“The Past, Present and Future of Voice of America” was the focus of a U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy public meeting on Thursday, March 16th at the U.S. House of Representatives Rayburn office building in Washington, D.C. VOA Director, Amanda Bennett, was a featured panelist, together with former VOA Director, Geoff Cowan, and former Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs and BBG Chairman, James Glassman. ACPD Executive Director Shawn Powers moderated the discussion which included a lot of questions from the audience.
Amanda Bennett spoke on the Voice of America’s clear mission and its ability to provide a much needed alternate narrative. “The value of independent journalism is far better than messaging and great journalism is great public diplomacy,” stated Bennett, who added that VOA exports to the world the First Amendment, guaranteeing free speech. Noting the polarized political and media environment in the U.S. media, Bennett told the panel that VOA reporters work every day to claim the broad middle ground, exactly as VOA’s charter envisions. Former VOA Director Cowan praised the Voice of America for sending an authentic message of a free press to the global community.
All three speakers noted the organization’s successes in reaching many audiences worldwide on a wide range of platforms.
Since 1948, the United States Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy (ACPD) has been charged with appraising U.S. Government activities intended to understand, inform and influence foreign publics and to increase the understanding of, and support for, these same activities. The ACPD conducts research and symposiums that provide honest assessments and informed discourse on public diplomacy efforts across government. It is an independent federal commission that reports to the President of the United States, the U.S. Secretary of State, and the U.S. Congress.