Culture and Foreign Policy


China's Soft Power Initiative

Author: Esther Pan

China is expanding its use of cultural, educational, and diplomatic tools to increase its appeal across the world. The move comes as U.S. cultural influence slips and some say the United States may be losing its "soft power," or ability to gain influence through non-coercive means.

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Analysis Brief

China's Soft Seduction

While U.S. cultural exports, from Hollywood movies to books to fashion and soft drinks, exercise a dominant influence in the world marketplace, experts say America's "soft power" is declining. That creates opportunities for China.

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Daughters and Sons Event - "Afghan Star:" Film Screening and Discussion

Speaker: Daoud Sediqi
Speaker: J. Alexander Thier
Presider: Sloan Mann

Each year, the Council invites members to bring their guests of high school-age and older to a special “Daughters and Sons” meeting. This year, in cooperation with HBO, the Council will screen the HBO documentary Afghan Star. Since 2005, millions of Afghans have followed the reality television program Afghan Star, whose contestants – irrespective of ethnicity, age, or gender – compete for a cash prize and a record deal. For many viewers, who vote for contestants via cell phone, it is their first experience with the democratic process in a country where television, music, and dancing were once forbidden under Taliban rule.

Following the screening, a panel of experts will provide perspective on the broader cultural realities of Afghanistan and their implications for U.S. policy toward the country, where well over half the population is below the age of twenty-five.

See more in Elections; Culture and Foreign Policy; Afghanistan