a broad-scale effort to reinvent the process by which the Department related to the American people. This was accomplished by streamlining virtually every operation with the objective of saving resources, eliminating duplication, utilizing new technology, and providing better customer service. The SMI team attempted to create a climate for change and made recommendations for eliminating unnecessary positions and activities. The creation of a Regional Media Outreach unit allowed for a major radio and television outreach program. The number of town meetings was greatly increased. There were revolutionary changes in the ability of the Bureau of Public Affairs to reach the American people through the World Wide Web and the use of electronic data bases. The live radio talk shows and town meetings dramatically increased two-way communication with the American people. Improved services were provided to the media, schools, colleges, and universities, nongovernmental organizations, and state and local governments.

During the tenure of Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, the Bureau fulfilled her stated goal "to take the foreign out of foreign policy." (State Magazine, January 1998, p. 23) Albright pursued an active dialogue with the public because of her belief that no foreign policy could endure over the long term without the understanding and support of the American people. Public perceptions of foreign policy were just as important as published facts, she said, and the American people should feel confident about the decisions foreign policy officials made because they had to live with the consequences. As the Secretary said, "if [the American people] don't like, understand and care about what we do, we will not have the resources to do anything very well for very long." (Document X-3)

Two striking developments affected the Bureau of Public Affairs under Secretary Albright. One was the tremendous impact of new technology, with the capabilities of advanced electronic communication to deliver huge quantities of information to ever-widening segments of the public rapidly and effectively through the World Wide Web and other means. The other was the integration of USIA into the Department of State, a plan first announced by President Clinton in April 1997 and put into effect in October 1999. The net effect was a new operating environment in which public affairs and public diplomacy were inextricably linked to foreign policy.

In 1991, with the introduction of "U.S. Foreign Affairs on CD-ROM" and information dissemination via an electronic bulletin board, the Bureau of Public Affairs made its initial steps to shift from printed publication dissemination to dissemination of electronic information. Lacking a technological infrastructure, the Bureau entered into a unique partnership with the federal depository library at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), under which the university provided the hardware, software, and technical expertise to help the Department launch its first gopher site on the Internet in 1994. The first site was accessed 8,000 times in its first month. About a year later, the PA Bureau became the first bureau in the State Department to have full Internet access on each employee's desktop under a separate, unclassified local area network called PACE (PA Communicating Electronically). This bureau-wide e-mail and Internet access was crucial to dramatically increasing the amount of information released electronically within the bureau and to the public.

In 1995, the Bureau established the Department's main web site at www.state.gov, and by 2000 the site averaged 4.5 million hits per month. In 2000, the Office of Public Communication became the Office of Electronic Information and began a process to redesign the web site, introduce a content management system, and move the site to a commercial Internet Service Provider to provide for database support and to help ensure higher security and availability of the site. At the same time, the office continued its partnership with the UIC federal depository library to create an e-mail management system to respond to and manage public e-mails. The web greatly expanded the Department's outreach to the public: from a printed dissemination of a maximum of 30,000 copies in 1989 to millions by 1997, and limitless possibilities on the World Wide Web. There were public accolades for the Department's web site. A review by the Dow-Jones Business Directory rated it highest among all cabinet-level web sites. The review praised the Department's efforts to "take the fog out of foggy bottom" and called the site "lucid and well structured [containing] virtually everything you ever wanted to know about the department and its role in international affairs, and also contains pertinent information on travel and international economic issues...." The web site was included in coverage by MSNBC, The Washington Post, and The New York Times.

The merger of USIA and the State Department had a great impact on the Bureau of Public Affairs. Bureau personnel nearly doubled, from 95 people to 186. The Bureau added four important functions: the Foreign Press Centers (including Los Angeles and New York), Broadcast Services, Media Outreach, and an Executive Office. With these added functions, the Bureau was better equipped to achieve its goal of making foreign policy less foreign to Americans and was now able to devise outreach strategies to include international audiences.

The USIA merger also affected the strategic communications function of the Bureau of Public Affairs. The regional bureaus of the Department incorporated public diplomacy offices into their structures, staffed largely with former USIA personnel. The PA Bureau's Office of Strategic Communications worked closely with these regional offices in coordinating public diplomacy activities. Since 1997, the Bureau of Public Affairs had built a network of non-traditional and minority resources to help plan and conduct 192 town meetings, 2,500 regional speaking engagements, and over 1,800 in-house briefings and local speaking engagements. In addition to traditional core constituencies, hitherto untapped resources were added from the volunteer network of the Councils for International Visitors and Historical Black Colleges and Universities and from the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, among others. The Office of Public Liaison and Intergovernmental Affairs (PA/PIL) instituted monthly briefings for non-governmental organizations and developed a mechanism for regular contact with U.S. governors and mayors.

