Thursday 24 October 2019

The Portland Soft Power 30 Report sees France push the UK to 2nd place, while the US drops to 5th.

Statement from the Chief Executive of the British Council Sir Ciarán Devane on this year’s Portland Soft Power 30 rankings:

“It is great the UK remains in the top two of the world’s soft powers for the fourth year. After three years of intense debate, this demonstrates that soft power is about much more than current politics.

“Our universities and our arts organisations, our creativity and our entrepreneurship, our language, technology and our culture, they all help the UK be seen as a place to be admired, respected and trusted.

“Sustaining that trust however means we need to be active on the global stage, contributing to societies around the world. Just as important, we must provide our young people with international experiences to support them to be truly global in outlook, proud of who they are while open to new ideas and experiences.

“France’s prime position is well-deserved. It values international political cooperation, but also shares its enthusiasm for arts and culture through its extensive cultural and language teaching centres. The effect is to build its reputation as a country to be respected around the world.

“However, the decline of US soft power may act as a caution that if a country becomes so internally focussed, it risks losing trust and influence.”

Notes to Editor

For more information, please contact Peter Hawkins or 07557190861

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The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We work with over 100 countries in the fields of arts and culture, English language, education and civil society. Last year we reached over 80 million people directly and 791 million people overall including online, broadcasts and publications. We make a positive contribution to the countries we work with – changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust. Founded in 1934 we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. We receive 15 per cent core funding grant from the UK government. 

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