Shared Values

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This Shared Value advertisement featured schoolteacher Rawia Ismail.

Shared Values was a public relations campaign organized by the U.S. State Department to combat anti-American sentiment in Arab countries. The campaign used television advertising, speaking tours, town-hall meetings, print publications, radio broadcasts, and Arab outreach programs.

Charlotte Beers, a former advertising executive who became U.S. undersecretary for public diplomacy after September 11, was the driving force behind Shared Values. One of its first public initiatives was a $15 million advertising campaign that broadcast TV spots in several Arab countries. The ads, which attempted to ease anti-American sentiment by featuring Muslim Americans talking about their positive experiences living in the United States, began broadcasting in December 2002. However, they were discontinued after only a month.

A State Department spokesman denied that the advertising campaign was a failure. "Those spots were only intended to run during the month of Ramadan, and they were completed successfully on schedule," he said. In June 2003, however, the U.S. State Department launched an inquiry into the failure of Shared Values to polish America's image in Muslim countries, after an opinion poll conducted by the Pew Research Center for The People & The Press found that that negative views of the U.S. were on the rise in the Middle East.[1]

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