Politics & Policy

The Future Soft Power and Public Diplomacy

Seminar Complete!

Congratulations, you've completed this seminar. Let your friends and coworkers know!


In recent years, the dynamics of global geopolitics have been wracked with uncertainty. Over the last year of the COVID-19 pandemic, a rising China, a revanchist Russia and a struggling West have added to this, with potential implications for the balance of global soft power. The pandemic itself has had significant implications for the operating context of foreign policy and public diplomacy practitioners.

A new critical issues report published by Sanctuary Counsel and CPD, “The Future of Soft Power and Public Diplomacy,” seeks to shed light on the emerging challenges and opportunities as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and a major reset in U.S. foreign policy under a new administration. Drawing on the insights of a global series of roundtables with experts and practitioners from the fields of international affairs, politics, media, culture and academia, the report aims to chart a way forward for governments, diplomats and international organizations working to foster understanding and build trust across borders.

In this panel, leading public diplomacy practitioners and experts discuss the future of public diplomacy as the world looks to move beyond the pandemic. Featuring Katherine Brown, president and CEO, Global Ties U.S.; Ambassador Maureen Cormack, principal deputy assistant secretary, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, U.S. Department of State; Kate Ewart-Biggs OBE, chief executive, British Council; Jonathan McClory, partner, Sanctuary Counsel; and Lord Peter Ricketts, former permanent secretary of the UK Foreign Office, national security advisor and UK ambassador to France from 2012 to 2016.

Moderated by Macon Phillips, CEO, Starling Strategy, and hosted by Jay Wang, director, USC Center on Public Diplomacy (CPD) and associate professor, USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

Who Will Benefit

– Those wondering if soft power in the U.S. will recover under President Joe Biden
– Public policy leaders looking for guiding principles for the future of soft power
– Those hoping to learn more about the structural, digital and pandemic challenges facing public diplomacy

About Our Featured Faculty

Jian (Jay) Wang is director of the USC Center on Public Diplomacy and an associate professor at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. He previously worked for the international consulting firm McKinsey & Company, where he advised clients on matters of communication strategy and implementation across a variety of industries and sectors. Wang has written widely on the role of communication in the contemporary process of globalization. He is co-editor of the newly published book, Debating Public Diplomacy: Now and Next. He is the author of Shaping China’s Global Imagination: Nation Branding at the World Expo and several other books. He serves on the editorial board of the International Journal of Communication.