The Office of Press Relations (PA/PRS) managed the most visible of the Department's public outreach activities: the daily press briefing. When the Department Spokesman briefed the press corps, he spoke not only to the national and local media, but increasingly to an international audience. The Press Office was responsible for enunciating and explaining the Department's positions on foreign policy issues to journalists, and for providing logistical support and expertise to the Secretary of State for events involving media coverage. It also provided public affairs support to the Department as a whole. The Press Office was governed by the need to be fair and evenhanded with all journalists and to be as forthcoming and accurate as possible. It issued all official Department of State releases to the press, including statements, notices, and transcripts of briefings, and it also released to the press copies of annual Department reports such as Annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, Patterns of Global Terrorism, and The International Narcotics Control Strategy Report. The Press Office made advances in streamlining its work, including the electronic conversion and delivery of press releases, official transcripts, and statements, and the installation of a modern, state-of-the-art press briefing room.

The Bureau redesigned regional press outreach to embrace radio stations and regional newspapers, including minority media, that had not traditionally been represented in Washington. At the same time, it enlarged the number of senior Department of State officials participating in radio programs or interviews. The Bureau cut costs and improved the effectiveness of daily press clip dissemination by moving to electronic dissemination. A cost savings of $210,000 per year was used to expand the operation to 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Press outreach was expanded beyond the borders of the United States; senior officials regularly participated in daily foreign press briefings. A minority outreach plan included the first-ever minority media conference in the Department. The Bureau also created the American Embassy Channel, resulting in an expanded broadcasting reach for the Department. It utilized a dedicated satellite network that functioned as a full-time, 24 hour worldwide operation. It ran on the basis of cooperation with the International Broadcasting Bureau, originating in Washington with satellite dishes at over 130 embassies. Programming included special events coverage and live television productions, speeches and remote events in which the President or Secretary of State participated, as well as daily State Department briefings, interactive dialogues, and training and communications programs.

The Office of the Historian (PA/HO) continued, under provisions of the Basic Authorities Act of the Department of State, October 1991 (22 USC 4351, et seq.), to prepare for publication in the official series Foreign Relations of the United States a complete and accurate official documentary record of American foreign policy. This venerable series, published since 1861, was the senior historical publication program of the U.S. Government. Under the law, the record was to be published no later than 30 years after the event, and had to include appropriate records of other agencies. The statute also established an Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation, composed of distinguished scholars representing national learned societies, which met four times a year.

During the Clinton administration, preparation of the Foreign Relations series reached a new high in planned scope and coverage, as well as increased challenges in obtaining declassification of materials, especially those originated by other agencies. In 1998, the Office of the Historian began a major effort for modernization and transformation of the series in response to an ever-expanding universe of documentation, diminished resources, and new options for a combined electronic publication and traditional printed books. Work in progress at the end of the administration was intended to produce a greater level of documentation available to more readers more quickly.

The Office of the Historian also responded to taskings to provide historical research or support for Department principals or the White House. Major projects during the Clinton administration included two interagency reports on U.S. policy regarding looted Nazi gold and other stolen assets; a history of the origins of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization prepared for NATO's 50th anniversary; a history of the National Security Council since 1947; and a historical study of the Dayton Peace Accords. The Office also responded to a record number of historical inquiries both from within the government and the public concerning diplomatic history, the Department of State, the Foreign Service, and records access policies. These inquiries came by letter, by phone, and increasingly by e-mail generated by the Office's presence on the Department's World Wide Web site. The Office's home page, which by the end of the administration received over 100,000 hits per month, included the full texts of recently published Foreign Relations volumes as well as other publications, Principal Officers of the Department of State and United States Chiefs of Mission, Visits Abroad of the Presidents, and Foreign Travels of the Secretaries of State.

The Office of the Historian was also responsible for providing advice on the identification, preservation, and opening to the public of official records concerning U.S. foreign policy. Such advice was provided to Department and other agency records managers or other officials, to the National Archives and Records Administration, and to the Historical Advisory Committee. The Historian from time to time served on statutory or interagency working groups and committees concerned with specific records issues, such as the Interagency Working Group which met from 1999 onwards to fulfill the requirements of an act of Congress for the declassification and opening of records concerning Nazi war crimes and war criminals.

