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Cross Cutting Issues - A Horizontal Review of the Range of Canadian Public and Cultural Diplomacy Programming

(August 2005)

(PDF Version, 332 KB) *

Table of Contents

Executive Summary

Universalia is pleased to submit to Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (DFAIT) this synthesis report on the evaluation of a group of programs that project Canadian values and culture. The synthesis report presents a set of cross-cutting issues that impact all four individual programs. The evaluation comprises four separate programs, namely:

  1. International Academic Relations
  2. Arts Promotion
  3. Canada-France
  4. Public Diplomacy

The synthesis report is based on the extensive data collection undertaken for the four separate program reports. The main sources of information with respect to the public and cultural diplomacy programming of a selection of Canada's partners and allies were derived from a combination of on-line data sources, as well as individual interviews and discussions with their representatives, some of who were located in Canada while others were contacted at their metropolitan headquarters. Part of our methodology entailed the examination of how eight nations (USA, UK, Australia, Brazil, Switzerland, New Zealand, Germany and France) practice cultural and/or public diplomacy. It was quickly apparent that each nation had its own understanding of what public diplomacy is and thereby had a different approach with respect to programming and objectives.

We were able to draw out, despite these inherent differences, seven characteristics seen as constituting a "core set" of activities and ways of thinking about contemporary trends in public diplomacy, as opposed to past practices. These characteristics are:

  • A commitment to cross-government and cross-agency coordination,
  • The active engagement of overseas broadcasting services as one of a number of communication arms of public diplomacy,
  • A strong domestic effort to generate public awareness of, and to engage domestic opinion leaders in support of foreign policy objectives,
  • Highly targeted exchanges / visits programming (inward and outward bound),
  • Targeted scholarship programming,
  • People-based cultural programming (cultural visits and exchanges as opposed to support for performance in its own right), and
  • Fostering intermediary agencies.

The data collection for the individual reports that form the basis of this synthesis was carried out at a time of change in FAC, shortly before the release of the International Policy Statement in 2005.

Key Findings
Convergence and Relevance

The study finds that the current mix of programming instruments only marginally supports the attainment of Canadian foreign policy objectives. Although efforts are underway to systematize a policy framework, the prior lack of a guiding or overarching vision or policy framework that embraces all of the Canadian program set resulted in program fragmentation and compromised its potential impact on the exercise of Canadian influence. However, many FAC stakeholders contend that the prime limitation to the ability of the current program mix to contribute to the exercise of influence in the pursuit of foreign policy objectives is a lack of sufficient financial resources.

The current programming mix is generally seen to be relevant by its current set of stakeholders and beneficiaries. The Public Diplomacy Program (PDP) has broadened the scope of the Canadian program mix and has begun to include some elements of more contemporary types of PD programming used by other nations.

Approaches to Program Delivery

There is diversity in the delivery systems of Canada's programming mix, which tends to inhibit the maximization of overall impact. Some posts appear to have independently developed their own visions of public diplomacy that are more contemporary in orientation than others and seemingly more contemporary than some elements of headquarters programming. The question of focus versus spread with respect to Canada's program mix is somewhat moot given the fact that at this time, there are barely sufficient resources to address short-term program goals, let alone to contribute to the attainment of higher level foreign policy objectives. The Canada-France program, notwithstanding its structural limitations (noted in its separate report), demonstrated the potential for positive impacts that can arise from resource concentration.

The current approaches to the decentralisation of decision-making and accountabilities have been weakened by the absence of an overarching policy framework for all elements of Canada's public diplomacy programming mix in which to situate flexible and sensitive responses to unique local needs. The clarification of roles and responsibilities is an essential pre-condition to effective decentralisation.

Measuring Results

With respect to the key issues related to the impact of public diplomacy on the attainment of long-term foreign policy goals and the ability of public diplomacy programing to result in attitudinal change both at home and abroad, the lessons of other nations shows that the measurement of long-term attitudinal changes is possible, assuming that a sufficient investment in organisational performance is made. The current program measurement systems of Canada's program mix are generally fragmented and inconsistent, again due to the absence of a harmonizing policy and accountability framework that links the program mix to strategic departmental objectives. However, there have been some recent efforts to improve the quality of organisational performance reporting among Canada's mix of program elements, especially with respect to arts promotion programming.

Notwithstanding the methodological limitations inherent in anecdotal information, there appears to be a fairly consistent pattern of positive information about short-term program performance.

Internal Capacities and Resources

Despite considerable current gaps in impact performance information, it is apparent that present funding levels are barely adequate to meet even narrow program objectives and clearly do not constitute the viable critical mass required begin to contemplate some of the more contemporary approaches to public diplomacy that are being practiced by other nations. The long-standing climate of uncertainty surrounding the level of resources available for public diplomacy programming, as exemplified by patterns of short-term program renewal cycles and "pilot" initiatives seems to have had a negative impact on the overall effectiveness of the programs.

In addition, based on current resource levels of the present program mix (including those of the PDP as it was constituted in 2004) there are barely adequate levels of human resources to even minimally meet short-term program goals, let alone longer term ones relative to the overall promotion of Canadian foreign policy objectives as a whole. Despite independently verifiable evidence, there was a widespread perception among departmental informants that a career path primarily in public diplomacy was not as highly valued as other career paths. Any contemplation of increasing overall resource levels for public diplomacy programming would necessitate additional human resources, both at posts and at headquarters.

The lack of an overarching strategic framework for the whole of the public diplomacy programming mix of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada also appears to have resulted in the absence of synergies among other federal departments with respect to the use of human resources.

The PDP resulted in new and innovative approaches to communications and domestic activities for Canada, but which in comparison to those of some other nations, remain fairly limited in nature.

Leverage and Synergies

There is fairly convincing anecdotal evidence that Canadian programming has had some degree of success in levering or attracting contributions from others. Yet the fragmented policy and performance management framework in place until recently, has impeded the ability to track the catalytic effects of these programs. The relationships between headquarters program staff and other Canadian federal actors are episodic at best and far from optimal; and opportunities for collaboration with related federal actors such as elements of the Canadian Heritage portfolio including but not limited to the Canada Council and Radio Canada International have been lost.

Lessons from Others

For the most part financial comparisons do not accurately reflect the effectiveness of a nations's public diplomacy programming mix. In fact, only a very few nations appear to have the ability to "do it all" - most notably the United Kingdom, France and the United States. There is a growing recognition among some nations that if the strategic goal of public diplomacy programming is to support the attainment of overall foreign policy objectives, initiatives that have immediate and direct programming impact to the attainment of these goals appear to have a higher rate of return. In short, among the leading practioners of public diplomacy, there is a growing tendency to implement a program mix that is less focused towards long term attitudinal goals and more directed towards the use of non-traditional means to exert immediate influence. Thus, in many of the nations surveyed, public diplomacy is, and is seen as, an essential component of the mix of tools that are required to project influence and to attain foreign policy objectives, and not as an ancilliary activity.

Conclusions

Despite the limitations in the managerial, planning and reporting structures of the programs that constitute Canada's current mix, on the whole, the programming has been successful in meeting its program-level objectives in varying degrees. However, the current resource levels available for public diplomacy - both in terms of finances and people - are insufficient for them to have made a significant contribution to the attainment of Canadian foreign policy objectives as a whole and to the Third Pillar of Canadian foreign policy in particular. The insufficiency extends to the fact that it is not feasible to contemplate expanding activities in order to engage in more of the new approaches that other nations are currently undertaking with respect to public diplomacy.

Despite this shortcoming, based on a review of the activities of other nations, Canada's current programming mix provides a solid basis on which a more contemporary approach to public diplomacy could be built, should the decision to do so be taken and on the condition that sufficient resources are made available.

Recommendations

Recommendation 1: FAC might wish to consider developing a comprehensive and inclusive long-term policy and accountability framework to house its entire set of public diplomacy instruments, taking into account the directions that have been set out in the comprehensive review of Canadian foreign policy.

Recommendation 2: As part of this comprehensive framework, the roles and responsibilities of headquarters program units, regional bureaus and posts need to be clarified and rationalised.

Recommendation 3: The overarching policy and accountability framework would benefit from a method to force-rank short, medium and long-term priorities by region, country audience and subject matter.

Recommendation 4: Strategic level coordination across a number of federal departments and agencies would appear to be a vitally needed component of any new overarching policy and accountability framework.

Recommendation 5: As part of the overarching policy and accountability framework, special consideration should be given to making additional investments in reporting and accountability systems, and especially to program monitoring systems

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Acronyms

ACD
- International Cultural Relations Bureau
AuSAID
- Australian Aid Agency
BBC
- British Broadcasting Corporation
CFDX
- Federal Provincial Territorial Relations, Secretariat of Public Diplomacy Program
DFAIT
- Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
ICCS
- International Council for Canadian Studies
NGO
- Non-government organisation
PDP
- Public Diplomacy Program
RFI
- Radio France International
RMAF
- Results-Based Management and Accountability Framework
UK
- United Kingdom
USA
- United States of America

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1. Introduction

This synthesis report on the evaluation of a group of programs that projects Canadian values and culture, was prepared by Universalia, a consulting firm, on behalf of the Evaluation Division at Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (DFAIT). This evaluation process has addressed four separate programs, namely:

  • International Academic Relations
  • Arts Promotion
  • Canada-France
  • Public Diplomacy

A separate evaluation report has been developed for each of these four individual programs. In addition, a set of cross-cutting issues that impact all four individual programs was required. This report addresses these summary issues.

The Terms of Reference for the evaluation can be found in Appendix III.

1.1 Organization of this Report

This report contains three major sections.

The first major component outlines emerging trends in the practice of public diplomacy by a number of Canada's allies and partners. This section was occasioned by the nature of a number of the key horizontal issues that are the core of this specific report.

We have been asked to assess the extent to which the current set of Canadian programs are contributing to the attainment of Canadian foreign policy objectives as a whole. We have also been asked to assess whether the current mix is adequate or correct. Finally, we were asked to review the program mix of other allies and partners.

This initial major section first describes the contemporary notion of public diplomacy, highlighting seven characteristics that exemplify emerging trends in the practice of public diplomacy programming.

The second major component of this synthesis report addresses the six major cross-cutting issue areas that have been identified in the formal Terms of Reference for the overall evaluation assignment. The set of six issue areas is addressed in a synthesis fashion, drawing whenever possible horizontal conclusions and not merely repeating individual conclusions relative to each of the four separate programs.

The third major component of this report is a set of horizontal recommendations. It is very important to emphasize at the outset that the Terms of Reference for this assignment did not envision our entering into a policy-level debate, or undertaking a forward-looking policy review as to the future of the Canadian program mix. While we were asked to assess the adequacy of the current program mix, we are of the opinion that, given the government-wide foreign policy review underway at the time of the study, it would be inappropriate for us to offer what would, in essence, be speculation about what might be an appropriate program mix to meet as yet unknown overall foreign policy objectives. Thus, the recommendations contained in the third element of this synthesis report address ways of improving the quality, effectiveness and efficiency of programming, notwithstanding eventual policy directions.

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2. Methodology

2.1 General Approach to Data Collection for this Synthesis Report

This synthesis report is based on the extensive data collection undertaken for the four separate program reports. We were able to integrate synthesis-related issues into our work with Canadian posts abroad and with our liaison with representatives of other governments.

The main sources of information relative to the public and cultural diplomacy programming of a selection of Canada's partners and allies came from a combination of online data sources and individual interviews and discussions with their representatives. Some of these representatives were located in Canada, while others were contacted at their metropolitan headquarters.

The list of all respondents, as well of documents consulted, can be found in each of the four individual reports.

This synthesis report was preceded by a Power Point presentation made to client representatives on Wednesday March 23, 2005. This presentation introduced our broad lines of thinking relative to each of the three major sub-components of this report (noted above) and in particular with respect to the six cross-cutting issue areas. In late March, a draft synthesis report was submitted to FAC, with comments provided to Universalia in late June 2005.

2.2 Limitations of this Horizontal Report

There were some procedural and conceptual limitations relative to data collection that may have served to limit to some degree, the impact of this cross-cutting synthesis report.

First, in our estimation, insufficient attention was given in the Terms of Reference to the importance of securing information relative to the cultural and public diplomacy programming of partners and allies. While we have been able to assess the effectiveness and relevance of the current program mix and of each of the four individual components, the scope of the entire review was not sufficiently robust to enable us to deeply explore how other nations undertake public diplomacy.

Second, the timing of the entire evaluation process has been impacted by the pace of the overall review of Canadian foreign policy. As we noted in the introduction to this synthesis report (above), the outcomes of the foreign policy review are likely to have a considerable impact on the overall direction of Canadian foreign policy and the articulation of its strategic objectives. Indeed, this comprehensive foreign policy review was released after the submission of the draft reports to FAC. Thus, our data collection and analytical activities could not benefit from the directions contained in the government's recent policy statements.

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3. The Characteristics of Contemporary Public Diplomacy

3.1 Setting the Stage

The core of the evaluation of Canadian programming for public diplomacy lies in the overall question related to the totality of the effectiveness, relevance and efficiency of the set of programming that FAC utilises to extend its influence at home and abroad, and support foreign policy objectives, in particular what at the time was called the Third Pillar of Canada's foreign policy. Over the course of the last decade, public sectors world-wide have undergone fundamental realignments with respect to how they engage stakeholders in policy and program development dialogue and, equally if not importantly, how they harness non-governmental actors in support of the attainment of governmental objectives - domestic or international. In many respects, this "top down" concept that overall foreign policy drives the articulation of a set of tools (public and cultural diplomacy being part of the overall mix) for its attainment, has a corollary in the fact that a "bottom up" response (implemented by the posts and tailored to local needs and audiences) may be the only way to exercise the sufficient degree of influence with external informants.

