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Evaluation of the Public Diplomacy Program of Foreign Affairs Canada

(PDF Version, 370 KB) *

(July 2005)

Table of Contents

Executive Summary

The Canada in the World paper of 1995 proposed a foreign policy for Canada based on three pillars: the promotion of prosperity and employment; the protection of our security, within a stable global framework; and the projection of Canadian values and culture. For the last ten years, the Third Pillar, which emphasized the projection of Canadian culture, provided the rationale for several programs at Foreign Affairs Canada (FAC). Today, these programs form part of the Department's new business line of public diplomacy.

This report presents the results of the evaluation of the Public Diplomacy Program (PDP). The evaluation, conducted by Universalia Management Group, aimed to assess the extent to which the PDP has been effective in meeting its programmatic objectives and linking to the objectives of the Third Pillar, the relevance of the PDP to its stakeholders, and the extent to which the PDP has been implemented efficiently. The evaluation focused on the period from 1998 to 2005. The interviews, document review, surveys, and field visits (to Germany, France, and Brazil) for the study took place between November 2004 and March 2005.

The Public Diplomacy Program

In 1998, FAC established the Public Diplomacy Program (PDP), with the overall objective of using the international dimension to promote Canadian unity. The Program was conceived as a short-term, pilot initiative to help build identity and attachment to Canada, project the image of Canada overseas, and reach out to Canadians. The PDP funded a number of FAC's existing programs in arts and culture, academic relations, communications, and francophonie institutions and began a new programming area that engaged Canadians--at that time, particularly young Quebecers--in international affairs. The PDP also funded public diplomacy initiatives at Canada's Missions abroad.

The PDP has invested approximately $8 million per year, with partners such as ACA, IMF, BCD, Framework Posts, and Geographic bureaus managing over 60% of these funds in 2003-2004. The Program has used the Terms and Conditions for grants of the International Cultural Relations Bureau (ACD) and the Secretariat (CFDX) has been based in Federal-Provincial-Territorial Relations.

Key Findings and Conclusions
Effectiveness

The study finds that the PDP, primarily through its domestic programming, has contributed towards to its overall objective focused on "social cohesion" and the "attachment and belonging to Canada."

Between 1998 and 2004, the PDP allocated approximately $12.4 million to total of 500 projects, most of them involving universities, NGOs, and cultural organizations. Many of the projects target young Canadians. The data suggest that the majority of the participants in PDP projects improved their understanding of global issues and realities and increased their knowledge about Canada's foreign policy. Most of the PDP projects have also contributed to expand the views of project participants on the cultural, linguistic, and regional diversity of Canada. Projects that generate a multiplier effect through information and experience-sharing activities have been among the most successful PDP initiatives. Although the effectiveness of the domestic component was limited in the early years by the spread of projects, a marked improvement in program strategy has taken place in recent years.

The PDP has helped to enhance the visibility of Canada's Official Language Minority communities, providing one of the main vehicles for FAC to meet its obligations under the Official Languages Act. The PDP also funded international promotion of the Canadian francophonie and the FAC outreach and communications programs, which inform, stimulate, and educate Canadian and foreign audiences on a larger scale.

The Program contributed to important results for Canada's missions abroad. PDP funding enabled key Posts to develop strategy, continuity, and consistent quality in their outreach efforts. Partnership and leveraging of resources have increased the value and effects of individual public diplomacy activities. The PDP framework funding provided to about a dozen key Posts has led to more dynamic, sustained, and proactive cultural programming at the Posts. In addition, these funds have increased the ability of Posts to use public affairs programming to engage target groups that are critical to their diplomatic objectives, especially parliamentarians, civil society groups, and journalists.

These investments helped Posts to achieve their business planning and diplomatic objectives. The evaluation cites examples of how cultural events were used to gain access to decision-makers and raise the visibility and recognition for Canada among target audiences. The study also found evidence of the influence achieved, where, for example, Canada is cited as an example for domestic public policy in the Post country. The findings suggest that a mix of both political/public affairs and cultural programming is useful for Posts. The balance between the two will depend on each country, the nature of the bilateral relationship, the foreign policy objectives, the strategy, and the specific audiences targeted. The Posts, therefore, have played a key role in ensuring that PDP funds are used to support their strategy and Canada's foreign policy objectives. One of the key factors in ensuring a strategic use of PDP funding has been the capacity of the Posts, particularly in the leadership and staff resources that they can provide to develop and implement PD strategies.

Several program design issues may have frustrated the PDP's overall effectiveness. Although the individual components of the program made positive contributions, there often was little synergy among them. The program design issues include a complex structure and awkward practices; the lack of clearly stated objectives, planned results, and rigorous criteria for projects; the absence of separate Terms and Conditions for making transfer payments; and the lack of a program logic that helped to link its different components together. Although the resulting framework provided the PDP with flexibility that it needed to respond to the context, it also limited the Program's ability to manage for results. Furthermore, program origins and design issues, combined with the limited information available about the PDP, contributed to the perception of a lack of transparency in the program.

Relevance

With respect to relevance, we find that the creation of the PDP as a pilot initiative was an appropriate response given the context in 1998. For many stakeholders in FAC, the PDP mechanism served to fill gaps in funding emerging from budget cuts to do programming that is deemed important for different Posts, Bureaus and Divisions in FAC. This "pilot" program served to confirm the legitimacy of a public diplomacy function within the Department in both the international and domestic arenas. However, the experience with the PDP suggests that public diplomacy should not be a separate program, but a way of working in the Department. This has been confirmed in the new PD strategic framework and business line, which attempts to bring into the mainstream the function of public diplomacy and to realign resources, priorities and styles accordingly.

Efficiency

On program management and efficiency, the PDP faced a learning curve in the development of appropriate administrative processes and procedures. This area is noted as a weakness in the early stages of the PDP, but noticeable improvements were made in recent years. The evaluation also notes that the complexity of the program's structure placed a number of strains on governance and management of the program. The PDP is recognized as a flexible program, but one in which the accountability for resources is diluted among different divisions in FAC. The study raises no concerns about the efficiency of the Program's grant making process of recent years. Most Canadian beneficiary organizations are satisfied with the grant making procedures and value the contribution of the PDP staff to the grant process.

Overview of the Recommendations
  1. FAC should continue to enhance the Public Diplomacy business line. The allocation of new funds for public diplomacy should respond to an overall policy framework, with clear results and accountabilities.
  2. Public diplomacy programming should continue to use networks and partnerships, both domestically and internationally. Particular effort needs to be made to bring in Other Government Departments and the Provinces into the folds of public diplomacy.
  3. In its future programming in public diplomacy, FAC senior management should include a strong and coordinated approach for engaging Canadians. This should build on the positive experience of the PDP in engaging youth, media, and other constituencies.
  4. Communication with external partners regarding the end of the PDP needs to be handled with particular attention. If a new initiative is to follow, a communication strategy should be developed in order to present any changes in objectives, procedures, etc.
  5. In the design of a new phase for domestic programming, FAC Program Management should seek separate Terms and Conditions, potentially with a mix of grants and contributions, and consider policies that ensure greater transparency and potentially greater impact.
  6. Domestic PD programming should include strong information dissemination components, give continuity to successful initiatives such as the UN simulations, and provide ways for FAC to meet its legal obligations under the OLA.

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Acronyms

ACA
- Arts Promotion Program
ACD
- International Cultural Relations Bureau
ADM
- Assistant Deputy Minister
BCD
- Outreach Programs and E-Communications Division
CFDX
- Secretariat, Public Diplomacy Program, Federal-Provincial-Territorial Relations
CFP
- Federal-Provincial-Territorial Relations
CIDA
- Canadian International Development Agency
EIA
- Enfants d'ici et ailleurs
FAC
- Foreign Affairs Canada
GoC
- Government of Canada
IMF
- Francophone Institutions Division
IPS
- International Policy Statement
NMUN
- National Model United Nations
OLA
- Official Language Act
PCO
- Privy Council Office
PDP
- Public Diplomacy Program
UNAC
- United Nations Association of Canada

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1. Introduction

The Canada in the World paper of 1995 proposed a foreign policy for Canada based on three pillars: the promotion of prosperity and employment; the protection of our security, within a stable global framework; and the projection of Canadian values and culture. For the last ten years, the Third Pillar, which emphasized the projection of Canadian culture, provided the rationale for several programs at Foreign Affairs Canada (FAC). Today, these programs form part of the Department's new business line of public diplomacy.

In September of 2004, the Department's Evaluation Division called for an independent evaluation of four of these programs, each at a different stage of implementation. Universalia, a consulting firm, conducted these evaluations and prepared a paper on the "cross-cutting" issues emerging from these programs. Data collection for the studies began in November 2004 and concluded in March 2005.

This report which presents the results of the evaluation of the Public Diplomacy Program (Programme de Diplomatie Ouverte), is organized into six main sections, following this brief introduction:

  • Section 2 provides an overview of the purpose, methodology and context for the evaluation
  • Section 3 provides an overview of the Program and its evolution
  • Section 4 presents the Findings on the effectiveness of the Program
  • Section 5 presents the Findings on relevance of the Program
  • Section 6 presents the Findings on efficiency in implementation
  • Section 7 offers Conclusions and lessons learned

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2. Evaluation Objectives, Methodology, and Context

2.1 Objectives

The key objectives of the evaluation, as indicated in the Terms of Reference agreed with FAC, are to assess the extent to which the Public Diplomacy Program (PDP) has been effective in meeting its own specific objectives and linking to higher order objectives of the Third Pillar (i.e. the promotion of Canadian culture and values); the extent to which the Program has been efficient in implementation; and the relevance of the program to its stakeholders. The evaluation focused on the programming carried out from 1998 to 2005 (March).

In this regard, there is a broad set of questions common to each of the programs under review. These questions relate to how effectively and appropriately each program has reached its target audience(s), the impact of each program on audiences in Canada and abroad, and the contributions of each program to Canada's foreign policy objectives. In addition, the evaluation of the PDP is to offer reflections on the following:

  • Appropriateness of program design
  • Effectiveness of the program's key components
  • On-going rationale for the program
  • Availability of alternative sources of support for similar activities
  • Program success stories
  • Success in building partnerships with civil society
  • Efficiency in the management of the program
  • Success in strategic leveraging of resources
  • Ability to increase awareness of Canada's Official Language Minority communities

2.2 Methodology

To assess the PDP, the evaluation team collected primary data using a mix of qualitative and quantitative techniques that included document review, individual and group interviews, field visits, as well as a grant recipient questionnaire survey. These methods are further described below. Data collection took place between November 2004 and March 2005.

Document Review: The team reviewed a wide range of pertinent documents related to the themes and projects under consideration.

Questionnaire: A web-based survey in English and French was sent to 174 grant recipients using email addresses which were registered in the Program's database. Most of these individuals represent Canadian civil society organizations and academic institutions that received grants in the recent years of the program (98% received their most recent grant in the last 2 years). From this potential pool of respondents, 48 email accounts were no longer active. The evaluation team received a total of 57 completed questionnaires, representing a response rate of 45%. While the response rate in relation to the actual sample (126 people with active email accounts) is considered adequate, there are some limits to how widely applicable the results can be to all 500 PDP projects. In order to address this issue, the questionnaire data is complemented with project document review and interviews.

Interviews: Semi-structured, face-to-face and phone interviews were conducted with stakeholders at FAC Headquarters (regional bureaus and other divisions). Phone interviews were conducted with Heads of Mission, PERPA Managers, or Cultural Attachés and their teams at 8 out of the 12 Framework Posts.(1) During the field visits, individual and small group interviews were conducted with Post staff, as well as cultural, political, and academic partners. More than a dozen interviews (14) were conducted with a sample of project stakeholders in Canada, representing a range of project "types" and investments (UN simulations, First Nations University, Rights and Democracy, among others). More than 100 individuals participated in the interviews.

Field Visits: The evaluation team conducted field visits to Germany, Brazil, and France in order to increase our understanding of the implementation and management of these programs at the Posts. Each visit contemplated several days in the capital city as well as visits to other cities where program partners and other FAC stakeholders (consulates, OGDs, provinces) were based. A set of criteria for country field visits was taken into consideration: a) missions categorized as PDP Framework posts and receiving funds accordingly, b) a balance between smaller and larger missions with different capacities to implement the programs, and c) some regional diversity. The evaluation advisory committee made the final selection of countries.

Project Review: To support the evaluation, the team reviewed the documentation available for a sample of 47 projects out of the approximately 500 projects funded by the PDP in the Canada. The team used information from the PDP database to draw a sample that captured the greatest proportion of the overall investment made between 1998 and 2004. As a result, the sample comprised projects that received grants of more than $75,000. Phone interviews were conducted with the leaders of a sub-sample of 14 projects, which the Program staff considered representative of more recent programming.

2.2.1 Methodological Limitations

There are several limitations to the methodology of this evaluation. One has to do with the consistency in project documentation and classification over the life of the Program. Although the PDP has recently compiled a list of all projects from 1998 to date, the classification of project type, target group, etc. has been done retroactively and often is based on little documentation. (Many of the projects, especially from the earlier years, lack an application form and/or a report.) The scarce information on projects also applies to up-to-date contact information for project leaders. As a result, most survey respondents received their grants in the last two years.

A second limitation to the evaluation is that the target groups of many of the projects--young people in Canadian colleges or universities--are difficult to track down. This characteristic of the population, coupled with a tight timeline and limited resources for the study, impeded the possibilities of gathering perspectives directly from youth or other participants in PDP-funded projects. Instead, we interviewed the project leaders who provided a self-assessment of the effects of their project on the young participants. This approach limited our ability to capture the perceptions of participants with regards to issues such as their sense of pride and attachment towards Canada.

Third, the framework (items) for budget allocations changed over time, which makes some aggregation and comparison more difficult. For example, in the earlier working budgets (1999-2000), budget categories include Identity and Attachment, La Francophonie, Canada Initiatives Fund, Communications Activities, and Academic Relations. (Within these components, there is also some overlap. For example, "Canada in the World" and other communications activities form part of the Identity and Attachment category.) In the proposed allocations for 2004-2005, the budget allocations are organized according to transfer of PDP funds to partners. The analysis of the distribution of PDP funds across components is generally based on the budgets from the last two years.

