CPD Workshop: Celebrity Diplomacy



morning everybody good morning my name is Jeff Wiseman I'm director of the center on public diplomacy here at USC and on behalf of the center and the Norman Lear Center I want to welcome everybody to this workshop but let me say first how very grateful we are both at the center on public diplomacy in Norman Lear Center for the Annenberg School Dean's fund for making this workshop possible now the fund that I mentioned encourages three things one of them is an international activity or perspective the second is a an innovative perspective and the third one is that the activity should have an impact on the real world and I think that this workshop addresses all three of those issues very nicely now the workshop itself was basically conceived in response to I think rising interest in this phenomenon of celebrity well what has variously been described as celebrity activism celebrity politics celebrity humanitarianism and now thanks to Andy Cooper's new book which we hope will be on sale after the event we have a neutral celebrity diplomacy so we're not going to spend too much time at least I'm not on these various concepts and terms but whatever we call it it's pretty clear that we do have a fascinating a controversial subject and I think it's true to say that a conversation has been percolating for several years now and I think it's just becoming a much more robust debate and including you will notice articles appearing in some academic journals no less global governance to name one of them and so what we wanted to do for this workshop was to basically consider not just what celebrities themselves do that is to say the causes they promote we wanted to look at things like genocide in Darfur we wanted to look at the notion of defending human rights what celebrities do to promote dignity and development in third-world countries and we also wanted to see what celebrities were doing in terms of protecting the environment now it's pretty clear that we have some very big questions that we all want to address and I think some of these include whether celebrity diplomacy or whatever we call it is really new whether it is accepted widely or legitimate whether it's more widespread today than it was saved 15 20 years ago we're interested in whether it's more sophisticated more institutionalized than it has been in the past we want to know whether there is in fact a clever use of what's called soft power not just in the United States by but by other countries around the world we also want to know whether we are investing our emotions at time and observe money in celebrity activities and whether this is a sound investment and the bottom-line question may well be that celebrity diplomacy celebrity activism help or harm now these are dissembled the question the bigger questions that I think we are trying to address in this workshop now at the same time there are some less obvious questions and this occurred to us as we started developing this workshop and it was pretty clear to us that we wanted to go beyond the glamour if you like of the movie stars and the athletes whose names we all know we we also wanted to know though when George Clooney and Mia Farrow get to Darfur how did they get there what facilitated that process what enabled that process and who is behind those people arriving in these very distant isolated and in many cases hostile places and so we were particularly fascinated with this question both at the center on public diplomacy in the LIA Center and we wanted to look at this question of how celebrities are in fact supported encouraged guided counseled etc and so we wanted to look at this group of people this group of practitioners that might be called facilitators or enablers of the celebrity active process and so for our roundtable we did in fact invite a number of people administrators at the United Nations who run goodwill ambassadors and messengers a Peace program we wanted to invite people from some of the agency foundations here in Los Angeles and we wanted to ask political consultants and others to engage in this particular dialogue and so we're delighted that many of these practitioners the professionals who do this behind-the-scenes work will be here for the workshop and for our roundtable in the next session but first we do have a panel of two very distinguished academics and they I I'm hoping will set the parameters and perhaps a framework for our discussion so I now want to actually turn the workshop over to my very good colleague Chris Smith to chair the first session and once again I want to thank you all for taking the time to bring your expertise and your experience to this workshop and very Hardy welcome to you thank you very much good morning everyone I hope you're doing well it's a pleasure to see you today I wanted to thank Jeff Weisman and then the center in public diplomacy for inviting me here I wanted to thank Doug Kellner and Andy Cooper for sharing this morning's panel with me and in light of Jeff Wiseman's comments about how new all of this is I just wanted to spend a few moments delving into some of the historical parameters of this issue some of the shifts that have occurred in our media landscape that is that have contributed to the utilization of these celebrity figures toward these diplomatic efforts so very quickly it's clear that one can't separate public diplomacy and the utilization of celebrity tour day without thinking about some of the effects mass media and new media have had on the body politic when you think about the zenith or the the the initial heyday of mass media you think about the movement from print journalism to radio and to the dawn of electronic media and with electronic media you had the attachment of particular social communities and and individuals to particular figures so a figure like a boxer like Joe Lewis in the 1930s could become symbolic of the black cultural public sphere as well as the American public sphere generally so with the advent of mass media in the early 20th century you had this connection between people in the public sphere and these unique figures governments began to pick up on this so not coincidentally in the 1940s with the advent of the war effort against the Axis powers Joe Lewis becomes part of the American the symbolic effort to generate support for the war so you begin to get this collusion between nation-states celebrity figures and sub subaltern publics all at the same time simultaneous to that also in the 1940s celebrity figures like Paul Robeson began to recognize the way in which they could marshal the synergy between their public image and in Robinson's case the work he did as an actor and artist and athlete with his private stature he could arrive at a certain synergistic balance and contribute his efforts toward causes worldwide internationally so he ventured to Russia he ventured to Wales on behalf of the of the