Britain's global future: harnessing the soft power capital of UK institutions

Document type
Blond, Phillip; Noyes, James; Sim, Duncan
Date of publication
12 July 2017
Social Policy
Social welfare
Material type

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This report provides a timely reflection on the UK’s international engagement and asks how Britain’s voice can be heard as we face new global challenges.

The UK’s decision to leave the European Union will have major consequences for our place in world affairs. In this context, the concept of soft power – the influence a country can command on the world stage without relying on economic or military strength – is more relevant than ever. Increasing the UK’s authority on the world stage, and ensuring that we remain at the forefront of discussions on issues such as security or migration, will require not only new trade deals but also a focus on cultural links with other nations and a heightened awareness of how Britain is perceived overseas.

The authors of this report believe that the government should place a coordinated soft power strategy at the heart of its foreign policy, and they make recommendations as to how this can be achieved. However, it is clear that the government cannot undertake this task alone. Britain has a worldwide presence through institutions such as the BBC, the British Council, museums, and universities, and this provides a foundation on which positive perceptions of the UK can be built globally.

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