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Diplomacy and US-Muslim world relations: the possibility of the post-secular and interfaith dialogue

Ezell, Darrell (2010)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Prior to September 11, 2001, a calculated image problem related to America’s defence strategy in the Near East and its foreign policy of exceptionalism culminated in its unfavourable perception in the Muslim world. To counter this setback, leading think-tanks recommended that US public diplomacy must lead the way in order for America to reclaim its positive image. During the Bush administration, this guidance was applied through the expansion of public diplomacy measures such as the State Department’s “Brand America” campaign and the “Shared Values Initiative”. Whilst they were successful at applying secular approaches to engaging international Muslim audiences, both campaigns failed to reach the core of Islamic society. This study contends that to reach this core, the crucial requirement must be to apply direct communicative engagement with local networks in order to restore trusted relations. In defining a new way forward, this study breaks new ground by examining the origin of this problem for America from the angle of communication. By acknowledging the many setbacks caused by various public diplomacy measures, we examine the prospects for the State Department in applying the post-secular communication strategy, Interfaith Diplomacy, to enrich political communication between US diplomats and key religious players in the Muslim world. Findings reveal that communication training under an Obama administration is essential for improving US-Muslim world relations, and this requires the recruitment of a Religion Attaché Officer Corps within the United States Foreign Service. A new Religion Attaché, equipped with a background in broad religious affairs and communication training in Interfaith Diplomacy, is likely to make significant headway in counteracting the tension caused by the US-Muslim world communication problem.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Lucas, W. Scott and Cheetham, David
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
Department:Department of American and Canadian Studies
Subjects:BP Islam. Bahaism. Theosophy, etc
E151 United States (General)
E11 America (General)
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:1035
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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