2.3 Context

FAC has gone through many changes over the past year and a half. The first of these, announced in December 2003, provided for the division of the former Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) into two departments. Further changes were introduced in 2005, with the release of the long-anticipated International Policy Statement (IPS). The IPS provides a new strategic roadmap for the federal government on the international stage.

These recent changes have given emphasis to public diplomacy as a central aspect of FAC's work and, in fact, it is now one of the Department's business lines. As the Department notes, modern diplomacy is increasingly public diplomacy, the goal of which is to build influence by strengthening networks and international partnerships.

As a result of this context, interviews for this evaluation of the PDP, focusing on past performance, were being conducted while discussions surrounding new ways of planning and managing public diplomacy were already underway. A new strategic framework for public diplomacy was developed over the past year. Another key element in the context of the evaluation was the status of the PDP itself. Originally due to end in March 2005, a one-year extension of the program has been requested for the period in which FAC makes the structural and operational transition to the new public diplomacy business line and policy framework.

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3. The Public Diplomacy Program

In 1998, Foreign Affairs Canada began to implement the Public Diplomacy Program (PDP), which had as its overall objective the use of the international dimension to promote Canadian unity. As presented in initial documents, the Program was designed to help build identity and attachment to Canada, project a unified Canada overseas, and to reach out to Canadians in a way that would add clarity to the domestic unity debate. Official documents specified that the program was initially created for two years, with a decision on permanent and long-term funding based on results, to be sought at a later date.

Thus, a public diplomacy "pilot" program was launched. It drew on a number of FAC's existing program delivery mechanisms at headquarters (in arts and culture, academic relations, communications, and francophonie institutions) and built a new area of programming that emphasized the engagement of Canadians--particularly young Quebecers at that time--in international affairs and fora. In addition, the Program funded initiatives at Canada's Missions abroad that responded to Program objectives. Exhibit 3.1 presents an overview of some of the key milestones in the evolution of the Program.

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Exhibit 3.1 Milestones in the Evolution of the Public Diplomacy Program, 1998-2005
YearMilestones
1998Treasury Board Submission on Public Diplomacy Initiatives seeks approval to use the international dimension to promote Canadian Unity. The activities are limited to a maximum duration of 2 years and do not restore previous program review reductions. A decision on long-term funding to be sought at a later date. PD Steering Committee established.
1999Treasury Board Submission on Public Diplomacy Program and Cultural Program - Renewal and Replenishment of Funding. Additional objectives and criteria added. Terms and Conditions of the class Grant in Aid of Cultural Relations are being amended to allow for aid to be offered to Canadian or foreign individuals or associations who are in a position to influence public opinion. Analysis of the political context notes that Government of Quebec redoubling efforts internationally since 1998. The concept of "Framework" Posts begins to appear in Budget Allocations.
2002Treasury Board approval of Updated Terms and Conditions and Risk-Based Audit Framework (RBAF) covering the Cultural Relations program. Same decision approved an umbrella Results Based Management and Accountability Framework (RMAF) covering programs within ACD. All expenditures of the PDP are subject to this umbrella RMAF.

Bilan et Perspectives published in November, providing an unofficial internal evaluation of the PDP that recommended pursuing the same strategic directions, with no need to change the initial objectives of the PDP.

Signing of Agreement with Canadian Heritage to promote the Official Language Minority Groups (IPOLC), which allows PDP to recoup 50% of funding given to minority linguistic communities. The PDP is the principal contractor of the agreement in cooperation with departmental partners from ACD and IMF.
2003References to geographic reserves are made in program documentation and budget allocations.

Separation of Departments of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (December)
2004Geographic reserves changed to "envelopes". Framework Posts broadened to include China, India. The work begins on "New Public Diplomacy" Agenda. The International Policy Review begins.
2005Memorandum to Cabinet requesting a 1-year extension of program (transition to new PD approach)

New PD framework designed

PD mainstreaming identified as one of six departmental imperatives

CAN$ 8 million notionally allocated in the federal budget for FAC PD

Preparation of MC request for permanent funding of the PD framework and mainstreaming

The program received an initial allocation of $3.8 million in 1998. After two subsequent renewals the program was due to sunset in March 2005(2). The total allocations to the PDP from FY1998-99 to FY2004-05 amount to a total of $42.3 million. The annual allocations are shown in Exhibit 3.2. The PDP provides both Vote 1 (operational) funding that is to support specific activities with pre-identified deliverables where FAC/GoC is the primary beneficiary and Vote 10 (grant) funding to support activities that are proposed by partners and coincide with FAC interests.

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Exhibit 3.2 PDP Allocations Approved by Treasury Board, 1998-99 to 2004-05
 1998-19991999-20002000-20012002-20032003-20042004-2005
Vote 1 - Operating Expenditures1,850,0002,050,0002,350,0002,350,0003,939,1333,939,133
Vote 10 - not specified1,950,0002,950,0005,650,0005,650,000  
Vote 10 - Grants in Aid of Cultural    2,500,0002,500,000
Vote 10 - Grants in Aid of Academic    1,500,0001,500,000
PWGSC surcharge 13%    60,86760,867
Total3,800,0005,000,0008,000,0008,000,0008,000,0008,000,000
Additional/supplementary funds in 99/00 1,500,000    
Total Allocated by Year3,800,0006,500,0008,000,0008,000,0008,000,0008,000,000

Source: Treasury Board Submissions and Program Operating Budgets

The Program's Secretariat (CFDX) has been based in Federal-Provincial-Territorial Relations and has used the Terms and Conditions for grants of the programs in the International Cultural Relations Bureau (ACD). As noted above, the PDP funds were implemented through different programs and units in Foreign Affairs Canada. For example, in 2003-2004, partners such as ACA, IMF, BCD, Framework Posts, and Geographics managed the implementation of more than 60% of the PDP's resources.

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4. Program Effectiveness

Program effectiveness refers to the extent to which a program has been able to meet the overall objectives and aims that were set out for it. The assessment of PDP effectiveness looks at three dimensions: the clarity and evolution of program objectives, results achieved through the different implementing units of the program (Posts, CFDX, etc.), and the effects of program design.

4.1 Evolution of Program Objectives

Finding 1: The objective of the PDP has essentially remained the same since 1998. Over the years, the addition of new sub-objectives and criteria for project selection led to a cumbersome framework for performance management, but gave the Program flexibility to respond to the political context.

An analysis of PDP submissions and results templates presented to the Treasury Board, shows that in essence the PDP overall objective in essence has remained steady over time. The 1998 submission to the Treasury Board specifies that the PDP funding is for the purpose of using the international dimension to promote Canadian unity. Over time, "social cohesion" and the notion of "attachment and belonging to Canada" began to prevail over the reference to "unity" in program documents.

However, as the program evolved, new criteria and sub-objectives were added to the PDP framework. In the 1998 submission, the specific objectives relate to using the international stage to increase Canadians' identity and attachment to Canada, sending positive messages about Canada in the world to its citizens, increasing international awareness of Canada as a role model, and sensitizing the international community to the fact that a strong and united Canada is in its interest. Those initial objectives have been cited fairly consistently as key results areas in all descriptive documents throughout the program's evolution.

The 1999 submission to the Treasury Board proposed to renew the program "building on past success by expanding and reorienting the program to include more domestic activities." The document underscores that new projects should also meet at least one of 7 new criteria related to youth, trade interests, francophonie, good governance, the Americas, human security and globalization. An additional criterion specifies that projects selected should encourage greater "connectivity" among Canadians.

Finally, the 2003 submission to the Treasury Board adds another objective to the program, which is to "promote greater social cohesion through and inclusive approach for minority groups, especially in debates arising from international issues."

Although the PDP submissions and business plans present an important array of objectives that the PDP program should meet, there is little clarification or specific indicators on how the objectives should link together and translate into specific results. This is clearly a limitation to managing for results, but also a reflection of the turbulent political context that precipitated the creation of the PDP. The broad orientation provided the PDP with flexibility to respond to the context.

4.2 Results and Effects at the Posts

This section presents the findings on the results of the PDP obtained through the cultural, public affairs, and communications activities implemented by Canada's Posts overseas. The findings are based on the team's observations and interviews conducted during the field mission, program documents reviewed, and phone interviews with other Posts involved in the Program.

Finding 2: In general, PDP funding helped to scale up the level of Post activity to project Canadian values and culture. It enabled key Posts to develop strategy, continuity, and consistent quality in their outreach efforts, which have been critical in raising the profile of Canada's profile.

Canada's missions abroad have long used the available sources of funding, such as the Post Initiatives Fund (PIF), to engage in the projection of Canadian values and culture. A 2003 exploratory study of the PIF, found that it was used fundamentally to support the Third Pillar and to carry out the "soft" side of the Department's mandate abroad. The PIF has provided funds ranging from $1,000 at the smallest posts to $88,000 at the largest posts (2002-2003 allocations)(3). The PIF is recognized for being a source of flexible and discretionary funding.

Framework Posts

The PDP's allocations or transfers to Missions began in 1999. At that time, three Missions received Framework funding, all of them based in Europe or the US. (See Exhibit 4.1) The number increased to 12 Framework Posts by 2004(4), bringing the new priority countries of India, China, Mexico and Brazil, more clearly into the folds of the PDP. (Beijing and Delhi were included only in the last year.) From 1998-2004, about 16% of the overall PDP budget of $42.3 million was allocated to Framework Posts(5). PDP provided annual framework budgets that ranged from $11,000 (for Buenos Aires in 20001/02) to $565,000 (for Paris in 2001/02).

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Exhibit 4.1 PDP Framework Posts in 1999-00 and 2004-05
Framework Posts
1999-2000
Framework Posts
2004-2005
New York
London
Canada House London
Paris
New York
London
Mexico
Brussels
Berlin
Madrid
Santiago
Buenos Aires
Washington
Brasilia
Total funding: $981,745Total Funding: $975,000

Almost all of the Posts interviewed indicate that prior to the PDP, the PIF provided only a limited amount of funding to support activities in culture, public affairs, and communications. For example, the sizes of PIFs in 2004 are in the order of $65,000 for Germany, $25,000 for Brazil, and $40,000 for Mexico. PDP brought about a substantial increase in the funding for Posts to use in their efforts to influence key decision-makers and opinion leaders. As many interviewees note, the PDP funds changed the way in which Posts engaged in Public Diplomacy. Above all, the funds enabled the development of a strategy, continuity, and consistent quality in the Post's outreach.

The evidence from the Posts interviewed suggests that these factors have generally contributed to a critical mass of PD programming activity. The exceptions to this may be found in Posts where the increase in financial resources was not accompanied by a parallel increase in human resources, which has affected a few Posts' ability to make more strategic use of the funds.

Other Posts

Non-Framework Posts accessed PDP funds through the "reserves" or "envelopes" established by CFDX for each geographic region. As documented in an Information Sheet dated October 7, 2004, the PDP funds were to be used for Post-directed activities that fell in to at least one of the following priority areas: 1) Promotion of Canadian culture, values and interests, 2) Promotion of democracy and good governance, 3) Promotion of La Francophonie, 4) Creation of public dialogue on international policy issues. Posts submitted project applications in these areas through Geographic Bureaus for consideration of the PDP Steering Committee.

From 2002-2004, about 125 projects/events proposed by Posts were approved by the Steering Committee(6), most of which were for initiatives in Europe and Asia. The investments ranged from $2,000 to $50,000 per project/event, with an average project budget of about $13,000. The PDP supported a broad spectrum of public diplomacy activities at the Posts, including:

  • Film festivals (e.g. Cairo, Bangkok, Kingston)
  • Visits of journalists to Canada (e.g. India)
  • Francophonie celebrations (e.g. Atlanta, Rabat)
  • Visits of Canadian notables (e.g. Lt. General Dallaire-South Africa, KD Lang-Australia, Nunavut Premier-Austria)
  • Seminars, Conferences (CAD studies, immigration)
  • Book fairs (e.g. Algiers) and Exhibits
  • Stands/activities built around pop music events/concerts (e.g. Tokyo and Bangkok)

Finding 3: The majority of stakeholders indicate that PDP framework funding has contributed to more dynamic, sustained, and proactive cultural programming at the Posts.

The Arts Promotion Program (ACA) at FAC has traditionally allocated funding for key Posts to engage in cultural programming. From 1998-99 to 2004-05, the PDP provided additional resources for these cultural allocations. In the past fiscal year, the PDP provided about 60% of the ACA overall budget for cultural programming at the Posts. With this additional funding, many Posts have revamped their strategies to raise Canada's cultural profile.

The variety of approaches to implementing cultural programming in FAC is evident from the three countries visited in the course of this evaluation. In France, cultural programming is mostly undertaken by the Canadian Cultural Center, which is the focal point for the promotion of Canadian artists in France. The Cultural Center, which has heavily relied on the Canada-France program to develop its activities between 2002 and 2005, has also strongly benefited from PDP funding since 2000. The Center's goal is to promote and disseminate Canadian culture through intra muros exhibitions as well as financial and logistical support to "Ambassadors" of Canadian culture, whose productions illustrate the diversity of Canadian Culture.

In the case of Germany, the Canadian Embassy has put forward a strategy aimed at promoting Canada as an innovative country with a vibrant and cutting edge culture. Through its specialized staff in performing arts, literature, and film/video, the Post operates a grant program supported by the PDP (directly and through the ACA) as part of its strategy. In its approach, the Embassy seeks to reach not only a large public but also German decision makers who are often present at cultural events. Contemporary dance and music as well as new media are among the key areas of focus of the cultural programming in Germany.

