International trust and public diplomacy

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National leaders struggle to communicate in ways that are perceived as trustworthy by citizens of other nations because trust is linked to efficiency, business opportunities, and political influence. In this article, four recent public diplomacy activities are analyzed from a trust-building perspective: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's letter in The Washington Post, The British Council's strategy for trust building in China, Russian President Vladimir V. Putin's letter in The New York Times, and the USA's trust-building effort in Turkey. The analyses are based on already publicized descriptions of public diplomacy activities, public polls, and scholarly literature. Public diplomacy ideas discussed include lightshow, hand-on cooperation, win-win projects, and the creation of frameworks for self-expression. A central concept is international trust as described by Brewer, Gross, Aday, and Willnat. Based on the analysis it is suggested to amend the concept, to distinguish between trust in foreign people and trust in foreign governments.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Communication Gazette
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)315-336
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2015


  • Public Diplomacy
  • International trust
  • strategic communication
  • trust building
  • self-expression
  • opinion leaders
  • US-Turkey relations
  • Young filmmakers
  • Youth Innovation and Entrepreneurship Program
  • People-to-people diplomacy
  • British Council
  • Vladimir Putin
  • Hassan Rouhani

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