Monday, May 31, 2010

Sawadee Ka - Hello Bangkok

Sporadic posting is the theme of the month - both  May and June. I have just arrived at the Lub D hostel in the Silom Quarter of Bangkok. We arrived from Cha'am on a minibus which dropped us at Victory Monument. Without a word of English spoken, Callie and I managed to find the SkyTrain and get two tickets, complete 1 transfer, passing a destroyed Central World via the SkyTrain to our stop in Silom. A two block walk with our giant packs and we arrived to a beautiful and inexpensive hostel. We found some nice Thai food restaurant where I finally had a Thai Iced Tea - or Iced Milk Tea. Now we're taking it easy this afternoon, uploading photos, doing laundry and planning our next two days in Bangkok.

Once I've got some extra time on my hands, I will start back-posting my journal entries from my trip so far.

South East Asia is a beautiful place, with beautiful people and delicious foods. My friend Phil asked me to describe my trip in three words, so here they are: Foreign, Humid, Delicious.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Whirlwind to Asia

It's been a crazy week and a half...last Friday, I graduated at USC. Now, it's Sunday in Taiwan...

I'm officially a Master. I received my confirmation email yesterday/Friday in LA that I am commenced as a Master of Public Diplomacy. Two years of amazing learning, friendships and experiences.

I'm heading off to the airport again to go to Cambodia by way of Vietnam.

It's been a crazy week to get here but I'm very happy to be traveling.

I'm keeping all of my experiences in a written journal and will type them up either when I get home or when I have time here in Asia.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

From JStreet to JCall: European Jews Call out to Israel

As I finish my last academic paper of my Master's degree, I write about Israel, the uniqueness of Zionism and immigration to the Jewish State and the various waves of immigration have on Israeli society, culture, politics and the relationship Israel has with the Arab world. So with all of that in mind, here is a great little piece on Europe's version of JStreet.

While we're on the subject, take a look at a piece my friend Paul and I wrote back in February for PDiN Monitor on Israel's public diplomacy entitled Lost in Translation.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Soap Opera Diplomacy - Part II

While I found it intriguing the first time around, I just find it even more exciting the second time around. Another few articles have come out this week regarding Turkey's soap opera diplomacy to the Arab world and the rapprochement in Turkish-Arab relations. An excellent article, sent to me by my friend Paul, is written by a Turkish journalist who went on a journalist exchange to Syria. His multifaceted understanding of the meaning of this new "soap opera diplomacy" an ability for exchanges as well as Turkey's soft power to influence many in the Arab world is refreshing. The ability for a country like Turkey, with a complicated (at best) history with the Arab world to in the 21st century begin to positively influence its Arab neighbors while maintaining close and positive ties to the West is very encouraging. It makes me think that the U.S. government needs to stop trying to devise unsuccessful public diplomacy strategies to the "Muslim world" and the "Arab Street" and start listening the the multitude of voices coming from the the "Muslim world" and take a good and hard look at how Turkey is showing some great successes in this arena.