Professor Nicholas Cull on Public Diplomacy

Professor Cull

On Thursday 7 March 2019, Bournemouth University hosted a guest talk on public diplomacy by Professor Nicholas Cull, Professor of Public Diplomacy at the University of Southern California.

The talk was part of a seminar series by Bournemouth University’s Centre for Politics and Media Research (CPMR). CPMR and the Global Current Affairs Bureau, a new research grouping, jointly hosted Professor Cull’s presentation called ‘Reputational Security and other new priorities: Rethinking Public Diplomacy for a dangerous age’.

Professor Cull is currently a fellow of the Reuter’s Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford.  He is a prolific author of work on the subject of propaganda and public diplomacy.

This year, Professor Cull releases a new overview text entitled: ‘Public Diplomacy: Foundations for Global Engagement in the Digital Age’ (Polity, 2019). He is a regular guest lecturer at diplomatic academies around the world and has chaired two recent studies of public diplomacy in the field for the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

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The presentation revealed the conclusion to Professor Cull’s new book which identifies four priorities for public diplomacy in the present age of global uncertainty.

Firstly, to build and protect reputational security. Secondly, to counter disinformation. Thirdly, to contest victim narratives, and finally, to articulate a shared vision of the future.

Professor Cull presented reputational security as a repositioning of Nye’s notion of soft power and Anholt’s concept of a nation brand, arguing that a better reputation is not a luxury for the richest countries but can be an essential component of security in an era of geopolitical instability. Professor Cull continued to place emphasis on the need to adhere to an international standard of human rights as a component of reputational security.