Public Diplomacy Interest Group


Steven Pike, Interim Vice-Chair

Syracuse University, New York, USA


Alina Dolea, Chair

Bournemouth University, United Kingdom


Public diplomacy is a rapidly evolving interdisciplinary field.  The Public Diplomacy Interest Group seeks to bring together scholars investigating topics related to public diplomacy, nation branding, country image and reputation, public relations for and of nations, as well as political, and global and intercultural communication that influences international relations. It seeks to gather all perspectives, research methods, methodological approaches, and theories including critical approaches, and to encourage dialogue and debate on these growing interdisciplinary topics. 

Public diplomacy involves engagement to build communicative spaces and relationships. In line with this year’s conference theme, Engaging the Essential Work of Care: Communication, Connectedness, and Social Justice, the theme for this call for papers is: “Fostering communication and connectedness through public diplomacy." The ICA 2021 conference theme calls for examination of how care forms the fabric of our social and interconnected lives, noting that the concept of care reflects deeply embedded cultural values, experiences of oppressions, and histories of trust.  These elements are equally integral to public diplomacy communication. Public diplomacy communication has sought to foster connectedness and social justice as often as it has sought to advocate specific policies and ideologies, and public diplomacy scholarship has long grappled with the tension among different poles of the field, e.g., propaganda and advocacy versus cultural exchange and mutual understanding.

We invite contributions to reflect on the theme, but submissions that address other aspects of public diplomacy, such as theoretical and conceptual advancements, current challenges, measurement instruments and evaluation, are also invited. We encourage submissions with institutional, geographical and/or national diversity. We welcome original submissions of full-length complete research papers, panel proposals and round tables, as well as other innovative formats that would allow more interaction and mentorship between junior/early careers and senior scholars (e.g. “short TedTalks in PD”).

2021 Submission Guidelines:

1. Full length completed research papers (6,000-8,000 words, excluding references and tables). Papers must not have been previously presented, scheduled for presentation, accepted for publication, or published at the time of submission. 

2. Panel proposals/ round tables including four authors and a respondent or five authors and (1) a 450-word (max) rationale for the panel; (2) a 350-word (max) abstract of each participant’s presentation; (3) names & affiliation of panel participants; 4) name of panel chair/organizer, and 5) a 75-word description of the panel for the conference program. Panel and round table submissions should include not more than one contribution (with one or more authors) from a single faculty, department or school.

3. innovative formats* including 1 chair and up to 6 papers. Presenters are asked to give a brief (5-minute) “teaser” of their work followed by 5 minutes of feedback from a mentor. The submission must include: (1) a 450-word (max) rationale for the session; (2) a 350-word (max) abstract of each participant’s presentation; (3) names & affiliation of participants and mentors; 4) name of session chair, and 5) a 75-word description of the session for the conference program. *If you are considering a proposal for an innovative format, please contact the program planners before submitting it for review. 

Full length research papers will be considered for traditional research presentation sessions, high-density paper sessions, or interactive paper sessions. 

For all submissions, please select the appropriate category (i.e. faculty or student submission) in the online submission site and provide keywords as requested to help us guide your work to the most appropriate reviewers. If you are a PhD student and single author of your paper, please select the student submission (thus, your submission will be considered for Top Student Paper Award). 


Due to large number of submissions expected, there is a cap of two submissions per person of papers, panels and round tables or other innovative formats combined to the PD IG (but not including serving as panel chair, discussant, or submissions to pre- and post-conferences). 

Please also note that according to ICA regulations, the number of submissions originating from the same author is limited to three submission across all ICA divisions and theme sessions as first author (of a full paper, an extended abstract, a panel presentation, or as panel organizer or member). There are no limitations to submission as second or additional author of full papers or extended abstracts.

All submissions must be anonymous. If any item of the above guidelines and formatting instructions is not met, the contribution will not be reviewed. 

Any submission comes with the professional expectation that you will present that work as a registered attendee at the conference if it is accepted by the Interest Group. 


Based on feedback from the review process and of the senior scholars’ Awards Committee, we confer top faculty and top student paper awards for full length completed research papers. To be considered for Top Student Paper Award, a contribution must be authored solely by graduate students. To be considered for any award, at least one author must be a member of the Public Diplomacy IG at the time of submission. 

Please volunteer to be a reviewer! 

To ensure the timeliness and quality of the review process, we encourage all faculty members and PhD students who submit papers to our Interest Group to also volunteer as reviewers. Within ICA’s paper management system you will find a link labelled ‘Volunteer to be a Reviewer’. Please enroll as a volunteer on the ICA submission site when you submit your contribution. Please update your ICA member profile, including your research interests, to facilitate our process of identifying the appropriate reviewers for each submission. 


Submission through the ICA Conference website opens 4 September, 2020 (To reach the conference website, go to the ICA homepage at and follow the link for 2021 Conference Submission). All submissions must be completed online no later than 12:00pm Noon ICA Office Time (Eastern Time), 6 November, 2020 (ICA headquarters time zone). ICA will send acceptance/rejection notices to submitters on 13 January, 2021. To avoid technical problems, early submission is strongly encouraged. Please direct any questions about the call for submissions to Steve Pike ( and Alina Dolea (