What is the point of contact between public diplomacy and government sponsored public relations? A discussion on the interrelationship of disciplines


  • Bozo Skoko Sveučilište u Zagrebu


public relations, public diplomacy, state, convergence, international relations, communication


The paper analyzes the interdependence of public diplomacy and public relations as
increasingly present and increasingly important disciplines in international activities of countries. It investigates their theoretical foundations and practice, with particular emphasis on common points and overlap. In point of fact, although there has been an awareness of the connection between these two disciplines since the 1960s when public diplomacy emerged as a term and a separate diplomatic and communication discipline, since 2001, theorists and practitioners have increasingly written about the interdependence and convergence of public diplomacy and public relations. In its beginnings, public diplomacy was more associated with propaganda or reduced to cultural diplomacy programs, while public relations was perceived through the model of one-way public information. In modern times, public relations is increasingly perceived through the two-way communication symmetrical model, the purpose of which is to achieve understanding and build relationships with key publics. Public diplomacy is usually viewed through three areas of activities: information management, long term strategic communication campaigns, and relationship management. Therefore, the author considers public diplomacy without public relations, i.e., its consideration outside theory and practice of public relations inconceivable. Only through synergy, joint activities and the use of similar strategies and tactics can public diplomacy and public relations achieve full effectiveness in international communication and activities of the state towards the target audiences and influence their knowledge, opinion and behavior.