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Foreign Policy Analysis
CRC Ambassador Grace Klein Interviews Professor Nicholas Cull on Public Diplomacy

CRC Ambassador Grace Klein Interviews Professor Nicholas Cull on Public Diplomacy


My name is Grace Klein and I’m a student
reporter for the Leon Charney Resolution Center today I’m here with Nick Cull. He
is professor of communications at the University of Southern California. I am a
writer and researcher about new ways of approaching international relations.
Particularly, I emphasize the importance of dialogue listening and connecting
governments to people and people to people rather than just governments to
governments and I feel that international relations has gone wrong
by over emphasizing things that happen in private and cutting the concerns of
the people out of international politics So you talk a little bit about listening
what is the importance of listening and how can we as a nation and as citizens
become better listeners? I think that when our politics was forming in really
over the last 2000 years we’ve put immense attention on freedom of speech
but we’ve kind of forgotten about an obligation to listen and it’s led to a
rather one-sided politics where people are asserting without considering and so
I think the minimal thing we need to do is to consider the other person’s point
of view if we hope our point of view will be considered by others we have to
give them the same respect and inform ourselves about you know the ideas and
approaches of others we can’t assume that we’re right and what worries me is
that sometimes when the United States has approached international dialogue it
does so from the position the answer is America now what’s the question and to
be honest the answer isn’t America for every single question in the world there
are a number of different answers and many other people around the world have
their own ideas and their own countries and feel that they have something to
contribute to a collective discussion and it’s rather foolish to shut off
those conversations before they even begun so what is one piece of advice
that you’d give a student who is pursuing the open international
relations well I think it’s important that new diplomacy public diplomacy
these things begin with listening and so almost always we should be prepared in
the first instance to listen and that’s not always a comfortable process and I
think that the follow-on question from that is but how do I listen and it’s
important to listen without necessarily having a category of answer in mind and
to listen in such a way that you’re all the while giving feedback to the person
you’re talking to so the act of listening becomes a kind of a
co-creation of meaning so by this what I mean is that you go out you begin
talking to people you say is what you’re saying that X and they’ll say not quite
it’s more Y and then you’ll start to together build a process build a shared
understanding and I think the more we’re doing that and particularly if you can
connect to other people like yourself find yourself or people like yourself in
other communities then we’ll start to see how much we have in common with each
other and and in time that will build the kind of trust that’s essential
because you know I’m very struck looking out at the world how the problems we
have transcend international boundaries Kofi Annan the secretary-general of the
UN used to say problems don’t need passports right my argument would be
well if the problems don’t need passports the solutions don’t need
passports either and have to be collective not just between collective
solutions for bringing together nation-states
but people partnering with nongovernmental organizations with
cities with regions or with companies all the different kinds of actors that
go to make up the world need to work together and and it once students tune
into this once the they begin by listening and studying the world in a
really open-minded way if people were doing that we’d be further along a road to finding some solutions.
Awesome. I just wanted to thank you so much for coming here today. It’s really nice meeting you.
It’s a pleasure to be here. Grace. Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you.
I’ll see you very soon. Thank you.

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