2020 was a year like no other, putting the nations of the world to the test – from the impact of COVID-19 on economic activity and immediate GDP forecasts, to diminished long-term prospects. A nation’s soft power is, arguably, more important than ever.
Over 1000 delegates registered to join Brand Finance's Global Soft Power Summit 2021, hosted as a fully virtual event, where practitioners and researchers of soft power came together to explore the impact COVID-19 has had on nations around the globe, and to discuss predictions for the future following the turbulence of the last twelve months.
We were delighted to be joined by Former Secretary of State and Former U.S. Senator from New York, Hillary Rodham Clinton, as our keynote speaker.
Hosted in partnership with BBC Global News, the Summit featured a presentation of the results of the Global Soft Power Index 2021 by Brand Finance - the world’s most comprehensive research study on perceptions of nation brands, surveying opinions of over 75,000 people in more than 100 countries.
Due to governmental restrictions regarding COVID-19, this year's Global Soft Power Summit was hosted online. Click here to view the dedicated hosting site and register to access the event content.
The inaugural Global Soft Power Index 2020 report and the findings of last year's study are free to access online. Our interactive dashboard allows you to explore the results from the survey in maps and charts, rank nations by metrics and statements, and choose data sets to create your own graphs.
To request a preview of your nation's Global Soft Power Index 2021 results or to enquire about using the data for academic research, please email [email protected].
BBC Global News is the home of the BBC’s award-winning international news, sport and features content, which reaches 121 million people around the world on TV, online, apps and social media each week.
As the world’s most trusted international news broadcaster, they offer accurate, impartial news via our 24 hour news channel - BBC World News - and BBC.com, along with a broad range of insightful and in-depth features across BBC Worklife, BBC Culture, BBC Future, BBC Reel and BBC Travel.
As a commercial arm of the BBC, they work with brands to create partnerships which connect them with our curious and globally-minded audience through bespoke branded content, sponsorship and advertising opportunities.
Hillary Rodham Clinton has spent four decades in public service as an advocate, attorney, First Lady, U.S. Senator, U.S. Secretary of State, and presidential candidate.
Hillary Clinton was born in Chicago, Illinois on October 26, 1947. After graduating from Wellesley College and Yale Law School, she began her life-long work on behalf of children and families by joining the Children’s Defense Fund.
In 1974, she moved to Arkansas, where she married Bill Clinton and became a successful attorney while also raising their daughter, Chelsea.
As First Lady of the United States, from 1993 to 2001, Hillary Clinton championed health care for all Americans and led successful bipartisan efforts to improve the adoption and foster care systems, reduce teen pregnancy, and create the Children's Health Insurance Program.
In 2000, Clinton made history as the first First Lady elected to the United States Senate, and the first woman elected to statewide office in New York. As Senator, she worked across party lines to expand economic opportunity and access to quality, affordable health care. After September 11, 2001, she helped to rebuild New York and provide health care for first responders.
In 2007, she began her historic campaign for president, winning 18 million votes and becoming the first woman to ever win a presidential primary or caucus state.
In her four years as America's chief diplomat and the President's principal foreign policy adviser, Clinton led the effort to restore America’s leadership in the world. She negotiated a cease-fire in Gaza that defended Israel’s security and headed off another war in the Middle East, mobilized an international coalition to impose crippling sanctions against Iran, and championed human rights around the world, as she has her entire career.
In 2016, Clinton made history again by becoming the first woman nominated for president by a major U.S. political party. As the Democratic candidate for president, she campaigned on a vision of America that is “stronger together” and an agenda to make our economy work for everyone, not just those at the top, earning the support of nearly 66 million Americans.
Hillary Rodham Clinton is the author of eight best-selling books, including her campaign memoir, What Happened, and The Book of Gutsy Women, with Chelsea Clinton.
She and President Clinton reside in New York, have one daughter, Chelsea, and are the proud grandparents of Charlotte, Aidan, and Jasper.
