Baku's 'soft power' European Games: Sport or PR?

Al Jazeera | Jun 30, 2015

The 2015 European Games may have lacked the coverage of the Olympics or the FIFA World Cup, but for Azerbaijan where they are set to come to a close, they have been a source of pride for the government.

President Ilham Aliyev invested heavily in the 17-day competition, spending in the region of $1.2bn on state-of-the-art facilities and infrastructure.

For Aliyev, the event was an opportunity to showcase Azerbaijan to the world as an exciting and dynamic country.

Russian Soft Power In Central Asia

Radio Free Europe | Jun 30, 2015

The Kremlin surprised nearly everyone when it unleashed its media machine on the world after the pro-Moscow president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, was chased from power in February 2014 and Ukraine fell into division and conflict.

Moscow's version of events was available on television, radio, and in print media in dozens of languages in dozens of countries and the selective storytelling of these outlets succeeded in raising doubts in some peoples' minds as to who was telling the truth about events in Ukraine: Western media or Russian media.

Cultural Exchange in Minot

Minot Daily News | Jun 30, 2015

The Minot Area Council for International Visitors hosted 13 Sudanese visitors from June 11-13 in Minot. The visitors, all paramount chiefs in their country, came to the United States under the auspices of the International Visitor Leadership Program of the U.S. Department of State to learn about "Creating an Inclusive National Public Dialogue."

Tourism Board Sells Cultural Offerings With More Subtle Approach

Straits Times | Jun 29, 2015

Singapore has progressed from merlions and orchids to street food and star violinists parachuted onto international stages. But the latest attempt by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) to conquer hearts and minds in Beijing, London and New York is taking a more subtle turn. Singapore Inside Out, the three-city tour of Singapore art and design, wrapped up its five-day gig in London yesterday. Strategically opening in London's hip (and some say h

Food Diplomacy the Tatar Way

The Jakarta Post | Jun 29, 2015

Dzenetta Bogdanowicz has become famous as “the ambassador of the Tatar community”. Serving traditional home cooking, even British Prince Charles stopped by her Tatar house in Kruzniany, a small town in the eastern part of Poland, to get a taste of her famous dishes. [...] “I just want to welcome all people to our home,” Bogdanowicz answered when she was asked why she opened up her house to visitors.

Can the United States Counter ISIS Propaganda?

Brookings | Jun 29, 2015

A few days ago, the New York Times reported on a leaked memo written by Richard Stengel, the State Department's under secretary for public diplomacy, who criticized America's foreign partners in the effort to counter the Islamic State's propaganda. It's the latest chapter in the U.S. government's decade-long saga to counter jihadist propaganda, which Greg Miller and Scott Higham documented so thoroughly last month in the Washington Post. 

Hamas Launches English-Language Website

Breit Bart | Jun 29, 2015

The Gaza-ruling Palestinian terrorist group Hamas has launched a new English-language website in an attempt to shore up its public diplomacy efforts. “We have launched our English website because we believe that communication matters,” the jihadi group said on its Twitter page. “And because we value your opinions and cherish diversity, we have also added a contact button,” the terror entity wrote in another tweet, adding a smiley face emoticon at the end of the message.

China to Hold Majority Stake in New Development Bank Signaling Growing Soft Power

IBN Live | Jun 29, 2015

Beijing: China will hold a 30.34 percent stake in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the Finance Ministry said on Monday, making Beijing the largest shareholder in a multilateral institution that will project the country's growing soft power. China will have 26.06 percent of the voting rights in the bank, a Chinese-led development bank that will rival institutions such as the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank. Countries defined as "within the region" will hold a 75 percent stake in the bank, the mi

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