Rosarito Public Diplomacy Workshop in Los Angeles and Mexico

CC696-01 / CC472-01

July 24, 2016 – August 14, 2016

The Rosarito Public Diplomacy Workshop provides Emerson seniors and graduate students (from any department) the opportunity to study public diplomacy and civic engagement in theory and practice in Los Angeles and Rosarito Beach, (Baja) Mexico. Students will meet with change agents and organizations who have successfully engineered grass roots efforts to bridge cultural and political divides between the US and Mexico. Special attention will be focused on diverse communication challenges and how politics, economics and culture influence such efforts.

Students will apply their knowledge in coordinating, planning and implementing a student film festival in Rosarito, Mexico as part of an ongoing post crisis effort to bridge cultures. Students will also work on a documentary of the LA and Mexico experience, which highlights themes of public diplomacy and civic engagement. Some students will work on production; others will work on promotion and project management. The final project will be presented at Emerson and considered for submission to appropriate conferences as an example of a global public diplomacy and civic engagement project.

The course will be taught by Assoc. Professor, J. Gregory Payne. The workshop is open to seniors and grad students from any department with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. 15 students will be chosen to participate in this program. The workshop may be done for either 4 or 8 credits.

During the first week of the program students will live and attend class lectures and guest lectures at ELA, as well as make visits to various public diplomacy agencies and organizations based in Los Angeles. These visits will provide students with the opportunity to meet and dialogue with government, NGO and business leaders on challenges of public diplomacy and civic engagement in Southern California and Baja, Mexico.

The course then moves to Rosarito Beach, Mexico for the final three (3) weeks of the program. Participants will have the opportunity to design strategic communication messages targeted for a specific public. Students will develop the public relations, public affairs and public diplomacy campaign for the Rosarito Film Festival. They will also have the opportunity to take intensive conversational Spanish classes as well as art and cooking classes to appreciate Mexican culture (optional).

Off- Site Visits

  • U.S. Consulate–Tijuana, among others
  • Google
  • Edelmen
  • Getty Museum
  • Norton Simon Museum
  • LA County Museum
  • Valle de Guadalupe
  • Ensenada
  • Baja Studios (world's largest water studio where Titanic, Master and Commander and Pearl Harbor was filmed)
  • 6th Annual Rosarito Film Festival

Course Objectives

  • To provide students the opportunity and guidance to create/join a PD (public diplomacy) or CE (civic engagement) project in Los Angeles and Rosarito Beach, Mexico
  • To provide students the opportunity to appreciate PD and CE initiatives as effective strategies and tactics in city/nation branding.
  • To provide students with the opportunity to appreciate PD and CE initiatives as important steps in creating the "New Normal" in post crisis situations in the US and Mexico.
  • To familiarize students with how different cultures and publics influence mediums, channels and messaging strategies in PD and CE campaigns.
  • To provide students with the opportunity to visit and speak with professionals in public relations, public affairs and public diplomacy agencies and organizationa based in Los Angeles (Edelman, Google, US Consulate–Tijuana, and others).

Main Topics In Los Angeles

  • History of Los Angeles: America's Gateway to the Pacific Rim
  • Soft Power: Olympic City 1932–1984
  • Soft Power/Smart Power–Entertainment, Sports, Tourism, Culture, Celebrity/Spectacle
  • Celebrity Advocacy and Cause Marketing – Case studies in PD and CE
  • Project Management and Planning PD and CE Initiatives–Las Memorias Project, 2014 Winter Olympic Campaign

Main Topics in Rosarito

  • History of Rosarito and Baja Mexico–politics, economics and media.
  • History of recent crisis cause by government crackdown on drug cartels.
  • Grassroots approaches/campaigns to address the crisis (national and international).
  • Background of the Rosarito Film Festival as part of a long term crisis management/promotional activity.
  • Development of PR campaign at Rosarito Film Festival.
  • Production of documentary on the LA and Mexico experience as a PD/CE project.


Credits Undergraduate Graduate
4 credits $5,372 $6,968
8 credits $8,564 $11,756

NOTE: Health Insurance Coverage in CA and Mexico is mandatory for participants in the Rosarito Public Diplomacy Workshop. If your current health insurance plan does not meet the health requirements, or is not adequate, please research a plan that is.


Day of the Week Date Event
Sunday 24 Arrive Emerson Los Angeles–check into your dorm room
Monday–Friday 25-29

Lectures from 10 am–1pm
Off site visits from 3pm–6pm
Evening guest lectures and intensive work regarding Rosarito Film Festival production and publicity.
The schedules will change depending on visits to institutions and professionals.

Saturday 30 Depart for Rosarito, Mexico–1st night in Rosarito
Sunday 31 1st full day in Rosarito
Day of the Week Date Event
Monday-Friday 1-5 class lectures and projects
Saturday-Sunday 6-7 TBA
Monday-Friday 8-12 class lectures and projects
Saturday 13 TBA
Sunday 14 Depart Rosarito for San Diego

A note about transportation from Los Angeles to Mexico

Subway from Union Station, Amtrak from LA to San Diego (3 hours), Trolley from San Diego Train Station to Mexican border (45 minutes) and then a 30 minute taxi ride to Rosarito.

As of 03/01/2016. Subject to change.