Passport

New diplo-blog star in Kabul

As Blake noted yesterday, the U.S. State Department’s disappointing new blog Dipnote does not mean that the new genre of diplomatic blogging has no potential. To see how it’s done right, check out the site of Sherard Cowper-Coles, the UK’s ambassador to Afghanistan. Cowper-Coles has been blogging regularly from Kabul since Sept. 26, including four ...

As Blake noted yesterday, the U.S. State Department's disappointing new blog Dipnote does not mean that the new genre of diplomatic blogging has no potential. To see how it's done right, check out the site of Sherard Cowper-Coles, the UK's ambassador to Afghanistan.

Cowper-Coles has been blogging regularly from Kabul since Sept. 26, including four self-made YouTube videos. He has conducted interviews with a British military commander and the staff of an Afghan TV station, and shared some of his observations on Afghanistan's culture and current events. Cowper-Coles is an engaging writer and comes off as genuinely excited by the potential of the medium.

Is it just PR? Of course. But Cowper-Coles proves that public diplomacy doesn't have to be limited to boring photo-ops and go-nowhere initiatives. The UK Foreign Office currently has six officials blogging, including Foreign Minister David Miliband, though none of the others seems to update as regularly. One hopes they'll take a page out of Cowper-Coles's book.

As Blake noted yesterday, the U.S. State Department’s disappointing new blog Dipnote does not mean that the new genre of diplomatic blogging has no potential. To see how it’s done right, check out the site of Sherard Cowper-Coles, the UK’s ambassador to Afghanistan.

Cowper-Coles has been blogging regularly from Kabul since Sept. 26, including four self-made YouTube videos. He has conducted interviews with a British military commander and the staff of an Afghan TV station, and shared some of his observations on Afghanistan’s culture and current events. Cowper-Coles is an engaging writer and comes off as genuinely excited by the potential of the medium.

Is it just PR? Of course. But Cowper-Coles proves that public diplomacy doesn’t have to be limited to boring photo-ops and go-nowhere initiatives. The UK Foreign Office currently has six officials blogging, including Foreign Minister David Miliband, though none of the others seems to update as regularly. One hopes they’ll take a page out of Cowper-Coles’s book.

(Hat tip: David Steven of Global Dashboard)

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy  Twitter: @joshuakeating

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