Secretary Christopher's high regard for the Defense Department's historical displays at the Pentagon prompted Nicholas Burns, the State Department Spokesman, to galvanize the PA Bureau to organize an exhibit on the history of U.S. diplomacy in the Department's Hall of Diplomacy. In conjunction with other parts of the Bureau of Public Affairs and the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training, the Office of the Historian developed this exhibit in late 1996. (Document X-4) This led to planning in 1997 and after for a full-fledged museum of diplomacy. In October 1999, Secretary Albright reaffirmed her commitment to the creation of a "permanent, state-of-the-art exhibit on the history and meaning of diplomacy and foreign affairs" to be known as the United States Diplomacy Center. It would include on-site programs, events and tours, and off-site Internet access, and be located in the northeast corner of the former War Department building section of the Department of State, with an entrance on 21st Street. A planned area of 18,000 square feet was to be devoted to exhibitions and multimedia space, with the shared use of another 17,000 square feet in the adjacent Conference Center, East Auditorium, and lobby. A groundbreaking ceremony was held on November 1, 2000. (Document X-5) Funds were being raised by the Foreign Affairs Museum Council, a nonprofit organization, and the Center's opening was projected for the year 2004. At the end of the Clinton administration, the Office of the Historian continued to play a supporting and advisory role, especially concerning historical artifacts, historical context for exhibits, and staffing.

Educational and Cultural Affairs

The Bureau of Educational Affairs (ECA) was a major operating component of the U.S. Information Agency, where it was known as the E Bureau until its consolidation with the Department of State on October 1, 1999. ECA's mission was to build mutual understanding between the people of the United States and other countries through a wide range of international exchange programs, including the Fulbright Scholar and Student Programs, the International Visitor Program and Citizen Exchange Program. These programs were intended to build a foundation for the conduct of U.S. foreign policy and to advance the U.S. national interest. Many U.S. ambassadors considered exchange programs to be a significant tool in the conduct of foreign relations. Exchange programs were an important part of public diplomacy. Because these programs were required by law to present a balanced view of America, including its diverse society and points of view, the programs had the effect of creating understanding and trust, providing a context to U.S. policies, and establishing confidence in American leadership. ECA programs during the Clinton administration dealt with many issues of importance to the United States, including supporting peace in the Middle East; reducing ethnic conflict in such places as Bosnia, Northern Ireland, and Vietnam; supporting democratic, economic change in Russia and the New Independent States of the former Soviet Union (NIS); and strengthening ties with Europe on such issues as NATO and the European Union.

Exchanges remained at the heart of ECA's programs throughout the Clinton administration. Exchanges supported the U.S. national interest, core values, and foreign policy goals by fostering mutual understanding between the United States and peoples of other nations. Bureau academic and professional exchanges helped identify future leaders and build a foundation of trust with current and future world leaders.

The Fulbright Program, the best known of ECA's exchange activities, was the flagship international educational program sponsored by the U.S. government. Since its founding in 1946 under legislation introduced by Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, the program provided a quarter of a million participants from the United States and other countries-chosen for their leadership potential-with the opportunity to observe each others' political, economic, and cultural institutions, exchange ideas, and embark on joint ventures of importance to the general welfare of the world's inhabitants.

In 1996 the Fulbright Program marked its first half-century. The occasion was celebrated in countries around the world, and President Clinton hosted a 50th anniversary dinner at the White House. An independent, privately financed study lauded the program as follows: "At 50, the Fulbright exchange program has matured into an international educational exchange success story, one richly deserving the superlatives showered on it." Throughout the Clinton administration, ECA and its predecessor in USIA coped with a major decline in budgetary resources. In real dollar terms, its FY 2000 budget was only about two-thirds of the budget at the beginning of the administration. At the same time, the trend towards Congressional earmarking and priorities of the Office of Management and Budget combined to reduce the Bureau's programming flexibility. President Clinton, as a former Rhodes Scholar and former staffer to Senator Fulbright, was a strong supporter of the Fulbright program. The President's requests for increased budgets stemmed the decline in funding for the Fulbright program during his second administration.

Among the most significant ECA developments during the Clinton administration was the large increase in externally funded programs, especially important as base funding decreased. This meant greater attention to public-private partnerships, which ECA cultivated as a means of leveraging limited base budget dollars. This notably included special regional initiatives, such as Freedom Support Act (FSA) funding for a wide range of exchange activities in Russia and the other New Independent States (NIS). The breakup of the Soviet Union brought unprecedented and unexpected opportunities for public diplomacy in the NIS posts. The infusion of Freedom Support Act funds ($38.7 million in FY 1993 and $128 million in FY 1994) enabled ECA to meet new priorities in the New Independent States, and to promote the development of free market economies and democratic institutions. By the end of the Clinton administration there were about 50,000 NIS "alumni" who had participated in FSA exchange programs since their inception in FY 1993.

