Reshaping Cultural Diplomacy in a New Era: Confucius Institutes & China’s Soft-Power Strategy

Nation-states are paying greater attention to culture and communication as essential parts of their national power in global affairs. Yet the role and potential of cultural diplomacy for international engagement remains ill-defined and poorly understood.

The USC Center on Public Diplomacy will examine the Confucius Institutes (CI) in the United States as a platform for Chinese cultural diplomacy in the context of U.S.-China relations and higher education management. The project aims to offer a framework for understanding the opportunities and challenges facing organizations of cultural diplomacy in contemporary times.

This study includes analysis of CI’s structure, process, and impact on China’s soft power projection. It identifies the driving forces and success factors for those ventures, and lays the foundation for a larger comparative analysis of the concept and practice of cultural diplomacy by major emerging powers.