Our round-up of news, notes, tips, and Tweets exhibiting how public diplomacy effects the world each and every day.
With the failure to secure the Istanbul 2020 Olympics, Turkey’s ruling party continues its downward soft power spiral from one-time peak in 2011.
It is, in any case, a new low for a party that has prided itself on successfully transforming Turkey from a hopeless European Union-wannabe to a Middle East power player over the past decade. A crucial element of this political success across the region was through the projection of its soft power, a strategy known as “Neo-Ottomanism” and engineered by Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. Through the implementation of this strategy, which saw a ramped-up diplomatic engagement with Arab governments and an expansion of Turkish cultural exports into the region, the AKP was effective in expanding Turkey’s sphere of influence into the Arab World after decades of apathy towards its Middle Eastern neighbors. [Blouin News]
In order to make itself more attractive to international companies, China is lifting its ban on popular Internet sites like Facebook and the New York Times… but only in the Shanghai free-trade zone.
“In order to welcome foreign companies to invest and to let foreigners live and work happily in the free-trade zone, we must think about how we can make them feel like at home. If they can’t get onto Facebook or read The New York Times, they may naturally wonder how special the free-trade zone is compared with the rest of China,” said one of the government sources who declined to be named due to the highly political sensitive nature of the matter. [SCMP]
— Günter Soydanbay (@GunterSoydanbay) September 24, 2013
With the election of Hassan Rouhani, the citizens of Iran are expecting a fresh start for their country on the world stage. But will he deliver?
He has only been in office three months now and yet during this period of time he has brought a new sense of hope to Iranians. Members of his ministerial cabinet represent both reformists and moderates of the Khatami and Hashemi era. His cultural and economic policies are also a blend of both Khatami and Hashemi approaches. Rouhani has released a number of political prisoners and has begun to replace former presidents’ governors, presidents, and heads of offices. His smooth tongue and mellow movements towards change are all signs of a reformist-moderate president in action. [The CPD Blog]
The Sino-South Korea forum on public diplomacy in Seoul this week features more than 200 officials, scholars, enterprisers, and journalists seeking to improve bilateral relations in non-political ways.
“China and South Korea have lots of similarities in history and culture. The public diplomacy are valued and implemented by leaders of both sides. Frequent communications between citizens of the two countries have laid solid foundation for bilateral relations. So it is quite necessary for China and South Korea to boost mutual understandings through various public diplomacy activities in future,” said Li Zhaoxing, chairman of the China Public Diplomacy Association, also former Chinese foreign minister. Li added that many Chinese people have known the economic development and high technology of South Korea through its TV series, which demonstrates that cultural public diplomacy can be a good supplement to state diplomacy. [Xinhua]
— Soraya Aydin (@soraya_aydin) September 24, 2013
The sophisticated hacking of Google by a group in China in 2010 brought new attention to transnational cybersecurity issues. It also inspired cyber diplomacy, where technology impacts the geopolitical balance of power.
One novelty in terms of the Google and Pentagon weapons programs attacks is the high level of sophistication of these cyberattacks, which affected global leading companies in computer and information industries as well as the private lives of many powerful individuals around the world. Another feature is the immediate reaction coming from those placed in high level positions in the U.S. government, including the direct intervention of the Secretary of State. In her speech, she officially sanctioned the birth of Cyber Diplomacy, and highlighted computer security and freedom of the web as now crucial diplomatic issues. The economic, financial, industrial, and military sectors’ development and prosperity are increasingly linked to the free flow of information. Moreover, electronic networks are now irreplaceable instruments for international politics. [Diplomatic Courier]
As two top Chinese universities join EdX this week, a popular Massive Online Open Course (MOOC), China is set to dispel notions of its university system as being rigid and memorization-based as well as gain a huge soft power win by having its top-tier schools be displayed along side the American Ivy League.
Even as they are forced to compete with Harvard and the others, Beida and Tsinghua will also benefit from rubbing electronic shoulders with their high level peers. Gaining admission to a MOOC consortium like EdX is like a Chinese student passing the national college entrance exam and getting into Beida or Tsinghua. It puts these universities on the same lofty pedestal and gives them a platform to promote themselves, while at the same time enhancing China’s soft power by making millions of people, many of whom are blissfully unaware of them, take notice of not only these two institutions, but also of China’s rise – one star professor and one course at a time. [China Daily]
— Fernando Márquez (@feromalo) September 24, 2013
For cultural diplomacy to be a powerful international tool, it must first start domestically to build a deep foundation for it to draw upon when it wants to reach a wider audience.
This stands as a reminder that cultural diplomacy does not have to be exported to an international audience for culture to be appreciated. The mere manifestation of individuals and communities embracing their own culture and expressing benign nationalism can also draw in an international audience. “One must first start at home, finding compelling art, people and ideas that will make others want to pay attention and take notice. There is no bigger endorsement than the spirit of benign nationalism.” [The Exchange]
The panel “Art as cultural diplomacy” seeks papers that explore the function of art (in its broadest definition) as an instrument of cultural diplomacy in Europe before and after the Fall of the Berlin Wall. Papers are welcome which explore issues related to the role of art, diplomacy and the politicization of the European Union and its candidate countries, as are those which consider how the arts have pursued or resisted East-West dichotomies and other narratives of alterity in Europe and worldwide. [HASTAC]
— Thomas·王 (@iChinadian) September 25, 2013