On Monday, December 13, the Wilson Center will convene a large, bipartisan coalition that is drafting a business plan for a new independent organization for public diplomacy and strategic communications. The effort is part of the Center's Strengthening America's Global Engagement (SAGE), Initiative launched in September to act on the recommendation of more than a dozen major studies conducted since 9/11 to form such an organization. The business plan will determine in detail the mission, structure, programs, target markets, and budget of the organization.

"How best to enhance and strengthen America's public diplomacy and strategic communications are critical national security issues and nine years after 9/11, it is finally time to take this significant step in support of more engagement between Americans and foreign publics," said Project Director Brad Minnick. "The Wilson Center is proud to be the convener of this important initiative."

As envisioned, the organization will:

  • be nonpartisan and transcend Administrations
  • serve as an essential vehicle for public diplomacy and strategic communications by tapping the creativity and innovation of the private sector but not duplicate what already exists in government
  • facilitate better coordination and implementation around public-private partnerships on issues related to global engagement
  • provide the Departments of State, Defense and other agencies an additional powerful, structured, and long-lasting tool to respond to our nation's requirements for informing, engaging, and influencing large swaths of foreign audiences.

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former Secretary of Defense William Perry are honorary co-chairs, and the bipartisan Working Group includes more than 80 experts and practitioners from across the political and ideological spectrums, drawn from the private sector, government, Congress, think tanks, media, academe, foundations and NGOs.

The Working Group is divided into five independent subcommittees with responsibility to build one of the following components of the business plan during a six-month period:

  • Mission and governance
  • Operating budget
  • Target markets, networks & countries
  • Types and nature of programs & activities
  • Development & identification of corporate, foundation, and public sector partners

"The purpose of this exercise is to tap the best thinking of a broad, diverse and bipartisan set of experts and practitioners from across sectors to actually implement the recommendations of so many studies to create such an organization," Minnick said.

The working group is meeting on Monday to present and discuss the initial ideas and recommendations of each subcommittee.