If a high-profile event focusing on Chinese literature risks further undermining freedom of expression in China, then why is the British Council teaming up with the body responsible for censorship to bring a bevy of Chinese authors to London?

The flurry of attention that the girl bands Girl’s Generation and Wonder Girls got in South Korea for making appearances in the U.S. earlier this month suggested that Korea’s pop culture was cracking the U.S. more than it really is.

China has initiated a "going out" policy that is aimed at taking the country's publishing industry to the next level, at home and abroad. Along with the Confucius Institute, which is opening schools across the globe, Chinese books are already proving a big draw overseas.

The British Council Colombo has served as the educational bridge between Sri Lanka and the United Kingdom for some 60 years now, specializing in language studies, and strengthening educational and cultural exchange between the two nations. Now it is preparing to undergo a complete refurbishment.

“To elevate Korea’s national branding, we must spread our traditional assets to the world.” Lee said in the introduction of the book. “Economically, we are one of the global leaders, as the seventh largest exporter in 2010. But our image, or our nation branding, is far from matching this economic status.”

Europe’s mastery of soft power seemed destined to eclipse military might in the post-Cold War age. The building of a continent “whole and free”...These days the European dream seems to be turning into a nightmare. The prospect of the euro’s collapse.

The Books for Afghanistan program recently received a Public Diplomacy Grant award of $4.5 million from the U.S. State Department, which will allow it to print and distribute nearly 2.6 million books by September, including 1.7 million copies in Dari and Pashto, the major languages of Afghanistan. That's a huge boost from its paltry 2011 budget of $67,000 from private donors.

The American Corner...was assembled by the American Embassy here and is an example, writ small, of the sort of cultural programs — “soft power,” in the diplomatic nomenclature — that the State Department will emphasize after the last troops leave. Even in this arena of cultural and educational links, United States diplomats say they hope to gain leverage over Iran.