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The Daily: Stadium Diplomacy

The Daily: Stadium Diplomacy

January 29, 2014 6:45 am by: Category: The Daily

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


Very interesting (and well worth your time) long-read into China’s stadium diplomacy in Africa.

The impact of this most concrete form of soft diplomacy is difficult to assess in terms of hard cash. But there’s little doubt about how it’s supposed to work. For relatively small outlays—usually well short of $100 million—China constructs a sterile national arena that can be opened with long speeches and presidents in tailored suits kicking balls for the cameras, in return for sweetened access to natural resources, votes at the United Nations and the marginalization of Taiwan. Domestic politicians point to highly visible new infrastructure as evidence of their success as managers of the national development agenda; China and Chinese businesses gain, at the very least, an entrée into the highest circles of government. [Roads & Kingdoms]


The U.K. announced it would double its aid for economic development in poor countries this year. Read: economic diplomacy.

Britain is to spend £1.8bn on the economic development of poor countries next year, more than double the amount spent in 2012-13, the international development secretary announced as part of a “radical shift” in policy that focuses on making it easier to do business in these states. In a speech at the London Stock Exchange (LSE), Justine Greening said the Department for International Development (DfID) would continue with traditional aid programmes – helping more children into schools, dealing with disease and providing disaster relief – but would shift future resources towards economic development, concentrating on economic growth and jobs. [The Guardian]



Helpful English interpretation of a two-part Kazakh analysis of China’s soft power initiatives in Central Asia.

China’s message through these measures, Izimov argues, is that China seeks a harmonious world, although it will defend its specific interests with vigor, that Beijing is ready and able to provide assistance in education, health and other social spheres, and that its Confucius Institutes are a channel for such cooperation. In Central Asia, Beijing’s first task in this area is the reduction of “anti-Chinese attitudes.” Unlike in Central Asia, Chinese influence in Central Asia has been relatively small in the past, and the image of China as an enemy or threat is well-entrenched.  Overcoming such attitudes is a long-term proposition. [Window on Eurasia]



Good rule for those trying to brand places: focus on the archetypes, not the stereotypes.

Branding process is about discovering the soul of the brand, its purpose, its story, its essence… The overarching idea should be able bring the masses together. However most brands tend to overlook the larger system within which they operate. After all, every organization is a part of a bigger system,  playing a unique role for the health of the overall system. So, when a destination does not acknowledge its role within the system in which it operates, it tends to conclude that the place “has it all.” For example, Bulgaria’s destination brand is a clear example of such thinking. It seems like they tried to please all of their internal stakeholders, a deadly mistake that leaves you with a common denominator, which means little to your external stakeholders. [Soydanbay]


Here is an interesting but all-too-brief look at the shared musical history of the Arab and Persian worlds.

Iran is not a natural enemy of the Arabs, but rather a historical and geographical neighbor that competes with them for roles and influence. Music, on the other hand, has connected Arab and Persian civilizations with a bond that can not be broken by time or by movements. Politics have separated Arabs from Iranians over the last decade to such an unbearable degree that Iran is mentioned almost exclusively in sectarian or hostile contexts. On the other hand, music has continued to link the Arab and Persian civilizations. Rast, Nahawand and Sikah musical keys, intermixed with the Arab orchestra, still affirm deep historic and musical Arab-Iranian ties. [Al Monitor]



Compelling read into soft power as the “weaponisation of culture.” And even if you don’t buy that notion, the underlying trend of English as the de facto language of the global literary canon is one worth pondering.

This “weaponisation of culture”, as Whitney terms it in his essay in Salon, is not in itself a problem. The collusion of various instruments of Western soft power in literary promotion does not by itself de-legitimise all their forays into the literary sphere. Instead, it reveals areas where future investments can correct power imbalances. One such way could be a literary magazine or platforms that publish new translated work from around the world and have clarity of focus as to why this is important. Places like New Directions, Open Letter Press and the Columbia Centre for Literary Translation are attempting to do just that. Knowledge of how the current cultural mainstream is funded and propped up is crucial in understanding what needs to be done to promote alternative interpretations and narratives. [Dawn]



Here is a collection of quotes concerning the upcoming Sochi Olympic Games and the differing return on investment hopes and concerns.

The first ever Russian Winter Olympic Games will start in Sochi on 7 February 2014. Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed confidence that this sporting event will serve to bring nations together and to promote friendship, trust and the spirit of partnership the world over. [Eurasia Review via John Brown]





photo credit: Rockwurm

Arab archetypes Central Asia economic development Euronews Europe music Nicholas Griffin Persian ping pong diplomacy Seth Center stadium diplomacy State of the Union weaponisation of culture
The Daily: Stadium Diplomacy Reviewed by on . Our round-up of news, notes, tips, and Tweets exhibiting how public diplomacy affects the world each and every day. [divide] [email protected] #Publicdiplomacy can Our round-up of news, notes, tips, and Tweets exhibiting how public diplomacy affects the world each and every day. [divide] [email protected] #Publicdiplomacy can 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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