Foreign Policy Blogs

The Year in Review

The year 2009 in public diplomacy was a year for re-branding America in the world. The first African-American in the White House, who also happened to be the most eloquent U.S. President since John Kennedy, would have made for an auspicious year for the international image of the U.S. in any event. In fact, however, it was even more significant, since Barack

The Whole World Was Watching

The Whole World Was Watching

Obama followed George W. Bush, whose tenure had coincided with a marked drop in U.S. prestige in much of the world. By year’s end, as Obama’s popularity fell at home, his – and America’s – popularity overseas recovered from the “Bush effect.” At home, Obama’s winning the Nobel Peace Prize was controversial; overseas, for many, it was an expression of hope. Obama and Hillary Clinton were an unlikely couple, perhaps, but they “re-set” relations and engaged the world. To achieve this much was a public relations success, one that must now be followed by real political results. Unfortunately, 2009 did not see much progress in more traditional forms of public diplomacy, whether government run, or people-to-people. This should be a focus in 2010.

Person of the Year:

Barack Hussein Obama, 44th President of the United States and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

(runner up: Greg Mortenson, author of “Stones into Schools”)

Most Unexpected Event:

The uprising (though predictably and brutally supressed) in Iran

What to Watch for in 2010:

Revival of U.S. international broadcasting



Mark Dillen

Mark Dillen heads Dillen Associates LLC, an international public affairs consultancy based in San Francisco and Croatia. A former Senior Foreign Service Officer with the US State Department, Mark managed political, media and cultural relations for US embassies in Rome, Berlin, Moscow, Sofia and Belgrade, then moved to the private sector. He has degrees from Columbia and Michigan and was a Diplomat-in-Residence at the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies at Johns Hopkins. Mark has also worked for USAID as a media and political advisor and twice served as election observer and organizer for OSCE in Eastern Europe.

Areas of Focus:
US Government; Europe; Diplomacy