The following Q&A was originally published in The Washington Diplomat to highlight the diplomatic and global leadership work of U.S. Ambassador Thomas Shannon, who serves on the advisory board of the Meridian Center for Diplomatic Engagement. The profile was written by Aileen Torres-Bennett, a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat. Venerated U.S. Ambassador Thomas Shannon retired in February 2018 after an almost 35-year career at the State Department. He started off as a consular/political officer in Guatemala in 1984 and ended as the third highest-ranking official in the agency as undersecretary for political affairs. He also briefly served as acting secretary...Continue
Since he famously strolled down the escalator at Trump Tower to announce his unlikely bid for the American Presidency, most foreign capitals have been wondering what to make of Donald Trump. Is he an isolationist or someone who cavalierly threatens war? Is he the world-renowned businessman who will make a deal with anyone, or is he someone who underappreciates long-time friends and allies? The answer, as is typical in foreign affairs, is complicated. As foreign diplomats in Washington, D.C. navigate their relationship with the United States of America, they should keep in mind that America maintains core interests that...Continue
With s’mores ingredients and charcoal prominently displayed in supermarkets across the United States, summer is definitely in full swing. The change of seasons comes with an increase in activity, so for this month’s edition of Soft Power, the Meridian Center for Cultural Diplomacy is showcasing eight events from around the globe that brought people together to encourage unexpected dialogue.
Russia was arguably the least popular world power in 2014. According to new data from the Gallup World Poll, Russian leadership has a median international approval rating of 22 percent and a 36 percent disapproval rating, the highest of any country. This is cannot be a surprise following the annexation of Crimea, covert intervention in Eastern Ukraine, and assassination of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov. As a direct result of international disapproval, Russia’s membership in the G8 was suspended in March 2014, further isolating the country during a time of economic hardship. Negative perceptions of Russian leadership are immediately affecting...Continue
Ukraine has been a constant topic in the global news cycle over the past year or so, especially since the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation in March 2014. The public narrative and the news cycle around that particular event and the subsequent unrest in eastern Ukraine have been driven primarily by Western media on one hand and by Russian media outlets on the other. Little in this global discussion and debate has been shaped by Ukraine’s own narrative. One may legitimately ask, “Why is this the case?” In part this has to do with the reality of...Continue