Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Minutes of Evidence


Public Diplomacy in the USA

  1.  Getting the UK message across on vital issues is a key objective throughout the US. Each Post contributes to the Public Diplomacy effort, showing what Britain has to offer. The UK needs to engage with the increasingly influential US communities which lack traditional links with the UK. Bringing influential visitors to the UK is an important element of public diplomacy.

  2.  The current UK with NY festival (13-28 October 2001) is a good example of government working with a local initiative to project modern Britain. Planned events were refocussed to express UK solidarity and support for the people of New York

  3.  The BBC World Service attracts a North American audience of 2.6 million, of whom some 95% now listen to rebroadcasts on FM. Short Wave services ceased on 1 July 2001.

  4.  A recent review by the British Council has confirmed that it should focus in the areas of education, the arts and creative industries, seeking strategic partnerships within the US.

  5.  The UK remains the most popular destination for US students studying overseas, with an estimated 33,000 in the UK, bringing in over £200m a year to the UK economy. Increasing the number of US students in the UK is a key target of the Prime Minister's Initiative which aims to achieve a 25% share of the global market for higher education by 2005.

  6.  Over a thousand Marshall Scholarships have been awarded since the programme was instituted by Parliament in 1953 in recognition of assistance received from the US in the aftermath of the Second World War. There is a strong alumni association. The 50th Anniversary of the Marshall Scholarships will be celebrated in 2003.

  7.  The Atlantic Fellowships in Public Policy, established by the FCO in June 1994 to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of D-Day and the US contribution to the liberation of Europe, bring 10-12 outstanding mid-career professionals each year to study and gain practical experience in a wide variety of public policy areas in the United Kingdom.

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Prepared 18 December 2001