In recent years soft power has become increasingly important in world politics. Indeed, it has become an essential aspect of states' international strategies.
Why? Well, firstly because power is not only about coercion or payments but also about attraction. Secondly, because we live in a globalized world, with the proliferation of information and communication technologies. Thirdly, there is increasing competition for talent between countries driven by globalization. And talent is attracted to power and wealth. Finally, Soft Power can both increase economic growth and improve international relations between states.
So what are the key factors that make countries attractive and how can we use them to boost our soft power and strengthen international relations?
Well, there are many factors that make a nation more attractive – among others: its economic success; cultural values; art and architecture; sports; higher education. I'd like to focus on the last factor in particular. And I would like to present a few ideas on how universities can use soft power to attract talent and strengthen their position in the international world of science.
The first step that a university needs to take is to have a clear understanding of what talent attraction means, for it is not just about numbers but also quality. One important aspect that high-level talent cares about, is the economic and political stability of the country in which they will find themselves. Another important aspect is their economic return and opportunities for personal and professional development. Moreover, talent wants to interact with other talented people, so it is very much about networking too. The result? Universities must look beyond factors such as geographical location, tuition fees, and facilities offered to students. They must focus on economic stability, networking opportunities, and the personality of their institution too.
Once universities have a clear understanding of what talent attraction means for them they can move on to doing something about it. The first thing that needs to be done is to carry out an international audit in order to identify the strengths and weaknesses of each department. For this purpose, universities should use economic and country-specific data. Good sources of such information are the World Bank and other relevant economic institutions. Data on economic development can also be very useful in order to demonstrate economic success and opportunities for personal development. In addition, economic and country-specific data provide information on the economic standing of a country. That is useful for universities because economic strength can be used to attract talent from other countries.
The next step in strengthening the soft power of a university is communicating its mission and vision abroad. This can be done through different strategies ranging from the development of international partnerships to economic diplomacy.
Finally, the last step in strengthening soft power is to design a long-term strategy that ensures that each year universities keep on optimizing their economic and country-specific data. This will ensure that they are able to attract talented people from other countries who use economic growth as the main reason for choosing one university over another.
Economic and country-specific data should be used to attract talented people from around the world who want economic growth.
With economic and country-specific data, universities can attract foreign talent looking for economic growth as a reason for choosing one university over another. This is achieved by designing a long-term strategy that ensures that each year universities keep optimizing their economic and country-specific data.