In recent decades, the emergence of the Internet and Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) has revolutionized the possibilities within the international political landscape. With expanded opportunities to cultivate networks over distances, Non-State Actors (NSAs) have emerged as significant players in the global system. While the traditional definition of public diplomacy refers to governmental practices of informing and influencing foreign publics through intercultural communication, NSAs have rapidly adopted public diplomacy processes in their increased diplomatic relations with state actors. The 12th issue of Public Diplomacy Magazine, “The Power of Non-State Actors,” enlists a wide range of expertise to illustrate the diversity of NSAs and the public diplomacy tools they employ.
The rise of NSAs advocating for change from the bottom up is one of the central themes of this issue. In our Features section, Mary Finley-Brook focuses on civil society actors who are socializing the international community to their norms and values through action-oriented, people-to-people diplomacy. As ICT prices decrease, public diplomacy strategies will continue to be key in managing the network’s activities and relationships.
In addition to pressuring states to make changes, NSAs also collaborate with states. Richard Wike’s contribution, “Survey Research and International Affairs,” considers states’ reliance on research and survey organizations like Pew Research Center to provide public opinion information to policymakers. Our interview with the Master of Public Diplomacy delegation to São Paulo draws attention to Campus Brasil, an educational NSA in Brazil which collaborates with the state to bring cultural exchange students to the country. Partnering with states can add legitimacy to NSAs and increase access to funding.
Other actors discussed in this issue include celebrities, diasporas, refugees, violent NSAs, and corporations. We hope that the breadth of topics featured throughout this issue adds to the reader’s understanding of NSAs and their public diplomacy tools. For more on public diplomacy trends and access to current and past issues of the magazine, we encourage you to visit www.publicdiplomacymagazine.com.
As always, we would like to express our sincere gratitude to the USC Center for Public Diplomacy, the Annenberg Press, the USC Dornsife School of International Relations, and the USC Master of Public Diplomacy Program. Without their support and advice, this student-run publication would not be possible. Last, but certainly not least, we would like to thank all our contributors for adding dimension to the dialogue. Finally, this issue concludes my tenure as editor-in-chief. It is with great confidence that we pass the reins to the Master of Public Diplomacy Class of 2015.
Climate Justice Advocacy by Mary Finley-Brook
Diaspora Diplomacy: Influences from Philippine Migrants by Joaquin Jay Gonzalez
Survey Research and International Affairs by Richard Wike
For the Lulz: Anonymous’s Influence on the World by Matthew Wallin
Non-State Actors: 21st Century Activism for Influencing Public Policy by Linda Reinstein
Displaced Religious Minorities in Chiapas: Communication Strategies for Agency by Laura Rubio Diaz-Leal