Public event

New geopolitics, soft power and international cultural relations

Have the recent, significant shifts in geopolitics changed the role of soft power strategies and activities among leading world powers? What challenges and opportunities present themselves for cultural exchange, language programmes, educational institutions, universities, science diplomacy, and communication and media in a changed system of international relations? These questions will be discussed in light of a systematic study of eight world powers (Germany, USA, France, United Kingdom as liberal democracies; China, Russia, Saudi Arabia as autocracies; and India as an emerging economic power with an ailing democracy) by comparing their soft power strategies and activities from the 2010s with what they are today in the context of changing economic and security policy considerations. 

Following a short presentation of the new ifa study, the panel will examine the challenges and opportunities for German foreign cultural and educational policy.

The discussion will be followed by a reception.


Helmut K. Anheier Anheier

  • Helmut K. Anheier is Senior Professor of Sociology at the Hertie School. He served as President of the Hertie School from 2009 to 2018. He is also a member of the faculty at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Luskin School of Public Affairs, and visiting Professor at LSE Ideas, a foreign policy think tank at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Iain Begg

  • Iain Begg is a Professorial Research Fellow at the European Institute, London School of Economics and Political Science. His research mainly focusses on the political economy of European integration and EU economic governance. Recent research projects include work on policy co-ordination under the European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) and the social impact of globalisation.

Awet Tesfaiesus

  • Awet Tesfaiesus is a member of the Bundestag representing Bündnis 90/ Die Grünen.

Gitte Zschoch

  • Gitte Zschoch is Secretary-General of ifa. She was Director of the European Union National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC) in Brussels and previously worked for the Goethe-Institut in a number of different positions in Seoul, Tokyo, Johannesburg, Kinshasa. She also served as Deputy Head of the Communications Division at the institute’s head office in Munich.

Moderator: Melinda Crane-Roehrs

  • Dr Melinda Crane-Roehrs studied history and political science at Brown University and law at Harvard. She wrote her dissertation on the political economy of development assistance at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. Crane has given speeches and moderated events and discussions for a wide range of international organisations. She is a frequent guest and commentator on German television and radio and regularly analyses US policy for the news broadcaster n-tv. Her areas of expertise include transatlantic politics, climate and environment, and integration and urbanisation.