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Public Diplomacy in Southeast Asia

The themes of international cooperation and collaboration are increasingly popular mechanisms for maintaining security and prosperity while advancing a nation’s policy interests and international image. A review of our expert commentaries over the past three years reveals that international cooperation and collaboration seem to be the most preferred ways to secure bilateral, regional and international relations in Southeast Asia.

Countries in Southeast Asia have worked together, with other states or with non-state actors to overcome globally shared challenges such as pandemics, and they have tied domestic development goals to public diplomacy initiatives. Showing such capacity and competence allows nations to enhance their soft power and boost their international image. You can read highlights here from the CPD Blog:



SEA Games 31: Vietnam Steps up Its Public Diplomacy Game in the Region

By: Nguyen Le
In May 2022, Vietnam hosted the largest regional sports event since COVID-19 and opened the door to new PD opportunities.

Strengthening the Technology-Culture Nexus between ASEAN and South Korea

By:  Ratih IndraswariSeksan Anantasirikiat 
From K-pop idols representing ASEAN to maximizing regional information societies, what does the future hold for Korea-ASEAN relations?

Stimulating Entrepreneurship as a Form of Public Diplomacy

By: Jonathan Prosser
Babson College researcher Jonathan Prosser shares about the value of entrepreneurship diplomacy as a form of PD.

How Can Indonesia and South Korea Use PD to Partner for Security Under the New Southern Policy?

By: Aristyo Rizka Darmawan
South Korea's foreign policy opens new avenues for Indonesian-Korean PD.

Public Diplomacy Matters for the Future of ASEAN

By: Seksan Anantasirikiat
The future of ASEAN may rely on community-building, engaging youth and stakeholders, and prioritizing public diplomacy.

Power and Persuasion in the Asian Century

By: Oliver Stelling
Awareness of Asia's global standing since COVID-19 presents opportunities for public diplomacy through international cooperation and new rules of engagement.

Blood Work

Malaria Elimination: The Role of Public and Private Leadership

By: Soft Power 30
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, Soft Power 30 revealed how the defining challenges of the 21st century exist beyond borders. They are global in nature, addressed only through collaborative effort.

Chinese Flag

China’s Belt & Road Diplomacy Across ASEAN

By: Hannan Hussain
Hannan Hussain of the Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI) discusses how in recent years, Beijing’s approach to fostering cooperation with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has centered on four instruments of Eytan Gilboa’s public diplomacy concept: advocacy, broadcasting, public relations and exchange.

Modern Vietnam

Vietnam’s “Underdog” Public Diplomacy in the Era of the COVID-19 Pandemic

By: Lindsey M. Bier and Phillip C. Arceneaux
Strategic communication experts from the University of Southern California and Miami University explain how the atypical COVID-19 outbreak offers opportunities for governments, especially in Southeast Asia to engage in strategic communication and symbolic actions with potential for lasting impacts on international relations.


When the Fortress Falls: Thailand’s Quest for World-Class Medical Care Rank

By: Silada (Lydia) Rojratanakiat
USC Annenberg graduate Silda Lydia Rojratanakiat discusses why and how success in inventing a COVID-19 vaccine is an even better underdog story than successfully controlling the virus for a country such as Thailand, as it will build on already known strengths of the country in the medical field.

Children Smiling

Small Investments Go a Long Way: How Seed Grants Contribute to American Public Diplomacy

By: Courtney Nelson
Courtney Nelson of Cultural Vistas introduces American Seed grants in Southeast Asia to explain how and why such programs contribute to public diplomacy objectives by focusing on inclusive collaboration with local leaders and situating the U.S. as a global partner.

Children Making Art

Schoolbird Strengthens U.S. Ties in Vietnam Through Education

By: Kayla McCord
Kayla McCord identifies classrooms and educational platforms as untapped incubators full of potential for public diplomacy. She provides the example of Schoolbird, an educational platform that connects Americans to teach internationally in Vietnam, to further illustrate opportunities for cultural exchange and collaboration within the context of the classroom.


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