language diplomacy

This Week in PD, we share international news on humanitarian diplomacy, soft power, city diplomacy and more.

21 September 2017 the British Council officially launched its first English training centre in mainland China. With classes beginning on 20 October, the branch will initiate the British Council’s “myClass” English program for adult learners in Nanjing. The British Council operates in over 80 specialist training centres globally and as co-owner of IELTS (International English Language Training System) works in partnership with the NEEA (National Education Examinations Authority) in mainland China.

Language Learning with Emojis World Emoji Day

Four alumni of the State Department's NSLI-Y program use the popular messaging icons to explain a few words in Mandarin.

The biggest box office stars don’t always hail from the US, they come from other places, too. Beyoncé, the internationally famous and quite possibly most talked-about woman in the world, has about 14.7 million Twitter followers. She’s ranked at, roughly, the 119th most popular person on Twitter. Shakira, the Colombian-born pop star, has a whopping 45.2 million Twitter followers. She’s about 18th on the Twitter popularity scale. [...] This is not to say that American movie stars are not popular, it's just that the Hollywood's near monopoly for almost a century is lo longer in effect. 

Cultural diplomacy thrives on the exchange of arts and aesthetic ideas. Research has continued to indicate that this form of diplomacy reveals the social profile of a nation and provides platforms for possibilities in economic cooperation and development. There is no better way to understand a people than to know about their culture. Perhaps, other than France through the Alliance Francaise, China is a classic example of a country that is aggressively promoting its culture in Zambia.

The 2017 Joint Conference of Confucius Institutes in Africa was hosted by the Confucius Institute at the University of Zambia with the goal to “exchange experiences to enhance cooperation and promote the development of Confucius Institutes of Africa”. The spread of Confucius Institutes across Africa, however, is only half of China’s language strategy. In addition to promoting Chinese language learning, China is also encouraging its own citizens to learn the native languages of those countries that it has diplomatic relations with. 

Language learning was once considered nothing more than a hobby, but as the world continues to become increasingly connected, learning a language other than English is considered a necessity. Advancing technologies have afforded us the ability to communicate no matter where we are in the world, amplifying the importance of foreign language study. The great thing about languages is that, other than being a form of communication, they also serve as a means of relating to others on a cultural level.

As the UK prepares to leave the EU, it has a huge number of considerations to ensure its economy prospers. One, which is perhaps overlooked, is Britain’s language policy and how important this is as an economic resource. A strategic language policy and the cultivation of language experts in post-Brexit Britain are essential if it wants to connect with fresh markets overseas. This has long been a feature of international diplomacy—stretching back long before globalization as we know it.