miners in Wales so you see very quickly from the advent of this mass media period the formation of a kind of internationalist perspective around it recognizing this politicians politicize these efforts and you have in the beginning of the 1950s during the Cold War in the McCarthy period this demonization of celebrities who dare to mix politics with their artistry nevertheless jazz diplomacy grew alongside these efforts to squelch celebrities political so in the late 50s early 60s you had jazz and American jazz figures like Louis Armstrong and Dave Brubeck sent overseas to facilitate a kind of positive image for the United States abroad so you have all of these asymmetrical kind of movements going on around celebrity politics and their mass mediation stretching from the 30s through the early 1960s of course as the 60s progressed celebrities become even more overt and radicalized with their politics this leads obviously to the kind of demise of a kind of appreciation for legitimate political figures in the domestic context when in the 1970s you have the Watergate scandal and the kind of des munition of legitimate elected officials Reagan fills that vacuum in the 80s with with a whole new way of imagining the way in which a figure could be both political and part of the entertainment realm at the same time at that same moment you get the rise with with entertainment figures like Bob Geldof filling the void of the neoliberal States vacuity um sort of um eradication of other measures of assistance for developing people a feeling of that void with artistic projects like live in that that seek to help others by alternative means now coming up to the present day from the 1990s forward you see a further kind of blending and and proximity between celebrity and political figures and out of this celebrities continue to internationalize their efforts so now we see celebrity figures like Angelina Jolie lending their efforts toward diplomatic agendas and and steeping themselves in a certain amount of of grassroots diplomatic expertise and lending that expertise their celebrity aura and stature and access to voices so we see very clearly now an explosion of celebrities being attached to particular global causes whether it's Leonardo DiCaprio's efforts on behalf of the green movement or campaigns that use celebrity figures like the I am African AIDS initiative that proved so controversial and of course the governing figure overall of this trend wise it is Bono who has a more as we if you've read any of the work of the gentleman up here you know that Bono is very much the diplomatic celebrity diplomat even more than Geldof who's more of a of a cantankerous provocateur that might be something we can argue about but you have this explosion of activity in this space which leads me to the question that will set off our initial conversation in recent years we've seen an acceleration of an abiding trend whereby celebrities of all sorts have become more visible participants in debates and actions concerning a wide range of international political and humanitarian issues on balance this has been a good thing and we're going to debate now to what extent our panelists agree or disagree beginning with Doug Kellerman the question that Chris has posed to me as sort of animated my activities when I started this and indeed I started it asks an Associate Director when you think tank in Canada the center for international governance innovation that is sponsored by one of the co-ceos of rim so I have to give that a plug every time President Obama sort of waves of blackberry we're we're very pleased and at the same time I'm at USC and of course there's no better place to be doing a celebrity diplom diplomacy then at USC through the Fulbright Foundation so again I'm very grateful to that what I started it there was a sense of of criticism that this type of phenomenon wasn't a good thing as probably there were three types of criticism one is they're not really diplomats they're sort of dumbing down diplomacy we all know who diplomacy is done by celebrities don't diplomacy second this is sort of a cynical activity so the manipulation has-beens wannabes in all sorts of I'm sure you've all heard this and third was probably the most serious obviously the critiques is that this is sort of a an elite operation so very much top-down we can debate this but I think the more I got into this project the more I started seeing the positive virtues that this field gaps in diplomacy the diplomat just weren't doing and I think sometimes diplomats at least classical diplomats sort of over estimate their popularity indeed I think even overestimate their legitimacy when you look at at a lot of conversations by deployment diplomats lately and indeed the UK foreign minister why does everybody hate diplomats well this opens up a huge space for people that everybody loves or at least a lot of people love they're attractive they can use soft media and new media who can get onto Oprah who can get op eds into Wall Street Journal's essentially go through a whole long list of these type of activities good diplomats have tended to operate in secret behind closed doors you know sort of the Henry Kissinger phenomenon a celebrity diplomat but somebody that that separates his world the types of people that I'm interested in Douglas and others in the room are out there they're looking for sir space and they in the public sphere and this open again soft power politics of Attraction all sorts of things when Joe Nye talks about these types of activities they very much plug in to the the rule of celebrity diplomats yes there's been problems yes some individuals don't do a good job or I should say didn't do a good job I don't think I'm ever gonna go out on a dinner date with ginger spice I mean ginger spice is somebody that you can always bring to the table and say this was not a good idea to have ginger spice as a as a UN Goodwill Ambassador on on reproductive issues sending her off to the Philippines you know also it's sort of a problem that let the Spice Girls were gonna sort of stay famous for ever and ever but ginger spice doesn't make the project and I think again some of the strengths of this project is exactly those sort of human faces it makes celebrities and diplomats mesh into a layered process that really challenges not only classical diplomacy but indeed NGO diplomacy there's a huge debate and it's one of the things we can bring out that NGOs do a fantastic job in the front lines but I would ask you even sophisticated people in the audience whether you could name more than one or two sort of heads of NGOs these are people that really are sort of faceless odorless and in some sense at least in sort of media connotation Oxfam is a good example it embraces celebrity diplomats but most NGOs find it a phenomenon that's that's problematic it's also a multi-layered process I think there's a huge difference between