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The Daily: The Influence of Culture in All Its Forms

January 9, 2014 10:21 am by: Category: The Daily
photo credit: Canadian Embassy Photo: Keegan Bursaw

photo credit: Canadian Embassy Photo: Keegan Bursaw

Our round-up of news, notes, tips, and Tweets exhibiting how public diplomacy affects the world each and every day.

The OUPblog has a very interesting piece by David Ellwood, the author of the The Shock of America. It concerns the manipulation of the term “soft power” and the influence of culture in all its forms.

Leaving aside its glibness and air of casuistry, the ‘soft power’ concept is fundamentally flawed at just the point where Nye insists on its usefulness: as a tool of foreign policy. The more states attempt consciously to project the force of example they see in their nations and its ways, the more the rest will see manipulation and propaganda. Two US analysts who commented on the prospects for British foreign policy in a new book (Influencing Tomorrow: Future Challenges for British Foreign Policy, 2013) were happy to say that ‘the BBC may be a more effective tool of British foreign policy than the Royal Navy or the British Army’. But they also warned against the temptations and risks of leverage: ‘when you reach for the tool of soft power, you find it evaporates in your hand’. [OUPblog]


In response to David Carment’s opinion piece in yesterday’s Embassy, Julian Dierkes defends Twitter diplomacy as a means of diversifying the exposure a policymaker receives.

Close interactions offered policymakers efficient and extensive access to deep policy analysis, and it allowed policy analysts and academics access to the questions that were occupying policymakers’ minds and their students access to learning experiences. Yet, this approach also had clear limitations. A small number of deep interactions necessarily limit the overall number of interactions. By contrast, social media hold the promise of offering policymakers the possibility of hearing many more different perspectives, and tapping into information and analysis that may have been exceedingly difficult and costly to locate in the deep-but-limited-engagement world. [Embassy]



Mark your calendars: USC to hold their PD 2014 annual conference on February 28. The topic is “A New Era in Cultural Diplomacy: Rising Soft Power in Emerging Markets.”

On February 28, the USC Center on Public Diplomacy will host a major conference on cultural diplomacy in emerging markets at USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism. This conference will explore the cultural diplomacy efforts pursued by a number of countries with emerging economies and aims to enrich our understanding of the opportunities and challenges facing institutions of cultural diplomacy in contemporary times. It is our goal to shed light on the bigger, broader issues of the role and potential of culture and public diplomacy in a multipolar world. [USC Annenberg]


Another interesting cultural diplomacy event happening this April: The Symposium on Cultural Diplomacy & Religion. Book your tickets to Rome now.

The International Symposium on Religion & Cultural Diplomacy will focus on “The Promotion of World Peace through Interfaith Dialogue & the Unity of Faiths” and highlight the importance of religious interchange as a vehicle for World Peace. The potential role religion plays in the promotion of global peace and stability will be outlined, with the aim to exemplify the positive and demonstrative effect it can bear in impacting society. [Institute for Cultural Diplomacy]



India’s strongest soft power asset may be its democratic government… the food remains a strong second though.

Addressing a session on soft power at the ongoing Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD), the largest gathering of Indian diaspora in the world, Bilimoria said Britain may have its Magna Carta on democratic reform and Westminster, “but this (India) is where the real democracy is”. “This is where the real democracy is, where a party can start from nothing and in one year win a state election,” said Bilimoria, to loud applause from the audience … He said evidence of India’s soft power could be seen in the 10,000 Indian restaurants in Britain and with Indian cuisine becoming a favourite food in the country. However, he said the Indian foreign service needs to be strengthened from the 600 at present to push ahead with public diplomacy. Bilimoria said Indians are excelling in many fields in Britain and gaining in prominence. He said he was hopeful of seeing an Indian becoming prime minister of Britain in his life time. [Business Standard]



North Korea rejects South Korea’s proposal for family reunions as a citizen diplomacy-like initiative. They cited the antagonistic mood created by South Korean media and upcoming military exercises as reasons for not holding the reunions at the present moment.

But on Thursday, North Korea sent the South a message saying that the mood was not right for holding family reunions. It blamed South Korean news reports and analyst commentaries that included a scathing criticism of the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, and quoted senior South Korean government officials who worried about possible political instability in the North following the purge of Mr. Kim’s uncle, Jang Song-thaek. Mr. Jang was executed on Dec. 12 on charges of corruption and involvement in a plot to overthrow Mr. Kim’s government. In rejecting the reunions, North Korea also bristled at the military exercises South Korea has conducted recently and plans to hold with the United States around early March. The North calls these drills rehearsals for invasion. “How can we hold family reunions in comfort while bullets and artillery shells are flying in exercises for war?” the North’s official Korean Central News Agency quoted Pyongyang as saying. [New York Times]



David Carment David Ellwood Embassy family reunions Infographic Instagram Julian Dierkes OUPblog religion Shock of America Stephon Marbury
The Daily: The Influence of Culture in All Its Forms Reviewed by on . [caption id="attachment_1053" align="alignnone" width="600"] photo credit: Canadian Embassy Photo: Keegan Bursaw[/caption] Our round-up of news, notes, tips, an [caption id="attachment_1053" align="alignnone" width="600"] photo credit: Canadian Embassy Photo: Keegan Bursaw[/caption] Our round-up of news, notes, tips, an Rating: 0

About Michael Ardaiolo

Michael Ardaiolo is currently a student in Syracuse University's Public Diplomacy Master's Program: M.A. in International Relations from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and M.S. in Public Relations from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. In addition, he is a recovering record slinger, a Criterion Collection addict, an NBA obsessor, and a struggling student of the Korean language.

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