Exchange Programs and Public Diplomacy
Public diplomacy covers an array of different activities, all of which function at various distances from and in combinations with the practice of foreign policy and its specific objectives. Among these activities, exchange programs are an interesting case. Most forms of public diplomacy involve the presentation of image and information, and most public diplomacy research also focuses on these “fast media.” Exchanges are different in that they directly involve the “human factor,” where an engagement with the personality, psychology, and both short- and long-term personal development of participants is central. The interpersonal nature of the exchange experience, coupled with its inherently private character, has often caused this field to be bypassed in public diplomacy literature looking to determine outcomes. This chapter examines the relevance of exchanges as important circuits of global interchange, situating them within the broad panoply of public diplomacy activities, and international relations in general.