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Public diplomacy by a visiting national leader sways public opinion in host country

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When a head of state or government official travels to another country to meet with his/her counterpart, the high-level visit often entails a range of public diplomacy activities, which aim to increase public support in the host country. These activities often include events such as hosting a joint press conference, attending a reception or dinner, visiting a historic site, or attending a social or sports event. A new study finds that public diplomacy accompanying a high-level visit by a national leader increases public approval in the host country. The findings are published in the American Political Science Review.

“Bilateral meetings provide world leaders with a forum to talk about the real issues; yet, a visiting national leader will also often spend a significant amount of time on image building, as the visiting country strives to improve its image around the world,” says co-author Yusaku Horiuchi, a professor of government and the Mitsui…

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