public diplomacy, Women

CPD’s Top 10 Public Diplomacy Stories of 2013

Pope Francis as he arrived in Vatican City's St. Peter's Square on March 19, 2013 for his inaugural mass. Credit: Valdrin Xhemaj / EPA / LANDOV via

Pope Francis as he arrived in Vatican City’s St. Peter’s Square on March 19, 2013 for his inaugural mass. Credit: Valdrin Xhemaj via

Public diplomacy fans should read the list of the 10 biggest public diplomacy stories of last year.  Thanks to the University of Southern California’s Center on Public Diplomacy, we can see the global trends and how public diplomats are responding to those trends.

From the Pope to Putin to Pakistan, there are new players and new narratives emerging in this evolving field of public diplomacy. It is inspiring to see Malala on the list of public diplomats for 2013.  Her physical and emotional journey from schoolgirl to global advocate has elevated girls education to the forefront of the struggle for equal rights for women and girls the world over.  It reminds us that there is so much work to be done to champion the rights of young women to be educated and to participate in the economies and politics of their countries.

Throughout the Middle East, Asia, Latin America, Africa and Europe, the issues of female participation in the social, cultural, political and financial sphere of governance and society is critical to unlocking the potential of individuals to make a difference in civil society building.  Public diplomacy can echo those sentiments and strengthen those calls.

Read the top three stories below. For the full list, view the article on the CPD website.

1. Pope’s Global Outreach Spotlights Poverty and Inequality
Since the inauguration of Pope Francis in March 2013, the Vatican has been engaging with publics around the world by acknowledging local equality, economic, and development issues. The resulting shift in public perception of the Catholic Church continues to unfold.

2. Putin Embraces Soft Power, with Mixed Results
Russian President Vladimir Putin had a busy year of public diplomacy efforts, including addressing the American public through a New York Times op-ed and authorizing the release of activists imprisoned on charges of blasphemy. However, his efforts toward enhancing Russia’s soft power in the lead-up to the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics have been undermined by his public stance against gay rights, which created negative fallout in much of the Western world.

3. Girl Power, Malala’s Quest for Education
16-year-old Malala Yousafzai survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban to become the youngest Nobel Peace Prize nominee in the award’s history. Yousafzai’s message of peace has made her an international symbol of survival and strength for young people, women, and others impressed by her resilience against all odds.


About Tara Sonenshine

Tara Sonenshine is a distinguished fellow at The George Washington University's School of Media and Public Affairs. Previously, she served as Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, as well as Executive Vice President of the U.S. Institute for Peace.


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