smart & soft power
Putin perfectly understood the power of the media that helped propel his famously unpopular predecessor Boris Yeltsin into power in 1996. So the first thing he did after assuming the presidency in 2000 was to force all the major TV channels to submit to his will. Oligarch owners were either co-opted, jailed or exiled, and by 2006 most major Russian media were either directly or indirectly under Putin’s administration’s control.
British Universities have always been considered the global gold standard for quality but Brexit, in combination with reduced government funding, immigration policy, a changing 18 year-old demographic and the Higher Education and Research Bill, has created ‘A Perfect Storm’ for the sector. Universities are big business. Last year there were 2.24 million students at British universities.
More than half a century on, as Britain’s music industry continues to propel it to the top ranks of surveys such as the Soft Power 30, there are signs that another cultural revolution may be under way. But this time the mop-topped oddballs with a catchy tune hail from a country that has until now rarely bothered the top ranks of such surveys: China.
Canada is having a rare moment on Broadway — “Come From Away,” a musical written by a married Canadian couple, set in Newfoundland and celebrating Canadian decency, has just opened at the Schoenfeld Theater. The show was already drawing an unusually high number of Canadian ticket-buyers, even before this week, when it hit the apotheosis of Canadianness: The country’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, attended with a group of 600 allies and diplomats.
Now, an exhibition featuring more than 100 artworks and models of the museum has turned the spotlight on the institution itself. It illuminates the story of the Louvre and its transformation from a medieval fortress 800 years ago, to a grandiose palace and then a home to academies and studios before it became the world’s most visited museum and a cultural titan.
Designated car-free zones, intelligent traffic management system, wi-fi spots, 24X7 water supply, smart power system is what you can expect to get under the Smart City project. [...] As in foreign countries, Chandigarh would also have a public bicycle-sharing system. Recently an expression of interest was called from a company that can offer 10,000 cycles at 600 various points in the city.
A surprisingly effective ambassador for brand India, Bollywood – a colloquial term for Hindi cinema – has done more to seal cultural ties and build bridges around the world than international diplomacy ever could. It is not just the sentimental appeal of Hindi films, the adulation for the industry is bolstered by its stars who are hero-worshipped by legions of adoring fans worldwide on- and off-screen. Whatever they touch turns into gold; wherever they go.
In today’s increasingly uncertain world, powerful nations are more likely to use think tanks than military tanks to crush their enemies and shape policy. Thinks tanks are increasingly becoming what one author rightly called "masters of the universe". In geopolitical terms, policy institutes are indicators of soft power capacity of nations. [...] To be sure, the influence of think tanks in Africa is not new.