Central and Eastern European Public Diplomacy

A Transitional Perspective on National Reputation Management

Authored by: György Szondi

Routledge Handbook of Public Diplomacy

Print publication date:  October  2008
Online publication date:  November  2008

Print ISBN: 9780415953016
eBook ISBN: 9780203891520
Adobe ISBN: 9781135926892


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Public diplomacy theory and practice have been dominated by American, Canadian, and British experiences. Western public diplomacy traditionally targeted regions of conflicts, closed systems with significant information deficiencies behind enemy lines. The evolution and practice of public diplomacy were significantly shaped and contextualized by the Cold War and the political environment in which Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries were on the receiving end of Western public diplomacy for decades. Scholars and Cold War public diplomacy practitioners are cautious of attributing the fall of communism entirely to the success of American and Western European public diplomacy,1 but it is without doubt that radio broadcasting (such as the BBC, Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, or Radio Liberty), cultural and educational exchange programmes, and other public diplomacy tools were nails in communism’s coffin. After the fall of the Berlin Wall traditional public diplomacy has gradually been fading away in Central and Eastern Europe2 and was replaced by economic assistance, knowledge, and skills transfer to facilitate political and economic transition.

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