The craft of foreign policy in Canada and abroad has not been isolated from these larger developments in public administration and specifically in the use of other agents as means to achieve programmatic and policy ends. It is crucial to note that some of the acknowledged positive contributions of the last decade were those where traditional means of Canadian foreign policy influence were augmented by the active participation of non-traditional actors such as non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The progress made with respect to the Landmine Treaty and the exercise of "soft influence" generally, have been recognised as examples of engaging non-traditional actors and utilizing non-traditional means to result in the attainment of foreign policy objectives.

In setting out the Terms of Reference for the overall evaluation process, FAC asked us not only to examine four specific programs, but also "to examine the programs collectively, analyzing whether or not they are the right vehicles and are contributing to the Third Pillar of Canada's foreign policy". This overarching question devolves to a very simple, yet perplexingly complex, issue - "What do others consider to be 'the right mix' in similar or analogous circumstances?" In order to address this question, we will need to begin by setting out some fundamental assumptions so as to contextualize Canada's current program mix in relation to others. These assumptions are required because, unlike many of its major partners and /or allies, Canada's program mix, at the time of the evaluation, did not benefit from a coordinated policy framework. (The impact of this prior situation is described in Section 4 of this Report.) Thus, these assumptions about what constitutes Public Diplomacy programming serve to frame an overview of international practice.

3.2 Contemporary Public Diplomacy - What Is It?

In gathering information for this report we were struck by the extent to which the term "public diplomacy" is used in so many different and sometimes contradictory fashions. The term has acquired a great deal of cachet over the last decade, due to its ability to be an amorphous synonym for a range of programming - from artistic support, to scholarship programming, out to very "non-traditional" activities such as reaching out to domestic opinion leaders to support and further the attainment of government foreign policy objectives. Virtually every foreign ministry contacted for this study had a different understanding of what the words "public diplomacy" meant to them.

Some, as we will see, appear to rebrand an existing set of programming, giving it the appearance of "newness" with a new title; while others have adopted strikingly "avant garde" concepts while breaking with prior programming traditions.

Fully deconstructed, however, the concept of public diplomacy rests on an understanding that nations can promote their foreign policy interests and objectives by the use of non-traditional means of targeting foreign and domestic opinion leaders and foreign populations. The key to understanding whether a programming activity is an expression of public diplomacy lies in whether there is a clear and logical nexus between the activity in question and the exercise of influence towards the pursuit of a foreign policy interest or objective.

Given Canada's program mix, it may be helpful to contrast public diplomacy with what many nations see as its forerunner in nomenclature, cultural diplomacy. Recognising the risk of over-simplification, cultural diplomacy is seen as a means of using a cultural and artistic events to both showcase the unique culture and artistic achievements of a nation, and also to use such events as venues through which diplomats can engage their foreign colleagues or foreign opinion leaders in discussions and consciousness-raising. This sort of cultural diplomacy, as practiced by many nations in the past, also can imply that the event is an end in itself - namely that the public policy objective in question is cultural, artistic showcasing, or promotion in itself.

By contrast, what may be called "contemporary" public diplomacy reaches out to engage a new set of domestic and international actors in new ways to further the attainment of foreign policy objectives, and does so, in many respects, with a new sense of the necessity to be able to show focused results.

This latter concept of "results" also needs to be emphasised as a prime element in what is growingly seen to be the way public diplomacy is exercised by many nations in contemporary contexts. In the performance-based spirit of New Public Management (which has influenced public sector modernisation worldwide for nearly the last twenty years) there has been a near imperative for all public sector programming to be able to show both in the short and longer term, the extent to which it is meeting (or contributing to the attainment of) program objectives. The same can be said for the way many of Canada's partners and allies have come to develop their new or revised sets of public diplomacy programming over the last decade, giving special reference to justifying programming on the basis of the robustness of program performance information.

It should be emphasized that, for the most part, the ideas of public diplomacy and cultural diplomacy are not seen as either/or concepts by Canada's partners and allies. Rather, both are part of a broad continuum, the expression of which is different in each nation due to unique national circumstances. It should also be emphasised that there is no one "right", or "set of best practices" to be emulated. Each nation has evolved its own unique set of ways of promoting national policy interests by traditional and non-traditional means.

3.3 Seven Characteristics of the Way Public Diplomacy is Being Practiced by Others

As noted earlier, we examined the way eight nations (USA, UK, Australia, Brazil, Switzerland, New Zealand, Germany and France) practiced cultural and or public diplomacy. Very rapidly it became apparent that these eight nations each had different understandings of what the term meant and had vastly different approaches to programming mixes and objectives.

Yet, seven characteristics, some long-standing and some very new, served to illustrate a set of, if not totally common, at least largely similar factors that relate to how public diplomacy is being practiced. Without prejudicing the value of other types of programming, these seven characteristics can be seen to constitute a contemporary "core set" of activities and ways of thinking about public diplomacy.

These seven characteristics are:

  • A commitment to cross-government and cross-agency coordination,
  • The active engagement of overseas broadcasting services as one of a number of communication arms of public diplomacy,
  • A strong domestic efforts to generate public awareness of and to engage domestic opinion leaders in support for foreign policy objectives,
  • Highly targeted exchanges / visits programming (inward and outward bound),
  • Targeted scholarship programming,
  • People-based cultural programming (cultural visits and exchanges as opposed to support for performance in its own right), and
  • Fostering intermediary agencies.

With respect to the program sets of the eight nations, little would be gained by enumerating each in detail due to the fact that national circumstances vary so widely and that the lessons to be learned for the review of the current Canadian mix of programming lie more in individual functions, and not so much in a set of activities to be copied. For example, while there are many interesting components of the US State Department's program mix within its Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the dissimilarities between Canada and the USA in terms of the way the foreign ministry of each is established (let alone the fundamental governance dissimilarities) makes simply "telling the story" less than relevant to the six core cross-cutting questions/ issue areas that frame this horizontal review.

3.3.1 Cross Government Coordination

One of the most important emerging characteristics of the exercise of public diplomacy is the recognition that a nation's foreign ministry may articulate foreign policy objectives, but that it may not have at its disposal the full range of programming instruments that can be used to further their attainment. With respect to the continuum of programming that can be conceived of as public or cultural diplomacy, a foreign ministry may have only a very small portion of the tools required at its immediate and direct disposal.

For example, in many nations, ministries of culture and/or other national agencies support programming for overseas cultural expression. This may be said generally to be the case in the UK, France, Australia, New Zealand and to a limited degree, in Switzerland. Likewise, given the nature of the division of government responsibilities, scholarship and or overseas academic support programming can be housed in places other than the foreign ministry. Again, Australia, New Zealand and the UK, among others, could be said to follow this sort of general pattern.

In terms of mechanics, cross-government coordination can take several formats, shaped by unique national circumstances. For example, because the Prime Minister of New Zealand has taken a personal interest, and because most of the funding for cultural diplomacy programming in New Zealand comes from the 'cultural' agencies, New Zealand's cross-governmental commitment is led by a cross-ministerial committee chaired by the Ministry of Culture and Heritage. However, on balance, most cross-government commitments are led by various foreign offices.

The UK has stratified the process to the highest degree with a formal high-level coordinating committee backed by a cabinet-approved strategy. Among Westminster systems, Australia's approach is somewhat less formal. Among republican governments, France has the highest level of cross-government commitment, given the overall centrality of public diplomacy to French foreign policy objectives.

By contrast, the USA would seem, on the surface, to have a low level of coordination. However, on closer inspection, the impact of amalgamations within the State Department undertaken during the Clinton Administration (US Information Agency in particular) has resulted in a fairly high degree of coordination, aside from military and intelligence bodies that purport to undertake public diplomacy to promote their intrinsic objectives.

Respondents in these nations highlighted the reasons why their respective nations undertook cross-government coordination. The primary reason was to maximise collective impact and to reduce the possibility of bureaucratic overlap and duplication. UK respondents were frank in recognising that high-level coordination was necessary to ensure the full participation of arm's-length agencies such as the British Council and the BBC.

3.3.2 Overseas Broadcasting Services

Overseas broadcasting services (British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) World Service, Radio Canada International, Radio-France International (RFI), etc.) have long been seen as part of the ways nations communicate with the world. As such, they are part of a tradition. What is becoming more evident among some nations, Australia and the UK in particular, is the fact that the cross-government coordination noted above includes the coordination of the overseas broadcaster. This recognizes the importance of the overseas broadcaster as a means of exercising public diplomacy through communications and media activities.

It should be noted that radio as a medium, has enjoyed a sort of renaissance in recent years. The phenomenon of FM rebroadcasting has enabled this "old medium" to reach out to new audiences, as opposed to the more limited audiences who have short wave access.

Additionally, overseas broadcasting also typifies a type of "global" cultural or public diplomacy, wherein the tool is not differentiated on a national or target population basis. The same can be said for "one size fits all" web sites. By contrast, many of the more contemporary communications and media approaches to public diplomacy used by some nations, target and tailor messaging to specific audiences.

3.3.3 The Domestic Focus

Apparently, one of the most innovative public diplomacy programming elements relates to the way domestic opinion leaders and populations are first exposed to foreign policy objectives, and subsequently their participation is harnessed as both domestic and international spokespersons and interveners. The key to the way Australia, the UK and especially the USA, have developed a variety of domestic concentrations to their overall set of public diplomacy programming lies in the nature of active outreach.

The US State Department actively seeks out groups of domestic opinion leaders, by direct outreach to them as individuals or collectivities. Passive approaches such as web sites are supplemented by active mechanisms of electronic contact. US State Department officials expend considerable time engaged in domestic briefings to community and opinion leaders of all stripes. To this end, it should be emphasized that while domestic media briefings are very important to the State Department, what may be more important is the outreach to business, professional and civil society groups. Programs also exist to encourage individual Americans to become "volunteer ambassadors" - at home and abroad.

Given the fact that Canada's Public Diplomacy Program (PDP) has had some domestic components during its formative stages, it needs to be emphasized that American, Australian and British domestic efforts are much more encompassing in scope than that which was contemplated by the Canadian program. Specifically, while youth programming and outreach to media are considered to be vital by all three countries, these other nations have gone further to recognise that broader domestic outreach can have considerable positive and immediate impacts on the pursuit of foreign policy objectives.

3.3.4 Targeted Exchanges

Student exchanges, reciprocal media visits and exchanges among elected political leaders, all have been long-standing elements of what has been seen as public (or cultural) diplomacy program sets. What has emerged more recently is new sort of exchange program that has a more directly targeted and linked approach.

Again, Australian and American programming provide the most definitive examples of these new trends. In both countries, while the long-standing trio of exchange participants remains, something new has been added - a focus on exchanges with specific groups of opinion leaders (and even groups of adult "everyday" citizens) targeting a specific foreign policy interest. For example, Australia has focused new attention on trade-related exchanges. Given the war on terror and promotion of democracy themes of contemporary US foreign policy, there have been citizen and NGO-based exchanges focusing on Islamic nations in particular.

These exchange activities also illustrate how a foreign ministry reaches out beyond its traditional domestic clientele (if it has had such in the first place) to engage new stakeholders, or the clientele of other national government entities to engage them in the pursuit of foreign policy objectives.

This new approach to targeting exchanges for immediate results also illustrates a type of cross-cutting theme that pervades the way many nations have expanded their public diplomacy programming mix. The USA, Australia, and the UK appear in many instances to addto their long-standing program mix, new, more focused and more immediate types of programming; thus not abandoning long-standing activities, but augmenting them.

3.3.5 Refined and Targeted Scholarship Programs

Canada's current program mix places considerable emphasis on scholarship opportunities supported by FAC and delivered through, in essence, a contracted alternative service provider, the International Council for Canadian Studies (ICCS). Virtually all the eight nations reviewed for this horizontal report undertake some form of external scholarship programming, with natural degrees of diversity to reflect national priorities and long-standing traditions. What is somewhat more contemporary is the degree to which some nations are targeting the level of scholastic outreach to priority nations and the extent to which some are transforming the concept of scholarship away from support for the pursuit of traditional academic degrees.

With respect to the first consideration, even nations with fairly modest programming mixes such as Switzerland and the Netherlands have targeted the scholarship activities of foreign ministries to applicants from what informants called "priority nations"--namely those of Central Europe and the Former Soviet Union. To some degree the robust German programming which places considerable emphasis on academic relations follows this pattern as well. Australia and New Zealand, having abandoned the long-standing Commonwealth Scholarship format, have utilised their overseas development agencies as delivery arms for targeting scholarships for "priority" Pacific and Asian nations--in support of their primary foreign policy orientations.

The Australian Regional Development Scholarship Program, administered by the Australian Development Agency (AUSAID), is the most direct in highlighting the level of national targeting. Presently the program provides about 1000 scholarships per year, 80% at the graduate level. New Zealand's much smaller program mirrors that of Australia.

Aside from the long-standing Commonwealth Scholarship program, probably the best-known international scholarship program funded by a foreign ministry is Britain's Chevening Scholarship program. Now decades old, Chevening is funded (in large part) by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and administered by the British Council. In recent years the annual intake of graduate and post-graduate recipients has been in the 2500 range, with an overall expenditure of 44 million Sterling ($C 94 million). What is interesting to note, however, is that due to the arm's-length nature of the British Council, the Chevening program benefits from an approximately 25% rate of private and philanthropic support which "tops up" the some 33 million Sterling ($C 71 million) that the government provides. The Fulbright Scholarship program of the US also enables this sort of leverage.

