Wednesday, November 4th 2015
“Soft power rises and falls based on a nation or region’s ability to attract others with the legitimacy of its policies and its underlying values,” wrote Public Diplomacy Council member Nancy Snow, now Pax Mundi Professor of Public Diplomacy at Kyoto University of Foreign Studies. Her April, 2015, essay, “Global Powers of Persuasion,” appeared online inThe Journal of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan.
Professor Snow briefly reviewed the public diplomacy work of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Japan Foundation, noted that “Japan offers no academic degree or advanced course of study in either public relations or public diplomacy,” and shared conversations with Japanese policymakers and students. For Japanese readers, she opened with some comments on U.S. Public Diplomacy. I’ve bulleted some of her remarks:
- Soft power isn’t just about pop culture (i.e. the government’s Cool Japan campaign) or cuisine (Tokyo’s many Michelin stars).
- Fundamentally, it is based on government policies and societal values. Soft power rises and falls based on a nation or region’s ability to attract others with the legitimacy of its policies and its underlying values.
- The more formal institutional twin of soft power is public diplomacy. A recognized subfield of international relations, public diplomacy is now on the curriculum of highly respected advanced degrees at some of the best US institutions, including the University of Southern California and Syracuse University — where I’ve taught the subject.
- The U.S. Department of State has an under secretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs, whose mission is “to support the achievement of U.S. foreign policy goals and objectives, advance national interests, and enhance national security by informing and influencing foreign publics and by expanding and strengthening the relationship between the people and government of the United States and citizens of the rest of the world.”