the sort of top tiered mainstream celebrity diplomats that I'm most interested from a number of other adjacent phenomena when I'm talking about celebrity diplomats I'm not talking about Madonna you know politics of adoption doesn't really sort of have much of a connotation about diplomacy what I'm interested in are people who engage with state officials engage with institutions and in this regard they certainly won access in terms of those bodies they also use a certain style on again the the reference to Bono is a good example he is the exemplar of a charming type of diplomacy you might say he's manipulated by the behind the scenes he's certainly calculated but he's charming and hard-working and this I think is a very interesting component to it there's two other types though and again Christmas has mentioned one of them the sort of provocateurs the people and I mentioned a sort of the anti diplomats some of these courts do very good work but again it stretches the notion of diplomacy Bob Geldof he's everywhere you know I was like the the g20 Media Center a couple of you a weeks ago he's there he's bouncing around the room he's giving interviews to Al Jazeera all sorts of different media I mean he's he might not be as famous as he was though twenty twenty-five years ago I saw a pop star but he's certainly very well known by by media representatives Mia Farrow also sort of stretching the bounds between diplomacy and anti diplomacy as soon as you come out and start talking about the genocide Olympics is this diplomacy again we can we can talk about this Henry Belafonte a colleague of mine orga Hein has just done a nice little op-ed for the Jamaica Gleaner on the 50th anniversary of Harry Belafonte's performance at Carnegie Hall but as a diplomat even though we can love Harry on all sorts of things when you call President Bush the biggest war criminal in history with with with President Chavez in and in attendance probably the sort of stretches our notion of diplomacy and of course Sean Penn bean brigitte bardot we could go through a long list of this the other aspect i think it also gets into the question of value i think the mainstream celebrity diplomats our most valuable when they're sort of building momentum building sort of enthusiasm for for issues but there's another strand of celebrity diplomats that of course come from the business side that have a huge amount of efficiency as well once more this is a layered exercise I don't think I would call Warren Buffett a celebrity deployment he sort of more of a classic 19th century philanthropist he gives money if he's got a lot of money he's not all that interested and a lot of international issues what do they say Warren Buffett has two interests in life making money and playing bridge but he also is very generous with 30 plus billion dollars to the Gates Foundation Bill Gates is more this type of celebrity diplomat on the business side that I'm I'm interested in he's somebody that when he visits Bangladesh gets bigger reception than country's leaders from most g8 countries so certainly we have to take he is his foundation in 2005 spends more on health than the WHL again this doesn't say much about global governance or maybe it does say a lot about global governance but what it does say is that Bill Gates's is filling a gap and then finally on sort of the and II diplomacy side there's also somebody like George Soros who is sort of diplomatic but also anti diplomatic goading provoking on the Putin regime in Ukraine and in Georgia but making a difference in terms of democracy component to finish up then what I'm really see as the value when it comes back to to Chris's point again about Jazz diplomacy about State Department diplomacy yes this has had big successes in the past but what we're seeing now is sort of a hybrid diplomacy where these type of celebrities do different things at the different times and they're famous as well as when they're doing the the celebrity diplomacy the days of Audrey Hepburn when she sort of does this in retirement is very long gone the three best examples of course Barnell i talked about to the ball is a ssin of diplomacy because i think he sort of stands out in this regard he's an insider he's an outside or uses all the sort of politics of theater that Douglass's is is interested in he uses the club model he gets bilaterals with george bush tony blair anybody wants in the g8 setting but at the same time he uses that sort of theater in having big concerts Rostock all sorts of EV activities and the final thing that Bono and it shouldn't be underestimated is the mentor mentored sort of phenomenon as well he is mentored yes he he searches out I'm sure he sort of would look to USC certainly he looked to Jeffrey Sachs you know for for from mentorship but at the same time when you look at Hollywood you see that that that Bono has mentor an awful amount of celebrities in this illness in this town and he doesn't on a global basis he doesn't with diaspora representation Wyclef Jean in Haiti he does it on a global basis even in terms of language where he has people using the door from from Senegal so the cross civilizational aspect sometimes these people are cut out there's a great photo of Bob Bono carrying a data sort of a briefcase along and it's being carried by using the door but in most photos you still gets chopped out so it's only it's only Bono and involved and get press coverage at least in in North America second of course George Clooney very cautious very interesting but again building up that sort of coverage I was in India a year ago some friends invited me to a very nice hotel the Imperial Inn in Delhi I go there pick up you know there's lots of newspapers even in English and in India pick up the newspaper this headlines George Clooney eats dinner at the Imperial Hotel with the minister of External Affairs the Foreign Minister of India with George Clooney in a private dinner he's going off to Jaipur to meet Indian peacekeepers the the the Southern Command this is an amazing thing that he has access to it was probably a lot of people who haven't seen too many George Clooney movies but he's got that access how many diplomats how many High Commissioners or ambassador's can get that type of representation but the same time of course as we know George is a hybrid he's not only working for the United Nations messenger of peace to some high-ranking position he office least raised into NGO activity as well and certainly on the door for as we see him standing on the the White House lawn right there talking to Larry King about Darfur pushing for a special representative on on Darfur and finally how can we leave out Angelina was probably the most surprising sort of celebrity deployment I'm sure if we win if we went back sort of 20 years ago you know whether it's in high school or whether it's in her early movies was probably Angelina Jolie he would not be somebody that