Brazil also engages in cultural programming, but with more limited human resources. The size and diversity of the country also presents some challenges for taking cultural events beyond the Brasilia, Rio de Janeiro, and Sao Paolo "triangle." The Mission capitalizes on the Brazilians' knowledge of and respect for traditions in animation, literature, cinema, and music, for example. The promotion of Canada as a diverse and tolerant society also prevails in Brazil's strategy. The promotion of a vibrant francophone population, with many "Latin" affinities, is considered critical. Thus, Francophonie events, in collaboration with the Alliance Française, and other members of the Francophonie have been a key component in their approach.

Further illustrations of the country approaches were revealed during the phone interviews. For example, in Washington, D.C., public diplomacy allows the Mission to bring Canadian values and multiculturalism as an "underpinning" or "overlay" to its other diplomatic efforts. With PDP funding, the Mission added new dimensions and projects to its relationship with the Helen Hayes Awards, an Annual Theatre Awards Program recognizing excellence in Washington Theater. One of these projects has developed a partnership to promote Canadian theater in Washington (whereby theater directors come to Canada to screen plays) and has led to 8-12 annual performances of Canadian productions. This generates a constant exchange of Canadian theater with the Washington community.

PDP funds facilitated the launch a Canadian film festival in Mexico that is now (4 years later) recognized by film critics as one of the best in the country. In order to "keep Canada bubbling" the Embassy in Mexico aims at delivering a combination of big impact projects as well as smaller initiatives. The PDP funds allowed the Embassy to move from being "responsive" to being "proactive," planning events with greater anticipation because they had the discretionary funds and could make decisions on their use.

Finding 4: The provision of PDP funds over time has increased the ability of Posts to use public affairs programming to engage target groups that are critical to their diplomatic objectives, especially parliamentarians, civil society groups, and journalists.

Before PDP, Canada's missions abroad relied primarily on the PIF to implement public affairs and outreach activities. The introduction of PDP funds has increased their capacities to engage in a sustained way with key target groups. A number of examples of the initiatives being undertaken at the Posts are provided below.

In China, with the support of the PDP funds, the Beijing mission has developed a Canada 100 list which lists more than 200 opinion leaders who can help Canada have greater resonance in various spheres in China. The targeted opinion leaders are systematically invited to major events organized by the mission in order to maintain Canada on their agenda. A significant example is the first visit of Prime Minister Paul Martin to China, which was an occasion to invite targeted decision-makers and demonstrate to them that Canada's engagement with China goes beyond Mr. Chrétien's personal involvement while he was in power.

The PDP has been used by the Mission in Germany to facilitate a Canadian perspective on the policy issues of the day, such as educational achievement, federalism, and immigration. In doing so, the Mission has developed on-going relations with the country's political party foundations.

Parliamentary exchanges in Brazil were initiated in 2002/03. With PDP funding, the Post has provided opportunities to Brazilian Deputies and Senators to make familiarization visits to Canada. In addition to the long-term benefits that come from the improved awareness of and interest in Canadian models and approaches, this initiative also improves the Post's immediate access to parliamentarians in their efforts to reinvigorate the bilateral relationship.

PDP funds also allowed some Posts to scale up and diversify their communications initiatives. In Germany, for example, the Post has used PDP funding to increase use of the Embassy website as a tool to present Canada as a technologically innovative country. It also developed mini CD-ROMs to promote the Embassy's new web product - the digital map of Canada. Weekly and quarterly electronic newsletters now constitute part of the tools of public diplomacy.

Finally, some interviewees noted that the outreach funded through the PDP has changed the nature of the work being done by Political and Economic sections of the Embassies. As one interviewee remarked, "here, the political and economic section vibrates due to public diplomacy work." Some officers can't imagine their position or role in the absence of public diplomacy. They point to improved political and economic reporting as one of the side effects of enhanced relationships and access to key informants.

Finding 5: Partnership and leverage of resources are common features of the public diplomacy programming being implemented at the posts.

All three of the Posts visited in the context of this evaluation (Brazil, France, and Germany) develop their programs in partnership with local collaborators who are perceived as credible in in cultural, political, and/or economic spheres. This allows the Post to leverage the resources of others, including financial and human resources, infrastructure, and knowledge/expertise. The most frequent examples are of partners that facilitate the choice of venue for an activity or pick up the costs of publicity for the event. We found many cases where the Canadian Embassy investment was relatively small, yet it allowed them to "piggy back" on an existing event. A small contribution ($1,000-$5,000) to a prominent Festival can facilitate the participation of Canadian artists.

People are often the key resource to be shared in the partnership. Partners in Germany indicate that if they pay for a speaker's ticket to come to Germany, the Embassy may help fund a speaking tour to several cities. When the Canadian Embassy has brought speakers from Canada, the partner may share their platform (venue and contacts) to help reach a wider audience.

Some of the PDP partnerships are with other program vehicles at FAC such as the Canadian Studies program. There are several examples of how PDP funds have been able to build on and maximize the activities of an active and geographically well-distributed network of Canadian Studies Centres and Programs. At several Posts, Canadian Studies provides resident expertise for Speakers Programs. In addition, universities provide an effective setting for reaching young people and a broader public through lectures, film screenings, etc.

A strategy of "partnership" may have its drawbacks in some cases. As a couple of missions cautioned, the need to partner with other institutions because of limited resources, may at the end dilute Canada's message and reduce contribution to the Mission's public diplomacy objectives.

Finding 6: There is anecdotal evidence of the use of cultural events to gain access to decision-makers and raise the visibility and recognition for Canada among target audiences.

In contrast with traditional cultural diplomacy, where art is showcased to demonstrate cultural uniqueness, contemporary approaches to public diplomacy tend to engage a new set of domestic and international actors and favour both people-to-people and targeted events to further the attainment of foreign policy objectives.

Many of the Missions use cultural events to gain access to key decision-makers or opinion leaders. In this case, the development of a guest list and seating arrangements are part of the strategy for the event. An emphasis on culture as a forum for "access and influence" and a platform for public diplomacy is particularly important and relevant for some contexts. In Germany, for example, interviewees highlighted that "Germans judge a country by its culture."

There is also evidence of visibility and recognition for Canada among select groups, in particular, the recognition for Canadian artists or performers in "tough" markets. Both the cultural partners and Post staff interviewed in Germany indicated that support provided by the Post had helped Canadian artists to gain a greater visibility within their respective cultural sphere. For example, Canada has gained an enviable reputation in contemporary dance in Germany, as illustrated by the special spotlight put on Canada in four different dance festivals.

Some cultural projects, which are seen as more mainstream or accessible, are developed to reach a larger public.

This the case of film festivals organized in Germany and the Salon du Livre organized in Paris. Public screenings of the film Anarjuat, followed by discussion with the audience, are one example. In the Maple Movies project in Germany, a package of 12 Canadian films was made available for one year to repertory cinemas to be used for screenings and film weeks. Supplementary grants to the hosting venues helped to make an event out of it in some cases by inviting a speaker (film expert) to introduce the film. As noted by Embassy staff, "the combination of film plus speaker proved to be a good way of doing public diplomacy, promising an opportunity to entertain and to learn something about Canada. A common comment from audience members was that they had no idea Canada made films."

Similarly, in the example from Brazil described in the textbox, a film screening and panel on related issues in the host country, illustrates how Canadian cultural products can stimulate reflections about the "way of doing things" in both countries.

Canadian Film Used to Fulfill Public Diplomacy Objectives in Brazil

Several stakeholders interviewed noted the power of Canadian film for projecting identities and values in the Brazilian market. The positive media coverage and box office draw for Denys Arcand's Barbarian Invasions and the tour of the movie's vedette, Louise Portal, is the most frequently noted example. The Embassy in Brazil linked the tour of the film to a retrospective on Denys Arcand's films and a parallel panel discussion entitled "Barbarian illusions: the left in 2004." The panel on the positioning of leftist ideologies included participation by Ms. Portal and MP Maninha of Brazil's Worker's Party. Similar notions of impact on audience were cited for The Corporation, produced by Bart Simpson, and screened during the FIC Brasilia film festival. As one Brazilian policymaker noted, there is an underlying positive Brazilian predisposition to Canadian content in culture, entertainment, and news about "Canadian ways of doing things." This comes through in a country where most people do not know of or fully understand Canada.

Finding 7: There is also anecdotal evidence of the influence achieved by Canada in certain contexts where PDP-funded activities played a role.

Public diplomacy is about influencing key target audiences and one of the ways in which Canada can exert its influence is for it to be cited as an example for domestic public policy. The PDP has been used by the Mission in Germany to facilitate a Canadian perspective on policy issues of the day, such as educational achievement, federalism, and immigration among others. One of the partners in this effort has been the country's political foundations. On immigration, for example, the Embassy organized a series of events with the Heinrich Boell Foundation (affiliated to the Green Party) on Canada's approach to immigration. Canada was an important model for the commission that was debating components of a new immigration law for Germany. The final recommendation of that commission included a point system along the lines of the one in Canada, although this component eventually was defeated in the lower house of parliament.

Another way in which influence on audience can be gauged is the recognition given to Canada for its role in facilitation and sharing of ideas. In Chile, for example, the Mission has focused its efforts on the promotion of human rights, by funding seminars geared towards the development of a Human Rights Institute. The seminars and meetings organized included the participation of local NGO representatives as well as government officials. Canada's endeavours were recognized as a contribution to the creation an Ombudsman's office in Chile.

Data indicates that a mix of both political and cultural programming is useful to access and influence decision-makers. The appropriateness of the balance of activities between the two types of programming will depend on the country, the nature of the bilateral relationship, the foreign policy objectives, the strategy, and the specific audiences targeted. In that sense, an even split in the budget allocation between political and cultural programming may not be optimal in every case.

4.3 Effects and Results in Canada

This section focuses primarily on the component of the PDP that has provided grant support to organizations and groups in Canada and is directly managed by CFDX. However, in some findings, reference is also made to activities funded by the BCD and IMF. The findings below are based on four sources of data: a survey of beneficiary organizations, a review of the available documentation for 47 projects(7), interviews with a sub-sample of 14 project leaders, and interviews with program staff and management.

4.3.1 Overview of Grants Activity

Finding 8: Between 1998 and 2004, approximately 500 projects involving the participation of Canadian civil society benefited from PDP funding. Over this period, there has been a shift in the types of initiatives and organizations supported by the program reflecting, in part, a sharpening of the program's strategy.

The database of domestic projects developed by the PDP staff indicates that close to $12.4 million was allocated primarily to Canadian civil society organizations (universities, NGOs, cultural organizations) between 1998 and 2004. Through those organizations, approximately 500 projects were funded by the PDP, with the average grant amount standing at $28,494, while the median amount was $13,000. The largest grant made was in the amount of $500,000 to TV5 in 1998 and the smallest grants were in the amount of $500 given to Université de Sherbrooke (1999) for the Concours Jean-Pictet, l'Association Nationale des Éditeurs de livres (1999), and the Student Conference on Human rights (2000).

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Exhibit 4.2 Overview of Grant Sizes
 Amount
Largest Grant$500,000
Smallest Grant$500
Average Grant size$28,494
Median Grant$13,000

Although a classification of the 500 projects is not available (e.g. by type of project, type of organization, target group, province, etc.)(8), the review team developed a profile of grants and grant recipients based on our review of project documentation and information provided by respondents to the survey.

In the first two years, the PDP supported a large variety of projects, some of which include the initiatives of FAC dependencies such as the Passport Office. Projects during this period reflect a mix of audiences and vehicles. Stakeholders note that some of the projects responded to Ministerial priorities at that time, which had no alternative source of funding. Two examples of this are the large grants to TV5 (1998) and to Lester B. Pearson Canadian International Training Center (1999). In addition, the review of project documents indicates that most projects from 1998 to 1999 took place abroad and targeted an international audience. Initiatives such as the UK-wide cultural promotion, Canada in New York, Orpheo at the Kennedy Center and study tours for journalists were activities largely organized by Posts. In the later years of the program, this type of activity received direct funding through Post framework allocations or geographic envelopes.

Over time, the portfolio of PDP projects has begun to reflect an emphasis on initiatives from Canadian civil society. The survey results (drawing largely from the most recent grant recipients) indicate that 39% of respondents are non-profit organizations while 44% are academic institutions (such as universities (26%), CEGEPs (16%), or community colleges (2%). Among those organizations, 60% are from Québec and 18% from Ontario.

The sample of project documents also provides evidence of a shift towards a greater number of projects aimed at a domestic audience, but with activities overseas as evidenced by survey respondents indicating that 76% of projects took place outside Canada. Several of the domestic projects under review involved the participation of Canadians in activities either 1) taking place in Canada (Experience Canada, Conference des Amériques) and incorporating an international dimension such as cultural exchanges with foreign students, or 2) activities taking place abroad such as internships (Mer et Monde, EIA) that also entail a domestic dimension such as debriefing and outreach in Canada following the internships. The respondents to the survey indicate that 76% of projects take place outside of Canada.

Between 1998 and 2004, the program also developed a greater focus on youth initiatives. Out of the 47 projects reviewed, 21 had youth as their target audience. UN simulations, as well as internships abroad in collaboration with Canadian NGOs are key examples of the larger type of projects in which young Canadians participated. Exchanges also took place on a smaller scale, such as the tour to Ireland by the Nelson Doyle Dancers from New Brunswick. Among the survey respondents, 61% target youth as their primary focus and another 20% indicated that this group was at least partially targeted. Most interviews with PDP partners indicate that project organizers were successful in reaching a younger audience. Other domestic activities include academic conferences and network development that have an international dimension to them.

Among the beneficiary organizations, some have received an annual grant for several years. While 37% of survey respondents had received funding only once, 30% had received funding at least four times. The United Nations Association of Canada (UNAC) that organizes the UN simulation in Ottawa, Enfants d'ici et d'ailleurs and Mer et Monde which manage internships abroad, as well as Institut International d'Études Administratives de Montréal are examples of organizations that have received PDP funds for 2 and sometimes 3 years. In most of these cases, the funds support a recurring activity. In a few instances, PDP supported one or more phases of an organization's project that spanned several years.

4.3.2 Results for Domestic Projects

As noted in the Terms of Reference for the evaluation, the key specific objectives of the PDP have been to contribute to:

  • increased personal knowledge on international issues;
  • expanded views on other parts of Canada; and
  • an increased sense of pride in Canada.

