Public Diplomacy by America’s Diplomatic Dude

Who is Matthew Barzun and why has he been called a “tech-savvy Obama insider with a forward leaning approach to diplomacy“? He’s also referred to as “His Excellency,” but not in every setting. Writing in The Independent, one journalist calls the US Ambassador to the United Kingdom “America’s diplomatic dude.” And he’s bringing the élan of “cultural diplomacy”, Silicon Valley (and Kentucky)-style.

So when the NYT writes about his efforts to reach a key strategic group, it sounds like a case of good old-fashioned diplomacy: go into a rough crowd (teenagers) and actually listen to what they have to say.

Later, he said, “I want to give them room to be able to disagree,” not to force arguments on them. “If you go in thinking you’re in the argument-winning business, you can end up seeing a lot of arms folded,” he said. “But if you listen, people hear you differently.”

The reviews were good. Euphrose Tambwe, 16, said, “He asked us what we thought and then explained what he thought.”

She stopped for a moment. “It was really his honesty that got me,” she said. “I thought he’d come to say ‘America is great and don’t believe the media,’ and the fact that he admitted mistakes struck me.”

Source: American Ambassador Builds Diplomatic Bridges With British Teenagers – The New York Times

If that isn’t cool enough, how about stopping by the Ambassador’s Residence to enjoy a concert by The National?

Not the Ambassador’s favorite (Johnny Cash), but still a classic American sound.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s