Recent developments in 2003/2004, an outcome of the new level of cross-government coordination of public diplomacy in the UK and the new government-wide strategy, have resulted in Chevening facing a new, different and more targeted future. British Council and other British informants noted that the government has decided to fundamentally alter Chevening, placing considerably more attention on support for young in-career professionals and administrators to come to the UK to access shorter-term "training", as opposed to degree-granting programming. It was explained that the motivation behind these changes was to focus more attention on identified emerging "leaders and decision-makers ", as opposed to promising students who some day might (or might not) become leaders in the home nations. It was also noted that cutting down the average amount of program time from that required for the acquisition of a degree to that needed for a specific training program resulted in more candidates, and thus a larger pool of "friends" to engage in the pursuit of influence.

3.3.6 People-Based Cultural Programming

As noted earlier, virtually all the eight nations surveyed for this review offer programming that showcases to foreign audiences various aspects of national cultural expression. For some such as Switzerland, the Netherlands and Brazil, cultural programming comprises the vast majority of the national program mix. For these nations is it not at all apparent whether the reasons for support for cultural expression are related to using cultural expression to advance foreign policy aims, or whether they are more traditional in nature--the artistic showcasing of national cultural expression as an end in itself.

By contrast, Australia, with an annual foreign ministry budget for public diplomacy in the $AUS 65 million range ($C 61 million), supported only 22 individual cultural events in 2004, the vast majority of which were mounted in Asia, or were relative to the Athens Olympics. (Between 2002-05 Canada's FAC averaged some 600 supported events each year with annual expenditure of about $C 6 million). However, as will be shown below, Australian cultural agencies are very active in overseas artistic support.

Probably the most innovative approach to support for cultural programming as part of a public diplomacy program mix comes from recent American experiences. There is a misperception among some informants that the US does not support cultural programming and that Hollywood acts as America's cultural showcase.

It is correct to conclude that the US State Department does not support cultural expression as an end in itself, or to showcase American cultural achievement as an end in itself, or to promote the sale of American cultural property. It is incorrect, however, to conclude that the US does not possess programming that uses cultural expression to further US foreign policy objectives.

America's Cultural Connect program utilises highly targeted instances of cultural support (all forms of expression) which are aimed primarily at younger people in identified priority nations to promote understanding of American values or objectives. Programming has been designed to promote specific foreign policy objectives such as acceptance of American values, and democratic principles; and, also some other priority objectives such as the fight against HIV/AIDS. It should be emphasized that the connections are perceived to be very direct in nature and not "second hand"--namely, a rationalization wherein a cultural event provides a "space" for the exercise of diplomacy.

Artists and performers are frequently labelled "Cultural Ambassadors" and in addition to performing or displaying their work, are also called upon to provide seminars, master classes, and other very direct-to-people types of programming. The Cultural Connect program is also specifically designed to break down stereotypical views about American values and how American values are portrayed in various aspects of popular cultural expression. Urban, minority, and popular expression are identified priority areas. In addition, in line with the more people-based approach to exchanges and visits that characterizes that aspect of American programming, some of these grass-roots exchanges involve local and non-professional cultural groups.

3.3.7 Intermediary Bodies

The seventh characteristic of contemporary approaches to public diplomacy relates to how nations use in termediary bodies to assist foreign ministries in the delivery of programming. Some of these intermediary bodies like the British Council, the Goethe Institute and L'Alliance Française have long-standing traditions and multiple revenue streams. For example, the British Council raises some 200 million Sterling ($C 429 million) of its approximately 500 million ($C 1.1 billion) budget from the sale of services such as English language training and fee-for-service activities like the administration of a series of academic equivalency examinations at locations worldwide.

In considering the roles of intermediary bodies as part of a nation's public diplomacy programming mix, care needs to be taken to ensure an adequate understanding of the real nature of the body and what its roles are.

Again, taking the British Council as an example, it should be noted that a significant percentage of the Council's "work" can be seen in some developing countries as a sort of training and capacity-building instrument of the British government. For example, the Council provides education and science education training in some developing countries. It has also recently provided ethics and managerial leadership training in other countries.

The British Council also promotes the sale of British cultural expression to overseas audiences and the purchase of British education and training programs as economic instruments. It should be noted that the British Council dedicates considerable resources to promoting UK universities and colleges to international audiences, and to engendering among young people the "Cool Britannia" image to promote some of the benefits of studying in the UK.

Thus, it would be misleading to assume that the 500 million Sterling ($C 1.1 billion) budget of the British Council was primarily directed towards public diplomacy.

Contemporary Australian experience shows a different and possibly more contemporary and targeted way of utilizing intermediary bodies as part of a programming mix. Australia has established a set of semi-autonomous national councils that have been given government support to promote positive understanding of Australian values and diplomatic interests. Governance documents speak of these councils in terms of business leaders, and community groups and characterize them as "people to people" in nature. They cannot be considered in any way analogous to the government-to-government artistic-based liaison committees and other entities that Canada currently has with some nations such as Japan and Mexico.

For example, the Australia-China Council focuses on building academic relations between Australia and China, and promotes a series of reciprocal academic fellowships. Mutual understanding of business issues also has been promoted with China. Presently Australia has established five such national institutes/bodies (China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea) and two cross-cutting bodies, Latin American (with very limited funding) and Australian-Arab relations with somewhat more funding and a specific programming mix that features business and opinion leader exchanges.

A second somewhat more contemporary approach to the use of intermediary bodies relates to their ability to act as vehicles to promote new funding partnerships with the private sector. The recently expanded programming of the British Council in China features new significant corporate partnerships with organizations like Royal Dutch Shell, British Petroleum and GlaxoSmithKline. Structurally, in comparison to working within the regulatory confines of a traditional public sector, respondents noted that it is far easier for an arm's-length body to receive such corporate support and to be able to integrate it into overall funding streams.

3.3.8 Other Types of Public Diplomacy Programming

In addition to the seven somewhat more contemporary approaches to public diplomacy programming, it should be emphasized that the eight nations surveyed also pursue more traditional lines of programming to varying degrees.

Artistic Showcasing

While more contemporary approaches to the integration of cultural programming into broader public diplomacy programming mixes tends to favour people-to-people and targeted events, the nations we surveyed continue to offer a variety of more traditional approaches to cultural programming. Artistic showcasing (visual, literary and performing arts) is undertaken by most major nations with the intent of both demonstrating cultural uniqueness (and potentially promotion of the sale of cultural products), as well as using a cultural event as a forum for diplomatic dialogue--the two more traditional goals of cultural and artistic programming mounted by foreign ministries. The area of artistic showcasing probably best typifies the observation that public diplomacy programming is best seen as a continuum wherein, should resources be available in sufficient quantity to assure critical mass, more contemporary and targeted activities augment, but do not fully supplant, more traditional programming modalities. However, the corollary is also apparent, that if resources are limited, nations have to choose between support for the arts as an end in itself (or as collateral means to support national policy objectives) and more "broadly based" public diplomacy initiatives, if they wish to develop a critical mass in either area and wish to avoid marginalisation of their programming mix.

Media Support and Public Information Services

One of the bedrocks of public diplomacy programming is related to communications and public relations activities.

The breadth and scope of this programming is vast. It ranges from very traditional paper-based magazines and journals, to electronic versions of the same, to websites that have varying degrees of interactivity and connectivity. It includes both the products and programming mounted by headquarters units as well as that mounted by missions abroad which may be specifically tailored. It also ranges from somewhat passive approaches to interfacing with opinion leaders such a newsletter circulation, to very much more active approaches to interface such as specifically targeted e-mailings to particular audiences interested in specific issue areas.

It should be emphasized that one of the ambiguities surrounding the term "public diplomacy" relates to the inclusion by some nations of virtually all the public information activities of the foreign ministry within the general rubric of public diplomacy. For example in Australia, the expenditures related to its ministerial Outcome # 3 "Public understanding in Australia and overseas of Australia's foreign and trade policy and a positive image of Australia internationally" are dominated by communications and public information programming.

The large-scale advent of electronic communications over the last decade has resulted in not only new distribution challenges, but also new ideas about how to reach specific audiences. Internet-based tools (both web and email-based) can offer particular ways of "broadcasting" to wide audiences in cost-effective, albeit passive fashions, and also to "narrowcast" to particular audiences of interest. The US State Department and the British Council utilise both techniques, primarily because they appear to have the financial and technical resources to be able to do so. By contrast, smaller nations like Switzerland, whose resources may be limited, tend to have chosen to adopt less costly "one size fits all" approaches.

Academic and Scholarship Programs

A number of our surveyed nations had in the overall programming mix some degree of support for academic relations in addition to scholarship support. Unlike Canada's formalised Canadian Studies initiatives, these others tend to conceptualize academic relations and exchanges as part of their overall approach to exchanges and sponsored "visits". The main characteristic of these sorts of programming is that the nexus between the activity and the way it contributes to the attainment of foreign policy objectives is at best obtuse; and seems in many cases to have little if any direct contributory factor.

Several of the nations surveyed, led by the British Council on behalf of the UK, actively promote the sale of post-secondary training and degree-granting programming to foreign students. They do so, not solely for diplomatic reasons, but for reasons of the economic benefits to the institutions themselves and the less tangible benefits that accrue from diversity within the student bodies in question. In addition, and similar to the Canadian approach, some nations such as Australia and the UK have programming (normally orientation and facilitation in nature) that encourages young citizens to work and/or study abroad, and to participate in self-financed exchange programming.

Setting aside scholarships provided to students from developing countries that are financed by governmental development agencies, there remains some state-supported scholarship programming that is fairly open in nature and not as differentiated as was described earlier. For example, the Commonwealth Scholarships, Rhodes, and those elements of the Chevening program that are not being converted, are examples of a less differentiated style of academic support that is driven primarily by academic merit. However, these programs should not be underestimated in any discussion of the continuum of public diplomacy programming mixes. Similar to those related to cultural showcasing, these provide a foundation on which to build or add new more directly focused activities.

3.4 The Continuum of Programming

From the above, it should be evident that there is a continuum of public diplomacy programming that ranges from very traditional activities that have a limited direct nexus to the attainment of foreign policy objectives or the exercise of influence with overseas of domestic audiences, to those sorts of programming that are specifically targeting at non-traditional audiences and which are specifically focussed on being tools to directly project influence and pursue the attainment of identified foreign policy objectives. In a way, therefore, the "umbrella" concept that underpins this continuum is the level of the projection of influence and the degree to which it is targeted to specific national objectives.

The illustration below begins to plot in a very general way the range of this continuum. The principle characteristic that drives this plotting has been the extent to which a program type visibly and directly contributes to the attainment of foreign policy objectives and/or visibly engages new and non-traditional sector interveners in the pursuit of foreign policy objectives.

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Exhibit 3.1 The Public Diplomacy Continuum

The Public Diplomacy Continuum

It needs to be emphasized again that some of the seemingly "traditional" types of programming such as cultural showcasing, broadly-based scholarships and student exchanges should not be considered to be "obsolete". Rather, such programming provides a traditional foundation on which to build and add new more direct types of programming. Moreover, it also should be emphasized that some nations with a more traditional mix tend to also conceptualise their activities as tangentially linked to national goals--the concept of providing a "space" for the exercise of diplomatic influence.

3.5 Comparing Nations

Earlier in this report, we indicated that we would not provide extensive descriptions of the cultural/public diplomacy programming mixes of the eight nations we surveyed.

However, as we begin to consider the current Canadian program mix in light of the six cross-cutting issues that are the analytical core of this report, it may be useful to approximate the nature of the programming mix of various nations. Accordingly, we created a very general overall plot of their programming mix, primarily assessing each mix in comparison to the extent to which it embodies the seven more contemporary approaches to the practice of public diplomacy that have been described earlier.

In the interests of clarity, this illustration does not factor in budget because it was not possible to even begin to assess whether the nation possessed sufficient human or financial resources. Additionally, for reasons that will be set out below, France is not included.

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Exhibit 3.2 Comparing Nations--A Tentative Overview

Comparing Nations - A Tentative Overview

Starting in the bottom left hand corner we see Brazil, Switzerland and the Netherlands. In these three cases we observed that the national program mix was very traditional in nature. There was a proportionally significant emphasis on cultural showcasing, based on the assumption that showcasing was an end in itself, and that through showcasing "space" was being made for the long-term pursuit of better relations.

By contrast, in the top right, we see the USA and the UK. Both, in their own ways, exemplify very contemporary approaches to public diplomacy. For the UK, their approach builds on long-standing programming. Thus, we can see in the work of the British Council with respect to the Chevening program and its support for artistic expression more traditional roots (for example, fairly un-differentiated scholarships) combined with new targeted features such as the move to transform part of Chevening to a program specifically focused on young leaders and managers. The extent of the British cross-government commitment is also evident and is a major factor in how the UK approaches public diplomacy in the new century.

For the USA, we noted the extent of the domestic engagement, probably the most widespread of any of the nations we reviewed. We also noted the extent to which their exchanges engaged new sets of opinion leaders (and citizens) and were highly targeted towards specific foreign policy objectives and issues. Recognising the somewhat different nature of the way the USA perceives cultural showcasing, we noted the degree to which the USA program mix directly harnesses cultural activities to support foreign policy objectives. In terms of communications and public relations activities, we noted that both the UK and the USA utilise what appears to be the most sophisticated sets of communications tools.

Turning to the three nations "in the middle"--New Zealand, Germany and Australia--we observed somewhat different conditions.

New Zealand's being included in this report largely relates to the fact that it has chosen to adopt the cross-government approach and has also chosen to target its scholarships to specific national priorities. New Zealand also shows that a small nation with limited resources can begin to move to implement more contemporary approaches to public diplomacy programming mixes.