Data collected through surveys, document review and interviews with project leaders illustrates that most PDP projects link to at least one of these three result areas.

Finding 9: PDP projects have generally been successful in improving the participant's personal knowledge or understanding of international issues.

The survey results show that a high rate of 94% of the respondents agree that participants (in the PDP-funded projects) improved their understanding of global issues and realities. An average rate of 81% of respondents agrees that participants increased their knowledge about Canada's foreign policy. It should be noted that the survey results are based on the opinions of project leaders who provided a self-assessment of the effects of their project on participants, who could not be reached directly.

Most of the 47 projects reviewed were directly linked to the "increased personal knowledge on international issues" objective. For example, projects such EIA and Mer et Monde encourage young Canadians to gain a different perspective on issues affecting developing countries through direct participation in internships abroad. Projects like NMUN and SPECQUE promote greater understanding of specific areas such as diplomacy in a multilateral environment and European integration. The conferences and meetings organized by Institut international d'études administratives de Montréal, Ensemble contre la peine de mort, Institut d'études internationales de Montréal have promoted reflections and discussions on how Canadian foreign policyis linked to issues such as human rights, human security, the death penalty as well as economic and social matters common to the Americas. Interviews conducted with PDP partners confirm that projects have been key in broadening the understanding of complex issues among participants.

Both the survey results and project documents indicate that PDP projects generally facilitated greater linkages between Canadians and foreigners. This is the case for activities such as NMUN, EIA, and Mer et Monde, which encourage the development of positive relationships with citizens from various regions, including developing countries.

Finding 10: Most of the PDP projects have contributed to expand the views of project participants on the cultural, linguistic, and regional diversity of Canada.

Approximately 72% of the survey respondents agree that project participants have improved their understanding of Canada's multicultural and bilingual character. About 65% of the project leaders report that participants in the PDP projects developed linkages with Canadians from regions and linguistic groups other than their own.

Out of the sample of projects (47) reviewed, about 20 were related to some extent to the "expanded views" objective because they facilitated direct exchanges between Canadians. The interactions, which occurred between Canadians, appeared in some cases as a positive "side effect" of projects focusing more on the international dimension. This is the case of projects such as NMUN, MOAS and the Youth Summit, where young Canadians not only had the opportunity to meet with foreigners, but also had the occasion to exchange ideas and share perspectives with other Canadians that they would not have ordinarily met due to geographical distance. Similarly, in the words of one survey respondent "The contact with people abroad favours intercultural rapprochement here in our own communities. Indeed, the fact of being in contact with people from very different cultures brings young people to realize that differences are everywhere around us (...) they learn to look around them, to take this diversity into account instead of judging it."

Several interviews with PDP partners revealed that activities taking place in Canada, like Experience Canada, UNAC and Rights and Democracy networking, had a stronger emphasis on increasing the understanding of Canada. For example, UNAC, which organized a UN simulation in Ottawa, developed specific activities to teach students about regional differences in Canada. This knowledge was then reinforced through direct interactions between participants, who often had left their province for the first time to participate in the simulation. Likewise, regional meetings organized by Rights and Democracy have allowed university delegations to meet and discuss human rights issues from regional perspectives.

Finding 11: Although PDP projects may have contributed to participants' sense of pride and belonging to Canada, the third objective of the program, it is a more difficult area to assess and the evidence is less conclusive.

Out of the three objectives we were asked to assess in this evaluation, the "Increased sense of pride in Canada" is where we are less able to draw clear conclusions based on evidence. This is due, in part, to the complexities and ambiguities around definition and ways of documenting changes in pride as a result of project activities. In addition pride is neither tangible nor measurable. The methodological limitation of the study in accessing direct participants in the PDP projects contributes to the difficulties in assessing this objective. In addition, very few survey comments, interviews, or project documents reviewed mention greater sense of "pride" as a key result of the activities undertaken.

Program documents and staff offer several hypotheses about the increase in pride. A first one is that pride is a long-term construct that contributes to the achievement of PDP's broader objective of increasing the sense belonging to Canada. Another interpretation is that as Canadians engage internationally and learn what it means to live in a globalized society and Canada's place in it, a reflection back to Canada has the effect of generating pride in Canadian values(9). In other documents, it is also noted that recognition for Canadian culture overseas (e.g. the success of cultural groups, etc.) also has the effect of increasing pride in Canada.

These hypotheses are supported by the comments of a few interviewees who note that by achieving a better understanding of the role Canada plays abroad and the importance of these actions, the participants felt prouder or more attached to Canada. In the words of one interviewee "People are not well informed on what Canada does, and several have prejudices in this regard. [By participating in the activity and finding out more on Canada's actions abroad] they are generally favourably surprised." Another comment illustrates how activities can also renew value of and pride in the multicultural identity of Canada: "the trip represented an opportunity for the merging of the two strongest aspects of my identity [Acadian and Celtic cultures]. Until the prospect of this trip arose, these had existed separately. I can't express how much it has meant to me to experience these two cultures simultaneously."

One means of assessing pride and its relation to a sense of belonging to Canada is to survey participants over a longer period of time to track the evolution of their perceptions. However, given the limited resources available to the PDP, the Program's management has not been in a position to use this tool.

Finding 12: PDP Canadian programming has yielded additional positive results for participants, such as individual skill development and greater community engagement, and has provided networking opportunities for the organizations that were awarded the grants.

PDP funded projects have generated interesting and unanticipated results that have gone beyond stimulating greater knowledge on global issues and expanded views on Canada.

According to survey respondents, participants in certain activities, namely the UN simulations, have gained analytical and negotiation skills, the ability to work in groups, engage in critical thinking, as well as the development of oral and written expression. In another project involving students from the University of British Columbia who made a presentation to the European Commission, "participants had the experience of summarizing and presenting a complex policy issue publicly to a group of high level policy makers. Participants had first hand experience in examining and understanding regional issues and policies from a comparative perspective (Canada/EU)."

UN Simulations

Every year approximately 350 Canadian students from different universities and colleges across the country, both Francophone and Anglophone, participate in the simulation of the National Model United Nations in New York. The simulation is presented as an opportunity to gain through knowledge of the inner workings of the UN as well as diplomatic and international issues. Funding the initiative is appropriate given the program objectives. A majority of student reports on the activity indicate that the simulation is an excellent opportunity to gain knowledge on international issues in a way that would not be possible through the university curriculum. Also, some students have mentioned that the NMUN is not only an opportunity to make contact with foreigners who have different cultural backgrounds but also meet with Canadians from regions that are not easily accessible. Several Francophone participants have mentioned that the simulation is a very good occasion to practice their second language in a challenging context. Additional anecdotes show how the participants in these simulations then take jobs in Canada's international policy community, including FAC.

Budget amounts: $103,000 in 1999, $299,300 in 2002 and $175,000 in 2003

Furthermore, PDP partners shared accounts of participants taking concrete actions as a result of their participation in the project activity. Some have opted for greater personal involvement in volunteer work, the development of NGOs, participation in solidarity networks, etc. Others have adapted their academic and career orientation to integrate international dimensions, sometimes leading them to seek professional opportunities within international or governmental agencies. One survey respondent writes "[the participants] feel more confident about taking a leadership role, as their participation confirmed that they have the skills to research and present high-level material" and another stated "the program contributed to helping youth identify the values that will determine their choice of life and career as well as their engagement as active and responsible citizens. It favours the emergence of a network of adults that are engaged in their local communities and on the international stage."

For example, as a result of their participation in the internship organized by Enfants d'ici et d'ailleurs, some participants created an NGO in Canada in order to improve the human rights of those infected by AIDS in Benin. Participants from other programs, such as the UN simulation run by UNAC, decided to become involved in other organizations as volunteers.

There were also unexpected results for the organizations that benefited from the grant. In some cases, participation in the PDP program has allowed beneficiary organizations to become part of a larger network. Several of the funded projects led to the creation of new networks (international network of young francophones, international meetings of community and associative radio stations, human rights delegations across Canadian universities) and all have helped to galvanize local organisations into action to support the initiative either financially or logistically.

Finding 13: PDP funded projects that generate a multiplier effect through information and experience-sharing activities have been among the most effective initiatives.

As mentioned above, several PDP-funded projects integrate information sharing activities, conducted by the participants themselves rather than the organizers. Building on the knowledge they have gained as a result of an international exchange, discussion groups, or on-going training, participants in the initiatives of EIA, Rights and Democracy network, and College Saint-Boniface, informed other Canadians--not directly involved in the project--about various aspects of Canada's foreign policy. These types of activities broaden the outreach of the project and have the potential for more long-lasting effects as opposed to one-day events, such as academic conferences.

The key to the effectiveness of these projects is the multiplier effect in creating opportunities to spread information and promote discussions on the issues addressed by these initiatives. For example, Microvoyageur's project targeted radio broadcasters, that is, people who are more likely to play an educational role in their community. The project leader and documentation suggests that after the project, these broadcasters are more predisposed to understanding the importance of these topics and include them in their programming.

Projet Humanitaire Nicaragua

The Projet humanitaire Nicaragua was developed by a group of 14 high school students and three adults who chose to travel to Nicaragua, live with families of a severely marginal community (a rural refugee camp), and participate in their daily tasks and activities. Before the trip and in parallel to this experience the group attended conferences on related themes such as the Sandinista movement, women's rights, developing country debt, liberation theology, etc. On their return the group produced a documentary of their experience that was shown on a local cable-TV station, and all of the participants indicated the trip had had a considerable impact on their world view. As a result of this activity, several participants have created or become involved with organizations such as fair trade organizations and solidarity groups, and several declared having modified their professional orientation as a result of this experience.

The school is currently preparing a similar trip to Senegal.

Budget amount: $3,000 in 2002.

Similarly, Enfants d'ici et d'ailleurs's policy of requiring participants to hold discussions in Canadian schools before and after their international experience ensures that the learning process on these issues in general, and the impact of the international experience specifically, benefit a wider group of young people.

This is also the case with NMUN participants from certain academic institutions who, as part of the project, have to share their experience at the UN simulation as well as a summary of their research on the country they represented. The University of Sherbrooke, for example, has incorporated the project into their academic program so that students can get academic credit for participating in the simulation. The University builds activities around this initiative (conferences about the country represented, etc.) to increase the educational value and raise awareness in the broader community. Students are also strongly encouraged to write articles in local newspapers.

Finding 14: Some PDP funded activities have enhanced the visibility of Canada's Official Language Minority communities in Canada and at internationally themed events, providing FAC with a key vehicle for meeting its legal obligations under the Official Language Act.

The Official Language Act (OLA) stipulates that the government of Canada (through its ministries) should be committed to "enhancing the vitality of the English and French linguistic minority communities in Canada and supporting and assisting their development". Given its mandate and flexible structure, the PDP became one of the main vehicles for meeting FAC's legal obligations. As specified in the most recent Treasury Board submission, the PDP prioritized an inclusive approach for minority groups, more specifically Official Language Minority communities, referring to francophones outside of Quebec and anglophones in Quebec.

Although the PDP supported a small number of projects in this area, these projects generated positive results in terms of increased awareness of Canada's Language Minority Communities. About a dozen survey respondents--out of the 33 that answered this particular question--indicated that Official Language Minority communities, such as francophones outside Quebec, were the primary participants in their activity. In its commitment to the OLA, PDP mostly provided support to organisations promoting Canadian francophone minority communities. This inclination is explained by the relative importance in terms of number of organisations supporting Canadian francophonie vis-à-vis organisations promoting the development of English as a minority language in Canada.

Among the projects reviewed more in depth, several have integrated the promotion of the Canadian francophonie outside Québec as a primary objective. This is the case with projects such as the participation of the Société Nationale de l'Acadie at the Festival International de Lorient in France, or the development by the College Saint-Boniface in New Brunswick of a course on Canadian francophonie which is available on the Internet. Both projects have reached international audiences and have contributed to information dissemination on the culture and values of francophone communities outside Québec.

Other projects promoting Canadian francophonie have not necessarily had an impact at the international level, but have contributed to reinforcing a dialogue among francophone communities in Canada. Indeed, there are several cases in which the PDP promoted awareness amongst Francophones through "francophonie" activities that regrouped francophone communities from different parts of Canada. This is the case with projects such as the Francophone youth meeting, SPEQUE and UNAC simulations.

In the case of a project that supported a meeting of youth leaders from francophonie countries and regions, it was the first time that francophone youth leaders from Quebec met with their peers from other parts of Canada. In reference to this meeting, one respondent notes that "the participants are now more interested in cultures within the francophonie because they now have concrete ways of getting involved." Another survey respondent noted that "The PDP has played an essential role in the promotion of francophone and Acadian communities. [The activity they funded] showed the diversity of francophone communities in Canada, the usefulness of bilingualism, and that francophone communities outside of Quebec not only survive but flourish".

Finding 15: The PDP has also made a positive contribution to the promotion of Francophonie outside of Canada.

As specified in the 1999 submission to the Treasury Board, the promotion of the Francophonie is one of the PDP's key areas of work. The principal channels for promoting Francophonie abroad are the projects supported by the Francophone Institutions Division (IMF), which allocated about $250,000-300,000 in small grants each year, andFrancophonie events organized at the Posts.

The participation of a Canadian delegation to the Congress of the International Federation of French Teachers in Atlanta in 2004 is one example of a successful francophonie project. Several Canadian teachers and panellists participated in workshops on French learning processes, francophone literature, and linguistic policies. The Congress was an opportunity not only to exchange ideas but also to strengthen collaboration with institutions of the Francophonie such as the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie. A key result of the Canadian participation in the event is the selection of Quebec City as the venue for the next International Congress in 2008.

