We now live in the most hyper-connected, global moments of history where all people have a voice and multiple platforms to share their voice and values.
Mark, I and the Embassy team are firm believers in bringing diplomacy into this new communications era. The speed and incredible reach of the Internet and social media has changed how we all interact with each other. Unparalleled amounts of new perspectives have been brought into the ongoing dialogue on how we address the challenges of our time.
Communications and public diplomacy is more important than ever before. And that’s why we were especially honored and proud to be named by Resume Magazine as Sweden’s #3 (out of 150) best communicators— “Superkommunikatörer”— in all of Sweden. In addition to the award, Mark and I were incredibly honored to be asked to present on the U.S. Embassy’s communications strategy, and how we work with the fantastic Embassy team to reach as many people as possible.
We discussed the four principles that form the foundation of our communication:
1. The power to convene
2. Listening, not talking
4. Using the unexpected to highlight shared values
The two areas I covered were “the power to convene” and “listening and not talking.” Mark and I often say that our favorite thing we hear when people come to an Embassy event at our residence: “I’ve never been here before”, “I never thought I’d be invited to an Ambassador’s residence”, and best of all “I never knew what really what an Ambassador, his/her spouse and an Embassy did until now.”
Having the ability to “convene” and create a safe space where diverse people can come together and speak openly, freely without judgment on difficult issues is extremely powerful. The Embassy and I see it as our mission to reach out to as many different stakeholders as possible. Needless to say, it’s not just about us inviting people over and talking at them.
The most exciting thing about diplomacy for me is learning from each other and finding common ground on challenges ranging from sustainability to gender equality. That’s done through listening and not talking.
President Obama is a leader who presciently identified this new strain of global connectivity and has focused on inclusivity, partnership and a new role for America in the world. As President he has uplifted and engaged people and groups who have not traditionally been engaged. At the Embassy the concept of reaching out to all citizens— minorities, new immigrants, women, youth, the LGBT community— is a central priority that’s reflected in the Embassy’s “Diversity Dialogues”, Youth Councils, women’s empowerment initiatives and entrepreneurship focused on immigrant entrepreneurship. In fact, all Embassy initiatives are informed by tolerance, openness, transparency and inclusion.
Thank you Resume for recognizing our hard work! And thank you U.S. Embassy Sweden for the hard work, support, intelligent guidance and leadership on this issue! This award is for all of us!