we would have picked as your successful archetype for celebrity diplomat diplomacy but whatever you think of a private life in terms of celebrity diplomacy she hasn't made a faulty move indeed not just being a cautious NGO working for the UN and on refugee issues working for various NGOs are working with NGOs she's pushed the envelope in a lot of cases that most diplomats would be hesitant to move we could soon have a have a list some issues even on US refugee issues move going to Baghdad talking about the plight of refugees in Iraq when this type of issue is not given much publicity criticizing Thailand for its treatment of Muslim minority would be refugees again this is a very interesting case so even though Namibia births and adoptions and all sorts of things get some of the attention we should not fail to see this is a very successful case and again a successful case for the UN there are obstacles and indeed every time I push forward with this I thought this might have a sense of fatigue borne of talks about fatigue but it goes through these these barriers 9/11 didn't push off celebrity diplomacy the recession certainly has pushed celebrity's interaction more local issues but in some ways the Obama era seems to be reflowing celebrity diplomacy every week there's a new sort of columnist as many in the room would know about the role of celebrities President Obama doesn't seem to mind having other celebrities playing a huge role there's lots of clips of President Obama with the celebrities that I'm talking about so again whatever we think and and there's going to be differences between good and bad assessments we have to take them seriously and indeed I think this should be the debate that we have today thanks good morning yeah hello good morning I have some comments today on Andrews book celebrity diplomacy which is published by a paradigm press that also published my 2005 book media spectacle and the crisis of democracy so I'm going to comment on both Andrews book and give my own analysis to supplement his account of celebrity diplomacy by drawing on my word on media spectacle in fact in an era where media culture is arguably at the center of politics both in elections and governing it is not surprising that celebrity diplomacy is growing and scope and perhaps significance and Andrew Cooper is to be congratulated for writing the first book but I'm aware of that investigates in detail the history forms and consequences of growing celebrity diplomacy moreover Cooper raises questions concerning its relation to traditional diplomacy and whether it has largely positive or negative effects or as I will argue is highly ambiguous and hard at this point of time to generalize about or of praise in good/bad dichotomies now in framing his subject Cooper's signals the history of celebrity diplomacy and makes it clear that celebrity diplomacy has been around for a long time with Hollywood stars like Audrey Hepburn Gregory Peck and Danny Kaye promoting global issues and associating their celebrity with helping to deal with social and global problems mostly in work with the UN and of course Princess Diana briefly became perhaps the most publicized celebrity diplomat of a certain era before her tragic death and Christopher did a fantastic job of giving a historical background and overview of celebrity diplomacy in the u.s. contacts since World War two up to the present now the other virtue of Andrews book that has already been signal is he carries out well-documented and extremely interesting case studies of Bono and Bob Geldof's intervention into celebrity diplomacy that he stressed in his presentation but there's also a great chapter on Davos as a site of celebrity diplomacy where diplomats politicians intellectuals come together to publicize certain global issues now what cooper is generally intrigued with celebrity diplomacy as i am as a student of media culture he also calls attention to its defense such as the dangers of celebrities deflecting attention from possibly more serious diplomatic efforts or informed professionals as spokesman for issues he's aware of the dangers of amateurism and celebrity diplomats blundering or discrediting good causes he's aware of he stresses the concentration of celebrity diplomacy in the north rather than the south although there's a good chapter on an easily moving celebrity diplomacy beyond the Anglo sphere and examples of emerging celebrity diplomats from Africa Bollywood and other non-western sites and I'm going to talk about an emergence of celebrity diplomacy from Latin America today in fact I would like to suggest how a politician's celebrity how a politician's celebrity can aid diplomacy by calling attention to the fun on phenomena of Barack Obama the book is pre Obama so I'm basically going to suggest some of the ways that Obama adds to Andrews narrative Obama arguably won the president see at least in part because of his effectiveness as mobilizing media spectacle and making himself a celebrity whether on the campaign trail through the internet including YouTube videos like Obama girl and yes we can as well as circulating videos of his speeches through the internet complemented by other videos made by Obama's often young supporters all of which produced Obama images of Obama as a global celebrity clearly by the end of the long presidential campaign Obama emerged as a celebrity of the highest order receiving rock star adulation wherever he went in fact I want to be bold enough to argue that Obama is now the world's super global celebrity Bar None and we'll discuss how he's been using this to promote his agenda in fact both during the campaign and now his role as president Obama has used his super celebrity status to engage in public diplomacy for his agenda in part his phenomenal popularity after bitter anger throughout the world at the bush-cheney administration is a positive added ode to what was rising and dangerous anti Americanism and also provides leverage as a global diplomat to promote his agendas after Obama's recent trips to Europe the UK France Trinidad and other places you'll you've been seeing how Obama has been of leveraging his celebrity to engage in a form of celebrity diplomacy hence I would argue that in the contemporary era of media spectacled effective politicians need to become global celebrities to effectively promote national interests or deal with global issues Andrew notes how Bill Clinton and Nelson Mandela have used their superstar celebrity status to promote global issues and engage in celebrity diplomacy after their terms of office and I think that in the current era of always escalating media spectacle is likely we'll see more politicians both active and formally retired as celebrity politicians and diplomats using their celebrity status and access to the media as an instrument to push through their issues or agenda as for appraising celebrity diplomacy either through entertainers