Several other PDP funded initiatives have contributed to the promotion of francophonie while also advocating for Canadian interests and values such as Human Rights protection and Good Governance. An example of this is the Journalists for Human Rights project, which has an exchange program for 36 young journalists and jurists on the role of media in the promotion of Human Rights. The young participants stayed for several weeks in the exchange country and participated in projects that provided media coverage of issues such as health, poverty, freedom of speech and women's rights. The project has encouraged the collaboration between francophone countries from the North and the South and has enriched the journalistic and Human Rights knowledge of young Canadians and Africans.

4.4 Communications Results

Finding 16: The PDP also provided crucial funding for the Department's outreach programs that inform, stimulate and educate Canadian and foreign audiences on a larger scale.

FAC's Outreach Programs and E-Communications Division (BCD), in the Communications Bureau, have the mandate to disseminate information regarding Canada's foreign policy through outreach and communications activities targeting primarily the Canadian public, but also foreign audiences. In the past years, with funds from the PDP, the BCD delivered a strategy that built on successful existing programs and developed new initiatives that integrate both PDP objectives and FAC priorities.

The strategy for 2004-05 includes eight key initiatives. For domestic audiences, the largest investments have been in the Speakers program, Media Outreach Program, and Canada World View. The Speakers Program, whose main objective is to "interpret the world for Canadians"(10), offers speaking events that target Canadians of all walks of life. The speakers are usually Heads of Mission or diplomatic staff with first-hand knowledge of Canada's priorities and actions in the world. Over the last four years, speaking programs were held in 390 cities across the country (some more than once) and reached more than 65,000 Canadians, including students, opinion leaders, members of ethnic communities, provincial and municipal government officials, business community, and NGOs.

In order to raise awareness of Canada's foreign policy with a broader audience, the BCD has implemented the media outreach program, which contributes to building valuable relations outside the mainstream media, with community newspapers and young journalism students. These activities include writing awards for community paper journalists that recognize the importance of writing about how international events affect Canadians in communities throughout Canada. They also include panel discussions in journalism schools on the challenges and opportunities of foreign policy reporting.

Another key initiative is the production of the quarterly magazine "Canada World View", which provides an overview of current policy issues and Canada's perspective on them. The magazine, which is now available in electronic format, is distributed to approximately 43,000 subscribers in Canada. It is unclear whether or not the Embassies distribute the electronic version of the magazine in their host country as an instrument of public diplomacy. If not, this represents an opportunity for broader application of the magazine.

In addition to the domestic initiatives, the BCD has continued with the Foreign Visitors program. This initiative facilitates visits to Canada by foreign journalists in order to increase their interest in and knowledge of Canadian culture, issues and accomplishments. Cultural diversity, higher education, federalism and emerging science are among the themes presented during the journalists' visits. As noted in the Bureau's reports, the foreign visitors program has allowed foreign journalist to write articles which are well-balanced, less stereotyped and more in tune with Canadian realities.

The PDP has also supported the development of shared-content promotional products and new technologies in the support of FAC priorities. Specific content development initiatives include "Canada in a Classroom" kits, fact sheets, multi-media promotional materials, new web sites. Existing publications (such as "Canada World View") now have electronic versions. The Bureau has also provided support to Schoolnet, where the emphasis has been on the development of original content (and complementary educational frameworks and lesson plans) on themes and topics that are relevant to Canada's international relations.

While the PDP-funded outreach programs have contributed to increasing the knowledge of Canadians on international issues and Canada's Foreign Policy, the Department has not maximized the synergies between this component and the other components of the PDP. Most outreach activities were developed as independent initiatives with limited linkages to other PDP activities.

4.5 Program Design Factors

Finding 17: The Program emerged in a turbulent political context that, as several interviewees note, contributed to a complex structure and unusual or awkward practices within the Program.

The PDP emerged at a challenging time for the Canadian government. In part because of the need for quick implementation, the Program was designed to take advantage of existing delivery mechanisms. This meant that the PDP did not have its own Terms and Conditions from the outset. Instead, the Terms of Conditions in aid of Cultural and Academic relations were adapted to include additional types of eligible recipients that could be relevant to program objectives. This feature of the initial program design--the lack of a separate Terms and Conditions--has been an on-going concern of program management.

In addition, the Program was established with a complex structure for program delivery and governance. Implementation of the PDP required a transfer of funds to many different operating units in FAC, with a concomitant dispersion in accountabilities for those funds. The PDP Committee and CFDX played roles in management and governance, and were ultimately accountable for the use of funds. An "approximate" illustration of the relationships and flows of resources/information is illustrated in the diagram below. In some cases (such as for ACA, IMF, ACD, and the Framework Posts), CFDX's role is in the macro administration of the budgets at the beginning of each fiscal year. In other cases, such as with geographic bureaux and civil society groups, there is more on-going, micro-administration of funds that is required.

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Exhibit 4.3 Illustration of Resource and Information Flows Between Components of the PDP

Illustration of resource and information flows between components of the PDP

Note: The linkages show systematic relationships between components. There may be cases of ad-hoc reports being submitted. CFDX used academic relations and cultural granting authorities in ACD.

Some of these components of the initial design evolved over time, such as the composition of the PDP Committee. (Further information on the Program's management and governance can be found in Section 6.1.) The Minister's role in approving projects also varied - from signing off on grants in the amounts of $5,000 and higher to delegating this authority to the appropriate divisions, subject to Committee approval.

Finding 18: The Program lacked clearly stated objectives, planned results, rigorous criteria for projects, and a program logic that helped to link its different components together.

The different submissions to the Treasury Board, business plans, and the Ministerial memos regarding the PDP illustrate an evolution in the program. As noted earlier, the Department added new criteria and sub-objectives to the PDP framework with the intention of responding to the context and giving strategic direction to the program. These additions, however, also began shaping a program framework that is difficult to use in managing for results.

Although all activities were to contribute to the overall objective of using the international dimension to promote Canadian unity/social cohesion, there is a lack of written analysis of how the different components, projects, and activities related to each other in achieving that objective. As a result, the program evolved with projects and activities that may be effective tools on their own, but do not explicitly reinforce each other to influence different actors and stakeholders in pursuit of the overall objective. For example, how do activities implemented by the Communications Bureau reinforce the outreach to civil society that is carried out by the domestic component in the Program? Do the activities carried out overseas consistently contribute to the social cohesion objective?

The deficiencies in the Program's logic (e.g. the causal linkages between activities and the different levels of results) have been compounded by the introduction of multiple objectives over time, without establishing rigorous criteria for the selection of projects. This has meant that objectives and criteria have been subject to different interpretations by management and staff over the years. Program management made efforts to provide clearer and more rigorous, but these efforts were frustrated for a variety of reasons. The lack of a results framework for the PDP also eliminated the possibility of making performance-based allocations. Although these characteristics may reflect the unique nature and origins of the program, they are also considered to be a weakness of the program.

Finding 19: The PDP was established as a pilot, but did not incorporate a strong monitoring and evaluation system that could be important for the maximization of learning from pilot initiatives.

As several of the Department's documents suggest, the Program was conceived as a "pilot" initiative. One of the principal characteristics of pilot projects is that they are designed with rigorous monitoring and evaluation systems so that lessons can be drawn from the experience. Although an internal assessment was conducted in 2002 and published as Bilan et Perspectives, the Program did not have an explicit monitoring and evaluation component. This would have been critical for learning from the experiences of the Program and making a future decision about seeking permanent funding. The consequences of the "on-going pilot" include the fact that staff and management resources were required for each of the renewals / extensions requested. In addition, the Program had to manage the possibility of "non-renewal" with its external constituencies, namely the civil society groups in Canada.

Finding 20: Both internal and external stakeholders perceived a lack of transparency in the PDP because of the limited information that was made available about the objectives and criteria for the Program.

The lack of transparency was raised as a weakness of the Program several times in the interviews with FAC stakeholders and in the survey and interviews conducted with some of the civil society groups that accessed PDP funding. Within FAC, several interviewees indicate that some Posts and regions did not know about the availability of public diplomacy funding for their projects. Outside of the Department, the existence of the PDP has been shared by FAC only by word of mouth. The program did not have information on the Internet or other media that are accessible to a broader public. As one respondent from civil society notes "I stumbled across the PDP quite by accident." The majority of interviewees were referred to the program by FAC staff.

In the past two years, some efforts have been made to promote the Program outside of the traditional group of grant applicants. In 2004, for example, program staff travelled to several provinces in the West to visit educational institutions and promote the program. This was motivated by a desire to shape the PDP into a pan-Canadian program with projects distributed across the provinces. One survey respondent indicates that "PDP staff visited several western provinces (...) this was, in my view, extremely helpful. At the very least, it would support the Prime Minister's declared aim to defeat Western alienation." Other ideas for broader promotion (such as creating a page on the FAC web site) have been hampered in part by the continuous uncertainty about renewal and preparations for the "sunset" of the Program. Some of the civil society groups (grant recipients) consulted during the study also raise transparency concerns with regard to the criteria used to select the projects. Although the majority of survey respondents indicate that the selection criteria are appropriate, some of the comments they provided include:

  • "there wasn't a lot of information about the PDP program. Some guesswork was involved. The PDP objectives and criteria could definitely be more clearly outlined";
  • "particularly unclear was the relationship between the PDP and other DFAIT funding programs";
  • "the guidelines in general are not clear - they could be construed more as public relations for foreign affairs."

From the point of view of some stakeholders, there are also arguments in favour a less public approach. On the one hand, it allowed the Program to target specific audiences. On the other, a broader outreach to the public would have generated a level of demand that could not be met by the Program staff and financial resources. Nevertheless, in public grant programs, a higher degree of openness and outreach is important in order to ensure high standards in public management.

Finding 21: The information collected indicates that the PDP, through all of its components, has somewhat contributed its overall objective of greater social cohesion among Canadians.

The assessment of progress towards the overall objective considers the contributions of each of the components of the PDP program. As noted in the design section above, the PDP evolved as a cluster of programs and projects that may be effective tools on their own, but together, do not explicitly reinforce each other in pursuit of this objective. For example, at the country level, although there is evidence that PDP activities and outputs are linked to country strategies, there are limited and/or less explicit mechanisms for getting the "bounceback to Canada" that could contribute to the social cohesion aim of the Program.

The domestic component has succeeded in engaging Canadians, particularly by encouraging young Canadians to establish links with others and consider further engagement in international affairs. The potential effects on social cohesion are evident in some projects more than in others. Overall, the effectiveness of the domestic component was limited in the early years by the spread of projects; however, marked improvement has been realised in recent years.

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5. Program Relevance

The evaluation's assessment of relevance looks at the ways in which the Program responds to the needs of FAC and the different stakeholder groups, both within and outside the department.

5.1 Links To Canadian Interests and Foreign Policy Objectives

Finding 22: The PDP has been a core funding mechanism for the Third Pillar of Canada's foreign policy and has supported the achievement of several Departmental priorities.

The PDP supported a wide range of activities that contribute to Canada's Third Pillar of foreign policy. In the absence of a clear strategy and framework for the pillar, it is difficult to draw the direct and more concrete linkages between what the Program supports and what the Pillar tries to achieve. Above all, the PDP has been a core funding mechanism for activities in this area. The study also finds that the PDP is relevant to foreign policy priorities, especially as they are interpreted at the country level. Some missions have been particularly successful in articulating Post business plans and priorities with activities funded by PDP. Missions use a combination of PDP-funded programs, together with other initiatives, in order to foster understanding of Canada and its foreign policy objectives among decision makers and opinion leaders in key countries.

Through its domestic activity, primarily in CFDX (but also in the activities of IMF and BCD), the PDP has tested interesting ways of engaging Canadians. In many of the projects we examined, there is evidence of Canadians having gained a better understanding of the international environment. Several of the projects we reviewed facilitated student visits or exchanges with developing countries. While those countries may not be as high on FAC's list of geographic priorities, these projects often served to promoted FAC's key thematic areas like Good Governance and Human Rights.

Some stakeholders did however question the links between specific projects and the Department's priorities. For example, the non-publicized mechanism for drawing in projects prompted questions about whether the Program was capturing the most relevant projects for FAC purposes. This questioning also arises because of the changing priorities for FAC. One interviewee put it this way: FAC priorities evolve and provide a "moving target" of what we are trying to achieve. Even the Deputy Minister noted that FAC must become "more systematic in the way senior management sets priorities and allocates resources."(11)

5.2 Meeting Expectations of Stakeholders

5.2.1 Civil Society Groups in Canada

Finding 23: The PDP generally has met the expectations of Canadian beneficiary organizations and, as the Program sunsets, there are concerns about the lack of alternative funding resources for engaging in the same type of activities.

In general, the civil society groups that have received grants value the PDP at FAC. It is seen both as a mechanism for citizen engagement and a key source of funding. As stated in one survey, "this program offers more flexibility for the interaction between the citizens and the government than other programs because it addresses itself to all citizens and allows room for originality and initiative in the conception of projects. Contrary to CIDA programs, it is an encouraging not discouraging program, especially for small organizations."

These groups have developed an expectation of stable financial support from the program. Some even stress that the development of projects would not have been possible without PDP's financial support. For about half of the respondents to the survey, the PDP funding represented less than 25% of their project's total budget. Nonetheless, for one-third of the respondents the PDP funds provided 25-50% of their project's total budget. While the PDP was not the sole source of funding, in several cases, project leaders report that it was the most important contributor.

Organizations also emphasise that the grant from FAC/PDP provides credibility and visibility in the eyes of other potential donors. As one survey respondent writes, "Provincial governments, especially with regards to activities related to the francophonie, always want to know first what the federal government is doing. Federal financing from PDP often served as a lever with provincial governments." Several organizations fear that if the program is discontinued, they will not have the means to pursue their activities. An abrupt ending of the program is likely to stir dissatisfaction among these participants.

5.2.2 Foreign Affairs Canada Stakeholders

Finding 24: The PDP generally has met the expectations of Posts, Geographic Bureaus, and other divisions in FAC, although improvements in some areas could make it even more relevant to their needs.

