Thursday, October 04, 2007

Celebrity Diplomacy: Challenges and Opportunities

Featured Speakers: David Biette, Director, Canada Institute; Andrew Cooper, Associate Director and Distinguished Fellow, Center for International Governance and Innovation; John Marks, President and Founder, Search for Common Ground

This event shed light on how celebrities have historically played a role in international diplomacy and how that role is changing. Previously celebrities were mostly utilized to help raise awareness and raise funds. Often this was done by sending celebrities to the developing world to be photographed with starving children. Today the role of celebrities is changing and, what is now called, a ‘Bono-ization’ of celebrity diplomacy is taking place. Celebrities are now seen as an effective tool to not only raise awareness and funds but also to influence policy. Examples of such situations included Bono and Princess Diana, who not only visited various developing nations, but also spoke with key policy makers. History has shown that key issues have been addressed through celebrity involvement.

The presenters agreed that celebrities do have a place in diplomacy. The debate, however, is the question of the extent of their involvement -- should they be used in the traditional sense, as awareness raisers, or as activists and lobbyists to government officials?

Sponsor: Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

Location: 1300 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington DC

Date: September 25, 2007

Time: 9am-10:30am

Approximate Number of Attendees: 55

Intern Attending: Rebekah McKnight

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