Zeinab Badawi was born in the Sudan - but has lived in the UK since she was two. She studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Oxford University and an MA in history at SOAS, London University. Zeinab has worked extensively in the British media for four decades and is now best known for her work in the BBC’s international division at BBC World News TV and BBC World Service Radio on programmes such as 'Hard Talk', and 'Global Questions’ as well as a major 20-part tv series on the History of Africa.
Zeinab is the current Chair of the Royal African Society, a member of the International Advisory Council of Afrobarometer and of MINDS - the Mandela Institute for National Development Strategies, a member of the steering committee of the Africa Europe Foundation, a trustee of BBC Media Action and the Royal Opera House amongst other positions.
David is the Chairman and CEO of Brand Finance Plc – the world’s leading brand valuation consultancy. He has worked in the area of branded business, brand, and intangible asset valuation since 1991. He specialised entirely in the field after becoming the Director of Brand Valuation for Interbrand in 1995. He subsequently left Interbrand in 1996 to launch Brand Finance which is celebrating 25 years in business this year.
David represented the British Standards Institution in the working parties responsible for crafting international industry standards: ISO 10668 on Brand Valuation in 2010 and ISO 20671 on Brand Evaluation in 2019.
David is a passionate writer and has authored many articles on brand valuation, published in numerous marketing and finance newspapers and magazines, such as: Financial Times, Accountancy Age, and Marketing Week. He has also lectured on the topic of brand valuation for Harvard, Chicago, and London Business Schools.
David graduated from Bristol University with an English degree, qualified as a Chartered Accountant with Price Waterhouse in London, and obtained a postgraduate diploma in Marketing from the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM). He is a Fellow of The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and has a practising certificate with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW).
Joseph S. Nye, Jr. is University Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus and former Dean of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He received his bachelor's degree summa cum laude from Princeton University, won a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford, and earned a Ph.D. in political science from Harvard.
He has served as Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, Chair of the National Intelligence Council, and a Deputy Under Secretary of State, and won distinguished service awards from all three agencies. His books include The Future of Power, The Power Game: A Washington Novel, andDo Morals Matter?
He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the British Academy, and the American Academy of Diplomacy. In a recent survey of international relations scholars, he was ranked as the most influential scholar on American foreign policy, and in 2011, Foreign Policy named him one of the top 100 Global Thinkers. In 2014, Japan awarded him the Order of the Rising Sun.
Carl Bildt has served as both Prime Minister (1991-1994) and Foreign Minister (2006-2014) of Sweden.
During the first period his government initiated major liberal economic reforms, as well as negotiated and signed membership agreement with the European Union. The reform period in the early and mid-1990's is generally seen as having pave the way for the successful growth decades that followed.
Subsequently he served in international functions with the EU and UN, primarily related to the conflicts in the Balkans. He was Co-Chairman of the Dayton peace talks on Bosnia and become the first High Representative in the country. Later, he was the Special Envoy of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to the region.
Carl Bildt was an early advocate of the new ICT technologies. An 1994 email exchange between him and President Clinton was the first between heads of state/governments.
After stepping down as leader of the Moderate Party of Sweden in 1999 and leaving Parliament in 2000 he was also engaged in corporate boards in Sweden and the US as well as different international think-tanks.
Returning as Foreign Minister of Sweden in 2006, he come to be seen as one of the most prominent and vocal of European foreign ministers during those years. He was one of the initiators of EU’s Eastern Partnership, and pushed the EU forward also on issues of the Middle East.
Currently he is Co-Chair of the European Council on Foreign Relations, contributing columnist to Washington Post as well as monthly columnist for Project Syndicate. He recently chaired the Global Commission on Internet Governance. He serves as one of the Senior Advisors to the Wallenberg Foundations in Sweden and is on the Board of Trustees of the RAND Corporation in the US.
@carlbildt has continued to push the use of social media also in international diplomacy.
