A New Professional Organization for the New Era in Global Engagement

As of April 15, 2022, the Public Diplomacy Council and the Public Diplomacy Association of America have merged to form the Public Diplomacy Council of America (PDCA).

The mission of the Public Diplomacy Council of America, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) association of professionals and scholars, is to promote excellence in the professional practice, academic study, and advocacy for public diplomacy. We will:

  • Honor practitioners’ achievements;
  • Help members stay in touch and keep current with issues and new developments in global communications;
  • Mentor and train professionals in this rapidly changing field;
  • Promote understanding of the increasingly important “public dimension” of statecraft and
  • Gain support for America’s global engagement.

Publics are more engaged and important than ever before

No longer can governments decide the world’s fate irrespective of their own publics and those of other nations. Both “old” and “new” media mobilize publics as never before. Leaders consult stakeholders, carefully analyze public opinion on a daily basis, and seek to shape media support. Deeply held values and cultural norms affect public perceptions and judgments about issues.

The United States has long relied on NGOs and independent media

Government agencies carry out public diplomacy increasingly in tandem with non-governmental organizations and trans-national institutions. These organizations also have their own agendas for domestic and world affairs. They might partner with a government agency at one time, and, in other times, oppose or pressure their own and other governments.

With our own vigorous domestic discourse and the ongoing belief in paying a “… decent respect to the opinions of mankind …,” the United States has long sought to understand and work with publics abroad, directly through U.S. Government-sponsored or facilitated activities and increasingly with non-governmental organizations.

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Citizen Diplomacy complements traditional agencies

Some argue that public diplomacy is conducted directly or facilitated by the U.S. government toward international publics. Others extend the definition to citizendiplomacy, manifest increasingly in a host of specialized pursuits such as the environment, science and technology, sports, health, cultural and educational exchange, and the arts. While the United States has been active in the field of public diplomacy the longest, it is by no means the only government that focuses on improving the understanding of its history, culture, society, motivations, and policies.

Get involved in this dynamic field

For more than three decades two professional organizations, the Public Diplomacy Council (PDC), founded in 1988, and the Public Diplomacy Association of America (PDCA), founded in 1984, have fostered greater understanding of this field of endeavor and promoted more active participation by the American public. They have joined forces to create The Public Diplomacy Council of America.  The active members of the PDC and PDAA are founding members of the PDCA, which will carry on their programs and create new ones.

Its membership combines active and retired professionals with people who aspire to careers in the field. Its members come from many sectors: foreign affairs agencies, academia, defense, media, nonprofits, and private enterprise. They include:

  • Practitioners managing people-to-people, academic, professional and other citizen exchange programs sponsored by the State Department, other government agencies, or the private sector
  • Former ambassadors
  • Professionals working on State Department and other international information, public affairs, and citizen exchange programs
  • Alumni of the State Department, the U.S. Information Agency, and the Voice of America
  • Historians who study PD … and some of the people they write about.
  • Military officers
  • Professionals who aspire to enter the field
  • And more.

The Public Diplomacy Council is a U.S. -based nonprofit organization committed to the academic study, professional practice, and responsible advocacy of public diplomacy. The Council offers associate membership to practicing PD professionals, and invites retired Foreign Service Officers, scholars and other experts to full membership status. See our Membership Page for more details.

  • We publish a listing of the top university programs for public diplomacy, mentor PD professionals in collaboration with partners, and advocate for professional standards and support. You can read members’ views on our Public Diplomacy Blog.
  • Membership: The Council offers associate membership to practicing PD professionals, and invites retired Foreign Service Officers, scholars and other experts to full membership status.  See our Membership Page for more details.

The Public Diplomacy Association of America (PDAA), an association for public diplomacy professionals and formerly the USIA Alumni Association, is a not-for-profit, voluntary, 501(c)(6) organization, with some 400 members. PDAA members have worked in or with the information, education, and cultural programs that the U.S. Government incorporates into the conduct of its diplomacy. Its membership is open to anyone interested in public diplomacy as it is practiced abroad.

  • Awards Program: The Public Diplomacy Achievement Awards are given each year to professionals in government agencies or non-government organizations whose work makes a difference in projecting American policies, ideas, and culture to the rest of the world.
  • In partnership with the PDC and the USC Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership and Policy, the Council sponsors the First Monday Forum, a monthly discussion that brings together a cross-section of Washingtonians from public diplomacy and international broadcasting.

The Public Diplomacy Council is a U.S. -based nonprofit organization committed to the academic study, professional practice, and responsible advocacy of public diplomacy. The Council offers associate membership to practicing PD professionals, and invites retired Foreign Service Officers, scholars and other experts to full membership status. See our Membership Page for more details.

  • We publish a listing of the top university programs for public diplomacy, mentor PD professionals in collaboration with partners, and advocate for professional standards and support. You can read members’ views on our Public Diplomacy Blog.
  • Membership: The Council offers associate membership to practicing PD professionals, and invites retired Foreign Service Officers, scholars and other experts to full membership status.  See our Membership Page for more details.

PDAA, the Public Diplomacy Association of America and formerly the USIA Alumni Association, is a not-for-profit, voluntary, 501(c)(6) organization, with some 400 members. PDAA members have worked in or with the information, education, and cultural programs that the U.S. Government incorporates into the conduct of its diplomacy. Its membership is open to anyone interested in public diplomacy as it is practiced abroad.

  • Awards Program: The Public Diplomacy Achievement Awards are given each year to professionals in government agencies or non-government organizations whose work makes a difference in projecting American policies, ideas, and culture to the rest of the world.
  • In partnership with the PDC and the USC Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership and Policy, the Council sponsors the First Monday Forum, a monthly discussion that brings together a cross-section of Washingtonians from public diplomacy and international broadcasting.