Australia presents another somewhat different picture. Australia has invested heavily in public information/communications as its primary tools. Australia also targets these tools to selected key nations and internal audiences. It has also developed new approaches to engaging intermediary bodies (its Institutes). It has transformed its exchange and scholarship programs to have specific targeting of both new sets of informants and also specific foreign policy objectives. It has reduced artistic showcasing administered by its foreign ministry to minimal levels. More importantly, as noted earlier, the program mix of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade significantly downplays artistic showcasing (either as an end itself or a medium to provide 'space' from the exercise of diplomatic influence), in comparison to the FAC program mix. What however needs to be emphasized is that, last year, the Australian Council for the Arts (analogous to the Canada Council) gave over 330 of its total of 1900 annual grants for Australian artistic expression abroad. The Council has specified objectives for overseas artistic promotion and sees those objectives as ends in themselves, and not in terms of some tangential link to foreign policy.

Germany presents another different situation. While we did not factor budget into this approximation, the level of resources available to Germany is such that it would seem to have the room to manoeuvre to adopt more cutting-edge types of programming. Yet, it does not have a cross-government commitment. Nor has it seriously expanded its opinion leader activities to reach out to the newer audiences in the way that Australia, the USA and the UK have done. While the Goethe Institute is one of the most respected intermediary bodies, its program mix, in comparison to that of the British Council, is fairly traditional. Some degree of focussing does occur with respect to scholarships and exchange programming towards priority nations and issues related to Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union. The German program mix is heavily concentrated in educational support and promotion of academic relations.

Germany has established four objectives for its cultural and academic programming mix. They are:

  • To promote German interests in the cultural and educational sphere,
  • To paint a realistic picture of life in contemporary Germany,
  • To foster dialogue on values and the prevention of conflict, and
  • To promote European integration.

The latter two speak specifically to how education and cultural activities contribute to Germany's two most important foreign policy objectives--conflict prevention and European integration. Only the first of the four objectives appears to be cast in terms of cultural or educational showcasing.

3.5.1. The Special Case of France

By now it should be evident that most of this discussion of emerging trends in public diplomacy programming has not spoken extensively about the French experience. Additionally, France was not included in the visual approximation presented and discussed immediately above.

French programming in cultural and public diplomacy is at such a different order of magnitude (in comparison to the other nations) so as to make direct comparisons between elements nearly useless. For example, the scope of the French cross-government commitment is far more active and coordinative than that of the UK's, otherwise the "leader among the nations surveyed. French cultural and educational support programming is not only funded at levels well beyond that of any other nation; they are qualitatively different in scope and direction. Public information and communications activities are extremely extensive and comprehensive. French cultural and public diplomacy programming reach out to coordinate with the agencies of the Francophonie. Most informants agree that the complete range of cultural and public diplomacy programming mounted by France's foreign ministry would approach about 1/3 of the ministry's entire budget, not taking into account that of the other bodies involved.

The motivation, however, that drives this degree of French programming is somewhat different from that of other nations and is in itself a prime driver of overall French foreign policy. While most other nations conceive of public diplomacy programming as a set of instruments to support social, legal, political and/or economic foreign policy objectives, France has articulated the promotion of French culture and the French language as foreign policy objectives in themselves. France has perceived the historic centrality of the promotion of the very idea of France, the values of France and the value of France's culture (and to a parallel degree the value of cultural expression by others in the French language) as national objectives in themselves.

For most nations, probably the more important lessons from France relate to how the government harnesses the diverse resources of so many domestic and international agencies; how it ensures on-going policy coordination; and how it has chosen its programming mix.

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4. Six Cross-Cutting Issues

As noted at the beginning of this horizontal report, the Terms of Reference for the evaluation of a group of programs that project Canadian values and culture calls for four separate programmatic reports and one cross-cutting synthesis report (this document).

Six issue areas were identified in the Term of Reference as the focus for this horizontal report. It may be useful to review these six areas and the issues to be considered with respect to each before moving to present six corresponding sets of findings.

These are:

Convergence in support of Canadian foreign policy's Third Pillar

  • Is this the right portfolio of instruments to support the Third Pillar of Canada's foreign policy? To what extent is it relevant to stakeholders?

Models and Strategies for Program Delivery

  • What approaches to program delivery are being used?
  • What are the trade-offs between greater focus and a greater spread of the resources?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of decentralization (to the regional or mission level) in the setting of priorities for the use of funds? What are the implications for accountability?

Measurement of results

  • In a department that is focussed on today's needs, how do these programs articulate, measure, and communicate their results when they have a 10-15 year timeline for change? Is this present approach appropriate? Is it strategic?
  • What is working/not working in the decentralized model with respect to measuring and reporting on results?

Capacities to implement the mandate

  • Is there an adequate capacity to maximize the impact of the programs both at headquarters and at the missions? Capacities include the adequacy of staffing, equipment, information systems, and financial resources required by the programs to build influence for Canada. For example, do the Embassies keep in touch with scholarship recipients? Can they provide adequate media support to cultural and artistic events?

Leveraging of resources of the programs

  • Are the programs effective in maximizing impact by leveraging resources (financial, in kind, and other) towards the overall foreign policy objectives?

Comparative analysis of the benefits to government

  • What are the comparable investments and benefits to other governments, such as France, Italy, Spain, Germany, and the UK, in their open diplomacy programming, particularly in education and culture?

Because this horizontal report synthesizes the factual material present in the four individual programmatic reports, the findings that follow will be fairly strategic in nature and will not speak in any great detail to the individual programming situations that have been described in detail in the four parallel program reports.

4.1 Convergence and Relevance

The issues surrounding convergence and relevance cut to the heart of the assessment of Canada's current program mix. Very simply: Is the program set a mix that supports the attainment of Canadian foreign policy objectives as a whole, and the Third Pillar in particular? Secondarily, we have been asked to assess whether the program mix is relevant to its stakeholders.

Finding 1: The current mix of programming instruments only marginally supports the attainment of Canadian foreign policy objectives.

As we noted in each of the four individual program reports, the individual programs are meeting the somewhat narrow and internalized goals that have been established for them. For example, the Arts Promotion and International Academic Relations programs both appear to meet their immediate goals. The PDP and the now concluded Canada-France program also appear to have generally met their narrow individual program objectives. Special mention should be made of the multifaceted nature of the PDP, as it was constituted during the period under consideration. Our individual report assessing the PDP came to broadly positive conclusions about the performance of all the aspects of this program. Thus, in the following analysis the PDP is described as a unitary entity.

However, when considered together, the four programs do not constitute a "whole". Rather, they appear and act as four only somewhat related activity areas.

Furthermore, turning to the ability of the four programs to support the promotion of the attainment of Canadian foreign policy objectives, while the level of funding and human resource allocations of the four may be barely adequate to meet their narrow specific program goals, it is insufficient, within the context of the current program mix, to enable them as a whole to have a broader and sustained impact.

Finding 2: The prior lack of a guiding or overarching vision or policy framework that embraces all of the Canadian program set has resulted in program fragmentation and compromised its potential impact on the exercise of Canadian influence, although efforts are underway to systematize a policy framework.

In our estimation, this one factor has resulted in a considerable loss of the collective ability of the Canadian program mix to go beyond fairly narrow intermediate goals, in order to be able to make a difference with respect to the attainment of overall foreign policy objectives.

The prior lack of such a coordinated planning approach to Canadian public diplomacy programs has resulted in one of the four programs, Arts Promotion, retaining until very recently program goals over 20 years old which stated that the purpose of the Arts Promotion program was to promote the arts as a goal in itself (notwithstanding some more recent efforts to "fit" this program into the contemporary RMAF planning structures and systems). Special mention needs to be made of the improved logic model or framework ("the PD Pyramid"), which begins to address the issue of interconnectivity and which was under development at the time of the evaluation. Likewise, the shifting and evolving nature of the PDP's goals, beginning with a largely national identity focus, and evolving towards one with more focussed on the attainment of overall foreign policy objectives (and some aspects of domestic sensitization) has had both positive and negative impacts on the overall ability to contribute to the attainment of foreign policy goals.

The acknowledgement by some informants that PDP funding was being used to "top up" existing programming, (especially Arts Promotion programming), points again to the broader question of the lack of a holistic strategic public diplomacy policy and accountability framework, notwithstanding recent efforts such as the PD Pyramid. While PDP funding was coordinated operationally by the PDP Steering Committee, what was absent in this process in the past was an overarching vision and policy framework that could integrate separate departmental efforts.

Finding 3: The prior lack of programmatic coordination at both the strategic and operational level has resulted in the programs not being integrated and thus the loss of potential combined impacts and synergies.

While a number of senior Canadian informants pointed out the level of positive informal cooperation between the staff of posts overseas and the headquarters staff of ACD as whole, on balance, many of these same informants (and others) noted that the way headquarters personnel interfaced among themselves, with staff at posts, and with Regional Bureaus was less than optimal. This was especially noted with respect to the PDP, wherein a number of informants stated that the PD Steering Committee played largely resource allocation roles, and not that of a programmatic steering committee charged with conceptual and policy implementation responsibilities.

Finding 4: Many FAC stakeholders perceive that the prime limitation to the ability of the current program mix to contribute to the exercise of influence in the pursuit of foreign policy objectives is a lack of sufficient financial resources.

We began to notice a divergence of views among FAC stakeholders with respect to the prime cause for the apparent limited extent to which the program mix contributed to the attainment of high-level foreign policy goals, as opposed to short-term programmatic objectives (especially with respect to Arts Promotion programming). On one hand there were those who recognised that the prior lack of a policy framework that was more geared to the linkage between programming and high-level goals was a major conceptual impediment. On the other hand, we encountered many who believed that a lack of human and financial resources constituted the prime barrier, especially in the wake of the separation of FAC from International Trade Canada, which has resulted in considerable impact on the level of resources remaining with FAC. However, on closer inspection, we noted that many who advocated massive funding increases as a solution (some actually suggesting increases in excess of twenty times current levels for largely Arts Promotion activities) also tended to view Arts Promotion programming as primarily designed to support the showcasing of Canadian artistic expression as an end in itself, notwithstanding policy directions that have recently clarified Arts Promotion in a more direct role vis-a-vis the overall attainment of Canadian foreign policy objectives. We also noted that these same informants were less aware of the extent to which other Canadian federal actors with more direct mandates relative to Canada's cultural industries (and sometimes with more funding than FAC) also were engaged in overseas artistic support.

Finding 5: The current programming mix is generally seen to be relevant by its current set of stakeholders and beneficiaries.

As noted in the individual reports, the current set of stakeholders and beneficiaries of Academic and Arts Promotion programming expressed general satisfaction (with some particular issues that are noted in each separate report). In many instances, however, it should be emphasized that these informants of the two "foundational" programs, Arts and Academic Support, were also the consumers and recipients/beneficiaries of financial support.

These beneficiaries were largely very supportive of the programs; and readily indicated that the support they received was instrumental to them with respect to the artistic or academic matter in question. What was unclear was the extent to which these recipients (especially those related to Arts Support) also received federal funding from other sources for their international activities; and, thus, simply: which was the most instrumental?

A more conceptual issue, however, arises from the comments of beneficiaries such as these. It is: who constitutes the mix of stakeholders for the current FAC program mix? For the most part we engaged not so much "stakeholders", as "beneficiaries". This leads to the conclusion that there is an ambiguity among some at FAC as to the difference between the two groups. In our estimation, "stakeholders" are those who have a vested interest in the programs attaining their goals. They need not be the recipients of program financing, unless (as is the case with Arts and some Academic programming) the stated intent of the program is to support particular sets of potential beneficiaries. Thus, we conclude that there is a higher order level of "stakeholders"--namely senior FAC managers, the Minister and his cabinet colleagues, and Parliament as a whole.

Finding 6: The PDP broadened the scope of the Canadian program mix, and began to include in some elements more contemporary types of PD programming used by other nations.

Even though a considerable extent of the resources allocated to the PDP went to "topping up" existing Arts and Academic programming, the residual resources, and especially those directed towards domestic outreach and communications, have served to begin to introduce into the Canadian program mix some of features of more contemporary approaches to public diplomacy. Activities such as domestic outreach to young people, to opinion leaders (in addition to long-standing efforts with mainstream media) and to regional media have established the beginnings of a foundation on which to build a more contemporary approach to public diplomacy, should that be decided to be an overall strategic choice. Work at a number of posts to highlight Canadian speakers and issue discussions (also funded by the PDP) shows that there is potential for the Canadian program mix to have a more directly "issues-oriented" face abroad.

In addition, the communications activities such as increased use of new media and overall increased direct outreach, also point to a programming mix that could be more specifically focussed on the broad rationalisation for public diplomacy--namely, promoting the domestic and international understanding of, and support for Canadian foreign policy objectives. However, as we have noted above, the magnitude of these positive contributions was probably hampered by the lack of a coordinated strategic policy framework in which to situate them.

4.2 Approaches to Program Delivery

Our assessment of current approaches to program delivery concentrated on three inter-connected sets of considerations:

  • The review of current approaches being used,
  • The relationship between greater focus and the opposing view of a great spread of resources to more audiences, and
  • The impacts of decentralisation of program decision-making.

Finding 7: There is diversity in the delivery systems of Canada's programming mix which tends to inhibit the maximization of overall impact.

