Throwback Thursday: Matt J. Lauer on Public Diplomacy

On August 21, 2014, in EmbassyView, by Focus Washington

Here is a  throwback to ten year’s ago when QorvisMSL’S Matt J. Lauer was executive director of the commission on public diplomacy at the U.S. State Department.  He discussed  the Bush administration’s report on public diplomacy which was instrumental in updating America’s public diplomacy from the cold war days.  Here he is on CNN’s “Diplomatic License.” Matt J. Lauer on Public Diplomacy Reform on CNN’s Diplomatic License

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Chuck Conconi sat down with Bob Cusack, Managing Editor of the Hill Newspaper, to discuss the resignation of Veteran Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki. Lawmakers and members of Shinseki’s own party called for him to step down under reports that VA hospitals falsified waiting lists.

“As a political story, this will fade. The problem that Shinseki had is that if members of your own team call for your head, you’re in trouble. A dozen Democrats called for his head. There will be congressional oversight on this issue,” said Bob Cusack. Continue reading »


WASHINGTON—May 19, 2014— The government of Equatorial Guinea has heavily invested its oil revenues in the country by focusing on improving education, developing human capital and diversifying its economy, Equatorial Guinea’s Ambassador to the United States, Ruben Maye Nsue Mangue, said in a recent interview with Focus Washington.

Ambassador Nsue Mangue called improved education one of his country’s most important accomplishments since independence. “Since 1979, the government committed to develop professional education and human development. When we gained our independence, we did not have any universities, but now we have two universities, and the president is building another university in the new town of Oyala.”

Education has been a top priority for the government. Equatorial Guinean has an adult literacy rate of nearly 100%–the highest in Africa.. Since 1979, citizens of Equatorial Guinea have received more than 500,000 scholarships to study in universities and professional and technical-training programs outside the country. This figure includes multiple scholarship recipients and people who have remained outside the country.

The West African nation has also experienced significant economic growth, and it has learned how to best use its oil revenues from the positive and negative experiences of other countries. Continue reading »


On April 30, the Atlantic Council presented its 2014 Distinguished Leadership Awards.

The awards are given annually to distinguished individuals for their efforts in strengthening the transatlantic relationship. Governor John Huntsman, Atlantic Council Chairman, opened the ceremony.

The 2014 Distinguished Leadership Awards honored the following individuals:


The Hon. Chuck Hagel

U.S. Secretary of Defense

Distinguished International Leadership


H.E. José Manuel Barroso

President, European Commission

Distinguished International Leadership


Dr. Thomas Enders

CEO, Airbus Group

Distinguished Business Leadership


Ms. RuslanaLyzhychko

Award-winning Musician, Humanitarian Activist, and Civic Leader of the Euromaidan

Distinguished Humanitarian Leadership


Gen. Joseph F. Dunford, Jr., USMC

Commander, International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and US Forces Afghanistan (USFOR-A) on Behalf of the Men and Women of ISAF and USFOR-A

Distinguished Military Leadership



Nicholas Kralev: U.S.-Iran Diplomacy with Barbara Slavin

On April 29, 2014, in DCView, by Focus Washington

On the latest episode of Conversations with Nicholas Kralev, author and Iran expert Barbara Slavin talks about the prospect of a long-term nuclear deal with Tehran, the possibility for U.S.-Iran reconciliation, and the likelihood of American diplomatic presence in Iran.

Ep2.6: U.S.-Iran Diplomacy with Barbara Slavin from Conversations w/Nicholas Kralev on Vimeo.


Inept leader in a gathering storm

On March 25, 2014, in Featured, by Focus Washington

By Chuck Conconi 

After six years in the White House, it is not unfair to say that President Obama is politically inept in his relationship with Congress. If he thinks he has been having trouble dealing with recalcitrant Republicans on the Hill, what will he do in the last two years of his term if, as predicted, in November’s off-year elections the Republicans hold onto and build their majority in the House of Representatives and take over the Senate?