or celebrity politicians Cooper is genuine generally positive and I would for the most part agree with him well there's not really much in Cooper's book about the bush-cheney administration I would argue and have argued in books and argues articles that the Bush Cheney administration's failed unilateral and highly centralized diplomacy or anti diplomacy if you prefer shows the need for a broad range of diplomatic efforts to grapple with global problems ranging from official national and global institutions and diplomats to NGOs to celebrity diplomats more than ever I think there's a global awareness of environmental crisis poverty global health problems and issues around food agriculture water and the ecosystem itself as well as problems concerning political refugees starvation and localized political problems problems so enormous that they need multiple efforts including celebrity diplomacy so I would argue that that's part of the myths that we standard politicians and that celebrity helps people like Obama to deal with these problems we need NGOs conventional traditional diplomacy but also celebrity diplomacy now as noted Obama's recent world tours and meetings with European global and Latin American leaders show how politicians are becoming all over the world major celebrities and how celebrity politics is becoming normalized as an important perhaps key segment of global and regional politics looking at last week's meeting in Trinidad with leaders of the Americas is clear that celebrity politics has come to dominate the world stage the major superstar celebrity diplomat in Latin America for the five you last 50 years is Fidel Castro who's obviously a celebrity superstar diplomat and we see now that Lugo Chavez has been following the delves use of the media and producer of political spectacle and whatever you think of Chavez's politics or his tactics it's clear that he is a master of media spectacle and celebrity politics in his trip to the UN a couple of years ago he appeared after george w bush and roamed around the space saying they detected the smell of sulfur perhaps the devil had just been there before him and took some slams at the Bush administration which whatever you think of this as diplomacy or behavior was great political theater and great performance art that got global media attention and likewise Chavez's gesture over the weekend of giving buh buh sorry thank a copy Eduardo galeano his book on us and Peary ilysm in Latin America and data picture of Obama smiling and shaking hands with him was another great example of political theater in fact I saw this morning on the BBC website that Galliano is open veins of Latin America five centuries of pillage of a continent which was ranked 54,000 on the Amazon sales chart of booksellers is now up to number two shot has earlier held up a Noam Chomsky that also shot up to become a best-seller so whatever you think of Chavez's politics he's obviously the number world's number one book promoter now in noticing other Latin American leaders with Obama in Trinidad there's quite a few Latin American politicians who are celebrity politicians who have used their celebrity to advance their agendas I noticed that Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua Lulu Brasil Abel Morales of Bolivia and others all of whom had used media spectacle to create to promote a populist agenda and to make them very popular both regionally and in their country and to some extent Obama is following that model as a populist politician who is using media spectacle to promote his agenda finally my last point by the way this was initially supposed to be a debate where Andrew is going to argue for media spectacle as oh sorry media celebrity politics and I was supposed to argue against it but I indicated to Jeff that I didn't really want to argue against something that I believed in but I do have a strong argument that we haven't made or a worry about celebrity diplomacy and politics and I would suggest in conclusion that a major effect that some may deem negative would be that celebrity diplomacy and politics contributes to the culture of celebrity where our idols are role models and ideals are constructed by media images and spectacle I suggested this is the case in politics alluding to Obama as a global super celebrity and Cooper's analysis of Bill Clinton who has become a global super celebrity and thus potentially effective global celebrity diplomat in this world of media spectacle however there may be pressure for politicians as well as celebrity diplomats to substitute spectacle for substance and engage in symbolic politics rather than the hard work of diplomacy policy formations and debate compromise and then the laborious work of implementation on the other hand of politicians celebrity or celebrity diplomacy of the sort that Cooper has analyzed can help implement and push through policies progressive policies so celebrity may be a vital aid to policy wonkiness and traditional politics and diplomacy in the current media age and have positive effects as well as potentially negative ones and on that ambiguous and note I shall end thank you gentlemen leading back in to our questions I wanted to pick up on one of the themes that dumb Pilsner had raised which was Obama and the cult of celebrity surrounding him and in the class on celebrity in politics I thought for common management master students that Annenberg we had the good fortune of talking about this while the campaign was coming to a head and is one of those convenient teaching moments didn't yearn for and we talked about this in terms of the huge crowds that followed Obama and how Obama's opponents politically used notions of the crowd as a way of kind of reducing his stature relative to that level of support but what I want to move toward because I really am not sure some of the things that you actually we're talking about fit in with that version of spectacle that version of spectacle is very clear and it's very much something that we could think about I'm thinking now about Obama's use of social media to generate his cult of celebrity and I'm struck by how very recently over tax weekend when we were all turning in our taxes Ashton Kutcher as we were racing to buy all our taxes he was racing to be the first person on Twitter with a million followers and if you follow this issue he challenged CNN which he deemed to be representative of the old media in the old little guard to a duel who would be the first to get to a million followers and asked him put your one distantly one so I want to bring the question now off of the traditional old media way of thinking about spectacle and generating political support and have either one of the gentlemen program starting with Doug Fir to speak specifically to the issue of social media and social technology right we are in a era of multimedia and social networking and Christopher the crowds that Obama