Open Government, Open Diplomacy

Conversations with a Former American Diplomat M. André Goodfriend
$21.95 / €20.95 / £17.95
Publication date: 
June, 166 pages, 13 photos

M. André Goodfriend was Deputy Chief of Mission from 2013 to 2015 at the US Embassy in Budapest. In the absence of an ambassador, most of the time he was Chargé d’Affaires. Goodfriend represented his country, and for that matter, liberal democracy, in the early period of the increasingly autocratic Orbán regime. This tenure was distinguished by an unusually high public visibility and broad-based popularity. This book contains the distilled essence of conversations recorded in the fall of 2015 and in the years after his departure.

Aside from Goodfriend’s reflections on his personal history, the main focus of the deliberations is on open government: its characteristics, preconditions, benefits, and its relation to modern diplomacy. The mindset of a democracy-rooted diplomat with a working experience in an increasingly autocratic regime lends a particular perspective to the topics discussed. These topics include the fight against corruption, the protection of civil society, crisis prevention, education, economy, international relations, applied humanities, and the use of the social and traditional media to achieve policy goals.

This book presents modern, “people-friendly” diplomacy in an era in which public officials are increasingly expected to be transparent and engaged.

Preface by István Hargittai

Preface by André Goodfriend

Innovative Diplomacy

Crisis Prevention

Peoples’ Diplomat

Foreign Policy Goals

Open Government

Fighting Corruption

Protecting Civil Society

Stability versus Instability

Education and Economy

Looking Back

Communication and Politics

Hungarian Experience

A Current Issue

Personal History

Meeting with “Martians”



“An exciting dialog between two exceptional men. Their discussion exhibits new insights on Hungary in the 2010s. An interesting view from outside, combined with a deep knowledge and analytical view and questions from inside. It is a great and refreshing read that I recommend to anyone who wants to understand the challenging historical situation of present-day Hungary.”
“A remarkable dialogue between a distinguished Hungarian scientist and an outspoken American diplomat, illustrating how much can be lost when democratic values are undermined by political leaders, and how these values must be defended by domestic civil society and by foreign diplomats who speak out for truth, transparency, accountability, and democracy.”
“It is an engaging discussion by two thoughtful intellectuals. Responding to Professor Hargittai’s pointed questions, Goodfriend offers a broad perspective on the roles and techniques of US diplomats in a variety of foreign contexts in a rapidly changing media environment, where diplomats have more chance to directly and transparently communicate with local publics. A must-read for anyone interested in diplomacy in the 21st century!”
“This book is just as important for Americans to read as it is for Hungarians. André shows all of us the vast changes that are taking place in communication, and the implications of those changes for the workings (or non-workings) of democracies on every scale, from the local school committee to the presidency of the country. These changes affect us all, and our roles in the world, in profound ways that most of us (including most Americans) do not begin to understand, however glued we are to Facebook and Twitter.”
“Hargittai professzor remek kérdező, ezt valamennyi könyvében megtapasztalhatjuk. Célratörők és egyúttal érdekesek, egyediek a kérdései, remek alátámasztásai a válaszoknak. E könyvében a magyar olvasó számára két fejezet lehet különösen érdekes – az egyébként ugyancsak egyedi hangú értékékeket hordozó többi között. Egyrészt Goodfriend személyes története, másfelől nyilván az a rész, amely magyarországi tapasztalatairól szól. Szeretni való és nagyon érdekes olvasmány ez a kötet, frissítő gondolati élményt jelentett számomra…” "Professor Hargittai is a great questioner, as we can see in all his books. His questions are purposeful and at the same time interesting and unique, and they provide excellent support for the answers.”