The programs which constitute Canada's public diplomacy mix are delivered by a diverse set of systems and agents. Academic programming is largely delivered by a type of Alternate Service Delivery mechanism through the contractual relationships with the ICCS. Arts programming is carried out by posts, headquarters program staff and regional bureaus, with very uncertain levels of rationalisation and accountabilities among the three sets of actors. Domestic PD activities are carried out by both federal/provincial relations and communications elements of FAC with apparently very little coordination with the two foundation programs housed in ACD. More contemporary overseas PD activities seem to not have any real central "home". While some posts have PD strategies, the extent of the coordination and integration of these strategies is uncertain at best.

Again, we are of the view that the prior absence of a consolidated policy and accountability framework for the whole of Canada's cultural and public diplomacy programming has resulted in a fragmentation of delivery systems.

Do these diverse systems work?

As we will discuss below with respect to reporting on performance, it is very difficult to ascertain whether these diverse systems "work" in the absence of rational, transparent and comprehensive systems of performance assessment that address not simply administrative compliance, but whether the objectives were being attained. However, based on the evidence at hand, we have concluded that the ambiguities in lines of authority and accountability, combined with various methods of delivery, do not produce an overall environment that fosters resource maximization.

Finding 8: Some posts appear to have independently developed their own visions of public diplomacy that are more contemporary in orientation than others, and seemingly more contemporary that some elements of headquarters programs.

We noted with considerable interest that some posts such as Berlin and Beijing seem to have articulated their own PD strategies that have begun to embrace a higher reliance on new approaches to public diplomacy. The present lack of a central vision places pressures on individuals and tends to result in the local articulation of approaches based to some degree, on the personalities and capacities of individual staff, as opposed to systems which promote organization-wide approaches to program renewal and organizational learning.

We also found divergence among headquarters personnel relative to the strategic directions of Canada's programming mix. Without prejudice to individuals, we noted a general tendency among headquarters program staff, and staff of the regional bureaus to have a more traditional understanding of the relationships between programs and the exercise of influence to pursue the attainment of overall Canadian foreign policy objectives. By contrast, among federal/provincial and communications staff, we tended to find a greater sensitivity to contemporary trends in the techniques of public diplomacy programming.

Finding 9: The question of focus versus spread with respect to Canada's program mix is somewhat moot given the fact that, at this time, there are barely sufficient resources to address short-term program goals, let alone the ability to contribute to the attainment of broader foreign policy objectives.

We noted the somewhat philosophical nature of the observations of informants about the question of focus versus spread of program resources. Some tended to argue that Canada needed to focus its limited resources even more to specific issues and geographic targets. Yet, others tended to argue that focussing on short-term goals ignored the longer-term nature of much of public diplomacy programming.

However, a review of practical resource level realities tends to make such discussion somewhat irrelevant.

Canadian federal informants were unanimous in arguing that as whole, the programs suffered from inadequate resource levels to meet either short-term or long-term objectives. We concur with this assumption, but only to the extent that changing the programming mix in certain ways would have resource utilisation implications. Thus, in the face of resource limitations, it would seem axiomatic that the only sound managerial choices would be either to prioritize and focus so as to increase the likelihood of positive program impacts within the context of the current programming mix, or to change the mix to embody less resource-intensive pursuits.

We have also concluded, that the absence of an overarching policy and accountability framework for Canadian public diplomacy programming has resulted in a blurring of the concept of focussing limited Canadian resources. The efforts to prioritize that we observed during our data collection did not appear to be sufficiently robust to enable vital program follow-up and the development of multi-year approaches. We concur with the observation that many times Canadian overseas activities are un-connected one from the other and episodic--unable to generate a critical mass to impact the targeted audience.

For example, while the Canadian Studies program has resulted in fairly broad levels of positive programmatic outcomes, it is arguable whether resources spent in areas of marginal interest to overall Canadian foreign policy might not have been better directed towards regions or countries of more primal concern. This is not to say that such programming was irrelevant. It is, however, to argue that in the face of resource constraints, hard choices need to be taken to attempt to maximise the impact of limited resources.

Finding 10: The Canada-France program, notwithstanding its structural limitations (noted in its separate report) demonstrated the potential for positive impacts that can arise from resource concentration.

The individual report on the Canada-France program illustrated the strengths and weaknesses of this time-specific initiative. However, one major lesson appears to arise from it.

Although there were some issues concerning measuring its results, on balance, the level of concentration inherent in the Canada-France program had very positive impacts with respect to short-to-medium term leverage and understanding of Canadian foreign policy objectives. While Canada-France should not be considered to be a general model for widespread adoption, it is one which shows that sufficient critical mass is needed to be able to contemplate positive outcomes.

Finding 11: The current approaches to the decentralisation of decision-making and accountabilities are weakened by the absence of an overarching framework in which to situate flexible and sensitive responses to unique local needs.

We found a significant degree of ambiguity among informants about the strengths and weaknesses of the current approach to program decentralisation. More importantly, among many informants we found a near "either/or" sense about program decentralisation itself.

Many argued that staff at posts should not be unstrained by centralised processes of approval and decision-making. Yet, we did not find the understanding that posts simply cannot operate independently. One way or the other, primary resource allocation decisions must be taken centrally. Indeed, we noted a degree of ambiguity among many informants about the nature of the balance betweenheadquarters and the posts.

In our estimation, the root cause of this ambiguity again lies in the fact that an overarching policy and accountability framework did not exist to guide the balance between headquarters and the posts.

Finding 12: Greater levels of decentralisation and local decision-making could be fostered if FAC developed a consistent overarching policy framework and systems of high-level strategic prioritisation.

Virtually every Canadian federal department with granting programs operates in a decentralised fashion to a large degree. Indeed, one of the most common irritants in the federal public service is the tug and pull between the regions and headquarters. Thus, it is not surprising that the same tugs and pulls should affect FAC's cultural and public diplomacy programming.

What has been absent in the case of FAC's public diplomacy programming mix are the coordinated efforts and overarching policy frameworks that others have already taken to rationalise and facilitate the process of decentralised decision-making--the setting of overarching parameters in which local entities can craft locally-relevant solutions. Again, recent efforts to develop improved logic models and accountability frameworks should be noted as positive steps towards a comprehensive approach to the design and management of public diplomacy programming as a whole.

Finding 13: Clarification of roles and responsibilities is an essential pre-condition to effective decentralisation.

As we have noted elsewhere in this synthesis report and in several of the individual reports, presently there is a considerable degree of ambiguity between posts, regional bureaus and headquarters with respect to decision-making.

First, the roles of headquarters and those of the posts would appear to require rationalisation within an overarching policy framework. A number of informants suggested that headquarters functions should relate largely to strategic considerations, cross-governmental coordination, reporting, and amalgamating "lessons learned" into continuous program improvement. Such a course of action would not be dissimilar to that of many other federal programs, which are largely delivered in a decentralised fashion.

Second, the role of the regional bureaus to provide a somewhat higher-level view (as opposed to one based solely on individual countries) would appear to be needed, especially with respect to resource allocation. However, assuming that decentralisation of actual funding choices to the posts might be the preferred option, the roles of regional bureaus become related to intermediary program design function and strategic resource allocation function, based on overall regional needs.

We are cognisant that an absolute approach to decentralisation is probably not a viable option. It is apparent to us that headquarters and regional bureaus will have to retain a residual granting capacity. The first precondition , however, for successful systems of decentralisation is the extent of the consistency of the "rules of the game". The second, and equally important, precondition is the availability of the necessary levels of human resources to operate a granting program at various levels of geographic engagement. The lessons of others in Canada shows that decentralisation of program funding decision-making does not produce vast levels of savings. Indeed, for decentralisation to function, the "centre" needs to be sufficiently robust to assume its coordinative and planning functions; while the "regions" (the posts abroad at FAC) need to have sufficient human resources to not only deliver programming, but also to ensure consistent, detailed, and regular upward reporting which informs strategic decision-making.

4.3 Measuring Results

Our review of the way FAC programs report on and assess their performance involved two related dimensions.

  • The first was based on the widespread presumption that many of the activities of the program had such long time frames so as to make measurement impossible. Indeed, during our research we encountered a widely-held belief among a large percentage of staff and managers that it was not possible to assess performance in what these informants viewed as largely an attitudinal environment.
  • The second dimension of organizational performance relates to our assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the current ways programs measure performance and the impact of the degree of decentralization on performance assessment.

Finding 14: The measurement of long-term attitudinal change is possible, assuming a sufficient investment in organizational performance is made.

Based on our experience and our review of the public diplomacy programming of other nations, we conclude that it is possible to assess longer-term impacts. We wish to stress that such approaches to longer-term organizational performance are becoming more commonplace in the Canadian federal public service.

One of the most important characteristics of public diplomacy programming is the presumption that it results in more positive views towards national objectives on the part of program beneficiaries and recipients of services, both at home and abroad. Exchange programming and interfacing with media and other opinion leaders, may be the most characteristic of such activities.

In our examination of the how others exercise public diplomacy, we noted the extent to which the US State Department has developed fairly sophisticated performance reporting tools that speak to medium-to-longer term implications of their new set of exchanges and direct outreach programs. For example, overseas participants in many such State Department programs are regularly surveyed about whether they stay in touch with their US exchange counterparts; and also what steps and measures they themselves undertook within their own organizations as a result of the US exchange/people-to-people activities. Likewise, with respect to domestic programming, US reporting and performance measurement tools are sufficiently detailed so as to provide for regular cyclical follow-up investigation by independent evaluators and public opinion researchers.

The key to this approach is the way the US government generally has approached organizational performance assessment and specifically that related to attitudinal programming. Canadian officials might find it interesting to note that the provisions of the Government Performance Review Act of 1993, the centre piece of then Vice President Albert Gore's "Reinvention of Government" initiative, placed special emphasis on outcome reporting and gave federal agencies over five years to develop the required reporting systems.

In Canada, the nature of "Results for Canadians" and the RMAF process as it applies to all federal granting programming, has produced a different sort of performance reporting environment. However, it should be noted that some of the survey tools used in this evaluation process to engage domestic stakeholders began to address outcome and attitudinal change performance issues.

Finding 15: There have been some recent efforts to improve the quality of organizational performance reporting among FAC's mix of program elements.

We wish to recognise the recent efforts made by the Arts Promotion program to develop new performance templates. These efforts (and some of the efforts of the Communications personnel to track domestic programming) point to a growing recognition in some quarters of the importance of performance reporting.

Finding 16: The current program measurement systems of FAC's program mix are generally fragmented and inconsistent because the entire program area itself lacks a consistent and harmonizing policy and accountability framework that links the program mix to strategic departmental objectives.

As we have noted in several other instances, the absence of an overarching and integrating policy and accountability framework has resulted in a lack of managerial consistency. Systems of organizational performance assessment have been impacted negatively by this lack of a comprehensive sense of the "whole".

We indicated in individual reports the fairly large levels of inconsistency and lack of reporting compliance. However, we also wish to point out that it seems domestic and communications-related programming supported by the PDP appears to have a relatively higher level of reporting compliance.

For the most part, we are of the opinion that lack of reporting compliance is a by-product of the overlap, duplication and ambiguity with respect to overall program responsibilities.

Finding 17: Notwithstanding the methodological limitations inherent in anecdotal information, there appears to be a fairly consistent pattern of positive information about program performance.

Given the principles that underpin the RMAF approach, anecdotal information cannot replace objectively verifiable data. However, with respect to virtually every element of the current program mix, we did observe broad patterns of anecdotal information that would tend to point to tentative conclusions that the programs were meeting their specific short-term objectives to varying degrees.

The present general inability to objectively verify this information, and thus, the lack of a sufficiently robust investment in performance by the program elements, may be the second most significant managerial challenge that faces FAC's public diplomacy programming, second only to the lack of an overarching managerial and policy framework itself.

4.4 Internal Capacities and Resources

There are three dimensions to our review of the internal capacities and resources of Canada's public diplomacy programs as follows:

  • Adequacy of funding levels,
  • Sufficiency of staff levels for the programs at home and abroad, and
  • Adequacy of systems and tools.

The Terms of Reference for the assignment required an assessment of these factors in relation to their ability to build influence for Canada - namely, their ability to contribute to the attainment of Canadian foreign policy objectives. In addressing these factors, we were cognisant of the divergences that exist within some of the programs between this holistic notion of contributing to overall foreign policy objectives on one hand, and more narrow specific program goals on the other.

Finding 18: Notwithstanding considerable gaps in impact performance information, it is apparent that current funding levels are barely adequate to meet even narrow program objectives and clearly do not constitute a viable critical mass to begin to contemplate some of the more contemporary approaches to public diplomacy that are being practiced by others.

Although the prior lack of an overarching strategic framework for FAC's current Public Diplomacy program mix, combined with inconsistent performance information makes it difficult to assess the adequacy of resource levels, we came to the tentative conclusion that there were barely enough resources available to minimally meet the narrow program-level goals of the Academic and Arts Promotion programs.

We concluded that even at these resource levels, much of FAC's programming was episodic in nature, not well coordinated and not sufficient to enable the development of a vital critical mass. Our work with posts and headquarters staff uncovered considerable instances of lack of follow-up of individual events, or strong statements to the effect that posts had only sufficient resources for occasional activities: even when augmented by ad hoc funding from the PDP.

Turning to the PDP itself, we tended to see similar patterns among the domestic and communications-related activities, as well as those new PD-related activities undertaken by posts. While there have been some very encouraging success stories with respect to new types of overseas, domestic and communications activities funded by the PDP, we are of the view that the levels of resources allocated to the entire PDP as a whole, would be insufficient to be considered satisfactory for on-going programming that might contemplate using, to a greater degree, some of the more contemporary approaches to public diplomacy programming that are employed by others.

Finding 19: The long-standing climate of uncertainty surrounding the level of resources available for public diplomacy programming seems to have had a negative impact on the overall effectiveness of the programs.