attracted that you mentioned made for very good TV spectacle but also made for very good Internet spectacle and Obama was the first guy to get a million you know Facebook friends that they circulated these videos everyday Twitter became used by the Obama people to circulate messages and to call attention to all kinds of events and the material that was put on Obama's website so I think Obama effectively used all forms and forms of new media but it was really grounded in almost the Rockstar spectacle of live events that he was able to really perform and really draw a crowd and that this translated into new media circulation that his supporters used very effectively in terms of the social networking media to circulate and that this just made him more and more of a celebrity every day and just built on his use of media just as a thought bubble above what you want we got prepared how would you see this development around the popularity of Twitter with celebrities shifting the way relationships between celebrities and state diplomats changing order I think this to test one is the test of flexibility and I think you sort of see celebrities trying to catch up to things that are going on around them I mean Bob so Bob Geldof was the first person to do breakfast television and and UK but that seems a long time ago now you know bono the blogging that he does for the New York Times the Angelina Jolie going with Jeff Sachs to Africa using MTV you know it gets a huge sort of bigger crowd the demographics are there but there's also and it comes back to today's work it's the test of spectacle and I think this comes back to your point about Obama he can fill a stadium right I mean even filler and and how to overcrowd in the stadium and when you logged in the truth to celebrity as probably this is the test that that the real celebrities can pass or fail on bono can fill a stadium you can go down the list and of course people that we would also see celebrities outside of the sort of the narrow confines I'm looking at whether it's john paul ii whether it's dalai lama they can also fill a stadium so if this gives them a real to the potent combination if you can use of this new flexible quick agility of the media plus you can mobilize it to to have this type of theater it's a it's a it's a it's an amazing combination so I guess nicely could you won't be a diplomat anytime soon because I doubt he could fill a stadium you might have a billion followers but I don't know if he could actually fill the stadium I passed the test accomplished I just add a couple criteria Terr in addition to filling the stadium you have to get it out the images of it into the mainstream media like television but then if you can circulate it through multimedia I mean for politics that really creates you know political celebrity that can translate into power really quickly Andrews other points about the use of these celebrity figures to promote different causes clearly Bono's cause of choice is debt-related and Debbie some audio has recently bitten published a book called dead aid where she takes dead aim at the lights upon oh and critiques these celebrity figures and really picks up that argument you ended on Andrew in terms of she argues to follow in these global North and Western celebrity figures crowd out voices that might emerge from the global sounding W talk about some elements of that with your references Latin America I don't know if both of you had have had a chance to hear her speak on tell on the web or have read her book but on its face what do you make of this argument that seems to have a lot of currency surrounding a book about the impact and negative impact all of this celebrity posturing what it actually has on African fortunes I think ownership is a big issue here I praised bono for this type of mentorship certainly his circle is not only sort of Anglo UK Irish use us oriented but there's so many barriers I think for not just Africans but Latin America South Asians to break into that type of sort of magic circle Geldof does the the major concert and only invites one African performer I mean he rushes around he goes from Hyde Park to to Versailles but this is you know a pretty minimal component of that type of thing and of course unfortunately many of the states in the south don't really encourage this type of flexible visit there's a degree of opportunism you break out somebody you know through the UN system George Weah is a good example I mean I don't know how many people know George Weah football player soccer player of the year in Europe 1995 you know place for a very famous Italian team goes back to library a' as a UN goodwill ambassador and almost overnight declares himself presidential campaign er a presidential candidate and I mean this is the sort of problem that you elevate somebody this guy he's got lots of Fame he's a good person he seems to have done a good job for the UN but he wants more than that he wants in sense to to win that zero-sum game that many of the the elections in the south are he comes fairly close to winning I mean luckily or unluckily he he doesn't win but it shows that you can serve Leever that celebrity status in all sorts of unanticipated ways for either positive or negative sort of opportunistic faction and as for alternatives and Souths andrew and his davos chapter has some comments on the world Social Forum that's sort of a more southern more developing country country's alternatives to the Davos conference which has used celebrity politicians and other celebrities to promote more progressive agendas on labor rights Human Rights ecological issues etc that has actually been very was very effective during the Bush years of blocking us control of the World Bank and other conferences etc and as for the critique of Bono I would follow chairman mao zedong and say let a thousand flowers bloom that none of the more diplomacy you have on good issues you know the better and so I don't think it's an either/or or a zero-sum game there that can be pitfalls and problems you know and failed celebrity diplomacy but just you know someone like Bono is promoted so many positive culture causes to stake the bypass am i with very quickly before I open it up to the floor I would just like to come back to Andy Cooper and posit one of the perhaps limit tests of celebrity diplomacy and that is the fact that although we're living in the wave of the financial crisis the resurgence of the state as a planning mechanism for positive social economic outcomes in the world for a long time we thought we didn't need nation states anymore but now in the wake of the financial crisis even the United States realizes it means a government that works on behalf people nevertheless non-state actors where the regards to nuclear proliferation this issue of piracy that's raging off the Somali coast non-state actors generates so much of what's alien to the geopolitical debates out