France Regains #1 Spot: The 2019 Soft Power 30

France tops the rankings of the newly released 2019 Soft Power 30 index and report, released jointly by strategic communications consultancy Portland Communications, Facebook and CPD.

"France reclaims its top spot after a mixed year for the French government," reads the report. "[Macron] doubtless been strengthened by an economy growing at a faster clip than most large, developed countries."

The Soft Power 30 methodology considers the following factors when ranking a country's soft power strength: enterprise, culture, digital, government, engagement and education. The release is accompanied by a report that includes dozens of essays by leading experts in soft power, nation branding, global communications and beyond.

Now analyzing countries' performance during 2018, the index has seen the U.S. dropping annually in the rankings since the 2015 analysis, when the U.S. placed first. Here's a glance at the top 5:

  1. France 
  2. United Kingdom
  3. Germany
  4. Sweden 
  5. U.S. 


Countries beyond France that advanced their 2018 position include Sweden (4), Switzerland (6) and Australia (9). 

“A nation’s soft power is significant, both politically and economically," says CPD Director Jay Wang. "Its practices, however, are being upended by profound and rapid changes in the wider society. Our contributions to this year’s report really put a focus on how digital platforms and technology are changing, and will transform, the world of diplomacy and soft power.”

CPD affiliates who contributed essays to the report include

  • Katherine Brown, CPD Advisory Board Member — "Face-time: Building trust in international affairs through exchanges"
  • Fadi Chehadé, CPD Advisory Board Member — "Everybody at the table: Transnational digital cooperation"
  • Constance Duncombe, Monash University — "Feeling digital diplomacy: Soft power, emotion, and the future of public diplomacy"
  • Kyle Matthews, Concordia University — "Short circuit: What will artificial intelligence mean for diplomacy?"
  • James Pamment, CPD Faculty Fellow — "From soft to sharp: Dealing with disinformation and influence campaigns"
  • Jay Wang, CPD Director — "Public diplomacy and our digital future"


This is the third year the USC Center on Public Diplomacy has partnered to co-release the report & index.

To read the Soft Power 30 report, click here.

Read the media release here.

Read past Soft Power 30 reports:

2018 Soft Power 30 report

2017 Soft Power 30 report



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