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Sri Lanka Army

Defenders of the Nation

29th August 2017 15:17:00 Hours

Panelists Underline Importance of ‘Public Diplomacy’ in CVE

Public diplomacy that could be applied in ‘Countering Violent Extremism’ (CVE) was another interesting sub topic that was taken up in the panel discussion under the theme ‘Mechanisms to Counter Violent Extremism’ on Tuesday (29) at the ‘Colombo Defence Seminar,’ now underway at the BMICH.

The contributor, Prof. Nicholas J. Cull, Centre for Public Diplomacy, University of Southern California presenting an overview with the objective of defining and interpreting what Public Diplomacy (PD), components of PD and single and multi approaches to CVE, added that ‘Traditional Diplomacy’ is an actor’s attempt to manage the international environment through engagement with a foreign actor while ‘Public Diplomacy’ means an actor’s attempt to manage the international environment through engagement with a foreign public. However, he added that a set of New Terms are needed to be replaced instead of old practices.

“Listen to the people and try to find solutions to the conflicts and expose their ideas for sharing through public diplomacy. Cultural diplomacy as well as exchange diplomacy are relevant in this context,” he explained.

“Violence is not a disease but a symptom of an underline problem in the world. Radicalism on the other hand is a symptom that could highlight a kind of a problem in a community. Hence, we need to first identify the symptoms of violent extremism with special focus on radicalization. We also need to take early action to find solutions before eruption of any conflict as such. However, there could be direct and indirect approaches to counter violent extremism,” Prof. Nicholas added.

In the same vein, listening to the people, cultural understanding as well as negotiations are important in the process of preventing such conflicts. Education and psychological operations as a resistant to growing radicalization and violent extremism would certainly help in the right direction. It is therefore essential for us to learn the proper perimeters of true diplomacy, the scholar asserted.

Referring to multi-actor components and the need to launch a collective cure for the symptoms, we need to integrate a unified govt’s ‘hub,’ listen first and know your audience, understand recruitment, empower communicators who are credible to your target audience and listen to voices of different nature.

“Similarly, create and translate messages that they can pass on and build a network practice including strong cities. “Don’t apply hard power things that make the situation worse” he elaborated.