The recent history of FAC's mix of programs is one that has seen ad hoc funding for nearly a decade, and has seen uncertainty even in the direction of that ad hoc funding. The PDP, with its evolutionary tendency, beginning in a formal sense as a pilot initiative, largely within a national identity context and slowly evolving towards a mechanism to introduce some new types of programming combined with funds to "top-up" existing measures, has been invaluable simply because the overall program reference levels post-Program Review appear to be inadequate to provide for even token levels of effectiveness.

Program staff at posts and at headquarters remarked that funding uncertainties made it difficult to consider follow-on activities in many cases, and, more importantly, to consider multi-year arrangements. Thus, program commitments tended to be short-term, making it difficult to develop long-term partnership arrangements.

Finding 20: Based on current resource levels of the present program mix (including those of the PDP as it was constituted in 2004) there are barely adequate levels of human resources to even minimally meet short-term program goals, let alone longer-term ones relative to the overall promotion of Canadian foreign policy objectives as a whole.

As the individual reports starkly illustrated, there are insufficient human resources to go beyond minimally meeting short-term program requirements. Posts were nearly unanimous in stating that they did not have sufficient staff to follow-up, even if they might have had the funding to do so. Headquarters staff, programs and Regional Bureaus alike, noted that their respective resource levels did not allow for sufficient staff to be engaged in managerial and planning functions.

Based on the evidence we have gathered, we concur with the assertions. However, we do so cognisant that some types of current programming would appear to be more resource-intensive than others (Arts Promotion). Thus, should the program mix change, resource utilisation levels would naturally change as well.

However, given the lack of benchmarking systems, adequate and consistent reporting formats, and the general weaknesses of the program mix's approach to organizational performance, we cannot estimate how many more staff might be required to better meet even present program level goals, let alone to contemplate expansion into some of the newer areas of public diplomacy programming that others are now undertaking.

Finding 21: There was a widespread perception among departmental informants that a career path primarily in public diplomacy was not as highly valued as other career paths.

We encountered very broad sentiments among current and past practitioners of cultural and artistic programming that the Department as whole did not "value" the program area in the first place. These numerous informants further argued that the sectoral practitioners themselves were not "valued" as highly as those engaged in other diplomatic pursuits.

While we have considerable sympathy for those staff (who are relatively few in number in comparison to other fields of endeavour) and also for this perception of a lack of value, we must caution that given the levels of resources available for this overall evaluation we were unable to even begin to contemplate how to validate such dramatic statements. Probably the only reliable way to assess this would be to track the career paths of virtually all those practitioners, and to compare their career paths and progression against other types of employees.

Nevertheless, it would seem on prima facia grounds, that working for a considerable portion of one's career in an under-funded area would not result in as many career-enhancing opportunities as working in an area with more human and financial resource, and one with a clearer policy orientation.

With respect to this question of "value", given the fact that FAC's program mix includes more than cultural and academic activities, it might be that some consideration could be given to changing nomenclature to public diplomacy (even in the absence of changing the program mix itself) so as to recognise the broader nature of the tasks involved. Indeed, given the development of tighter logic models that link artistic programming in particular, to broaden goals, a change in nomenclature might be a valuable addition to counter-balance the perception among some within FAC (and elsewhere in the federal system) that the department's foundational programs such as Arts and Academic are inward focussed.

Finding 22: Any contemplation of increasing overall resource levels for public diplomacy programming would necessitate additional human resources, both at posts and at headquarters.

Given the conclusion that there are only enough human resources to minimally meet short-term program goals, it would seem self-evident to conclude that there are insufficient resources to support any sort of expansion. However, what may be more important would be to begin to ascertain what kind of new resources might be required.

If additional resources were to be allocated on a fairly broad basis and in the absence of a new strategic framework (and not highly targeted either by subject matter, or geographic location), there would be a need for more staff at posts in comparison to headquarters. However, if new resources were targeted towards communications or domestic activities, a different staff mix would be required. In addition, some consideration of a long-term "programmatic home" for domestic activities needs to be taken. In any case, additional resources, and likely even the regularization of the resource levels provided by the PDP, would also require some additional staff at headquarters to ensure more consistent management practices such as planning and reporting.

Finding 23: The lack of an overarching strategic framework for public diplomacy programming appeared to have resulted in the absence of synergies among other federal departments with respect to the use of human resources.

While we fully recognise that Canada's foreign service is patterned on the career service model, as are many others, in course of our review we noted the extent to which other government departments and agencies were involved in analogous programming. For example, numerous elements of the Canadian Heritage portfolio conduct cultural and artistic activities abroad. There are also artistic, cultural and academic NGOs and industry /professional associations that also have overseas or international programming components.

These sources (and others) may provide a pool of additional human resources that could be called upon by the department to augment whatever internal resource levels are deemed to be appropriate by means of exchanges or secondments, should overall expansion be contemplated.

However, as we have noted elsewhere, the absence of a coordinated policy and accountability framework (and by implication any sense of cross-government commitment or coordination which is becoming prevalent among other nations) tends to inhibit the Department's ability to work with others in creative and mutually rewarding fashions.

Finding 24: The PDP resulted in new and innovative approaches to communications and domestic activities for Canada, however which remain fairly conservative in nature in comparison to those of some other nations.

The PDP provides the overwhelming majority of the resources for communications activities and domestic outreach. To this end, it has been a welcome and valuable asset as was noted in the individual report. However, in comparison to similar activities conducted by other nations, Canada's communications and domestic programs remain at a fairly early stage of development.

In large part, we are of the view that the uncertain nature of the funding, combined with fairly low resource levels (in comparison to the number of objectives) resulted in solid beginnings of the use of new communications technologies and new approaches to domestic outreach. However, they could be considerably more developed should additional resources become available. For example, at this time, the Canadian use of new communications technologies is a "broadcasting approach" as opposed to one, like that of the US, which both broadcasts and narrowcasts its messages.

Turning to domestic outreach, we wish to emphasize that the PDP has begun to introduce to Canada, the importance of engaging domestic stakeholders. However, similar to the situation with respect to communications initiatives, the present programming constitutes only a beginning in comparison to the work of others.

4.5 Leverage and Synergies

Our consideration of the level of synergies and leverage of the current FAC program mix concentrated on two related issues.

  • First, have FAC programs been catalytic in enabling beneficiaries to attract either in-cash, or in-kind contributions to augment the departmental funding?
  • Second, what is the nature of the relationships between FAC's various program components and other entities, either within or outside of the federal sphere?

Finding 25: There is fairly convincing anecdotal evidence that FAC's programming has had some degree of success in levering or attracting contributions from others.

Although no formal application or reporting systems exist to track whether applicants had prior funding, or whether they were able to secure additional resources after receipt of FAC support, as noted in the individual program reports, there is a consistent and on-going corpus of anecdotal evidence that tends to point to a conclusion that the foundation programs of ACD, the Arts Promotion and Academic Relations programs, have had a solid history of having catalytic influences with respect to leverage. More specifically, there would seem to be a greater body of anecdotal evidence with respect to the Canadian Studies Program than that for Arts Promotion.

This may be due in part to the fact that the academic beneficiaries of Canadian Studies have had more skill in "grantsmanship" than artistic beneficiaries. It also may relate to the observed, but nearly impossible to measure, propensity for a proportion of Arts Promotion funding to be used to "piggy back" upon already existing overseas activities that are funded by other federal entities. Thus, the sometimes observed tendency to provide Arts Promotion funding to "add on an additional concert stop", or to "add on a reading" does not appear to offer the same potential for leverage. However, as is noted in the individual report addressing Arts Promotion, the program operates within a 30% maximum funding approach. Therefore, it is axiomatic that the balance has been derived from other sources. The issue, however, remains as to whether FAC's funding drove the acquisition of other funds (leverage in the classic sense of causing others to contribute), or was it reactive in nature--"topping up".

The now concluded Canada-France program was able to show more conclusive information about its ability to lever from private and public sector French institutions. This level of leverage and, for our purposes here, level of reporting detail, may in large part be due to the finite nature of the Canada-France program itself, and the extent to which it funded fairly significantly sized projects, which in themselves were apparently attractive to French governmental and/or private sector interests.

Turning to the PDP, with respect to the truly "pilot" activities, and especially the communications and domestic program initiatives, it is very difficult to get any sense of leverage. Some inferential information about domestic youth-related and communications activities tends to point towards the possibility that PDP funding had catalytic effects. However, there is no definitive data, or even a parallel sufficient body of anecdotal information that can be used to support the contentions with respect to Arts and Academic programming as noted above.

Finding 26: The fragmented policy and performance management framework that negatively affects the impact of the FAC program mix also has impeded the ability to track the catalytic effects of these programs.

In our estimation, the root cause for the inability to move beyond anecdotal information for such an important program consideration as their catalytic effects lies in the fragmented planning and reporting systems of virtually all the Canadian programs. As noted elsewhere in this synthesis report, focussing performance on basic input/output control and compliance with procedures, makes it nearly impossible to assess more complex subjects such as impact and catalytic effect. Also, as noted in individual reports, and especially with respect to Canadian Studies, there may be a considerable time lag between the FAC grant and the garnering of leverage from other entities.

Finding 27: Relationships between headquarters program staff and other Canadian federal actors are episodic at best and far from optimal, and opportunities for collaboration have been lost.

As noted earlier, one of the key characteristics of many contemporary approaches to the practice of public diplomacy is the extent to which many nations recognise that their foreign ministries may be only one of the groups of government players that can have foreign policy influences.

Looking across the entire range of the current FAC programming mix as it was constituted in 2004, we observed nominal inter-relationships between program elements at home or at posts, and other Canadian federal departments and agencies. Again, it is our view that opportunities for collaboration among federal agents are frustrated by the lack of a consistent policy and accountability framework.

Many consider cooperation largely in terms of the "cultural" agencies within the Canadian Heritage portfolio, ranging from the Canada Council (which has overseas market development programming and annual funding in the $10 million range), to the various other entities that support specific types of artistic expression such as Telefilm and the National Film Board, to the broad range of federally-supported museums and galleries that frequently partner with overseas counterparts.

With respect to the Canada Council's Audience and Market Development Program mentioned above, Canada Council informants remarked that while they had fruitful working relationships with some posts, they generally perceived a lack of any sense of strategic coordination of the totality of Canadian federal funding that was directed towards overseas artistic promotion. Our work with FAC informants tended to confirm this perception, largely due to the fact that these informants did not discus the Canada Council's work with us in a direct manner, or even raise with us the possibility of synergistic benefits of closer collaboration.

Some FAC informants commented that they saw the overseas activities of the Canada Council and other elements of the Canadian Heritage portfolio as fundamentally different in nature from those of FAC (especially with respect to Arts Promotion) and argued that these other federal elements did not have the same policy motivations as FAC (to promote Canadian foreign policy objectives). While is technically accurate to state that the Canada Council's goals focus on market development - not a present FAC priority - it is does not follow that there need not be greater levels of federal integration. Furthermore, while the Canada Council and others use merit-based selection methods (in whole or in part), it again does not follow that the use of such selection methods bars closer coordination and inter-agency cooperation.

However, this discussion would only be part--the "cultural" part--of a potentially much larger network of federal actors that could have contributing roles to play in support of the attainment of Canadian foreign policy objectives.

For example, Citizenship and Immigration leads a global program called the Metropolis Project that bring together academics and public sector policy and program leaders to address urbanisation and cultural diversity issues. If as some claim, "The world needs more Canada", and propose that Canada should increase its public diplomacy activities to do so, then it would seem that programming like Metropolis would be a natural candidate for the sort of federal measures and programs that could benefit from higher levels of cross-government coordination as is undertaken by some other nations.

4.6 Lessons from Others

Cross-cutting issues relative to the experiences of Canada's allies and partners tend to be seen in two dimensions.

  • The simplest relates to efforts to compare the program mix of various countries on the basis of financial investment, in order to bolster the assertion made by many Canadian informants that FAC programming is significantly under-funded.
  • The second dimension of analysis focusses on whether the program mix of various nations serves the broad goal of being supportive of the attainment of overall national foreign policy objectives - which we noted earlier as the "core" of what most practitioners and commentators see as Public Diplomacy (which is in effect, synonymous with the term Open Diplomacy that is used by some other nations).

Finding 28: Financial comparisons, for the most part, do not accurately reflect the effectiveness of a public diplomacy programming mix.

As has been shown earlier in this synthesis report, there is very little benefit to be gained by attempting to compare program effectiveness on the basis of levels of financial resources. The Australian example is probably the most powerful example that comparisons on the basis of resource levels do not have any practical relevance for Canadian decision-makers contemplating the future direction and magnitude of FAC's program mix.

A number of informants to this review voiced a perception that the Australian programming was in some ways "superior" to FAC's. Yet, its overall budget level is smaller in absolute terms. What differentiates the Australian program mix from FAC's is the degree of targeting and the extent to which the Australian mix represents the new, more directly results-based types of public diplomacy programming that have been described earlier.

Finding 29: Only a very few nations appear to have the ability to "do it all".

Of the nations we reviewed, only France and the UK (and to a lesser extent, Germany) had sufficient resources to undertake both more traditional arts promotion and academic/scholarship programming, while at the same time moving into new, more results-oriented types of public diplomacy activities. The US, due to its long-standing traditions that mitigate against the types of arts promotion programming that are undertaken by many, also has sufficient human and financial resources to carry out a mix of new and old. For example, its approach to exchanges includes more traditional youth exchanges along with more contemporary programming that includes opinion--leaders, and people-to-people exchanges in direct support of US foreign policy objectives.