Posts

The PDP has generally met the expectations of Posts by providing flexible funds for the Posts to use for their own public diplomacy initiatives. The study finds that Posts tend to pool funding resources in support of their business plans and public diplomacy strategies, without major distinctions made among the sources of funds. For example, there is no evidence of explicit differentiation between a cultural grant awarded using ACA funds and those awarded using PDP funds. In principle, the source of funding is not relevant to the beneficiary, except to the extent that the activity is designed to reflect an arts promotion and/or a public diplomacy objective.

The Posts identify several areas in which such funding could be made more relevant to their needs. First, they would require funding that is consistent over time (without large fluctuations) and that responds to a multi-year planning framework. An annual submission and allocation process is not optimal from most of the Posts perspectives. One of the key detriments to a year-to-year process is that sometimes the funds are received much later than the beginning of the fiscal year. This has meant that they often have only 9-10 month (or shorter) implementation periods. It should however be noted that delays in fund disbursements to Posts could not be easily avoided by the Program's management because, in the annual process of renewal, the Treasury Board usually transferred the PDP funds after the beginning of the fiscal year.

Our interviews also indicated that some of the criteria for projects, particularly the promotion of the Francophonie, are less relevant for Posts in some countries (such as the Commonwealth countries) where target audiences have little appetite for these areas.

It is also important to note that Post capacities play a role in the extent to which Posts are able to take full advantage of the PDP funds. (Post capacities are more fully discussed in Section 7.1.1.)

Geographic Bureaux

Geographic bureaux value the availability of funds that can be used to provide strategic support to Posts. They have been engaged in channelling requests from the Posts that draw on the Geographic envelopes. In our interviews with the bureaux, some stakeholders raised concerns about the initial lack of internal transparency and vague documentation about the Program. Some also note operational hurdles that made accessing the funds cumbersome for the geographic bureaux. Over time, however, these difficulties were largely addressed. Stakeholders from the geographics also refer to on-going concerns regarding the criteria for funding in terms of the types of projects, regions of preference, and countries of emphasis.

Other Divisions

The PDP provided other divisions of FAC with the funding they needed to continue programs that were useful to the Department, despite the budget cuts of the 1990s. PDP came to provide 30% of the overall budget at ACA, but represented half or more than half of the total cultural allocations to missions. In Communications, the story is not very different; the $1.2 million allocated to the Bureau came to represent 40% of its reference levels and represented 70% of BCD funding.

5.2.3 FAC's Partners Abroad

Finding 25: Partners abroad value the outreach of the Embassy through PDP initiatives in which they benefit by receiving funding, networking, and learning opportunities.

The overseas partners interviewed in the course of this review had positive assessments of the relationships developed with the Embassies. This was true of partners in the artistic community, civil society, business community, and among government officials. Cultural partners in Germany, for example, noted that the Embassy not only provides contacts within Canadian cultural industries but also with representatives from the private sector that often provide them with financial support. The Dance Festival 2004 received financial support from ALCAN with the help of the Embassy. Furthermore, cultural newsletters contribute to the promotion of festivals and events throughout the country. The funding itself is also critical, particularly in smaller events where this contribution makes the presentation of foreign groups and companies possible.

On the public/political affairs side, partners also commented on the opportunities that the Embassy provides for learning about new approaches and ideas. This is the case, for example, for parliamentarians who have participated in parliamentary exchanges in Canada, and have been able to see how Canada addresses certain public policy issues.

5.3 On-Going Relevance

Finding 26: At the time of creation, this "pilot" initiative was appropriate. However, in light of the Department's recent Public Diplomacy mainstreaming efforts, a more coordinated and integrated program should be pursued.

As noted in Bilan et Perspectives, the Public Diplomacy program emerged during a particular moment in history in which Canada faced a series of challenges both at home and abroad in the aftermath of the 1995 referendum. Both the Government of Canada and FAC assessment of the political context identified a need for proactive measures to favour unity and a need for the Federal Government to exercise responsible leadership in this regard.

Program documents point out that during the same period, the Department of Foreign Affairs identified a rise in the importance of the international dimension to citizens stemming, in part, from anti-globalization and other movements of the 1990s. These movements drew the attention of young people in Canada. Certain provincial governments, notably the government of Quebec, began stressing the international dimension even more, in part to illustrate that governments share the preoccupations of their citizens.

The evaluation finds that given this context, a pilot program - to test and learn from programming initiatives that use the international dimension to increase the sense of belonging and attachment to Canada--was appropriate. The PDP serves to illustrate that public diplomacy initiatives can support the generation of social cohesion in Canada.

The study also concludes that the PDP - as it has operated - may no longer be the best mechanism for pursuing declared objectives. This is based primarily on our assessment of program design factors and the changing context in FAC. The design limitations of the PDP noted in Section 4.5, include:

  • a complex structure for program delivery;
  • the lack of clear objectives, results framework, and rigorous criteria for project selection;
  • the lack of a monitoring and evaluation mechanism;
  • the absence of separate Terms and Conditions for making transfer payments; and
  • a lack of transparency.

For many stakeholders in the Department, the PD "fund" came to fill gaps in funding (emerging from the budget cuts of the 1990s) to do the programming that is deemed important and necessary for several Bureaus and Divisions in FAC. A fund of this nature faces the challenge of being more than the sum of its parts.

Furthermore, the context for FAC today is different than it was in the late 1990s. Of particular note is the creation of the PD framework and business line, which captures the importance of the function and its activities and attempts to mainstream PD. In an effort to realign resources, priorities, and style, the Department has begun to draw lessons and change practices based on the experiences of the Public Diplomacy "pilot" Program.

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6. Program Efficiency in Implementation

6.1 Program Governance and Management

Finding 27: The PDP evolved with a cumbersome governance structure, where roles and responsibilities in governance and management were ill-defined and the composition and mandate of key bodies were perceived to change over time.

The Program's governance and management structure contemplated a Public Diplomacy Steering Committee, composed of representatives from the bureaus and divisions implementing the Program, and a Secretariat (CFDX) in Federal-Provincial-Territorial Relations (CFP). The original Terms of Reference for the Committee (as approved by the Minister on 20/7/98) provided for a role in governance of the Program. The Committee's mandate included:

  • Overseeing implementation of the activities and projects
  • Supervising the funding provided by the Program
  • Providing advice to Ministers on projects for which supplementary PD funding will be drawn upon
  • Ensuring that there is a significant contribution to Canadian culture, values, and interests, while taking into account Canada's diversity and/or positive contribution to the image of Canada abroad
  • Reviewing and assessing project results
  • Ensuring optimal use of resources
  • Reporting quarterly to Deputies and Ministers
  • Making recommendations on the continuation of activities and renewal of funding for them

The membership of the Committee included ADM for Communications and Policy Planning, the DGs for the different Bureaus involved in program delivery (Federal-Provincial Territorial Relations, International Cultural Relations, and Communications), the Chief of Protocol, representatives of the Privy Council Office and of the Ministers concerned.

Over time, the mandate and composition of the Committee changed. As some interviewees noted, it became a "Selection/Approval" Committee, with more limited overall guidance, oversight or authority for PDP. The composition also changed since 1998, when ADMs and PCO were members of the committee.

From 1998-2005, the Secretariat developed a key role in overall program management. The Program documentation, however, does not offer clear terms of reference for the Secretariat that specify its responsibility and authority, including the extent of its role in the filtering of projects. The roles of the Committee and the Secretariat were undermined at times by perceived interference from hautes instances, as noted by some of the stakeholders interviewed. This governance/management structure was also limited by the regular efforts to renew the Program. In the PDP, as in the case of other programs in the Third Pillar, the efforts to renew and justify program existence created a burden of administration that distract management from more strategic thinking and actual program delivery.

Despite the cumbersome governance structure of the PDP, the people involved have been able to shape the new strategic framework for public diplomacy and ensure that public diplomacy is one of the FAC imperatives noted in the IPS.

6.2 Work Processes and Procedures

Finding 28: The PDP faced a learning curve in the development of appropriate processes and procedures, with noticeable improvements in some areas made in the last two years.

In this finding, the study addresses the PDP's administrative procedures and its role in monitoring and learning.

An Advise and Assist audit conducted in 2000 noted several weaknesses in administrative procedures. One of the primary findings was that the Program's documentation for approved projects was often incomplete. As noted in the Management comment on the Summary of findings from this audit, many of the projects highlighted by the audit team were approved under a "framework" proposal from another branch (e.g. Communications). Nonetheless, Program management took note and proposed to remedy the fact that many of the Program files were missing grant applications, grant agreements, or reports.

In our own review of documentation, there is a noticeable difference in what is available for projects funded by the PDP in 1998 and what is available for projects funded in the last two years. For earlier projects, for example, the documentation may consist only of a Memorandum to the Minister. The current program management and staff has given priority to developing a centralized filing system and ensuring that project documentation is as complete as it can be. FAC stakeholders interviewed confirm that over time the Program's administrative procedures have improved.

The monitoring of PDP funds and projects has also been a consistent challenge for the program. For the internal transfers of funds, particularly to the Posts, the PDP has made efforts to achieve greater consistency in reporting. For 2003-04 and 2004-05, there is a relatively complete set of Frameworks for Public Diplomacy and reports about their implementation. Beyond that, however, there have been limited opportunities for CFDX to engage directly with Embassies (e.g. little personal, face-to-face interaction). Although program staff participates in the larger events related to Canadian projects (e.g. the UN simulations) as part of their monitoring, they are not able to visit or engage in an equal way with all project partners. The Program requires that grant recipients submit a final report on their project, but in practice, this is difficult to enforce because it is not a Treasury Board requirement for grants.

The Posts also recognize the limited resources available for monitoring or doing follow-up on public diplomacy initiatives and events. Polling is of particular interest to countries such as China. Yet several other stakeholders have also questioned the cost-effectiveness of polling to monitor public diplomacy. In a subsequent phase of programming, FAC will need to assess the alternatives for monitoring public diplomacy initiatives.

One of the shortcomings of the PDP was that it was not able to foster as much cross-program learning (about what works and what doesn't for public diplomacy) as it could have. This is due, in large part to the existence of a complex structure and decentralized approach to program delivery, where there is no clear mandate, resources, and authority to engage in the sharing of lessons learned (across regions, across bureaus). Some regions have organized their own initiatives for sharing ideas and learning (e.g. meetings of Public Diplomacy Officers in Asia).

6.3 Grants Process

Finding 29: Most Canadian beneficiary organizations are satisfied with the grant making procedures and value the contribution of PDP staff to the grant process.

More than 90% of respondents to the survey indicated that the PDP grant approval process was efficient and that there was adequate support provided by the PDP project manager. In the words of two survey respondents: "on all accounts, the PDP grant administration has been logical and fair in its endeavours" and "I wish there were more grants administered so intelligently and humanely." Both interviews and survey results indicate that the Program's grant making procedures are perceived to be faster, less cumbersome, and more flexible than those of other government agencies. The information also suggests that PDP staff is attentive to the special needs of the applicant and willing to provide logistical support, advice and answers to specific questions while proposals are being drawn up and after the proposal have been accepted. Interview data also suggests that the PDP staff devoted time and energy not only sharpen the strategic direction of the program but also to improve the day-to-day management of the PDP.

More than 85% of respondents agreed that PDP funds were disbursed within the time frame indicated by PDP staff. In the interviews and survey comments, some respondents point out delays in disbursement that affected the planning and development of the project.

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7. Conclusions and Lessons to Carry Forward

The purpose of this study was to assess the effectiveness, efficiency, and rationale of the PDP. In general, we found that the program's components contributed to positive results both domestically and abroad that link to Departmental priorities and the Third Pillar. The PDP illustrated that public diplomacy efforts can contribute to greater social cohesion among Canadians. Nonetheless, several program design issues may have frustrated PDP's overall effectiveness. Although the individual components of the program made positive contributions, there often was little synergy among them, which meant that the whole of the PDP was no greater than the sum of its parts. Strategic coordination amongst the components would have greatly benefited the program.

On program management and efficiency, the study concludes that weaknesses in administrative procedures affected the PDP, despite efforts to overcome them in recent years. The complexity of the program's structure placed a number of strains on governance and management of the program. The PDP is recognized as a flexible program, but one in which the accountability for resources is diluted among different divisions in FAC.

With respect to relevance, we find that the creation of the PDP as a pilot initiative was an appropriate response given the context in 1998. Today, the PDP may no longer be the best mechanism for pursuing the declared objectives. For many stakeholders in FAC, the PDP mechanism served to fill gaps in funding emerging from budget cuts to do programming that is deemed important for different Posts, Bureaus and Divisions in FAC. This "pilot" program has served to confirm the legitimacy of a public diplomacy function within the Department in both the international and domestic arenas. As experience with the PDP suggests, public diplomacy should not be a separate program, but a way of working in the Department. It is best to understand the "job" or "function" to be public diplomacy and the instruments to be the new and existing programs that FAC can use to deliver a public diplomacy strategy. This has been confirmed in the new PD strategic framework and business line, which attempts to bring into the mainstream the function of public diplomacy and to realign resources, priorities and styles accordingly. The lessons from the experience of the PDP will continue to inform developments in this next phase.

7.1 Some Emerging Lessons from Implementing the PDP

7.1.1 Post Capacities

This section presents some reflections on certain core capacities at the Posts that are crucial for more effective public diplomacy.

Leadership

The Head of Mission (HOM) provides a vision for public diplomacy. The Posts that have a history of having HOM who explicitly embrace these programs as tools for achieving the Embassy's objectives are often recognized for their strength in these areas. The leadership provided by public and cultural affairs Counsellors is also crucial. One interviewee also noted that the appointment of senior staff (departmental "EX" level, for example) to coordinate public diplomacy in a Mission sends a strong signal on the importance of this function to the Mission.

Strategy development

Integrated and multi-year public diplomacy strategies have the potential to be most far-reaching and respond to the Department's new vision of mainstreaming. These integrated strategies draw on

  • all of the potential resources of the Posts (Embassy, Consulates, others),
  • the different sections in those Posts (political, public affairs and culture, trade, immigration, for example), and
  • the various tools of public diplomacy (communications, arts and culture, public affairs/outreach, academic relations, youth exchanges, etc.).