Infectious Disease Epidemiologist & Public Health Expert Professor, Infectious Disease Epidemiology at LSHTM Head of the Centre, Global Health Security at Chatham House
David Heymann holds a BA in general science from Penn State University, an M.D from Wake Forest School of Medicine, and a DTM&H from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). He is currently Professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at LSHTM and Distinguished Fellow of the Centre on Universal Health at Chatham House, London. From 2012 to March 2017 he was chairman of Public Health England.
For 22 years Heymann was based at the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva on secondment from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) during which time he rose from Chief of Research of the Global Programme on AIDS to Founding Director of the Programme on Emerging and other Communicable Diseases. He then was named Executive Director of the Communicable Diseases Cluster, a position from which he headed the global response to SARS, and finally was named Assistant Director for Health Security and the Director General’s Representative for Polio Eradication.
Before joining WHO David Heymann was based for 13 years in sub-Saharan Africa on assignment from CDC where he worked in Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, DRC and Malawi. During this period he participated in the response to the first, second and third outbreaks of Ebola hemorrhagic fever in DRC, investigated human monkeypox outbreaks throughout central and western Africa, and supported ministries of health in field research aimed at better control of malaria, measles, tuberculosis and other infectious diseases. Prior to joining CDC Heymann worked in India for two years as a medical epidemiologist in the WHO smallpox eradication programme.
David Heymann is an elected fellow of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies (US) and the Academy of Medical Sciences (UK), and has received seven different public health awards, including the Heinz Award on the Human Condition, that have provided funding for the establishment of an on-going mentorship programme at the International Association of Public Health Institutes (IANPHI).
He has published over 250 peer reviewed articles, commentaries and book chapters, and is the editor of the Control of Communicable Diseases Manual, a major global reference for public health and health protection. In 2009 he was appointed an honorary Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) for service to global public health.
Rebecca is a New Zealand business leader with over 20 years' experience in marketing and communications. She currently heads New Zealand Story Group – a government initiative established in 2013 to define the distinctly Kiwi attributes that make New Zealand unique, and communicate these hallmarks to the world.
As a nation branding expert, Rebecca plays a central role in guiding New Zealand government agencies in their efforts to collaboratively grow New Zealand's reputation beyond natural beauty.
Rebecca has a unique view of how consumers and buyers worldwide see New Zealand, and as a result, what the country must do, say and show to shift perceptions that trigger people to want to visit, study, live, do business with or invest in New Zealand. Her approach to nation branding is values-based, leader-led, authentic and reflective of New Zealand.
Rebecca has featured in several international speaker lineups, most recently at City Nation Place LatAm & Caribbean Forum 2019, Global Ireland Conference 2019 and ASEAN Business Alliance Conference 2020.
Rebecca was formerly General Manager Brand & Communications for Fonterra's NZ Milk Products division, leading the development of the dairy giant's global B2B brand and spearheading a new approach to global communications for the business. Prior to Fonterra she worked at the Bank of New Zealand and Telecom.
Professor Thulisile “Thuli” Madonsela, an advocate of the High Court of South Africa, is the law trust chair in social justice and a law professor at the University of Stellenbosch, where she conducts and coordinates social justice research and teaches constitutional and administrative law. She is the founder of the Thuma Foundation, an independent democracy leadership and literacy public benefit organisation and convener of the Social Justice M-Plan, a Marshall Plan-like initiative aimed at catalysing progress towards ending poverty and reducing inequality by 2030, in line with the National Development Plan (NDP) and Sustainable Development Goals (SGGs). She is a monthly columnist for the Financial Mail and City Press/Rapport, and occasionally writes for other newspapers.
A multiple award-winning legal professional, with over 50 national and global awards, Thuli Madonsela has eight honorary doctor of laws degrees, one of which was awarded by the Law Society of Canada. She holds a BA Law from Uniswa, a Bachelor of Laws from Wits University and a Harvard Advanced Leadership Certificate, and has been trained in legal drafting, leadership, strategic planning, scenario planning, gender mainstreaming, mediation and arbitration, and training facilitation, among other things.
