The Korean dumplings in your grocer's freezer, the new Thai restaurant on the corner and that Burmese curry you ate for lunch are doing more than satisfying your craving for an exotic and flavorful meal. These foods are also helping to foster international relations.

Jet Tila has been appointed the first Culinary Ambassador of Thai Cuisine by the Royal Thai Consul-General in Los Angeles, tasked with spreading awareness nationwide and making official his unofficial -- and longstanding -- role as a guide to the cuisine. Tila was tapped for the position after a meeting with the Consul-General, who sought his feedback on promoting the cuisine last month. The chef's duties will include touring the United States on behalf of the Thai government, giving food demonstrations, making media appearances and coordinating events.

In the run-up to and aftermath of the Iraq War, favourability toward the US, which had spiked upward after 9/11, went into free-fall in many countries. This and the accompanying rise of anti-Americanism is important because it has undercut US soft power and thereby reduced Washington's ability to promote its interests overseas, and indeed those of its allies.

Thailand should take the lead as the "United States of Asean" and take advantage of the Kingdom's rich, religious culture as its selling points in branding itself ahead of the Asean Economic Community (AEC) in 2015, said marketing guru Philip Kotler. "Thailand has a beautiful culture and is one of the major Buddhist countries in Southeast Asia. The country is religious-oriented and has a good harmony and principles of good living. These should be the selling points of Thailand," he said.

American classical pianist Kathryn Woodard will give her debut Bangkok recital with a programme that explores cross-cultural exchange in music, at Goethe Institute Bangkok on March 18 at 8pm...The acclaimed pianist from Texas has recently performed in China, South Korea, Croatia, Germany and Turkey.

Thai and Chinese officials signed a cultural-exchange agreement that will see mainland martial arts performed and taught here, and Thai artists and musicians entertain there...China will also provide support to Thailand in satellite technology and other advanced technologies. Thailand, in return, will allow establishment of a new Chinese satellite project in Thailand.

Bangkok governor candidates have been painting a rosy picture of the capital under their stewardship, but what's glaringly missing from their campaign bullet points and speeches is the policy and vision of Bangkok as a city of arts and culture. "Art and culture must be on the master Bangkok agenda, not something on the side.... We're talking about 'soft power' and how the creative industry can generate income."

Representatives of more than 190 countries will convene as an official body, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), in Dubai. It is the first time the ITU has assembled to write critical new rules since 1988. Today, the internet has reached a crossroads, and decisions made this month could set it on a distinctly new path.