The CPD Blog is intended to stimulate dialog among scholars and practitioners from around the world in the public diplomacy sphere. The opinions represented here are the authors' own and do not necessarily reflect CPD's views. For blogger guidelines, click here.
Think of the First World War and what are the words that come to mind?
On the sad occasion of Nelson Mandela’s death, it’s worth recalling his words on languages: “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.”
I often say in international relations there six things a country can do: ‘giving, helping, sharing, boasting, shouting, and fighting.’ This fits with Joseph Nye’s classic definition of ‘soft power’ coined in 1990 as ‘the ability to attract and co-opt rather than coerce, use force or give money as a means of persuasion.’ In an ideal world sharing culture and trade is a lot better than firing bullets or giving aid.
Before the Olympics, if you'd asked me where the UK would rank in Monocle’s annual "Soft Power" Survey this year, I'd have hoped for a podium finish. After the Olympics...I am proud to find us carrying off the Gold.
Trunk or boot, hood or bonnet? The United States and United Kingdom have so much in common, but there are differences. And when it comes to ‘soft power,’ what young people around the world fear might be in your glove compartment may set us apart.
For me, three long-term drivers of relationships between the peoples of the world are access to opportunity, access to information, and access to technology. And of course they are completely intertwined.
What’s changed about the climate for cultural relations between the peoples of the world? Pretty obvious, the global economic crisis. On the eve of the G20 summit, cultural relations might seem marginal, irrelevant or a luxury we can’t afford. All the answers surely lie with international institutions, diplomats and politicians, not international education and cultural links. And as for international consensus on climate change, can we afford to care any more?
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