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Fact Sheet
Bureau of Public Affairs
Washington, DC
June 19, 2008

Sharing the U.S. Elections with the World: Public Diplomacy At Work

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From L to R: Hillary Clinton, John McCain, Barack Obama, Mitt Romney.  Candidates for President of U.S.  ©AP photo

On November 4, 2008, U.S. embassies and consulates will host thousands of guests and journalists to watch the election results on live television feeds from America. The U.S. Department of State’s Foreign Press Centers in Washington, D.C. and New York will hold similar gatherings for resident foreign media in the United States. These election night galas will cap months of intensive effort by the State Department’s Office of the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs to provide foreign journalists and audiences worldwide with an understanding of the complexity and significance of the 2008 American Elections.

More than 83 U.S. embassies
 and consulates conducted
320 election-related programs
by June 2008.

Since the summer of 2007, the Bureaus of Public Affairs, Educational and Cultural Affairs, International Information Programs, as well as U.S. embassies worldwide, have worked in a variety of ways to illuminate the election process, including:

  • Foreign Journalist Reporting Trips to primary states, caucuses, debates, and conventions
  • Expert Briefings and Interviews for foreign journalists
  • Comprehensive assistance to foreign television crews
  • Election Study Tours in the United States for over 4,000 foreign government officials, academics, students and journalists
  • Speakers, over 200 to date, from academia, the media, think tanks and polling organizations have traveled abroad or done Digital Video Conferences, Telepress conferences, and Webchats
  • Articles, analyses, videos, podcasts, blogs, and interactive maps on expanded State Department international Website
  • Electronic Journals in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Russian, Chinese, and Arabic


Two hundred-twenty five foreign correspondents went on reporting tours to Iowa and New Hampshire and produced 800 articles, broadcasts and Webpages for their home countries. SUPER TUESDAY programs in California, New York and Washington, D.C. included meetings for foreign media with the chairs of the California Democratic and Republican Parties, and coverage of the Los Angeles Debate and of John McCain’s Rockefeller Center Rally.

In addition, 18 Digital Video Conference Programs on SUPER TUESDAY linked overseas audiences with election commentators including John Mercurio of The Hotline to Dr. Larry Sabato, Director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics. And, U.S. Elections in Brief, a 58-page guide to the U.S. electoral system has been distributed worldwide.


One-hundred “Election Fellows,” nominated by U.S. Ambassadors worldwide, and 150 journalists from overseas will observe the campaign in its final weeks. Public diplomacy officers will assist hundreds of foreign journalists at the convention sites, and will conduct 40 Digital Video Conferences and Webchats for overseas audiences. In the meantime, U.S. embassies worldwide will continue making wide use of two PowerPoint presentations on the U.S. election process.


The U.S. elections have attracted intense interest all over the globe. The Department of State has worked tirelessly to ensure that foreign media have unbridled access to the entire election process and that foreign publics gain a better understanding of America’s great experiment in democracy.

U . S . Department of State • Bureau of Public A ffairs • www.state.gov 6/13/08

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