As the growth of democracy and decentralization transformed relations between states in the 1990s, ECA increasingly acted as a catalyst for collaborative efforts involving both the private and public sectors. ECA cooperated with a diverse array of private sector partners, including foundations, corporations, and non-profit groups, to strengthen ties between American and overseas institutions. An example was the Community Connections Program, and its predecessor, known as Business for Russia, which worked closely with volunteers in 50 U.S. communities to host visitors from the New Independent States. Over 7,000 entrepreneurs benefited from the 3 to 5 week home-stay professional programs. ECA also helped support a network of 450 educational advising centers in a de facto partnership with American universities to bring a half million overseas students to U.S. campuses each year. These future leaders not only learned about the United States, but in 1998-1999 brought an estimated nine billion dollars per year into American communities.

The International Visitor Program (IVP) marked its 55th anniversary in 1995. Operating under the authority of the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961 (the Fulbright-Hays Act), the program emphasized the increase of mutual understanding through communication at personal and professional levels. The IVP brought participants to the United States each year from all over the world to meet and confer with their professional counterparts and to experience the United States firsthand. U.S. Foreign Service Officers overseas selected these visitors, who were current or potential leaders in government, politics, the media, education, and other fields. More than 186 current and former heads of state, 1,500 cabinet-level ministers, and many other distinguished world leaders in government and the private sector participated in the International Visitor Program over the years.

Near the end of the administration, ECA played a leading role in arranging the successful White House Conference on Culture and Diplomacy. The opening session of this high profile event took place on November 28, 2000 in the East Room of the White House, where President Clinton and Secretary Albright welcomed the international panel of cultural experts. Among the issues considered were the promotion and preservation of diverse cultures in a global economy and the role of culture in the practice of diplomacy.

International Information Programs

The Office of International Information Programs (IIP) was a major operating component of the U.S. Information Agency, where it was known as the I Bureau until it was merged into the Department of State as part of the reorganization of October 1, 1999. The I Bureau was renamed the Office of International Programs (IIP). IIP experienced several major changes during the Clinton administration. While its overall mission remained the same, its structure was modified in order better to address U.S. public diplomacy needs and meet the administration's overall foreign policy goals.

IIP was the principal U.S. government organization responsible for informing and influencing international audiences about U.S. policy and American society. It used extensive Internet capabilities, print publications, speaker programs, and information resource centers to communicate with key foreign audiences in more than 140 countries. These audiences included the media, government officials, opinion leaders, non-governmental organizations, and industry heads.

In October 1994, USIA's Bureau of Programs was reorganized as the Bureau of Information. The I Bureau was designated as a Reinvention Laboratory under the Vice President's National Performance Review. This new structure rejected the previous hierarchical organization and embracing a flexible, team-based approach. The I Bureau was founded on the twin organizing principles of technology and teams. It sought to incorporate new advanced technology in innovative ways to meet its public diplomacy mandate. Multifunctional teams were encouraged and empowered to take responsibility at the working level. These teams were eventually divided into two functional offices: Geographic Liaison, providing information products and services tailored by region, and Thematic Programs, to create and publish products and services by subject matter. At its inception, the I Bureau won the Vice President's Hammer Award for "building a government that works better and costs less."

As the I Bureau shifted from the Bureau of Programs to the Information Bureau to IIP, its products and services also evolved. Some products and programs changed because of their new environment; some were greatly impacted by new technology. IIP was at the forefront of the information revolution, using the Internet as a platform to reach worldwide audiences. While its mission--to deliver information to the embassies and missions--remained the same, the Bureau's products evolved from cable-based to e-mail- and web-based products over the course of the Clinton administration. IIP was unique in this respect both within the U.S. government and within the Department of State. IIP was asked, for example, to produce the official U.S. government website for the Denver Summit of the Eight, for other G-8 summits, and for the Seattle ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organization. In the year 2000, 90 percent of IIP's products were available on the Internet or by electronic transmission.

IIP maintained an extensive World Wide Web site with electronic collections of policy documents and context on every aspect of U.S. foreign policy. Updated daily, the site provided foreign audiences with texts and transcripts of official U.S. government statements in real time, policy-oriented electronic journals in downloadable versions, and links to more than 100 U.S. embassy and mission Web sites overseas. This extensive information was available in multiple languages. Publications traditionally produced in print were now also available in electronic versions on the IIP web site.