there what might celebrity diplomacy have to say about them I think one of the issues are there's so many issues about recession or depression one of the the pushes of course is to go local and I think this is a very sort of valid response and you see this I mean if you if you follow a lot of the websites about st. George Clooney and Darfur saying we've got problems here you know why is George always spending time and therefore when he should be spending time in Michigan I think this is sort of a natural response and I think this is one of the the really engaging aspects of celebrity policy is that despite this pressure I think to go some local go parochial the real top celebrities have maintained that sort of sense of globalism even at the extreme exactly one good question I mean and and this probably is you know is a really good test because you know Brad Pitt was obviously mentored and you know I've got a good photo of a Brad being mentored by data and when one organization was the data organization you know sort of with with Jamie Drummond from from Davos sort of explaining to Brad you know about all these things I mean a sense of advisers is very important but I think from sort of kind of parrot of advantage I mean Brad Pitt seems to have a genuine interest capability on sir architectural questions or urban renewal questions downtown LA all sorts of things so New Orleans probably is a is a better nation of course with a partner like Angelina maybe you can say that the the rest of the world is covered you know without him instead of playing that role well will be economic crisis his impact on the relationship between global go aside what might celebrities role in reaching out to non-state actors that generates so much volatility in the global order do they have a role there was that where their goal is well actually let me give a theoretical answer to your previous question about what do parents and non-state actors signify and global celebrities and then I'll answer your a second I think from a standpoint of power theorizing power we're seeing a postmodern dispersion of power where in the modern era it was the state or it was capital or big institutions like the UN that had power we're now having a sort of more multipolar world with new centers of power non-state actors celebrities pirates etc and again this can be good or this can be bad depending on what the issue and what the intervention is I think on the world economic crisis celebrities can certainly like Brad Pitt in Louisiana go down to try to produce jobs and rebuild houses so you can have micro politics dealing with economic crisis on a local level with celebrity or local group mobilization as well as Obama you know giving millions of dollars through you know stimulus packages or the IMF dispersing money so again there can be in a more postmodern world multiple solutions to political problems and multiple actors and it's not just the old statements okay oh this is what one hot pursuit sort of the criticism of celebrities I mean what really intrigues me is the difference on across the Atlantic in terms of who criticizes celebrities I think it's it comes to the the crux of your your last question in the United States it tends to be conservatives who don't like my celebrities it liberal Hollywood all the words that if you you know Fox don't like you know universalism trans nationalism these are the things that celebrities embrace I think they go beyond instead of a simplistic notion of national interest and I think in this regard they have a lot of credibility because I mean they're global stars they they operate in a global some reach in Europe it's the left that doesn't like celebrities because they're exactly what you're saying because they they crowd out NGOs and particularly they crowd out small NGOs they can have big campaigns they can have the rallies they they they they do things that the put civil society sort of off-balance by sort of announcing things you know before g8 civil society thought they had some consensus to do something else and there's a lot of tension from that the only NGOs that really like the celebrities are ones that are big enough that can break the celebrities themselves again I'm usually the example of Oxfam my friend uses celebrities extremely well for sort of fundraising for profile and really has somewhat of a similar culture as celebrities so again I think it really gets into this heart that shows that there's a real certain cultural it's not just at the g20 on stimulus versus you know in terms of regulation it's on all sorts of other issues that you get this type of of duality thank you open this question of diplomacy and if diplomacy is another word for somebody acting in the international sphere in the conduct of foreign policy I wonder whose foreign policy do you see these people acting out I'll obviously in some cases they're working for a international organization sometimes for an NGO sometimes for a nation-state and sometimes they seem to have a foreign policy all of their own which merely overlaps at some points with the foreign policy of an NGO I was also struck with the potential for a celebrity to be a sort of anti diplomat actually arguing against the engagement of their country with the well okay so this would be Charles Lindbergh trying to keep America out of out of World War two and you know trying to speaking up for the appeasement of Hitler so it seems to me that we need to but we can usefully subdivide our celebrities and start to create a cinema a taxonomy who is most dangerous people I would think would be there Charles Lindbergh's who really who are sources of charismatic power in their own right but aren't tying that power into any sense of legitimate or illogical statecraft of any kind I think this is you know you're you're a historian and I think this hits the the point of sort of historical public policy and public diplomacy I think in the in nineteen maybe early twentieth century you sort of had a choice whether you sort of embrace the state right Ben Franklin you know to be embraced as the state goes off to to France and become sort of an ambassador was probably one of the the first real global celebrities but then you've got the so vanity diplomacy diplomacy and again you could go into Lawrence of Arabia all sorts of people that sort of work against in some ways or are depressed about what their their state is doing I think now we're sort of much more into a it's a really theoretically complex because Bono has been described as sort of having a state of his own you know I mean there is I mean he's certainly a grown Island I mean there's no way that he's survived a you know a proxy for an Irish state in the world I mean Bono in some ways is bigger than an island I mean a small little you know even tell Celtic Tiger days I mean Bono has that reach and you get it on the business side as well I mean you have something like