Last week, days after The Hague’s Permanent Court of Arbitration awarded the Philippines a victory in its case against China in the dispute over rights to the South China Sea, Beijing began a massive public relations campaign to press its position. Part of China’s campaign includes shoring up international support to denounce the ruling and approaching other nations to voice their backing for Beijing.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi concluded his five-day, four-nation tour of Africa on July 11. He spent two days in South Africa and made brief visits to Mozambique, Tanzania and Kenya. As he left Nairobi at the end of the tour, Modi had covered 42 countries in his 51 trips abroad. Antarctica is now the only continent he has not visited in his two years in office.

Last month, the head of the Thai junta, Prayut Chan-o-cha, visited India for the first time since he seized power in a military coup in May 2014. Though India and Thailand have long been diplomatic partners, the visit saw an uptick in their cooperation as they prepare to commemorate the 70th anniversary of their relationship next year. 

In a Johannesburg concert venue that usually hosts pop stars, Indian prime minister Narendra Modi had the crowd on their feet. Modi is in South Africa as part of a tour of southern and east Africa aimed at strengthening diplomatic and economic ties. [...] This human connection is the foundation in Modi’s plans to create a stronger presence in Africa, as the country tries to match China. India’s trade with Africa has grown from $1 billion in 1995, to $35 billion in 2008, rising to roughly $70 billion last year.

How can public diplomacy chart a new way forward for U.S.-China relations?

Texas leaders from a wide range of economic sectors, including a few from Dallas, but mostly from the Houston and Austin areas, came together Thursday to form the Engage Cuba Texas State Council under the Cuban advocacy group Engage Cuba, seeking to end the embargo placed on the sovereign state in 1960. [...] On a personal level, Smith is just as interested in the humanitarian aspect of helping Cuba as the economic aspect.

Dr Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, the Minister of Trade and Industry, on Wednesday launched the 2016 Diplomatic Fair and reminded African countries on the need to partner diplomatic missions to develop their economies. [...] Speaking at the launch in Accra, Mr Spio-Garbrah said the idea of the Diplomatic Fair should also allow Ghanaian businesses to enquire from embassies that would participate about how they could assist the local businesses to operate in their countries.

Kenya has been recognized for its aggressive campaign to position itself as the best destination for trade, tourism and investment through its initiative "Make it Kenya". The country received the Best Place or Nation Brand [...] in Dubai. The award follows extensive campaign by Brand Kenya that was initiated to revive the image of the country following several terror attacks that kept away investors and tourists therefore affecting the country's economy.