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Hughes Vows To Invigorate U.S. Public Diplomacy Efforts

Washington, 22 July 2005 (RFE/RL) -- The nominee to head the U.S. government's public diplomacy section says she plans to invigorate efforts to engage Muslims worldwide.

Karen Hughes, a former senior adviser to U.S. President George W. Bush, told a U.S. Senate panel today that public diplomacy is an underutilized weapon in "the global struggle of ideas."

She vowed to counter extremist messages through improved education and exchange programs and promotion of freedom and tolerance. Hughes said it would take time to change negative views of America and the effort must involve all parts of the U.S. foreign policy apparatus:

"At a time when rumor and myth reach mass audiences in seconds, communicating with foreign publics is vital to the success of our foreign policy and is the job of all of us," Hughes said.

Public diplomacy seeks to promote the national interest of a country through understanding, informing and influencing foreign audiences. Hughes is expected to be confirmed in her new post.