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Public Diplomacy

Introduction and Staff

People-to-people diplomacy between the United States and Lebanon has a long tradition, rooted in educational and publishing links established during the 19th Century. The U.S. Government created the U.S. Information Agency (USIA) to help foster such ties in 1953, just after it opened its Embassy in Beirut. Charged with “telling America’s story to the world” and “promoting mutual understanding,” the U.S. Information Service in Beirut quickly became one of the largest in the world and the regional headquarters for English language teaching programs, library services, and Arabic-language publications. Its John F. Kennedy Cultural Center and Library had five branches throughout Lebanon, including Zahleh and Tripoli. At its peak, United States Information Service (USIS) had a Public Affairs Officer (PAO) managing twelve other American diplomats. Over the course of the 1975-1990 civil war, most public affairs activities came to a standstill in Lebanon. The regional printing office was closed, and the last PAO left in 1984. Still, the Embassy maintained modest press, educational, and cultural activities for 14 years with the help of a dedicated Lebanese staff.

When the State Department removed restrictions on the use of American passports for travel to Lebanon in 1997, the U.S. Embassy began to rebuild USIS and to restore two-way exchange programs. By 1999, a PAO was back in Lebanon and an American Fulbright Scholar was teaching at the Lebanese University. USIS was renamed the Public Affairs Section when the U.S. Information Agency (USIA) was merged into the Department of State and the International Broadcasting Bureau Voice of America and Worldnet Television which has been merged into the Voice of America multimedia network.

Today, the Public Diplomacy section works with all sections of the U.S. Embassy to reach the Lebanese people and their institutions through a wide range of programs and the use of both traditional media and new forms of information technology.

Contact Information

Embassy of the United States of America
P.O.Box: 70-840 Beirut, Lebanon
Telephone: 961-4-542-600 / +961-4-543-600
Fax: +961-4-544-861
E-Mail: BeirutPD@state.gov


Operating Hours

The Public Diplomacy section is open Monday to Friday, from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm.

Press Activities and Media Support

The Public Diplomacy section is the point of contact for Lebanese and resident foreign media on matters of U.S. Government policy worldwide, but especially regarding Lebanon.

Press inquiries to any section of the Embassy are made through the Information Office, which handles requests for interviews and background briefings, schedules appointments, and arranges press access for other Embassy offices.

The aim of the U.S. Embassy is to disseminate accurate and up-to-date information on U.S. policies, priorities, and programs, and to dispel misinformation and false claims in the media about the United States.