原创翻译:龙腾网 http://www.ps5588.com 翻译:yzy86 转载请注明出处


Global trends in cultural engagement and influence


Author: Alistair MacDonald


The global presence of international cultural institutions


Against the backdrop of global power shifts, growing competition between nations and challenges to the international rules-based system, major changes are taking place in the soft power landscape globally. A number of countries are investing heavily in this area and one of the clearest indicators of this is the expanding presence and impact of states’ official bodies for cultural and educational exchange. In this chapter we present the latest data on these crucial networks.



Figure 1 shows the changes in the global presence of the principal cultural institutes of key countries over the past five years. The data shows that China now has by far the largest number of international cultural institutes, with 507 of its Confucius Institutes now in operation, a huge increase from the 320 that were operational in 2013. The second largest nation for its global footprint of cultural institutes is France with 219 Institut Français centres around the world, a modest decrease on the 229 it had in 2013. The UK remains in third place in 2018 with 177 offices of the British Council, down from 196 in 2013. Equally noteworthy is the doubling in the number of operations of the Russkiy Mir Foundation up to 171 from just 82 five years ago.The remainder of the results show less dramatic changes. The dramatic expansion in the scale of the operations of both the Confucius Institute and Russkiy Mir Foundation reflects the priority China and Russia respectively have been giving to increasing their global influence and the very significant investments that they are making to achieve this. With the notable exception of the GoetheInstitut, which has increased its offices from 159 to 169, the European cultural office networks are by contrast in decline. Across the West in many nations, public investment in soft power has been either stable or falling. While the focus may be on China and Russia, all of the other Asian and Latin American countries in this study have also shown growth in their global footprint, reflecting growing investment and increasing focus on soft power as a plank of their foreign policy. Funding pressures have seen the British Council office network contract by nearly ten per cent over the same period as the Confucius Institute’s global operations have grown by over 50 per cent. The most notable decline in the British Council’s operations has been in the developed world with office closures including Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and New York. If these trends continue over the next five-year period we may start to witness a major reshaping of the global picture of cultural and soft power networks, with significant long-term implications for influence.



Figure 2 shows the regional presence of cultural institutes in both 2013 and 2018. This provides a more detailed picture of where investment in cultural institutes is taking place and which parts of the world are being most targeted for cultural connections and influence.


In this section we explore the soft power strategies and assets of seven leading G20 states, highlighting their investment in, and ambitions for, growing their influence, before reviewing the status of the UK itself. The UK is often seen as an exemplar of soft power and is recognised for its large and effective diplomatic network and a strong reputation as a leading contributor to international development. The BBC World Service and the British Council are globally recognised as market leaders in their respective fields; while the global success of the UK’s cultural and educational sectors are seen as core to the country’s international attractiveness. While other countries often adopt superficially similar models for their soft power activities there are also often profound differences in their approaches. Some states have looked long and hard at the UK model and learned from it to develop their own distinctive and innovative approaches from which the UK in turn can learn.


Brazil is Latin America’s standout soft power.


It has even been described as the world’s first big soft power. 1 Even before the 2014 World Cup or 2016 Olympics, Brazil was attracting significant global attention and not just for football or carnival, Brazil’s rise has been peaceful and largely uncontroversial. Along with countries such as Canada and Germany it is generally perceived as a benign actor on the international stage.


Brazil’s participation in the wider world is generally welcomed. It is respected both as a relatively stable democracy and for the economic achievements of the Lula years. Brazil draws interest from other states when it comes to creating and exporting innovative ways to alleviate poverty and foster a free society. However, ongoing political and economic instability and concerns over corruption have cast a shadow over Brazil’s international aspirations. Global broadcasts of the violent protests ahead of the 2016 Olympics tarnished what should have been a PR success. These factors have undermined what had been a solid programme
of public diplomacy and nation branding. However, the longer-term fundamentals remain undeniable. Brazil is the world’s eighth largest economy with vast reserves of natural resources. Despite the widely publicised political controversies that have overtaken the country, Brazil continues to score well in the Freedom House rankings – its vibrant civil society sector and free press in particular serving as a counterweight to the corruption in the political class.




The Brazilian readers are university professors sexted through a public exam to act in foreign universities. During their time abroad, readers teach the Brazilian version of the Portuguese language and also work to promote themes related to cultural manifestations of Brazil. The Itamaraty operates programmes like New Voices of Brazil that promotes new Brazilian music as well as artistic exchanges. In partnership with the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, it delivered the Ciências sem Fronteiras (Science Without Borders) programme, that enabled young Brazilians to study at European and American universities, and now manages its successor PRINT. Brazil’s ambitions are evident in the numbers – between 2011 and 2016 Ciências sem Fronteiras granted more than 100,000 scholarships.


Brazil is the leading member of the Comunidade dos Países de Língua Portuguesa (CPLP), an increasingly integrated community of former colonies and states of the Portuguese Empire. The CPLP arguably has an energy that has been lacking in the more established Commonwealth of Nations. Collectively the membership is the world’s fourth largest producer of oil giving impetus to greater co-operation. Discussions between the members exploring deeper political and diplomatic co-operation including in matters of the seas, defence and trade are ongoing. Other non-lusophone states, including other G20 states like Japan, Turkey and Australia, have expressed interest in engagement with the CPLP through associate arrangements and observer status.


The growing South–South co-operation evident in Brazil’s increasing engagement with its South Atlantic neighbours has passed largely unnoticed in the West. There is a risk of complacency among countries that have long relied on the attractiveness of their advanced economies, culture and values. For the growing economies of the Global South, neighbours and regional powers like Brazil, India and South Africa are often more attractive partners than former colonial powers. The power relationships between states tend to be more equitable, practical and without the risk of the patrician overtones of North–South interactions. While Brazil still has many challenges, its developmental experience is relatable and has much to offer other states looking to grow and diversify. There are valuable lessons to share, a sense of solidarity with other former colonies and the opportunity to enter into mutually beneficial partnerships rather than the donor–supplicant relationship that often characterises North–South relations. Brazil also offers a model of progress that embraces the values of freedom and self-determination that are so important to those that have fought for independence from European colonial powers.