Recent studies of nation brand image, however, suggest that changing geopolitical trends could weaken that image. Economic power is moving eastward and our diaspora history is of receding relevance, even in the US. There is also evidence that younger people around the world are less favourably disposed to us than older generations.

The U.S. State Department has recently decided to cut all funds for the George J. Mitchell Scholarship program for fiscal year 2013. Born out of the peace process in Northern Ireland in which former Sen. George Mitchell played a pivotal role, the Mitchell program at its inception was intended to strengthen and modernize the relationship between the island of Ireland and the United States.

Irish students will be able to take Chinese as a Leaving Certificate exam subject, a key step in efforts to boost Ireland’s marketability in the world’s fastest growing major economy...There is a growing awareness elsewhere in Europe that learning Chinese will give students an edge in the job market of the future.

Just before the royal wedding the Queen made one of her most remarkable acts of public diplomacy: taking the first visit to Ireland by a reigning British monarch in a century. Three or even two decades earlier, the Queen would have been taking an enormous risk in visiting a country where hatred of England is almost an article of faith.

Ireland is using St. Patrick’s Day as the basis for a global branding campaign to publicize the country’s cultural and educational assets, Jimmy Deenihan, its minister of arts and heritage, told the Irish Chamber of Atlanta’s annual breakfast celebration March 16.

We are facing a young generation that's exposed to a lot of misinformation...We didn't go there to garner support for government policy, but to present a different side of the conflict, and to tell them directly that by calling for boycott of Israel they won't bring hope for peace.

This Government has put painstaking effort into rebuilding Ireland's reputational capital in Europe, in the USA and the emerging global powerhouse that is China. There are some indications that this effort is bearing fruit, notably in the confirmation by leading international companies that Ireland continues to be as much a magnet for inward investment as it was a decade ago.

The tough times have seen Irish business rediscover Germany as an important trade partner. It is a given here to have access to and interest in Irish culture, thus cultural diplomacy can have a great reach. Ireland’s cultural chief...sees a need to give Germans a sense of Ireland’s contemporary cultural landscape, particularly as the debate over the future of Europe draws us closer together.