Sunday, May 1, 2011


Ta-da! Source
As many of you are already aware, I completed the final requirement of my Master's program on Friday by dazzling Craig Hayden (professor of Public Diplomacy and International Communication) with my command of the International Communication field.

The aforementioned requirement was not to dazzle per se, but rather to demonstrate competency in discussing trends and thoughts in International Communication over the course of an hour-long conversation with one of the program's core faculty members--a process known as the oral comprehensive exam, or the "oral comp." I assume my conversation was dazzling because Chayden signed the form and I am now set to graduate and have already begun encouraging my friends to address me as "Master."

As a soon-to-be-graduate, I am currently residing in the harrowing halfworld between student and professional, so if your organization is in the market for a dazzling public diplomacy enthusiast, do give me a call. In the meantime, I'm celebrating my freedom by helping others celebrate theirs. Specifically, I'm volunteering at World Press Freedom Day this week.

After a day spent stuffing stylish totes with free press swag, I headed home to rest before an early morning shift tomorrow. Tragically, this means I departed before hearing PD maven Judith McHale address the masses during the opening ceremony. I'd hoped to follow from home, but didn't realize until I arrived that the livestream isn't operating until tomorrow morning, so I was reduced to re-tweeting choice nuggets from the State Department, such as "RT @WPFD2011 Under Secretary McHale: protecting the rights of a free press is the responsibility of every citizen. #wpfd #pressfreedom." Try not to envy my rock star lifestyle.

I'm thrilled, of course, to see public diplomacy front and center at the conference. As McHale herself says:
"Compelling ideas are infectious. They always have been. Today, immediate and widespread access to information allows ideas to circulate virally. It empowers people to participate in the public lives of their countries. It equalizes voices. The Internet has made it possible to reach more people in more places. But it has also shifted power and influence to such an extent that it is necessary to engage with a much wider spectrum of public voices worldwide. So we, at the Department of State, are doing everything we can to connect with people — all 6.8 billion of them — to create a new environment that will better ensure the stability and security of our country, our region, and our world. We take this mission very seriously. We recognize that government-to-government diplomacy by itself is no longer enough."

From the sound of it, McHale could have done pretty well on the oral comp herself.

For those of you who are curious, May 3 is WPFD proper, a day "to evaluate press freedom around the world, to defend the media from attacks on their independence and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession."


  1. I'll hire you...but only if I can pay you in Zimbabwean dollars. You will be a trillionaire with your first paycheck (in cash, in a garbage bag)

  2. Hmmm... Tempting! Did you like JB's employment shout-out yesterday?

  3. luved it. Gonna be back in DC soon, we gotta take this friendship offline, as per the words of the esteemed MelC.

  4. That just might blow my mind. I was talking about your blog recently and started saying something about "My buddy Paul--" when it occurred to me that I might not recognize you if I passed you on the street unless you were wearing a Panama hat and a green tee shirt and smoking a cigar...