Fifty Muslim students from the Social and Political School of University of Muhammadiyah Malang, East Java, visited the Indian Cultural Center in Denpasar on Tuesday as part of their study tour themed “Cultural Diplomacy for Peace”.

The Muslim American Citizens Coalition and Public Affairs Council (MACCPAC) in collaboration with the International Center for Religion & Diplomacy (ICRD) hosted a post election dialogue between both local and national Muslim leadership and various U.S government agencies on Wednesday, November 14th, in Washington, D.C.

Leader of Tunisia's ruling Ennahda Party, Rachid Ghannouchi, has praised Turkey as "a soft power at the very heart of the Muslim world..." Ghannouchi said all revolutions of the Arab Spring can take Turkey as a guide in securing a harmonious balance between modernity and tradition.

Since the 2001 attacks on the United States, American public diplomacy has gradually developed greater sophistication in terms of its respect for Islamic and Arab culture, but that gradualism must now accelerate to keep pace with the confident assertion of Arab identity by millions still relishing the transformations begun in the Arab revolutions.

Across the world his standing remains markedly lower in predominantly Muslim nations. However, Leila Hilal, a Mideast expert at the New America Foundation, said Obama may have made more progress toward improving relations than critics say."Obama inherited a very damaged U.S. credibility in the region," she said, and so it would be unrealistic to think that his "new beginning" would take hold fast.

So what is public diplomacy all about? The basic idea is that in order to achieve a wide range of goals—­from economics to military—you need to get support of ordinary people. Whether the goal is to convince foreign publics that the rise of China poses no threat to the international system, or to persuade the so-called “Arab street” to shed its anti-Western beliefs, public diplomacy is called upon to work its miracles.

This debate is broadly about American power. But power is a nuanced concept. It manifests itself both through military muscle and cultural influence. The candidates’ stump speeches rarely delineate this distinction. But global publics do. Recent opinion surveys suggest that people outside the United States question American hard power and increasingly embrace U.S. soft power.