Concise Encyclopedia of Tufts History
Edward R. Murrow Center, 1965
The Murrow Center of Public Diplomacy was established in 1965 as a memorial to Edward R. Murrow, whose distinguished reporting and analysis of world news and imaginative leadership of the United States Information Agency set a standard of excellence in the field. The center sponsors professional workgroups, conferences and research travel grants, and conducts research in the fields of international communications, public diplomacy, and telecommunications technology and policy.
Edward R. Murrow is considered by many to be the exemplary twentieth century American journalist. His career in print, radio, and television news coincided with epochal events such as the bombing of London, the birth of the Cold War and the Kennedy Presidency. It was under President Kennedy that Murrow, after resigning from CBS, rose to his highest position in public life, as the first head of the United States Information Agency. USIA's mandate had been to tell the world about America and to establish people to people contacts in the interest of developing friendly and mutually beneficial relationships between the American people and the population of the rest of the world. Kennedy asked Murrow to head the USIA because of the tremendous respect and credibility Murrow had at home and around the world. Illness, however, cut Murrow's tenure at USIA short. After leaving USIA in 1965, Murrow accepted an invitation from the Dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Edmund Gullian, to head a Center for Public Diplomacy named after him. Gullian had previously coined the phrase 'public diplomacy' to describe the mix of cultural and student exchange and outreach programs as well as the use of radio and other media to inform, educate and entertain foreign publics as well as to learn the views of others about the United States and U.S. policy actions. Unfortunately, Murrow died before he assumed the position of heading the newly created center which was instead dedicated to his memory. The center was inaugurated in 1966 by Vice-President Hubert Humphrey.
The Murrow Center was established at the height of the Cold War and played an important role in the training of students for careers in public diplomacy,international cultural exchanges, and communications. The Center also served as an intellectual resource for USIA by hosting each year a senior officer on sabbatical as a Murrow Fellow and providing him/her with the opportunity of doing independent research and teaching subjects related to public diplomacy.
The end of the Cold War and the rise of new communications technologies brought about a shift in the Murrow Center's activities. Telecommunications and information technology as essential aspects of public diplomacy now complement its classical journalism heritage.
The Murrow Center is located in Goddard Hall at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. Murrow's library is housed in the Murrow Memorial Reading Room which also serves as a special seminar classroom and meeting room for Fletcher activities.
Source: LOH2; www.fletcher.tufts.edu/murrow/