Private sector has public role

NEW YORK: The PR Coalition released a set of recommendations this week on how the private sector can help the federal government shore up the US' sometimes shaky reputation overseas and otherwise contribute to the government's public diplomacy.

NEW YORK: The PR Coalition released a set of recommendations this week on how the private sector can help the federal government shore up the US' sometimes shaky reputation overseas and otherwise contribute to the government's public diplomacy.

The recommendations are part of new report called Private Sector Summit on Public Diplomacy: Models for Action, based on a daylong conference held in January at the State Department that involved more than 160 PR executives, academics, and government officials.

The report's 11 main "action steps" include making public diplomacy an explicit part of corporate policies and practices; teaming with NGOs on employee volunteerism through creating a corps of short-term, private-sector "foreign service officers"; offering more US internships for those overseas; and more.

"The basic rationale is that we need to help with the impression that the US has around the world," said PR Coalition chair James Murphy, who is also chief marketing and communications officer for Accenture. "Companies and institutions that are US-based, but operate around the world do a lot of good stuff, so let's shed a better light on it."

Murphy noted that the findings of the report will be disseminated by the PR Coalition's 18 member organizations, whose members represent thousands of companies.

Among January summit attendees were Arthur Page Society director Paul Basista, Burson-Marsteller founder and chairman Harold Burson, and State Department undersecretary for public affairs Karen Hughes.

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