Ted Turner that said he should have bought in some specific Island when he had lots of money because then that would get him access to the UN you know we'd actually be able to reserve a runner country that sort of the sovereign rights you know and again when you look at other projects you know in terms of so specific or small Caribbean islands you know with seventy thousand people it really doesn't make you know you can actually and we can see NGOs doing this an environmental policy certainly but Bono is bigger than even that because really sort of identify him with a one single he's he's sort of a universal phenomena he knows how to play different diplomatic games at different times he knows how to charm the Conservatives within the United States and again this is why he makes this amazing sort of trans transition from Clinton I mean one wouldn't being able to to see bono moving beyond Clinton but all of a sudden george w bush embraces bono as well and is probably the one big success of the the george w bush is of course being on hiv/aids I'm gonna start very generous I mean certainly some criticism but in terms of just purely money and now the sort of the retrospective analysis of those sort of projects it globally it does seem to have been a you know anything to you know successful from policy so again bono nuns in you know the the famous image of Bono making Jesse Helms chronic you know I mean the old compulsion right I mean nobody make Jesse Helms cry but Bono so read scriptures to him takes them to a u-tube concert I mean Jesse thinks that this is sort of a revival meeting you know so you know he's funny in photos hands in some way I mean this is this is a fantastic you know component darkness Woodrow Center for civic education I appreciated the overview a particular of what's going on in the world of celebrity diplomacy and the top celebrities that are most involved but I'm curious how you go about assessing the effectiveness of their efforts given that there are probably many more or are less popular engaged in this sort of thing are they effective is this just a is it done mostly for publicity or is it actually achieving what there setting out to do and secondly well how do you how do you rate the effectiveness of celebrities going off on their own versus those that are appointed say by the US government like a Michelle Kwan that were someone way back the second part of the question is much easier to to deal with in the first but I think one is interesting and I would say that there should be an institute or an NGO that should make this one of their priorities I mean there are sort of assessments for g8 for g20 why shouldn't there be instead of a celebrity assessment that exercise and say okay you know this is these are the sort of promises that seem to be made what's happened to them and of course data one has has moved in those ways themselves they certainly make assessments of countries but again I don't think people have made those sort of quantitate or qualitative assessments of celebrities themselves by rolling stone for now he's not using the money for what and I think red shows many of the deficiencies and sort of brought out I think I said of a backlash against Bono them instead of waiting to happen it used to be only Geldof that got that type of criticism there's sort of a Teflon effect with with Bono that no one really took them on but the two the combination of bono being a sort of a I guess the sensible business person on tax policies and and and some of the ventures in Silicon Valley plus the red is really I think brought home to a lot of the you know the the well of criticism served waiting to take them on I think about it very things and unfortunately for bono the red campaign hasn't been as successful and see a bit of increasing opaqueness about the accounting of the red campaign but just on the side when I get another question okay quickly and recently we had Shashi Tharoor here and he spoke about the global reach of Bollywood you mentioned the burgeoning celebrity diplomacy from Bollywood stars I was curious if you could speak more about what kind of causes celebrity from Bollywood are getting into and if it mimics Hollywood or if they have their own different sort of causes that they're involved in the most press coverage I ever gone was doing a couple of interviews in India saying Bollywood actors should be used as celebrity diplomats and this created a huge amount of publicity because I think there is this what would you call it a confidence in India that we should be able to do exactly what other people are doing you know we don't just need the George Clooney's we have people and they do I mean Shashi said made the comment about big be right big be in Syria you know only pictures outside of President Assad and Syria that can be the same size are big be pictures I mean Big B is huge I mean the Sun you know everybody in the family seems to be be huge but unfortunately it's a bit like the George Weah syndrome they've all gone into domestic politics or a lot of the work and and Big B so got into you went into Parliament got into some you know sort of local local difficulties as they as they call went and and and and we see the sort of that side of things there's also a big anti diplomatic theme in in India of course I mean we can see it from a number of writers who are very critical of the Indian state so I think we still got some way to go but if there is one I called it sort of the ipsa phenomenon because if you if you know this sort of these three big robust democracies South Africa India Brazil all of them have amazing capacity both on the business side but also on the on the cultural side to make that that splash and of course the fact that at least in two of those English is such that the language of sort of commonality that that there's no real obstacle in this regard so we have money and we have we have stars a very quick go point just to respond to the celebrity as anti diplomat the negative example Lindbergh I think there's also positive examples as celebrities being anti dip you go into a lot of Bob Geldof this actually much of his is anti diplomacy you present a Harry Belafonte as a failed diplomat whereas I see him as an activist and Sean Penn etc and actually to answer your qualitative example of how can you appraise the effect of some of this celebrity diplomacy and activism well Bush was discredited in part because of the anti-bush celebrity activism of a whole lot of people that opposed his Iraq policy is environmentalism etc and that this helped Obama the anti-bush and then anti McCain celebrity activism which is a I think a little different from celebrity diplomacy I'd like to thank both of our respondents from this morning's panel if you have any other questions you can speak with them to concur week we're gonna adjourn for about five minutes

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