However, a whole-of-mission approach is a challenge to implement in practice, given tendencies for Posts and different Sections of Posts to work on their own. There is still much to be done at the country level in taking the whole-of-mission approach from paper to practice. Furthermore, as one interviewee noted, "since public affairs and culture holds the purse strings of public diplomacy, other sections see this outside of their purview."

Human resources

As noted in this study, appropriate staffing (levels and expertise) can make a difference in efforts to do public diplomacy. Most of the Posts we interviewed have a number of locally engaged staff involved in public diplomacy. There are some benefits to this. Our study notes, for example, that locally-engaged staff who have strong expertise in arts and culture can bring personal networks into the Embassy's folds. This can facilitate the development of long-term relationships with partners. They also have ability to make judgment on the appropriateness of the supply (artist/the media) for the demand (audiences/markets). A similar situation is noted in the area of political and public affairs. This being said, we also note concerns about relying on locally-engaged staff, which were expressed by some respondents. They question the extent to which local staff can be charged with projecting Canadian values and culture when in fact they have had little exposure to Canada. In response, however, Posts have found ways of training local staff, through familiarization visits to Canada and attendance at key events that expose them to the Canadian arts and culture scene.

Follow-up (Monitoring), reporting, and learning

Even the strongest missions (in terms of overall capacity to drive public diplomacy strategies), in general lack the resources to follow-up on public diplomacy initiatives and systematically monitor progress over time. Monitoring and reporting is important not only for accountability, but also from the perspective of learning and corporate memory. Due to staff rotation, the successes, failures, and lessons learned must be readily available. One interviewee commented that the prevailing culture in the department limits the documentation of the failures or the flops. Positive reports are the norm and require "reading between the lines" to understand if there were any limitations. "Will new staff arriving on rotation be able to understand whether or not this activity is worth repeating?"

Financial resources and management

Funding is the other key factor in Post capacity to implement public diplomacy initiatives. However, to be of worth, financial resources must be provided in a consistent manner over time. The importance of time cannot be underestimated since it takes several years to build up a presence with external audiences and to develop a team approach in-house. In order to develop multi-year strategies, there must be some security in the availability of funding.

Financial planning and reporting on public diplomacy initiatives requires special effort at many Posts for two primary reasons: a) the limited usefulness of the corporate financial system for program management decision-making and b) the need to plan and report on the funds provided by different "pots" in FAC. As a result, Posts develop several parallel ways of tracking the use of funds.

Inter-organizational linkages and partnerships

One of the characteristics of public diplomacy initiatives at the country level is that they leverage additional resources through partnership. The ability to develop and sustain relationships over time is a critical capacity at the Posts.

7.1.2 Domestic Programming

Over time, PDP's domestic programming began to develop certain niches for its work. The following reflections address success and limiting factors for different types of projects. Some of the reflections offer lessons learned and others highlight concerns or issues raised during our interviews.

Simulations

The simulations of large international organizations/forums bring together young people who are interested in international issues. Although participants are already interested and motivated about international issues when they sign up, these activities do help them sharpen their knowledge or interest in one or two areas (usually the ones affecting the country or task force they are working on, which are randomly assigned). The simulations also illustrate how these institutions are run and their relative importance and limitations, thus arguably contributing to the participants' understanding of international affairs and the role of multilateral organizations.

If the participants come from different parts of Canada, they have the added benefit of meeting and comparing perspectives and/or languages with other young Canadians. If the simulation participants come from different countries, they have the added benefit of learning about other countries, and improving their understanding of what Canada is by comparison.

From a social cohesion point of view, the simulations that bring more Canadians together are more effective. In this sense UNAC is preferable to NMUN. However, organizing gatherings/forums of Canadian participants at NMUN (which FAC does) is also a step in this direction and more of this could probably be done. The organizer of Université de Sherbrooke's delegation to the model UN in New York indicated that for Quebec participants and organizers, who communicate amongst themselves regularly, this is the only occasion where they have contact with participants and organizers from the rest of Canada.

People-to-people exchanges

PDP has funded several examples of cultural exchange that can foster long-standing interest and exchanges between youth and their communities. This can be particularly successful when the exchanges take place between two groups that feel strongly bonded, and/or where that bond is adequately explained and promoted in both communities before and after the exchange. For example, the First Nations University that sent students to the Orkney Islands in Scotland to explore cultural links, will now receive representatives from the Islands. "The participants [in Canada] and their communities are now collectively and actively working on making two trips by representatives of the Orkney Islands possible. This volunteering spirit and energy was not present before [the first trip, which was funded by PDP]."

Youth delivering messages to key audiences

The PDP has also provided support to young students to present material on Canada to high profile audiences abroad. This is the case, for example, with the University of British Columbia Master's students that made a presentation on the Canadian system of equalised payments to the European Commission on regions. The invitation to make a presentation emerged from the Professor's personal contacts. It is interesting to note that the students who presented were finalizing their Master's studies in the European Studies program and had not been conducting prior research on Canada.

The project had positive effects for all of those involved. More importantly it illustrates the potential for young people to deliver key messages and explain Canada's ways of doing things. It also provides the grounds for reflection on how to develop these kinds of opportunities in the future. For example, it may be possible for FAC to coordinate regular presentations on Canada's approach to the EU Commission and other organizations. FAC could make participation in this initiative open to applicants from across Canada or perhaps focus on Canadian Studies programs.

Building on this experience, future programming could also promote youth participation in other forums in Canada and abroad that bring together key audiences. The idea would be for youth themselves to be the ones to "deliver" messages about Canada and its perspectives on international issues.

Program strategies
  • Projects with "multiplier" effects

One of the findings of the study talks to the "multiplier effects" of the domestic PDP projects. Among the projects we reviewed, there are at least two types of projects that can reach additional audiences through a multiplier effect. On the one hand, there are the projects that plan an initial component in which the participants discuss/share the issues that they will be addressing during the international activity. Some examples of this type of pre-activity outreach include:

  • Enfants d'ici et d'ailleurs had participants go to classrooms of their communities beforehand and present/discuss human rights and security.
  • Projet Humanitaire Nicaragua had their participants visit every class of the school beforehand and explain where they were going, why, and what the issues there were.
  • Nelson Doyle dancers had several interviews with the media before leaving to publicize within the community the reason for their trip (the invitation from Ireland, the common roots, etc).

There also are examples of projects that included a similar component of discussion/sharing of experiences after the international activity had taken place. The post-activity outreach included:

  • Nelson Doyle Dancers made a documentary and visited several classrooms after their event.
  • MicroVoyageur required participants to discuss their experience on air during and after the trip.
  • EIA and Projet humanitaire Nicaragua required participants to re-visit the classrooms they had visited before their trip and present their findings/impressions.
  • Universite de Sherbrooke organizes several conferences (where the model UN in NY attendees often participate) that touch on the subjects their students are assigned during the model UN. For example, last year the group from the University was assigned the country of Afghanistan. The University organized several events about this country and related themes, such as Canada's participation in Afghanistan.
  • Multi-phase projects

Both Enfants d'ici et d'ailleurs and Rights and Democracy had multi-phase projects with the PDP in which funds were committed in principle for more than one year, although they were disbursed one phase (year) at a time.

There are several advantages to having phases in a project. One is that it emphasizes the need for and willingness of project organizers to become autonomous in the long run, which in turn frees up FAC funds for other activities. Furthermore, it means that the target communities must embrace the project in order for it to be sustainable. For FAC it also means that even after project financing has ended, it can continue to list these initiatives as results of their funding.

Other activities have similarly resulted in continuity that is independent of FAC funding. The examples include the creation of an international network of young francophones as a result of the meeting of francophone youth leaders and the creation of regular international meetings of community and associative francophone radio stations as a result of MicroVoyageur.

  • Accompanying projects towards a broader funding base

FAC has been one of the catalysts and an on-going supporter for UNAC and their UN simulation in Canada. From 2000 to 2003, FAC was the only source of funding for the project. UNAC began diversifying their funding in 2003, at the prompting of FAC. For this last simulation in 2005, the PDP provided about 50% of total funding. In this case, the International Canadian model UN conference was an easy sell to companies and OGDs. It may not be possible, however, for all project organizers to diversify their sources of funding as quickly.

  • FAC geographic and thematic priorities

One of the questions for future programming, is the extent to which public diplomacy grants given domestically should align with the geographic priorities of FAC. Should the majority of grants be used for activities in the G-8 plus 4 countries? In the projects we reviewed, some of the most notable exchange or internship experiences were in developing countries. Although these countries may not be FAC priorities, the youth experiences which have occurred there have contributed to the promotion of thematic areas, such as Human Rights and Good Governance, which are key to Canada's Foreign Policy. However, in some of these initiatives with a development orientation, there is potential to either overlap or complement any exchanges that are funded by CIDA or others involved in international development.

7.2 Recommendations to FAC

Recommendation 1: FAC should continue to enhance the Public Diplomacy business line. The allocation of new funds for public diplomacy should respond to an overall policy framework, with clear results and accountabilities.

The evaluation has shown the overall value of "public diplomacy" to Canada's foreign policy. As noted in the new framework being put forward, public diplomacy is more than a discrete program/project. Thus, although we recommend that FAC end the Public Diplomacy Program as it has been operating, we also recommend that FAC continue to engage in public diplomacy and allocate the necessary resources. This intention has already been expressed in the Department's response to the International Policy Statement and declaration of Public Diplomacy as one of the six key departmental imperatives. The new approach should include a clear policy and results framework, which is already under development, and consider direct allocations to centers of responsibility. These centres should become accountable for resources within the context of the overall policy framework. Finally, FAC should develop strategies and allocate resources for monitoring, evaluation, and learning from its public diplomacy initiatives.

The mix between cultural and political programming supported by the PDP came together and showed its potential at the Posts. FAC's future approach to PDP should draw on the experience of the Posts. This will require boosting Post capacities in some cases and streamlining the Department's management and reporting systems so that these are more manageable for the Posts. For Posts, it is important to reduce the "little pots of money" to be managed and be able to work and plan within a multi-year framework. It is also crucial that financial resources are accompanied with the necessary staffing. Posts should drive the public diplomacy agenda, but also be accountable for results that link to a broader policy framework.

Recommendation 2: Public diplomacy programming should continue to use networks and partnerships, both domestically and internationally. Particular effort needs to be made to bring in Other Government Departments and the Provinces into the folds of public diplomacy.

This is an area where FAC is doing well, particularly at the country level where many of the public diplomacy initiatives are implemented. These partnerships and networks will continue to be necessary for public diplomacy. In addition to the local partners, the Posts we visited had good working relationships with the provinces that have international representation in the host country. With respect to the provinces, the recommendation would be to strengthen the relationships and possibilities of doing joint activities. Domestically, the programming would also be well served by strengthening the linkages with provincial programs for youth. Other Government Departments are integrated into PD on a case-by-case basis, particularly in arts/culture and academic relations. In this next phase, FAC should consider taking a lead role in PD by drawing in OGDs both at HQ and at Posts through broader strategies for horizontal cooperation.

Recommendation 3: In its future programming in public diplomacy, FAC senior management should include a strong and coordinated approach for engaging Canadians. This should build on the positive experience of the PDP in engaging youth, media, and other constituencies.

Several aspects of the PDP's domestic programming have been particularly successful in raising young people's awareness of and engagement in international issues. The institutional simulations (UN, etc.) are one example of a successful initiative that should be continued. In moving forward, one of the questions is how to best organize public diplomacy initiatives for domestic constituencies such as youth.

Our sense is that a coordinated approach is required in order to maximize impact. The Department currently has a dedicated web page for youth programs that includes working holiday, student work abroad, young workers' exchange, and co-op education program. In Germany, the Post is making efforts to bring all youth programs under the folds of public diplomacy (exchanges, employment, scholarships). The Youth ... on the move web site provides a separate portal for Canadians and Europeans between the ages of 18 and 35. Could FAC bring all of its programs for youth together at headquarters in the service of public diplomacy? If not, how does the youth public diplomacy component link to the other youth initiatives? A similar coordinated approach is required in relation to other FAC programs, including, for example, The John Holmes Fund.

The communications outreach initiatives - speakers programs, programs with journalism schools, and community media visits-should also be enhanced and leveraged. There are opportunities to link these efforts with other public diplomacy initiatives. One way that has already been identified by program staff is to use the speakers program to reinforce the UN simulations.

Recommendation 4: Communication with external partners regarding the end of the PDP needs to be handled with particular attention. If a new initiative is to follow, a communication strategy should be developed in order to present any changes in objectives, procedures, etc.

On several occasions, the PDP has advised partners that the program was coming to an end. Then, new funding was approved and the program continued its activity. Furthermore, while some interviewees were told that the program was over, others were assured funding for the next year. This suggests that particular care must be taken in managing the "sunset" in order to protect the relationships with civil society groups that may or may not qualify for funding under a new domestic program. A number of these organizations have become dependent on FAC funding for certain events or activities. Communications about the close of the PDP must be transparent, reaching all of the necessary stakeholders. The release of the International Policy Review provides an appropriate backdrop to this communications with the PDP partners.

Recommendation 5: In the design of a new phase for domestic programming, FAC Program Management should seek separate Terms and Conditions, potentially with a mix of grants and contributions, and consider policies that ensure greater transparency and potentially greater impact.

Several of the Stakeholders interviewed pointed out the importance of separate Terms and Conditions for making public diplomacy grants to youth groups, community colleges, CEGEPs, community groups, and other potential applicants. We would recommend that such a program be able to provide a mix of grants and contributions, depending on the size of the transfer payment. The program should also set accountability standards according to the amount and type of the transfer payment. A civil society organization should have to present a complete written report for a larger grant of $50-100,000. Smaller grant recipients should also submit reports, but of a different level of complexity and perhaps even a completely different media and format.

The program may want to have several categories of funding depending on the type of project. The definition of project type could be based on the primary project activity, such as simulation, conference, exchange, etc. Or, it could be based on the type of applicant. Applicants could be NGOs and educational institutions or other groups, who may not be part of an organization, but may have creative proposals for engaging in people-to-people diplomacy.

