Elijah W. Shoaf | 2024 I.S. Symposium

Elijah W. Shoaf head shot

Name: Elijah W. Shoaf
Title: Taiwan: Public Diplomacy and Foreign Perception
Major: Global & International Studies
Minor: Spanish
Advisor: Matthew Krain; Joseph Coll (second reader)

Is Taiwan’s strategy of public diplomacy effective in changing foreign perceptions? How does cooperation with non-state actors impact its effectiveness? This question is critical, as it draws on constructivist international relations theory and examines the effectiveness of the emerging field of public diplomacy. The issue of Cross-Strait relations has both confused and surprised countless political scientists over the past eight decades. To preserve its sovereignty, Taiwan has been innovating its diplomatic efforts, something that is necessitated by a continued decline in ‘official’ diplomatic ties.

The purpose of this study is to measure whether Taiwan’s public diplomacy efforts are effective at changing US public opinion. Using a survey of US adults which includes a word association exercise followed by a feeling thermometer between the US and the PRC, the effectiveness of Taiwan’s strategy is measured. This paper also includes a transcript of a conversation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Taipei which was used to inform the project’s design. Ultimately, the results of this project were unable to support the idea that public diplomacy is effective in changing foreign public opinion. However, due to the large positive skew regarding Taiwan in the control group, it can reasonably be concluded that Taiwan’s diplomatic strategy, which contains public diplomacy, has been successful.

Posted in Symposium 2024 on April 24, 2024.