The IIP web site also featured electronic journals that provided an in-depth look at the background and major opinions on a given topic. Journal topics included economic policy, U.S. society and values, transnational issues, and issues of democracy. A new electronic journal was produced approximately every month; issues were available in multiple languages and in several downloadable versions, depending on the level of technology at a given post.

The advent of DVC technology in the mid-1990s fundamentally changed IIP's speaker program. While IIP historically sent out nearly a thousand speakers annually to discuss issues with foreign audiences, the growth in worldwide DVC facilities increased speaker coverage exponentially. At the end of 2000, IIP programmed DVCs on a daily basis with a network of 125 facilities at U.S. embassies around the world. The low cost of DVC technology, both in staff resources and in reduced travel costs for the speaker program, emphasized its significance.

In the mid-1990s, USIA's traditional lending libraries around the world evolved into modern, electronic, reference-based Information Resource Centers (IRCs). These centers used the latest technology to disseminate information to key foreign audiences and provided missions with information needed to support U.S. foreign policy goals. The explosion of the information age in the 1990s made it possible for IRCs to access electronic information resources via the Internet almost instantly. In 1997, USIA created a CD-ROM to provide information about the United States to customers who might not have a connection to the Internet. Information USA provided full-text documentation on American social and political institutions and processes through its over 20,000 documents. Additionally, it provided hyperlinks to selected Internet sites and resources about the United States for those who had access to the Internet. It was available online through the IIP web site.

IIP took the lead on many technology issues within the Department of State. One was the Internet Working Group, where IIP led a Department-wide group in defining the parameters for embassy and mission web pages. Another was NetDiplomacy 2000, a conference held on October 2-4, 2000, to focus on the Internet's impact on conducting diplomacy in the 21st century. This conference included well-known speakers such as Ira Magaziner, Esther Tyson, and John Gage. IIP continued to move the Department forward on recognizing the importance of the Internet as a powerful medium for reaching broad audiences and fulfilling the mission of public diplomacy as well as overall foreign policy goals.

IIP stood ready to address international crises as needed and provide complete public diplomacy campaigns. In 1997, Presidential Directive Decision 68 established the International Public Information Secretariat (IPI), housed within IIP and reporting to the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. IIP coordinated public diplomacy campaigns on an interagency level as crises arose. Prior to 1997, USIA coordinated these public diplomacy initiatives.

Two examples, Kosovo (coordinated by the I Bureau prior to IIP's inception) and Serbia (under the direction of IIP), illuminate the coordination. The public diplomacy effort in Kosovo began in 1998 with a proactive public diplomacy initiative. In addition to using its full range of products and services to speak to citizens and elites alike, USIA introduced a unique public-private partnership that worked to reach refugees. Working with NGOs and private corporations, the I Bureau arranged computer centers within the refugee camps in New Jersey, Macedonia and Germany where refugees could communicate with one another by e-mail to locate lost family members or recreate destroyed documents. These computer centers were moved inside Kosovo as the refugee camps were vacated. These new centers played a role in reconstruction and democratization, providing free Internet access to local community leaders, journalists, doctors, and entrepreneurs as they recreated civil society.

A later example was the public diplomacy effort in Serbia. In July 2000, then Federal Republic of Yugoslavia President Slobodan Milosevic scheduled federal elections for September 24. The NSC Principals Committee requested that the IIP design and implement a campaign focused on two goals: to put President Milosevic on notice that continuing violence and repression in Serbia was not acceptable and to encourage the Serbian people to use the tools of democracy to put an end to his regime. This campaign was multifaceted. Several essential components included monitoring and analyzing official Yugoslav media; a Serbian language web site, listserv, and blast fax; daily talking points shared electronically with the U.S. European partners; and a concerted public diplomacy field campaign that reached millions of Europeans through news broadcasts and newspapers. This campaign was likely one of the first instances that a U.S. foreign policy information initiative was conceived, planned, and implemented as a closely coordinated public diplomacy/public affairs strategy. It is difficult to measure accurately the extent the IIP campaign contributed to Milosevic's demise. There was enough evidence of U.S.-influenced messages throughout the Serbian communications environment, however, to indicate that the effort was well placed.

Throughout the Clinton administration, IIP confronted change directly and incorporated improvements into its mission. Advanced technology and innovative ways of providing customer satisfaction were used together to meet the challenge of public diplomacy worldwide.


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