The program may also want to develop explicit policies on funding limits and repeat funding for annual events (for example, annual conferences) or other activities. This could entail either capping the total amount that is allocated to events each year and/or the amount that can be granted to any individual conference. Another potential policy has to do with incremental reductions in the level of funding to the organizations or initiatives that are regularly supported by the Program.

The access to public diplomacy grants should be open and transparent, with information on FAC's web site and in the other communications tools at the disposal of the department. This information should include the list of projects funded and the upcoming events. One interviewee recommended that the Program also make presentations at key events, such as the conventions of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada. In addition to increasing transparency of the initiative, this also helps to ensure a broader pool of potential projects to choose from. It is important to note that the introduction of contribution agreements and a more public grants program would require additional staff resources.

Recommendation 6: Domestic PD programming should include strong information dissemination components, give continuity to successful initiatives such as the UN simulations, and provide ways for FAC to meet its legal obligations under the OLA.

As noted in several places in the report, UN simulations have been one of the most effective initiatives in meeting the program objectives. These should be continued as part of the domestic component of public diplomacy programming. The study also finds that projects that have built in a broader dissemination component (e.g. students sharing their project experience with their peers or with the community) have the potential for greater impact. Finally, given that the PDP has been one of the main vehicles for meeting FAC's legal obligations under the OLA, the support for Official Language Minority Communities should continue to be a component of domestic PD programming.

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Appendix I - List of Findings

Finding 1: The objective of the PDP has essentially remained the same since 1998. Over the years, the addition of new sub-objectives and criteria for project selection led to a cumbersome framework for performance management, but gave the Program flexibility to respond to the political context.

Finding 2: In general, PDP funding helped to scale up the level of Post activity to project Canadian values and culture. It enabled key Posts to develop strategy, continuity, and consistent quality in their outreach efforts, which have been critical in raising Canada's profile.

Finding 3: The majority of stakeholders indicate that PDP framework funding has contributed to more dynamic, sustained, and proactive cultural programming at the Posts.

Finding 4: The provision of PDP funds over time has increased the ability of Posts to use public affairs programming to engage target groups that are critical to their diplomatic objectives, especially parliamentarians, civil society groups, and journalists.

Finding 5: Partnership and leverage of resources are common features of the public diplomacy programming being implemented at the posts.

Finding 6: There is anecdotal evidence of the use of cultural events to gain access to decision-makers and raise the visibility and recognition for Canada among target audiences.

Finding 7: There is also anecdotal evidence of the influence achieved by Canada in certain contexts where PDP-funded activities played a role.

Finding 8: Between 1998 and 2004, approximately 500 projects involving the participation of Canadian civil society benefited from PDP funding. Over this period, there has been a shift in the types of initiatives and organizations supported by the program reflecting, in part, a sharpening of the program's strategy.

Finding 9: PDP projects have generally been successful in improving the participant's personal knowledge or understanding of international issues.

Finding 10: Most of the PDP projects have contributed to expand the views of project participants on the cultural, linguistic, and regional diversity of Canada.

Finding 11: Although PDP projects may have contributed to participants' sense of pride and belonging to Canada, the third objective of the program, it is a more difficult area to assess and the evidence is less conclusive.

Finding 12: PDP Canadian programming has yielded additional positive results for participants, such as individual skill development and greater community engagement, and has provided networking opportunities for the organizations that were awarded the grants.

Finding 13: PDP funded projects that generate a multiplier effect through information and experience-sharing activities have been among the most effective initiatives.

Finding 14: Some PDP funded activities have enhanced the visibility of Canada's Official Language Minority communities in Canada and at internationally themed events, providing FAC with a key vehicle for meeting its legal obligations under the Official Language Act.

Finding 15: The PDP has also made a positive contribution to the promotion of Francophonie outside of Canada.

Finding 16: The PDP also provided crucial funding for the Department's outreach programs that inform, stimulate and educate Canadian and foreign audiences on a larger scale.

Finding 17: The Program emerged in a turbulent political context that, as several interviewees note, contributed to a complex structure and unusual or awkward practices within the Program.

Finding 18: The Program lacked clearly stated objectives, planned results, rigorous criteria for projects, and a program logic that helped to link its different components together.

Finding 19: The PDP was established as a pilot, but did not incorporate a strong monitoring and evaluation system that could be important for the maximization of learning from pilot initiatives.

Finding 20: Both internal and external stakeholders perceived a lack of transparency in the PDP because of the limited information that was made available about the objectives and criteria for the Program.

Finding 21: The information collected indicates that the PDP, through all of its components, has somewhat contributed its overall objective of greater social cohesion among Canadians.

Finding 22: The PDP has been a core funding mechanism for the Third Pillar of Canada's foreign policy and has supported the achievement of several Departmentalpriorities.

Finding 23: The PDP generally has met the expectations of Canadian beneficiary organizations and, as the Program sunsets, there are concerns about the lack of alternative funding resources for engaging in the same type of activities.

Finding 24: The PDP generally has met the expectations of Posts, Geographic Bureaus, and other divisions in FAC, although improvements in some areas could make it even more relevant to their needs.

Finding 25: Partners abroad value the outreach of the Embassy through PDP initiatives in which they benefit by receiving funding, networking, and learning opportunities.

Finding 26: At the time of creation, this "pilot" initiative was appropriate. However, in light of the Department's recent Public Diplomacy mainstreaming efforts, a more coordinated and integrated program should be pursued.

Finding 27: The PDP evolved with a cumbersome governance structure, where roles and responsibilities in governance and management were ill-defined and the composition and mandate of key bodies were perceived to change over time.

Finding 28: The PDP faced a learning curve in the development of appropriate processes and procedures, with noticeable improvements in some areas made in the last two years.

Finding 29: Most Canadian beneficiary organizations are satisfied with the grant making procedures and value the contribution of PDP staff to the grant process.

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Appendix II - Management Response

RecommendationCommitments/ActionsExpected ResultsResponsibility CentreKey Dates and DeadlinesStatus
1) FAC should continue to enhance the Public Diplomacy business line. The allocation of new funds for public diplomacy should respond to an overall policy framework, with clear results and accountabilities.Steps have been taken to implement this recommendation. The most transformational has been the identification of "mainstreaming Public Diplomacy" by FAC's Deputy Minister as one of six imperatives to the building of a 21st Century Foreign Ministry. Central to this initiative has been the reorganization and transformation of the former Strategic Policy and Planning branch, headed by ADM Ross Hornby, to the Strategic Policy and Public Diplomacy branch. The reorganization will enable increased coherence across all elements of PD (culture, education, youth, etc).

Furthermore, the February 24 Budget earmarked $8 million per year for five years to support the pursuit of strategic public diplomacy programming. This money, which replaces the sunsetting PDP, will allow the Department to move ahead in developping a strategic and focussed approach to public diplomacy. To assist with this process, FAC created a policy framework -known as the PD Pyramid (see attached) - to guide all public diplomacy efforts. This framework has been reviewed and endorsed by PCO.

At headquarters, further work has been undertaken to define the fund management structure, governance structure and program selection criteria.

Internationally, all missions have been tasked with developping public diplomacy strategies. All structures have been designed to draw a demonstrable link between programs and policy priorities with clear lines of authority terminating with ADM Hornby.
Improved alignment of PD programming objectives and FAC policy priorities. Enhanced PD programming on acute topical issues and in key priority regions.ACD (international) and CFD (domestic) collectively.September 2005 (branch reorganization);
October 2005 (new program development);
September 2005 (official launch of governance structure, etc.)
Ongoing
2) Public diplomacy programming should continue to use networks and partnerships, both domestically and internationally. Particular effort needs to be made to bring in Other Government Departments and the Provinces into the folds of public diplomacy.A hallmark of PD programming is the use of non-traditional actors (youth, artist, NGOs, etc) to get the Government of Canada's message out to foreign publics. It should be noted that the use of these actors, while essential to reaching beyond traditional diplomatic and governmental audiences, can be a challenge as the government is less able to control messaging. Cultivating mutually-beneficial networks and partnerships with these actors provides FAC with the opportunity to assess the extent to which messages are diluted and the degree to which appropriate individuals are targeted and influenced, thus mitigating some of the risk associated with engaging in these arrangements.

Given the positive endorsement of these relationships by the evaluation, FAC will continue to engage relevant actors in this fashion whenever possible while also ensuring flexibility and independence of our programming.

As programs are being redefined, FAC is exploring ways in which we can expanded use of these relationships. While we are not yet at the stage where OGD interests can be formally addressed through partnerships, consultation will continue with relevant parties on a case-by-case basis with the long-term objective of creating a whole-of-government public diplomacy strategy.

The Federal-Provincial-Territorial Relations Bureau, which handles official relationships with other orders of government in the area of international affairs, will create international strategies for each jurisdiction. These documents will inform public diplomacy programming decisions via the governance structure as well as project decisions through individual project consultations.
Greater and more efficient use non-traditional actors in the promotion of FAC's interests. A more coherent whole-of-Government and whole-of-Canada approach in PD initiatives.ACD (international), CFDX (domestic) and CFP (provincial strategies)October 2005 (program redesign);

December 2005 (provincial strategies)
Ongoing
3) In its future programming in public diplomacy, FAC senior management should include a strong and coordinated approach to engaging Canadians. This should build on the positive experience of the Public Diplomacy Program (PDP) in engaging youth, media and other constituencies.Since the sunsetting of the PDP, it has been the primary goal of CFDX to bring increased clarity and cohesion to domestic public diplomacy programming. Building on the successes of the PDP, CFDX has begun to redefine its programming so as to realign it with the recently released International Policy Statement. To ensure programming complementarity, domestic program proposals will be reviewed and approved through the governance structure. Committees have played, and will continue to play, a vital role in ensuring coordination in domestic engagement.

CFDX will also maintain a database of all the department's domestic programming activities. Consolidating this information into a single system will allow for analysis of who, what, when and where information is being disseminated by the departments, possibly leading to identification of duplication or missed opportunities.
Enhanced ability of FAC to advance its international agenda in and with provinces and territories.CFDXOctober 2005 (program redesign);

December 2005 (database)
Ongoing
4) Communication with external partners regarding the end of the PDP needs to be handled with particular attention. If a new initiative is to follow, a communications strategy should be developed in order to present any changes in objectives, procedures, etc.The PDP has expired twice before only to have its funds renewed. Therefore, upon the conclusion of the PDP, common messaging documents were created and disseminated to all PDP staff with particular attention given to managing the expectation of renewal. What differentiates this renewal from prior ones is that programs, especially domestic, will undergo changes in eligibility and objective. Once the new public diplomacy programs have been approved, communications strategies will be developed that will communicate all program changes to prior PDP recipients and the public at large.A single message for FAC to past recipients of the transformation of PD programming, detailing critical changes and new directions backed by the IPS.CFDXOctober 2005 (unveiling program changes)Ongoing
5) In the design of a new phase for domestic programming, FAC Program Management should seek separate Terms and Conditions, potentially with a mix of grants and contributions, and consider policies that ensure greater transparency and potentially greater impact.Within the next 18 months, PFM will assimilate all transfer payment programs under his authority and create a new umbrella Terms and Conditions for activities in support of public diplomacy. This exercise will require the design of a new RMAF and RBAF and will ensure that a holistic approach, across both the international and domestic arenas, is being taken toward public diplomacy. During this process, an assessment of the value of managing a mix of grants and contributions will be undertaken.

As stated previously, the domestic program is being redesigned so as to align with the International Policy Statement. In addition, to increase transparency, program information will posted on-line with downloadable application forms. Application deadlines will be set and all recipient organizations will have project descriptions and amounts posted on-line. To ensure that projects funded yield the maximum benefit, careful consideration to comments received through internal and external consultations will be given before committing to funding.
Greater coherence of public diplomacy programming within the department. Transparent, open and pan-Canadian programming which funds only the most worthy of projects.ACD and CFDWithin 18 months (Ts and Cs);

October 2005 (program changes)
Ongoing
6) Domestic PD programming should include strong information dissemination components, give continuity to successful initiatives such as the UN simulations, and provide ways for FAC to meet its legal obligations under the OLA.Building in a requirement for an information dissemination component for all domestic PD programs has begun. Project selection criteria will also be amended so as to include this as a factor. Present funding Terms and Conditions do not allow for multi-year commitments, but amending this will be explored when the umbrella PD Terms and Conditions are developed. PD programs will be developed so as to remain open to official language communities' projects and partnerships.Increased knowledge of program and project results. Maintain the PDP as the primary vehicle through which FAC meets is OLA obligations.CFDXOctober 2005 (program changes); to be considered within 18 months (Ts and Cs);
October 2005 (OLA obligations)
Ongoing

1 Requests for interviews were sent to the contacts at all of the Framework Posts.

2 A one-year extension was requested for 2005-06.

3 Evaluation Division (SIE), Office of the Inspector General (SIX), Exploratory Study of the Post Initiatives Fund, March 31, 2003, p. 4 and 9.

4 In 2004, Canada had total of 270 diplomatic and consular offices in 180 foreign countries. The PDP Framework Posts may include Embassies or Cultural Centers. For Paris and London, they include the Embassies and the Paris Cultural Center and Canada House London.

5 These allocations do not include the PDP cultural allocations transferred by ACA or other PDP funds potentially accessed through the Geographic Envelopes.

6 Taken from the Minutes of the PDP Steering Committee for 2002-2004.

7 It is important to note that often this documentation does not include an end-of-project report, which would have provided more information on project results.

8 Current PDP staff has classified many projects retroactively, but in the absence of full documentation for the projects, they suggest that the classification may not always be accurate. It should be noted, however, that administrative practices have significantly improved since 2003.

9 Business Plan, Branch Summary Report 2004, Section on "Challenges, Rationale, Risks."

10 Public Diplomacy Funds (PDF), BCD Communications Framework 2004-2005

11 Peter Harder, statement of January 5, 2005.

Office of the Inspector General

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Date Modified:
2012-10-11