The more moderate-sized European nations we surveyed, Switzerland and the Netherlands, appear to have programming mixes that are firmly rooted in traditional types of programming and which exhibit very few characteristics of the new types for public diplomacy programming that are emerging in other nations. Even here, informants remarked that these nations were experiencing insufficient resources to have a global impact; and that a high level of targeting was required by both.

The British, French, German (and in different ways, the American) experiences, also demonstrate the phenomenon of building new types of programming onto a deep historic base and have the advantage of the resources to do so. However, it would be inaccurate to assume that Britain, France, the US and Germany possess unlimited global resources.

British informants pointed out that the British Council has had to close a number of its European operations, and significantly reduce others, in order to secure the resources to meet the new priority demands in Asia and especially in China. Germany has had to reprofile long-standing resources to meet new priorities in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union, and, as well, more recently, to respond to priority needs with respect to Islamic nations.

Finding 30: There is a growing recognition among some nations that if the strategic goal of public diplomacy programming is to support the attainment of foreign policy objectives, initiatives that have immediate and direct programming impact appear to have a higher rate of return with respect to the attainment of the objectives in question.

As we surveyed others and also worked with Canadian ministerial and other public diplomacy informants, we began to see a divergence of views about the fundamental underpinning of public diplomacy programming in Canada and worldwide.

On one hand we encountered domestic and international informants who argued that traditional programming has intrinsic value and that artistic showcasing is a legitimate national objective in its own right, as well as the use of artistic programming to provide a "space" in which to exercise other forms of influence. As we have noted earlier, many of these same domestic informants were those that tended to be cautious about results measurement and to favour more episodic and anecdotal approaches to questions of program impact and relevance.

On the other hand, we encountered, especially among British, Australian and American informants, a much more aggressive and immediate philosophy wherein programming has to be able to have a clear nexus between it and the attainment of some specific foreign policy objectives. Political decision-making and the overall evolving public sector managerial philosophies of these nations tended to be seen as the driving force for such higher levels of direct linkage.

Thus, it is far easier to see the nexus between exchange programming that focuses on adult opinion leaders and a specific foreign policy objective and to begin to assess its impact, than it is to see a similar nexus between a youth exchange and a foreign policy objective, or an instance of cultural showcasing and the attainment of a particular objective. In short, in many countries with a strong results-based emphasis, the "concrete" trumps the "abstract".

Finding 31: In many of the nations surveyed, public diplomacy is, and is seen to be, an essential component of the mix of tools that are required to project influence and to attain foreign policy objectives.

This final finding underscores the realization that to assess the value of public diplomacy programming to a nation, one must go beyond the rhetoric of their spokespersons. We set down encountered spokespersons who were not uniformly positive about the positive contributions of their programming mix, of whatever nature. However, in a number of instances, they indicated that "... of course we simply do not have all the resources we need to do our job". Yet, on more detailed examination of material, we noted in a number of instances, many of the same limitations that we have identified with respect to the current FAC program mix - inadequate planning systems, lack of field staff, nominal levels of funding, etc.

By contrast, in France, the UK, the USA and Germany, there can be no doubt that the public diplomacy program mix is, and is considered to be, an integral set of tools for the attainment of foreign policy objectives. Somewhat sceptical readers might conclude, therefore, that the only way for public diplomacy programming to make any real contribution is to have relatively large budgets. Therefore the likelihood of FAC expanding its program mix to approach the relative levels of these nations is slight at best. Thus, such readers might be tempted to conclude that the Canadian efforts are fated to remain, at best, ancillary to the attainment of foreign policy objectives.

The Australian experience, however, counters such presumptions. Based on the information we were able to secure and our discussions with informants, it appears that Australia's modest public diplomacy program mix is valued by the government and is seen to be an integral component of overall Australian foreign policy--a set of useful and "made in Australia" tools designed to promote the attainment of Australian foreign policy objectives, many of which relate to Asian considerations. Stemming from a public sector organizational culture that has a high concentration on "results" and the cost of the production of such results, the Australian public diplomacy program mix is spare and focused--and very different from that of FAC.

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5. Conclusions and Recommendations

As we approach the elaboration of general conclusions and a set of recommendations for both operational and strategic level strengthening, it may be important to recall that nature of the programs that presently constitute Canada's public and cultural diplomacy program mix.

  • The Canada-France Program was a one-time and purpose-built initiative that has since lapsed.
  • The Public Diplomacy Program began a number of years ago with an ad hoc and highly national identity concentration, and has since evolved towards being a mix of "top up" funding for the department's two "foundational" cultural diplomacy programs and some funding for exploratory activities in more contemporary programmatic forms of public diplomacy.
  • The Arts Promotion and Academic Relations programs together constitute the foundation stones of FAC's overall program mix. They are long-standing and predate the articulation of the Third Pillar. However, they have been under significant funding pressures for some time and have benefited considerably from "top up" funding via the PDP.

In addition to these programs, our overall assessment of the efficacy of FAC's program mix and our recommendations for strengthening have been influenced by broader cross-ministerial and cross-governmental actions. At the broad cross-governmental level, the commitment of the current government (2005) to citizen engagement and to eliminating the democratic deficit would tend to imply a degree of openness in the way that FAC as a department reaches out to engage stakeholders, not only in the way foreign policy is crafted; but also in the way that it is exercised through programs. This is further manifested by two intra-departmental activities that are presently underway.

First, the long-awaited review of Canada's foreign policy is likely to have an impact on the direction of the current set of cultural and public diplomacy programs of FAC. The comprehensive nature of the review may result in new directions for Canadian foreign policy as a whole and its implementing programs for the next decade. Second, the reorganization of the department will have natural consequences on its programming and possibly on its cultural and public diplomacy programming mix.

In a briefing to all employees in early 2005 to orient them to some of the impeding changes, the current Deputy Minister made special reference to the concept of public diplomacy and spoke of it in broader terms than specifically related to the current program mix. He noted that the values embodied in the concept of public diplomacy should become much more important parts of the way the department as a whole worked. He also underscored the importance of public diplomacy as a concept for the future of the newly reorganized department. While it would be premature to attribute too much to these statements prior to the release of the overall review of Canadian foreign policy, it is reasonable to assume that at least some of the concepts that underpin a contemporary notion of public diplomacy are resonating in some circles in the department.

5.1 General Conclusions

Based on the analysis contained in the four individual program reports, the assessment of the six cross-cutting factors and a review of the relevant practices of a number of Canada's allies and partners, we have developed four overarching conclusions that form the basis for a set of strengthening recommendations.

General Conclusion: First, notwithstanding some limitations in the managerial, planning and reporting structures of the programs that constitute Canada's current mix, the programming as a whole has been able to meet its program-level objectives with varying levels of success, albeit some at minimal levels.

It is very important to underscore the extent of program-level achievements that have been possible within the constrained and uncertain resource levels of the current programs. All our individual reports highlight the extent to which the staff of the programs have been able to utilise scarce resources in creative and economic ways. It is unfortunate that there have been insufficient resources available to strengthen planning and reporting systems. Had there been, we are of the view that the magnitude of the program-level contributions of these four program elements would be far better understood than they are today due to the general lack of verifiable performance information.

General Conclusion: Notwithstanding the level of prior program level budgets, the current resource levels (finances and people) available for public diplomacy programming have been insufficient for them to have made a significant strategic contribution to the attainment of Canadian foreign policy objectives as a whole and to the current Third Pillar in particular; or to contemplate expanding activities to engage in more of the new approaches to public diplomacy programming that other nations are now undertaking.

Even thought we found that at the level of the program - specific goals, there have been levels of achievement, we also concluded that when taken as a whole, and when considered in light of the attainment of the Third Pillar, the levels of resources available to the present program mix does not enable it to make a sustained contribution. Funds generally are not available for follow-up/ follow-on activities. Further more, there is insufficient staff to sustain a level of on-going liaison with either overseas or domestic stakeholders.

More importantly, in light of the release of the upcoming foreign policy review and the statements made by the Deputy Minister regarding public diplomacy as a philosophy, it would be unrealistic to assume that the current level of resources could be used to undertake any additional program activities without recourse to having to effectively eliminate one (or both) of the two foundation programs--programs which have established a considerable domestic and international clientele, and which have become recognised as distinctly "Canadian" in nature. While it was not our mandate to recommend policy-level changes to the Canadian approach to public diplomacy programming, we wish to underscore that, based on all the evidence we have been able to secure, it would be unrealistic for ministerial decision-makers to assume that "more could be done with less", or even to assume that that more could be done within the same resource levels as today (including those of the PDP). Indeed, the PDP's new overseas (as opposed to its "topping up" of foundation programs) and its new domestic outreach and communications activities may very well serve to increase demand due to new levels of engagement with new groups of stakeholders.

General Conclusion: Based on a review of the activities of other nations, FAC's current program mix constitutes a solid basis on which to build a more contemporary approach to public diplomacy, should the decision be taken to do so and should sufficient resources be made available.

The mix of arts promotion and academic support activities along with some of the more contemporary initiatives undertaken through the PDP program has provided a solid, albeit small, foundation on which to consider future directions. The decades of experience in arts and academic programming have built up extensive networks that have considerable intrinsic value to Canada. Likewise, the more recent activities funded by the PDP, both at home and abroad, as well as the communications activities also funded by it, have established at least a starting point should the government decide to strengthen its overall approach to public diplomacy.

Make no mistake, in our estimation, all these individual programs are under-funded in comparison to their ability to meet broad strategic objectives. However, the lessons learned over the last decade, and especially the initial lessons learned from the more contemporary activities funded by the PDP program, could provide a valuable starting point.

Throughout this horizontal report, it should be apparent that in comparison to Australia, the UK, the USA, Germany, and of course France, the current Canadian program mix is somewhat conservative in nature. It is largely concentrated in long-standing artistic and academic support and utilises a set of tools that in themselves do not represent a more contemporary approach, to even artistic support that some other nations have adopted. However, this is not to say that past lessons do not provide for a solid foundation.

General Conclusion: The management, planning and reporting systems which frame FAC's approach to public diplomacy could benefit from a comprehensive renewal.

Give the uncertainties that have been prevalent with respect to FAC's cultural and public diplomacy programming for a number of years, it is not unexpected that the planning and managerial infrastructures that support them might require some refreshment and strengthening.

First, as we have noted on a number of occasions, the absence of a strategic policy and accountability framework for the totality of FAC's programming mix has impeded fostering programming synergies. Likewise, fragmented systems of reporting and ambiguities in accountability and lines of authority between posts, regional bureaus and headquarters program staff in all four program areas, appears to have restrained the ability of the programs to make more marked contributions. Again, mention needs to be made of recent efforts to begin to introduce improved logic models and reporting systems. However, notwithstanding the positive benefits of these emerging measures, more still needs to be done to integrate programming, planning and reporting.

Of equal or greater importance, the absence of an overarching policy and accountability framework has been a deterrent to the way FAC collaborates with other federal counterparts who, in some instances, may have more available resources in analogous program areas than FAC itself. One example can be used to illustrate the potential benefits of significantly enhancing levels of inter-agency cooperation as has been done by many other nations. The fact that the Canada Council administers a $10 million annual budget (nearly 50% larger than all FAC arts promotion funding combined) for international artistic support and international market development, speaks to the need to begin to build effective synergies within the Government of Canada as a whole.

5.2 Recommendations

The set of recommendations that follows are predicated on three conditions:

First, it was not part of our Terms of Reference to develop policy alternatives that would guide the development of programming content. Rather, with respect to conceptual and strategic issues, we were asked to assess the appropriateness of the current mix of programs in light of their ability to contribute to the attainment of Canadian foreign policy objectives and the attainment of the Third Pillar in particular, as it was constituted in 2004. Thus, we will not be making any specific recommendations about altering the current program mix.

Second, and probably of significantly greater importance, in our estimation it would be inappropriate to offer policy-related recommendations before the release of the anticipated government-wide foreign policy review. While our work may have investigated the nature and operation of the current program mix and surveyed the cultural and public diplomacy programming mixes of some other nations, our work did not address the balance of Canadian diplomatic, trade, defence and overseas development policy options.

Our reticence may be especially appropriate given the fact that the prime purposes of public diplomacy programming are to project influence and to promote the understanding and support for national foreign policy objectives at home and abroad. In essence, public diplomacy programming tends to be seen as a set of non-traditional tools--the means to achieve broader national ends--and not ends in themselves.

Third, the set of recommendations that follows will not present suggestions regarding optimal levels either human or financial resources. We have been clear in stating that current resource levels are only minimally capable of meeting short-term and program level goals; and have at best only marginally addressed the attainment of broader overall foreign policy objectives. However, to go beyond that, in light of the upcoming release of the foreign policy review, would be to attempt to presume the direction of that review. Of equal importance, the current absence of reliable performance information for any of the programs, combined with the lack of benchmarking, makes estimating the level of resources required to strengthen them problematic at best.

Recommendation 1: FAC might wish to consider developing a comprehensive and inclusive long-term policy and accountability framework to house its entire set of public diplomacy instruments, taking into account the directions that have been set out in the comprehensive review of Canadian foreign policy.

As we have indicated on a number of instances in both the four individual reports and in this synthesis report, FAC programming, at it current marginal resource levels, does not operate maximally due to the fact that its planning and management infrastructures are fragmented and are not seen as a comprehensive "whole". One key issue that warrants special mention may be the need to better articulate in such a policy and accountability framework, the varying types of stakeholders and beneficiaries and to differentiate between them.

Recommendation 2: As part of this comprehensive framework, the roles and responsibilities of headquarters program units, regional bureaus and posts need to be clarified and rationalised.

