USC Launches First Degree Program in Public Diplomacy

June 15, 2005

The Master’s program will prepare students for international careers
in public service and non-governmental organizations

Contact: Usha Sutliff, (213) 740-0252 or

Starting in the fall of 2005, the University of Southern California’s
Annenberg School for Communication and College of Letters, Arts
and Sciences will jointly offer the world’s first degree program in
public diplomacy, the schools announced today.

“In an increasingly democratic world, leaders of this nation – as well
as the leaders of other countries, businesses and non-governmental
organizations – know that they need to find more effective forms of
communication,” said USC Annenberg Dean Geoffrey Cowan, who
served as director of the Voice of America radio service during the
1990s. “There is a pressing need for a cadre of well-trained
graduates who will understand diverse cultures, new forms of
communication technology and a wide range of communication
tools, ranging from cultural diplomacy to exchange programs, to
international broadcasting.”

“We expect this program to attract and train students and mid-career
professionals who will become the leaders of the next generation of
public diplomacy professionals,” said Cowan, who created the
program with USC College Dean Joseph Aoun.

“The Master of Public Diplomacy brings together the resources and
expertise of two of USC’s premier academic programs, making us
uniquely suited to provide the highest quality of graduate training in
this interdisciplinary field,” Aoun said. “This program is another
example of our successful strategy to position ourselves as leaders in
emerging fields, while remaining relevant in a globalized society.”

Traditional definitions of public diplomacy include: government-
sponsored cultural, educational and informational programs; and
citizen-exchange programs and broadcasts such as the BBC World
Service that are used by governments to promote the national
interests of a country through understanding, informing and
influencing foreign audiences.

While the program uses these definitions as a starting point, the
research and curricula are designed to address the new ways – such
as blogs, independent news organizations like Al Jazeera and non-
governmental organizations – of influencing and shaping the
worldview of citizens of foreign countries.

The curriculum will include graduate-level classes on topics such as
international broadcasting, cultural diplomacy, corporate citizenship
and images, and historical approaches to public diplomacy.

“Students in the program will be able to emphasize public
diplomacy training specific to their career interests,” said Steven
Lamy, professor and director of USC College’s School of
International Relations, who will teach courses in the program. “The
master’s program will prepare students for diverse opportunities in
the field around the world, including careers in public service, the
corporate world and non-governmental organizations.”

The Master of Public Diplomacy is a two-year program requiring 48
graduate units, equivalent to 12 four-unit courses. It is designed for
students who already have a substantial undergraduate background
in social sciences or relevant professional experience in subjects
such as communication, public relations, media studies, journalism,
political science and international relations.

Interested students can contact the USC Annenberg Admissions
Office at (213) 821-0770 or or the USC College
Office of Admission at (213) 740-5939 or

In addition to the new degree program, USC is home to the new
Center on Public Diplomacy, which has arranged for internships at
such institutions as the Sesame Workshop, the European Union, a
number of major consulates in Los Angeles and several leading U.S.
foreign policy agencies in Washington, D.C.

“The work of the USC Center for Public Diplomacy will enrich
research opportunities for students in the degree program,” said
Joshua Fouts, the center’s executive director. “This degree is the
first step in creating substantive dialogue among students, scholars
and practitioners at a critical period in global and political
communication. We’re delighted to be a part of that conversation
and look forward to facilitating rigorous intellectual debate in this

Created and run jointly by the USC Annenberg School for
Communication and the USC College of Letters, Arts and Sciences’
School of International Relations, the USC Center on Public
Diplomacy conducts research, helps create academic programs and
holds conferences and other events that specifically emphasize the
study of public diplomacy as both a theoretical and applied subject
area. The center is headquartered on the USC campus in Los
Angeles. Its advisory board includes: William H. Luers, chairman;
Rebecka Belledegrun, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Hodding Carter
III, Kimberly Marteau Emerson, Vartan Gregorian, Betty King,
Kevin Klose, Gary Knell, Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Ponchitta Pierce, Keith
Reinhard and Charles Z. Wick. For more information, visit

Located in Los Angeles at the University of Southern California,
the USC Annenberg School for Communication is among the
nation’s leading institutions devoted to the study of journalism and
communication, and their impact on politics, culture and society.
With an enrollment of more than 1,700 graduate and undergraduate
students, USC Annenberg offers BA, MA and PhD degrees in
journalism, communication and public relations. For more
information, visit

USC College is the university’s primary center for research in the
basic sciences, humanities and social sciences. It is the largest of
USC’s 19 academic schools. Home to more than 30 academic
departments, it teaches more than 10,000 undergraduate students
each year and has graduate students enrolled in more than 20 Ph.D.
programs. For more information, visit