Public diplomacy differs because but it has a broader reach, it goes beyond the influential few to the masses, to those indifferent, ignorant or not seeking to know. It seeks out a new audience and encourages communities to adopt a positive and open outlook towards Australia.

China and Thailand have agreed to exchange educational and cultural systems in which both countries will send language instructors to train children of their countries in preparations for the Asean Economic Community (AEC) which will kick off in 2015, said Education Minister Suchart Thada-Thamrongvech.

Canada’s brand could also be enhanced by associating with iconic, highly visible projects in Asian countries. For example, Ottawa should push to achieve partner-country status for the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor, Asia’s largest building project (Japan is already there). It’s also time to revisit the argument to build a Sovereign Wealth Fund by pooling our resource rents.

On May 30, the Center for Northeast Asian Policy Studies (CNAPS) at Brookings hosted a discussion examining the use of public diplomacy in Northeast Asia. Leading experts discussed the objectives, practices, opportunities and challenges in public diplomacy for China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.

...China has rediscovered its ancient culture and traditions. Confucius enjoys a remarkable renaissance. All ar­ound the world, China has established Confucius Institutes that spread knowledge about China’s culture and its language. Soft power is not an esoteric asset. It helps a country gain respect and friends in the world at large. And, this can be of great importance, particularly in turbulent times.

May 7, 2012

Australia’s advantages as the place for high quality education for Asians include being native speakers of the only pan-Asian language (English), and being acceptable to almost every country as a partner (or place to visit or study). Policy should build on these advantages to maintain a key place in the coming Asian mosaic.