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The Globalization of Chinese Soft Power - R.S. Zaharna

R.S. Zaharna presented at the conference titled "A New Era in Cultural Diplomacy: Rising Soft Power in Emerging Markets."

March 3, 2014

Cultural diplomacy is often conceived of as part of a country’s foreign relations, in that cultural dialogue can sometimes achieve what political dialogue cannot. It is an example of “soft power”― the possibility of communicating through culture and ideas to achieve national interests.

In an increasingly distributed global system, emerging-economy countries are now paying greater attention to culture and communication as part of the symbolic domain of their national power in global affairs. But their efforts remain little understood or even noted.

On February 28, the USC Center on Public Diplomacy hosted a major conference on cultural diplomacy in emerging markets at USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism.

This conference explored the cultural diplomacy efforts pursued by a number of countries with emerging economies. Panelists aimed to enrich our understanding of the opportunities and challenges facing institutions of cultural diplomacy in contemporary times. It was our goal to shed light on the bigger, broader issues of the role and potential of culture and public diplomacy in a multipolar world.

R.S. Zaharna is an associate professor in the School of Communication and affiliate associate professor in the School of International Service at American University in Washington, D.C. She specializes in intercultural and international strategic communication. Her public diplomacy research interests are in culture and relational approaches (networks and collaboration). In addition to more than twenty years of teaching strategic communication, she has advised on communication projects for multinational corporations, governments, and international organizations, including the United Nations, World Bank, and NATO. Since 9/11 she has testified on several occasions before the US Congress and has addressed diplomatic audiences and military personnel in the United States and Europe on strategic communication and public diplomacy. She has authored numerous articles and more than a dozen book chapters, including three for major handbooks: Routledge Handbook of Public Diplomacy (2008), The Global Public Relations Handbook: Theory, Research, and Practice, (Routledge, 2009), and Sage Handbook on Intercultural Communication Competence (2009). Her recent book, Battles to Bridges: U.S. Strategic Communication and Public Diplomacy after 9/11, discusses the United States communication efforts aimed at winning hearts and minds in the Arab and Islamic publics.


This video is also available on the USCI YouTube Channel.

Click here to watch the other presentations.