Public Diplomacy Between Home and Abroad: Norway and Canada

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Series Details Vol.1, No.1, 2006, p53-80
Publication Date March 2006
ISSN 1871-1901
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Public diplomacy represents an opportunity for small and medium-sized states to gain influence and shape international agenda in ways that go beyond their limited hard power resources (related to size, military and economic strength). The literature on public diplomacy has been dominated by accounts of major powers, and the character of public diplomacy performed by small and medium-sized states has hardly been explored so far.

Based on an elaboration of the concept of soft power as being based on image and value assets of societal actors, this paper suggests a definition of public diplomacy as including activities by the state abroad and at home with the aim of increasing its attractiveness. Three areas in which the public diplomacy strategies of small and medium-sized states differ from the corresponding activities of major powers are then suggested.

Finally, the development of public diplomacy strategies and their coordination by the foreign ministries of Canada and Norway — two countries with widely similar foreign policy agendas but different domestic constituencies — are then described and compared. The paper concludes by suggesting that successful public diplomacy by small and medium-sized states is well served by positioning the state not only in locally attractive image and value platforms, but also in their global equivalents.

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