We noted, especially with the Arts Promotion and Academic Relations programs, blurred lines of accountability between the three sets of actors cited above. With respect to some of the more contemporary programming and communications activities, both domestic and abroad, we also noted some degree of blurring of responsibility and an overall lack of harmony and synergies.

A number of informants to this review suggested that primary responsibility for the foundation Arts and Academic programs should rest with staff located at posts abroad, and that headquarters activities take on largely coordinative functions. Some even referred to the headquarters functions as similar to central agency activities.

While we are sympathetic with the general presumption that staff at posts may have more "hands-on" knowledge and be better able to craft innovative and locally relevant program solutions due to their "local knowledge", we do not feel it appropriate to specifically recommend placing the balance of power in the hands of the posts in the absence of the overall policy directions that might arise from the impending release of foreign policy review.

We are of the view that "form should follow function". Thus, the overarching policy and accountability framework for the whole of FAC's program mix needs to be developed which would reflect a balance of roles and responsibilities in light of the needs of strategic national foreign policy objectives--form following function. In addition, some consideration might be given, as part of a roles and responsibilities clarification exercise (especially if it were to address the question of a "home" for domestic programming) to a nomenclature change for the program set, whatever it may be, to firmly identify it as Public Diplomacy.

Recommendation 3: The overarching policy and accountability framework would benefit from a method to force-rank short, medium and long-term priorities by region, country audience and subject matter.

In our estimation, one of the major weaknesses of the current program mix is the absence of a coordinated approach to priority setting, both within individual programs or across programs that constitute the entire mix. While we noted the coordinative efforts of the PDP Program Steering Committee, we also noted the extent to which its prioritization was largely limited to basic resource allocation decisions among core program elements.

Recommendation 4: Strategic level coordination across a number of federal departments and agencies would appear to be a vitally needed component of any new overarching policy and accountability framework.

Throughout this synthesis report, and as identified in several of the individual reports, we have highlighted the relative absence of effective cooperation among federal actors, although in fairness we wish to point out the extent to which there is some degree of cooperation at the working level. Canadian Heritage and its large portfolio of agencies undertake many types of programming that are similar in nature, if not parallel in some ways, to those of FAC. Notwithstanding somewhat different motivations described earlier, the Canada Councils market development and export support program would be the most visible example, however there are also many more. Other federal departments and agencies play contributory roles at home and abroad. Indeed, with the separation of the international trade functions from the balance of the department, the need to coordinate across ministerial lines becomes even more apparent. Other nations have recognised that their foreign ministry does not have an exclusive purview over programming which can support the attainment of foreign policy objectives, as well as recognising that other elements of their national government also are involved in artistic and academic support activities abroad and at home.

In making this recommendation, we are fully cognisant of the difficulties inherent in effective cross-government coordination in a Westminster system, and sometimes among agencies that have differing short-medium term policy goals. Nevertheless, we are firmly of the view that if an overarching strategic policy and accountability framework is essential for FAC to maximise the impact of whatever set of cultural and public diplomacy programming that might arise out of the directions of the foreign policy review, a similar coordinated effort is needed at a cross-governmental level in order to maximise the totality of federal resource utilisation.

Recommendation 5: As part of the overarching policy and accountability framework, special consideration should be given to making additional investments in reporting and accountability systems, and especially to program monitoring systems.

As we have noted, the most significant limitation of the current planning and management systems that frame the present program mix is its fragmentation. This results in a vicious circle with respect to reporting and program monitoring. Fragmentation in design and the lack of a holistic framework naturally leads to fragmented and at best, ad hoc approaches to program reporting and accountability. While there have been some recent positive efforts such as the new reporting templates that are being phased in for the Arts Promotion program, the entire set of Canadian programs could benefit from a more comprehensive system of reporting and accountability. Staff and managers alike do not seem to have a sufficiently detailed understanding of the contemporary results-based challenges of grant administration within the Canadian public service, and the growing need to be able to demonstrate independently-validated stewardship for program outcomes and not only rely on sporadic and anecdotal evidence, and financial and procedural compliance data.

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Appendix - List of Findings

Finding 1: The current mix of programming instruments only marginally supports the attainment of Canadian foreign policy objectives.

Finding 2: The prior lack of a guiding or overarching vision or policy framework that embraces all of the Canadian program set has resulted in program fragmentation and compromised its potential impact on the exercise of Canadian influence, although efforts are underway to systematize a policy framework.

Finding 3: The prior lack of programmatic coordination at both the strategic and operational level has resulted in the programs not being integrated and thus the loss of potential combined impacts and synergies.

Finding 4: Many FAC stakeholders perceive that the prime limitation to the ability of the current program mix to contribute to the exercise of influence in the pursuit of foreign policy objectives is a lack of sufficient financial resources.

Finding 5: The current programming mix is generally seen to be relevant by its current set of stakeholders and beneficiaries.

Finding 6: The PDP broadened the scope of the Canadian program mix, and began to include in some of its elements more contemporary types of PD programming used by other nations.

Finding 7: There is diversity in the delivery systems of Canada's programming mix which tends to inhibit the maximization of overall impact.

Finding 8: Some posts appear to have independently developed their own visions of public diplomacy that are more contemporary in orientation than others, and seemingly more contemporary that some elements of headquarters programs.

Finding 9: The question of focus versus spread with respect to Canada's program mix is somewhat moot given the fact that, at this time, there are barely sufficient resources to address short-term program goals, let alone the ability to contribute to the attainment of broader foreign policy objectives.

Finding 10: The Canada-France program, notwithstanding its structural limitations (noted in its separate report) demonstrated the potential for positive impacts that can arise from resource concentration.

Finding 11: The current approaches to the decentralisation of decision-making and accountabilities are weakened by the absence of an overarching framework in which to situate flexible and sensitive responses to unique local needs.

Finding 12: Greater levels of decentralisation and local decision-making could be fostered if FAC developed a consistent overarching policy framework and systems of high-level strategic prioritisation.

Finding 13: Clarification of roles and responsibilities is an essential pre-condition to effective decentralisation.

Finding 14: The measurement of long-term attitudinal change is possible, assuming a sufficient investment in organizational performance is made.

Finding 15: There have been some recent efforts to improve the quality of organizational performance reporting among FAC's mix of program elements.

Finding 16: The current program measurement systems of FAC's program mix are generally fragmented and inconsistent because the entire program area itself lacks a consistent and harmonizing policy and accountability framework that links the program mix to strategic departmental objectives.

Finding 17: Notwithstanding the methodological limitations inherent in anecdotal information, there appears to be a fairly consistent pattern of positive information about program performance.

Finding 18: Notwithstanding considerable gaps in impact performance information, it is apparent that current funding levels are barely adequate to meet even narrow program objectives and clearly do not constitute a viable critical mass to begin to contemplate some of the more contemporary approaches to public diplomacy that are being practiced by others.

Finding 19: The long-standing climate of uncertainty surrounding the level of resources available for public diplomacy programming seems to have had a negative impact on the overall effectiveness of the programs.

Finding 20: Based on current resource levels of the present program mix (including those of the PDP as it was constituted in 2004) there are barely adequate levels of human resources to even minimally meet short-term program goals, let alone longer-term ones relative to the overall promotion of Canadian foreign policy objectives as a whole.

Finding 21: There was a widespread perception among departmental informants that a career path primarily in public diplomacy was not as highly valued as other career paths.

Finding 22: Any contemplation of increasing overall resource levels for public diplomacy programming would necessitate additional human resources, both at posts and at headquarters.

Finding 23: The lack of an overarching strategic framework for public diplomacy programming appeared to have resulted in the absence of synergies among other federal departments with respect to the use of human resources.

Finding 24: The PDP resulted in new and innovative approaches to communications and domestic activities for Canada, however which remain fairly conservative in nature in comparison to those of some other nations.

Finding 25: There is fairly convincing anecdotal evidence that FAC's programming has had some degree of success in levering or attracting contributions from others.

Finding 26: The fragmented policy and performance management framework that negatively affects the impact of the FAC program mix also has impeded the ability to track the catalytic effects of these programs.

Finding 27: Relationships between headquarters program staff and other Canadian federal actors are episodic at best and far from optimal, and opportunities for collaboration have been lost.

Finding 28: Financial comparisons, for the most part, do not accurately reflect the effectiveness of a public diplomacy programming mix.

Finding 29: Only a very few nations appear to have the ability to "do it all".

Finding 30: There is a growing recognition among some nations that if the strategic goal of public diplomacy programming is to support the attainment of foreign policy objectives, initiatives that have immediate and direct programming impact appear to have a higher rate of return with respect to the attainment of the objectives in question.

Finding 31: In many of the nations surveyed, public diplomacy is, and is seen to be, an essential component of the mix of tools that are required to project influence and to attain foreign policy objectives.

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Appendix II - Management Response

RecommendationCommitments/ActionsExpected ResultsResponsibility CentreKey Dates and DeadlinesStatus
1) FAC might wish to consider developing a comprehensive and inclusive long-term policy and accountability framework to house all of its sets of public diplomacy instruments, taking into account the directions that have been set out in the comprehensive review of Canadian foreign policy.Several Departmental initiatives, which began after the data collection phase of the evaluation but before the production of the final report, have begun to implement this recommendation.

The Departmental initiatives mainly address the issue of a comprehensive and inclusive, long-term policy, namely:

- the creation of 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.
- the construction of various management tools, such as a fund management structure, governance structure and new program criteria for the domestic outreach and cultural diplomacy programs.
- all missions have been requested to provide public diplomacy strategies. All structures have been designed to draw a demonstrable link between programs and policy priorities with clear and direct lines of authority reporting to ADM from Strategic Policy and Public Diplomacy. Further work is currently being undertaken, on a pilot basis, to integrate PD Strategies with the new Country Strategies approach. This would bring a whole-of-government influence to missions' PD Strategies and make PD a part of HOM PMAs.

All efforts use the IPS as a guidance document.

Efforts to create an accountability framework lie mainly with the identification of "mainstreaming Public Diplomacy" 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 ***, to the Strategic Policy and Public Diplomacy (PFM) branch. The reorganization has enabled increased coherence within its constituent units. Within the next 18 months, PFM will assimilate all transfer payment programs under his authority and create 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 across all elements of PD (culture, education, youth, etc). The lengthy implementation of this vision is due to the burden of creating these documents and seeking their approval from Treasury Board.
Improved alignment of PD programming objectives and FAC policy priorities. Enhanced PD programming on acute topical issues and in key priority regions.

Clear lines of authority.

Clear articulation of the importance of PD to the departments mandate.
ACDStart of FY 2007-08

- Umbrella Ts and Cs
Ongoing
2) As part of this comprehensive framework, the roles and responsibilities of headquarter's programme units, regional bureaux and posts need to be clarified and rationalized.PFM and RGM are currently developing a Memorandum of Understanding which will clarify and rationalize the various roles and responsibilities of functional units, the geographics and missions. The primary focus area will be:

- Clear Human Resource Strategy (training and assignments abroad )
- Integrated Resource Allocations (priority country identification and programming allocations)
- Consolidated Reporting and Evaluation (authorities and mechanisms)
- Holistic Programming Approach (current programme rationale, emerging opportunities and gap analysis)

Once completed, PFM will begin a similar process with NGM.
Greater and more efficient use of resources.

A more coherent and complete approach to PD initiatives.

Clearly defined roles and responsibilities linked to PMAs.
ACD, RGM, NGMOctober 2005 (RGM-PFM) November 2005 (NGM-PFM)Ongoing
3) The overarching policy and accountability framework would benefit from a method to force rank short, medium, and long-term priorities by region, country audience and subject matter.PD will be part of HOM PMAs.

The Public Diplomacy Governance Structure has been developed to address the issue of priorities. This three-tiered structure has, at its apex, the FAC Policy Committee, which consists of DM and ADM representation. This Committee will make strategic decisions in terms of priorities, including thematic and geographic.

An applied PD policy paper is also being developed to guide HQ and missions.
FAC better able to prioritize issues and advance its international agenda through PD.

Specific tool to guide HQ and Mission.
PFM Complete
4) Strategic level coordination across a number of federal departments and agencies would appear to be a vitally needed component of any new overarching policy and accountability framework.A whole of government approach to PD was advanced to central agencies and through interdepartmental meetings in February 2005. We will build on this work to in the winter, it is PFM's intention to advance an MC which will further the Government of Canada's PD agenda. This MC will be whole-of-government and, as such, will require the development of, or expansion of, tools that will enable a trans-departmental policy and accountability framework.Greater coherence of public diplomacy programming across the government.

Ability for FAC to address OGD policy priorities in a coordinated, strategic and systematic manner when these issues are consistent with an overarching policy.
PFMOctober 2005 (start MC process)Not yet started
5) As part of the overarching policy and accountability framework, special considerations should be given to making additional investments in reporting and accountability systems and, especially, to program monitoring systems.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 sunseted PDP, will allow the Department to move ahead in developing a strategic and focussed approach to public diplomacy. Within the Treasury Board Submission, required to access these funds, 4-7% has been notionally allocated for program evaluation and monitoring.

As previously indicated, as part of the rationalization of responsibilities between RGM and PFM, efforts will be made to harmonize and standardize reporting tools and to further encourage a link between these documents and the existing RMAFs and RBAFs. PFM will also continue to implement and use proven results-based management techniques.
Improved ability to monitor and evaluate activities funded through PD mechanisms.

Single reporting systems that will reduce administrative burden on officers and allow for more robust and frequent evaluation and monitoring of events.
ACD and CFDWinter 2005 (development of common reporting tools)Ongoing

Office of the Inspector General

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Date Modified:
2012-10-10