Even among his allies and supporters there is dismay over his recent nominations for Senate confirmation, such as Debo P. Adegbile, to head the Justice Department’s civil rights decision. He was resoundingly rejected by the Senate, with several Democrats joining the Republican opposition.  There was intense criticism of Adegbile’s involvement in the legal appeals of Mumia Abu-Jamal, who is serving a life sentence without parole for killing a Philadelphia police officer. Continue reading »


Republic of Zambia celebrates ‘Golden Jubilee,’ of independence marked by peaceful government transitions, strong opportunities for economic growth and investment, and lack of war and conflict


WASHINGTON– March 12, 2014 – “Achievements are many, but one that stands out is Zambia has managed to maintain peace and stability for the last 50 years,” Zambian Ambassador to the U.S. Palan Mulonda told Chuck Conconi during an interview on Focus Washington.   “We have managed to have two government transitions peacefully, and our democracy, one can argue, is now firmly entrenched.”

As the Republic of Zambia celebrates 50 years of independence, the Ambassador paid tribute to the founding fathers of Zambia in their sacrifice and actions to secure the peace that exists today.  “Zambia was created with a motto,” the Ambassador said, “this motto resonated very well.  This was “One Zambia, One nation.” And what that means he explained, “was that as a nation, tribe, color, be it any form of distinction was never to be a factor.” Continue reading »


Vietnam’s Red Line Blurs As It Engages America

On March 11, 2014, in DCView, Special Features, by Focus Washington


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By James Borton

Vietnam is writing a new story and it is not about the wounds of war that Americans saw on the evening news when the last American citizens boarded the helicopter from the American Embassy rooftop in Saigon almost 40 years ago. It appears that the Obama administration, like earlier Washington administrations, is leaving this new chapter untranslated and unread.

In an interview last year with Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung at the historic Waldorf Astoria, he reinforced the new chapter, when he stated, “ we will do everything we can to be an active, constructive and responsible member of the international community. All that is for the goals of peace, friendship, mutual respect, equality and win-win, and this is particularly true with our relations with the U.S. since they are based on that same policy.”

For the past year, Vietnam has pursued a purposeful diplomatic drive to usher in a new period of bilateral relations with the United States that included a visit by Socialist Republic of Vietnam President Truong Tan Sang with President Barack Obama at the White House, to Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s Harvard Executive Leadership class, and to the run-up last November of Mr. Dung’s formal address to the United Nations assembly.

Vietnam wants America to know that it is deeply engaged in forging a closer and comprehensive partnership with its once former enemy. Continue reading »


China’s President Applauded for Walking Street Without Air Mask

On February 27, 2014, in DCView, by Focus Washington
Chinese President Xi Jinping, center, is surrounded by onlookers during an unannounced visit to a residential alley in Beijing, Feb. 25, 2014. AP Photo

Chinese President Xi Jinping, center, is surrounded by onlookers during an unannounced visit to a residential alley in Beijing, Feb. 25, 2014. AP Photo

From ABC News

China’s President Xi Jinping  made a rare public appearance on a popular Beijing street today, which is  Day 6 of air so hazardous the city has been placed under a “pollution alert.”

Social media is lighting up with the news Xi strolled down Nanluoguxiang, known for selling “stinky tofu,”  and most of the commentary positive:

“Breathing together, sharing the same fate,” read one post on Weibo, China’s Twitter.

Nanluoguxiang is packed with hip cafes and bars frequented by Beijing youth and tourists. Xi allowed several photos to be taken as he visited two homes, inquiring about living conditions.

Breathing bad air, without a mask, won Xi an enormous amount of praise online. “Right on! Big Xi didn’t wear a face mask!” wrote one blogger according to the South China Morning Post.

Chen Heng, owner of Chen’s Small Intestine Restaurant, posted a complaint that police were checking the area “like mad dogs” in the days leading up to the visit.


Cokie Roberts Talks Partisan Rigidity and Her New Book

On February 6, 2014, in DCView, by Focus Washington

Cokie Roberts FW

Cokie Roberts says that in the Washington in which she grew up there was a friendliness and camaraderie among the congressional political families because they lived in Washington and got to know each other.

The ABC and NPR news analyst, writer and author, Roberts said in a Focus Washington interview with Chuck Conconi that contemporary congressional families don’t move to Washington, “and as a result they don’t get to know each other.” She conceded that it is complicated when both work and the reality makes it very expensive to maintain two households. This situation then leads to the partisan rigidity so much a part of the current legislative debates. Continue reading »


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