Teaching Culture: The Challenges and Opportunities of International Public Relations. (Focus on Intercultural Communication)

By George, Amiso M. | Business Communication Quarterly, June 2003 | Go to article overview

Teaching Culture: The Challenges and Opportunities of International Public Relations. (Focus on Intercultural Communication)


George, Amiso M., Business Communication Quarterly


THE EVENTS OF SEPTEMBER 11, 2001, highlighted the importance of international and intercultural understanding in global politics. Americans learned about Osama Bin Laden and his vast international terrorist network, Al-Qaeda. They wondered why the terrorists could be so hateful as to execute the horrific crimes that are now etched into the nation's memory. US President George W. Bush vowed revenge on the terrorists and their supporters worldwide and presented his campaign to oust Iraq's Saddam Hussein as one step in curbing the terrorist threat. While the US won the military campaign, the war to win the hearts and minds of the international community is yet to be won. The war created rifts between America and such traditional allies as France and Germany and engendered strong opposition from Russia, as well as many Middle Eastern, Arab, and Islamic countries. Overcoming these rifts will require effective intercultural communication and international public relations.

In this article, I focus on the challenges and opportunities for international public relations practice. The article begins with a brief look at current US-Arab relations as background for understanding the public relations issues in international crisis communication. It then discusses those issues, especially the role of culture and the media. Finally, the article proposes strategies, including a case study, that teachers can use to help students become effective businesspersons and communicators in an intercultural and international framework.

International Crisis Communication:

The US and Arab Connection

The crises of September 11 and the war in Iraq have led Americans, appropriately enough, to seek more information on radical Islam and Muslims. Classes on Middle East policy, politics, and culture are in demand. Experts on Islam and Muslim countries have become highly sought after in the popular media. Americans have been introduced to the A1-Jazeera Television network, a Qatar-based satellite television station, which has broadcast exclusive videotaped statements from Osama Bin Laden and provided extensive coverage of the Iraq war from a Middle Eastern perspective.

US Government Public Relations Efforts

While the AI-Jazeera broadcast of Bin Laden's statements, as well as gruesome images of dead coalition soldiers and Iraqis was, in some media analysts' terms, inflammatory and uncorroborated, the US government did not immediately counter the allegations through the same channel. The Al-Jazeera broadcasts fueled anti-Americanism even among countries the US considered allies. Subsequent appearances on A1-Jazeera by top US State Department officials, including Secretary of State Colin Powell and National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice, did not assuage their critics.

The hiring of Charlotte Beers as Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs also had little effect. A former chief of Ogilvy & Mather and J. Walter Thompson, two of the top advertising agencies, Beers was better known for a successful image campaign for IBM in the face of competition and dwindling sales. As a marketing expert, Beers aimed to sell a more positive US image in the Arab world (Starr, 2001).

Shortly after her appointment as America's "image czar," Beers recognized the need to define and communicate the American position through an appropriate spokesperson and media. Beers designated Christopher Ross, former US Ambassador to Algeria and Syria, and an Arabic speaker, to appear on Al-Jazeera to counter allegations by Osama bin Laden (Starr, 2001).

Beers also developed an integrated marketing approach to restructure America's image abroad. The campaign included booklets, brochures, dialogue with Muslim Americans, and "Shared Values," a television advertising campaign aimed at Muslim and Arab countries. However, in January 2003, the government suspended the television ad campaign because it failed to reach its goal.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Teaching Culture: The Challenges and Opportunities of International Public Relations. (Focus on Intercultural Communication)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.