Learning the art of diplomacy with the US Embassy

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Last Wednesday our students of Advertising and Public Relations had an amazing opportunity to learn about diplomacy and met David Connell and María Jesús del Olmo, representatives of Communication Office at the US Embassy in Spain. They shared with us some interesting facts and details about their daily work and revealed the tasks they have to carry out while working at the Embassy.

A photo of representatives of Communication Office at the US Embassy in Spain sharing their experience with students.
David Connell and María Jesús del Olmo, representatives of Communication Office at the US Embassy in Spain, with professor Pilar Paricio from CEU Valencia

David Connell, the Spokesman of the US Embassy in Spain started the event with a brief explanation of what Public Diplomacy is.

One of the most essential functions of an embassy is to serve and protect citizens of a particular nationality in other countries. However, it is also very important to advance the interests of the country and establish a dialogue designed to inform and influence.

Therefore, Public Diplomacy mainly consists of getting to know public opinion, informing people and trying to change their perspective on a particular matter.

A photo of David Connell who is sharing his professional work experience.
“Such work not only requires diplomacy and tact, but also makes you think a lot about details and final result”, explained David Connell.

To begin with, the Embassy organizes cultural events, workshops and other activities that help to establish a closer relation between Spain and the United States.

For example, the American Spaces Program in Spain (ASP Spain) is one of the most important initiatives that grew out of a cooperation project between the US Embassy and local organizations. Apart from organizing Alumni activities or English language teaching and learning, American Spaces gives opportunity for young people to broaden their horizons and get an unforgettable experience while traveling and studying in the United States. Also, this project pays a lot of attention to women, ethnic minorities and give higher priority to environmental issues.

“As Americans we want to demonstrate our own beliefs and values regardless of any political situation, especially in these hard times”, said the representative of American Spaces.

A photo of students participating at the event of the US Embassy in Spain.

María Jesús del Olmo continued the event with a brief introduction to Digital Diplomacy since she is responsible for social media management at the US Embassy in Spain.

In order to create engaging, interesting and attractive content you must follow this simple rule: define the message, objectives and priorities. Also, it is essential to think about the users and pay a lot of attention to images.

“As Americans we want to demonstrate our own beliefs and values regardless of any political situation, especially in these hard times”

The head of Digital Communication Office emphasized the importance of getting to know the peculiarities and tendencies of each social media network before posting there. For instance, you should choose Facebook to tell stories, meanwhile Twitter is more for talking about politics.

Nevertheless, as María Jesús del Olmo summarized, the content of the US Embassy is all about combining policy and engaging soft content.

A photo of students participating in a workshop.

The event finished with a workshop where students had to organize a cultural activity for women, children or ethnic minorities using the strategies of Public and Digital Diplomacy. They came up with some brilliant ideas!

Special thanks to the representatives of Communication Office at the US Embassy in Spain who are visiting us for a second time already! It was a truly enriching experience!

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