Author Jennifer Hubbert on the roots of soft power and her new book, China in the World: An Anthropology of Confucius Institutes, Soft Power, and Globalization.
Cultural diplomacy thrives on the exchange of arts and aesthetic ideas. Research has continued to indicate that this form of diplomacy reveals the social profile of a nation and provides platforms for possibilities in economic cooperation and development. There is no better way to understand a people than to know about their culture. Perhaps, other than France through the Alliance Francaise, China is a classic example of a country that is aggressively promoting its culture in Zambia.
The 2017 Joint Conference of Confucius Institutes in Africa was hosted by the Confucius Institute at the University of Zambia with the goal to “exchange experiences to enhance cooperation and promote the development of Confucius Institutes of Africa”. The spread of Confucius Institutes across Africa, however, is only half of China’s language strategy. In addition to promoting Chinese language learning, China is also encouraging its own citizens to learn the native languages of those countries that it has diplomatic relations with.
China is a powerful international actor as the most populous country, the second largest economy, and a significant investor in modernizing its military. With early signs that the United States will emphasize hard power under the Trump administration, China has positioned itself as a champion of globalization and economic integration, perhaps signaling a desire to take on a greater international leadership role. It is doing this by doubling down on soft power, a measure of a country’s international attractiveness and its ability to influence other countries and publics.
"The general goal for CITU is to increase mutual understanding among people in China and in United States. More specifically, through its dozens of events and activities each year, CITU provides support and service in Chinese language instruction and culture programming and facilitates academic exchanges and collaborations between the two institutions...and the two countries," Mingquan Wang, director of CITU said.
In celebration of the Year of China in South Africa 2015 the UJ's Confucius Institute aimed to promote further expansion and deepening of existing political, economic, scientific, technological and cultural exchanges between the two countries. Relations between the two countries and the respective institutions have strengthened across many fronts ever since. Prof Jiangao's work is to promote Mandarin language teaching and the Chinese cultural experience for UJ staff and students, the public, business and government.
From Sunday, Chile will begin to prepare for celebration of the Chinese Spring Festival, for the seventh year in the city of Vina del Mar and the first time in the capital, Santiago. The cultural program, organized by the Confucius Institute of Santo Tomas University, will last in Vina del Mar until Jan. 15.
Confucius Institutes in Egypt are seeing a huge surge in popularity. According to the manager at the Institute at Cairo University, they are gradually moving away from targeting students of the Chinese language, and are beginning to attract interest from different faculties, and educational establishments in other cities across Egypt.