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Policies and Posters: Image, State and International Relations

"Cook to recruit 200 envoys in fight for global markets... [with a] modernising agenda that embraces image burnishing..." (Guardian, 28.11.98)

"Blair launches media offensive at NATO" (FT, 20.4.99)

"Germany needs a new image"   (Die Zeit, 7.1.99)

States have always relied on power and influence to determine their standing in world politics. Now it would seem that image is all.

Rather than being the preserve of the commercial world, image building is being seen more and more as an important factor on the world political stage. In the aftermath of the break-up of empires, new states in Europe (as well as in the less-developed countries) are in search of an identity. Even older states are looking to throw off the mantle of their past.

Image making of states and regions is expected to become the fastest growing area in the advertising industry. The end of the Cold War has heralded a new approach to respond to new needs for an increasingly sophisticated and image conscious global audience. Whilst both corporate branding and city promotion are used as models for the contemporary image building of states, the level of state has additional dimensions which demand the understanding of international affairs.

A one-day conference has been set up to examine these phenomena and to discuss the question: is 'public relations' transforming foreign policy?

The conference, to be held at the London School of Economics and Political Science, will examine how relevant the emphasis on image is to policy-making - especially in an information age facilitated by globalisation, new information technologies and the growing power of the media.

Speakers will include academics, diplomats, journalists, international civil servants and practitioners from advertising and public relations.

Topics for discussion will be: The Image and the State; Media, Image and Foreign Policy; Instruments of Image Building in the post-Cold War Environment; and the Image of the European Union: challenges and opportunities.

The opening address will be given by Professor Anthony Giddens, Director, LSE. Professor Giddens has just recently delivered the 1999 Reith Lecture series. The chair will be taken by Professor Christopher Hill, Montague Burton Chair of International Relations, LSE.


Notes to editors:

The conference will take place at the Old Theatre, LSE, Houghton Street, 9am-5pm, on Thursday 24 June.

For further information please contact: Conference Office, 0171 955 6043; email: coolconf@lse.ac.uk| .

28 May 1999