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Public Diplomacy in Context

Past and Present of National Image Management among the Small Nations of Northern Europe

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Published on Thursday, September 27, 2012 by Loïc Le Pape


Two-day conference in Helsinki and Turku (Finland) in April 2013. The theme of the conference is the History of "National Image Management" efforts (Public diplomacy, Propaganda, Nation-Branding) in the countries of Northern Europe. Deadline for abstracts is the end of November 2012.


Public Diplomacy in Context : Past and Present of National Image Management among the Small Nations of Northern Europe. Conference in Helsinki and Turku 26-27 April, 2013


  • Turku University, Department of Political Science and Contemporary History
  • University of Helsinki, Department of Philosophy, History, Culture and Art Studies 
  • Public Diplomacy Unit at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Finland
  • ProCom – Finnish Association of Communication Professionals

Conference theme

Two-day conference dealing with the history and current state of public diplomacy in the small states and nations of Northern Europe (Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, etc).
The conference will be divided into two parts – an introductory day made of keynote lectures and discussions on the current state of Northern public diplomacy, and a second day dedicated to academic presentations on the historical context of Northern public diplomacy.
  • The first day of the conference, Friday 26, will be hosted in Helsinki by the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs. It will deal with the current state of public diplomacy in Northern Europe and its possible developments. Discussions will be organized around three keynote lectures and a panel discussion. The keynote presentations will be delivered by Professor Jan Melissen (Clingendael’s Diplomatic Studies Programme, University of Antwerp), Associate Professor Jozef Batora (University Comenius, Bratislava) and CEO of Artek Ms Mirkku Kullberg. The panel discussion will focus especially on the Finnish context and the public diplomacy efforts of Finland.
  • The second day, Saturday 27, will take place at the University of Turku, Department of Contemporary History and Political Science, and will focus on the historical evolution, nature and role of national image management among small states and nations situated in Northern Europe. The day will start with a keynote lecture by Professor Nicholas Cull (USC Center on Public Diplomacy), followed by workshops and presentations.

Academic outlines

The organizers would like to welcome contributions for the second day of the conference.  These should present academic perspectives on the History of public diplomacy, propaganda, national communication and national image management in the small nations and countries of Northern Europe. The following aspects will be especially emphasized:
  • The role of communication studies in public diplomacy
  • National cases, differences and similarities
  • National image management in the early 20th century
  • Propaganda and psychological warfare
  • Baltic cases: from Interwar image management to post-Cold War nation branding
  • Cultural diplomacy
  • Trade and export promotion
  • Public diplomacy and International History
  • “Nordic branding”? Defining and selling Nordicity through Nordic institutions’ public diplomacy
Chronologically, contributions should concentrate on the 20th century after the end of World War I.
The conference would like to emphasize innovative approaches towards the historical study of public diplomacy activities in Northern Europe. Participants are encouraged, in their presentations, to examine those in a chronologically wide and geographically comparative way. The main trend of research on “public diplomacy” has been infused with the notion that “public diplomacy” emerged late in the 20th century as a result of technological change, globalization, and a widening of the scope of international relations. This conference would like to suggest that what recent research calls “public diplomacy” is in fact a much older process of “national image management” by different actors – in several national settings there seems to be a historical continuum between early 20th century “image management” activities, propaganda, cultural diplomacy, public diplomacy, and the “nation branding” activities of the 1980s-1990s. This historical continuum will be under study during the conference.
As well, one of the goals of this conference is to unravel generalities about “public diplomacy” and to contextualize national image management activities in various Nordic and Baltic contexts and at various times; to highlight the variety of practices, actors, methods, incentives, interests involved in public diplomacy, and especially to consider the specificities of public diplomacy in small Northern European states and nations. National image management activities will be considered mostly as a part of foreign policy, with a strong involvement of state authorities, but it will also be seen as a part of complex, multi-level international relations - an activity “in context”, not a set of theoretical visions. We will acknowledge that public diplomacy is stuck in and determined by national, historical, intellectual, linguistic, administrative contexts, which give it a different feel at different times and in different places.
Presentations and keynotes will be followed by debates involving all participants.

Submissions and practical matters

Papers for presentation at the 2013 conference will be selected by the organizers on the basis of 500-1000 words abstracts containing the title of the presentation, the name and references of the author. The abstract should express the purpose, methodology, findings, implications and originality of the study. Author and affiliation details are to be printed on a separate sheet and the author(s) should not be identified in the abstract.
Abstracts must be presented in Word format, in 1.5 line spacing and 12 point font size. They should be sent to publicdiplomacyincontext@gmail.com  

before November 30th, 2012

Notification of acceptance will be sent through an email by the end of 2012. 
Participation during the two days will be free of charge, but participants will have to cover their own travel and accommodation expenses.

Contact persons

General inquiries related to this call for papers:  Senior Lecturer Louis Clerc, loucle@utu.fi
Other inquiries:


  • Helsinki, Finland


  • Friday, November 30, 2012


  • Public diploamcy, Northern Europe


  • Louis Clerc
    courriel : loucle [at] utu [dot] fi

Information source

  • Clerc Louis
    courriel : loucle [at] utu [dot] fi

To cite this announcement

« Public Diplomacy in Context », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Thursday, September 27, 2012, https://calenda.org/220613

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