Public Diplomacy, Soft Power and Budget Restrictions

On the third day of the Diplomacy Festival, October 21st, a few students had the opportunity to go, visit and listen to a conference at the “Circolo Ministero degli Affari Esteri” (Ministry of Foreign Affairs). The conference was conducted by five talkers, each of them practicing in a different working field.

Umberto Vattani being a diplomat, Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and ex-president of the “Istituto Nazionale per il Commercio Estero”. Alessandro Masi being the Secretary General of the “Dante Alighieri Society”. Filippo Scammacca being a diplomat and ex-ambassador of Italy to Zambia. Stefano Baldi being a diplomat and director of the formation of the ministry of foreign affairs and international cooperation. Stefano Queirolo being a lawyer.

The main arguments discussed were concerning public diplomacy and soft/hard powers. Soft and hard powers are subcategories of the term smart power. Smart power is the combination of both strategies mentioned above. These two strategies can be used in the international relations field, in the cooperation and development field and in the communication and public influences.

Soft power has been defined as the power and ability to attract, appeal and co-opt. Soft power is used by influencing people, for example in politics and economics, but also in diplomacy, culture and history. In contrast to this, one has the hard power, often defined as the aggressive political power, used through coercive diplomacy, threat of military intervention and the implementation of economic sanctions.

Dr. Masi, being the Secretary General of the famous “Dante Alighieri Foundation”, has given to the audience a deeper look into the Italian culture and language. Dante Alighieri Foundation is an institution with the scope of protecting and diffusing the Italian culture all around the world. It is placed in various countries and cities. Masi states that the Italian language is the 4thmost studied language worldwide. Italian is often called the language of “Angels and Harmony”. Moreover, one can observe the Italian brand name in different fields and environments, namely in the supermarkets. The most known sauces or pasta will always come from and Italian production.

The divulgation of such products can only happen through the economic processes and developments. Economy, as explained by Dr. Scammacca, is the art of satisfying the needs of individuals through a limited amount of resources. Most of the times the objectives of economy are opposed to the means that a specific organization or agency has. The talker discussed about his experience while working in Zambia. This latter has been cut out of the technological world; in fact, he states that this country is full of potential and resources, however it is really poor in technological progress. Technology is a crucial part of the daily lives of most people nowadays. The explosion of internet and social media during the 90s has changes the perspective of propaganda. New jobs such as digital entrepreneur and influences have arisen. This continuous change of means and resources makes us wonder what the future will hold for us.



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