Evan Lysacek, the 2010 Olympic gold medalist in men’s figure skating was recently named as a sports envoy for the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs department. He just concluded a whirlwind visit to Stockholm, Sweden, and Minsk, Belarus.

In the region, the step from energy to the vital issue of peace and security is not far. Also, Turkey’s “soft power” as a forerunner of democratization, free trade and a liberalized economy in the Arab Spring, makes its role indispensible.

Swedes are being described as "handsome, hi-tech and healthy" in a global soft-power survey that ranks Sweden among the world's most influential nations....Sweden's new soft-power push is a plan to become Europe's leading gastronomic nation and double the nation's food export by 2020, according to the Monocle survey.

Officials at Sweden's tourism board agreed to hand over control of their @sweden Twitter feed in December to a different Swedish citizen each week. The project -- billed as "the world's most democratic Twitter account" -- has so far been hugely popular, featuring a female priest, an advertising executive and an organic sheep farmer.

The Arab Spring makes clear that the nature of power wielded by states is evolving as societies get networked digitally. Intriguingly, a new network-centric theory of power favors Sweden's open nature as a multiplier of its global influence. In fact, Sweden is better positioned than the US to become a collaborative superpower, especially in the Middle East.

If you could tweet on behalf of your country -- what would you say? In Sweden, one citizen per week is getting the chance to tweet from the nation's official @Sweden Twitter account. The goal of the campaign initiated by Curators of Sweden is to promote the "democratisation of the country's brand".

Imagine handing your Twitter account over to a stranger. Now imagine a country handing over its Twitter feed to a citizen. Crowdsourcing digital communications has reached a new level as @Sweden hands over the official Swedish Twitter account to one of its citizens for a week.

When Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt couldn't reach his counterpart in Bahrain by traditional means of communication, he turned to Twitter...Many politicians and diplomats worldwide have already embraced social media as a tool to communicate with the public...