There has been a renewed focus on soft power, especially after the global publicity garnered by the British royal wedding in April. "We've got an extremely active British Council here," Mr Warrington said. "There are over 50 schools teaching the British syllabus. They're all taking British exams. There are more British universities than any other universities.
In a small classroom at New York University Abu Dhabi, Paulo Lemos Horta was pushing his students to explore the difficulties of translation. In some ways, it might have been a class on any American campus — except that virtually everyone was fluent in a second language.