In international relations, Public Diplomacy used to be the communication with and dissemination of ‘propaganda’ to foreign public, to establish a dialogue designed to inform and influence. Traditionally, Public Diplomacy focused on the ways in which a country (or a multi-lateral organisation) communicated with citizens in other societies. It thus included actions such as educational exchange programs, cultural trainings and exchanges, visitor programs as well as radio broadcasting. These actions focused on ameliorating the country’s or organisation’s image – or reputation – vis-à-vis other countries.
At the beginning of the new millennium, Public Diplomacy opened a new era to non-state actors – mainly NGOs – allowing to communicate and engage in foreign politics, impacting on the traditional state-to-state diplomacy. The democratization of information – through new media and IT communication – provided non-state actors with tools and legitimacy to be an active stakeholder in international politics.
Public Diplomacy is nowadays exercised in a ‘win-win’ system of multilateral relations built around multiple private and public actors engaged in a globalised environment.
The European Institute for Legal and Communication Studies, in cooperation with Alphalex Informations, considers this evolution as a positive change in international relations and supports research, policy analysis and professional education activities to bring the debate to a multi-disciplinary level, involving the Institute’s traditional disciplines – Law & Communication – to develop a new theoretical and methodological approach which should take into account other fields of study such as Public & International Relations, History, Regional studies, Positive Globalisation, Marketing and E-Lobbying.