Thuli Madonsela was the Public Protector of South Africa from 2009 to 2016. She is credited with transforming the institution by enhancing its effectiveness in promoting good governance and integrity – including ethical governance and anticorruption in state affairs – through her reports, jurisprudence on the powers of the Public Protector and introduction of ADR. She is the architect of the OR Tambo Declaration on the minimum standards for an effective ombudsman institution and cooperation with the African Union on strengthening good governance and co-founder of the African Ombudsman Research Centre (AORC) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, and served as AORC’s founding chairperson. As a full-time commissioner of the South African Law Commission, she supervised several investigations – among them Project 25 – on aligning all laws with the Constitution, and participated in the drafting of several laws. She chaired and later project-managed the Equality Legal Education Training Unit (ELETU), which provided foundational training for Equality Court judicial officers. She is the co-founder and one of the inaugural leaders of the South African Women Lawyers Association (SAWLA).
Named one of Time 100’s Most Influential People in the World in 2014, Forbes Africa Person of the Year in 2016 and one of BBC’s 100 Women, her peer recognition includes the Commonwealth Lawyers Association’s Truth and Justice Award, Transparency International’s Integrity Award, the South African Law Society’s Truth and Justice Award, General Council of the Bar membership, the Sydney and Felicia Kentridge Award, the SAWLA Women in Law Icon Award, Botswana Lawyers Association Honorary Bar membership, the German Presidential Medal, the German Africa Prize, the African Peer Review Mechanism Anticorruption Crusader Award, Tällberg Global Leader recognition, Rotary International’s Paul Harris Fellow recognition, the Gauteng Premier’s Provincial Achiever Award, and having a rose named after her in recognition of her social justice and integrity work. Recently, Madonsela was appointed as Knight of the Legion of Honour by French President Emmanuel Macron. Viewed as the highest decoration in France, the Knight of Legion was bestowed on Madonsela in recognition of her remarkable achievements in defence of the rule of law and the fight against corruption in South Africa.
Thuli Madonsela is one of the drafters of South Africa’s Constitution and co-architect of several laws that have sought to anchor South Africa’s democracy. Among the laws she has helped draft are the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act (PEPUDA), the Employment Equity Act (EEA) and the Recognition of Customary Marriages Act. She also contributed to the conceptualisation and quality assurance of laws such as the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act, the Domestic Violence Act and the Repeal of the Black Administration Act. Her policy contributions have focused on the transformation of the judicial system, the promotion of equality – particularly gender equality – and the Victims Charter. She has also participated in the drafting of several international instruments, mainly on human rights, gender, race, disability, development and gender-based violence, in addition to participating in the preparation of country reports and representing the country.
Her extensive publishing record includes books/learning resources, book chapters/forewords, journal articles, newspaper articles and papers. She is a sought-after speaker and has presented several memorial lectures, including international memorial lectures for Kofi Annan, John Wendell Holmes and Oliver Tambo, and the Desmond Tutu International Peace Lecture.
From 1988 to 2011, he served 23 years in Government, as Minister for Information and the Arts, Health, Trade & Industry, and Foreign Affairs.
Mr Yeo has a BA in Engineering (Double First) from Cambridge University and an MBA (Baker Scholar) from Harvard University. He started as a Signals Officer in the Singapore Army, crossed over to the Air Force, became Chief-of-Staff of the Air Staff, and attained the rank of Brigadier-General as Director of Joint Operations and Planning in the Defense Ministry before resigning to enter politics in1988.
Mr Yeo is a member of the Board of Trustees of Berggruen Institute on Governance, International Advisory Panel of Peking University, Senior Advisory Council of Beijing Forum, International Advisory Board of IESE Business School, International Advisory Council of China's Eco Forum Global Guiyang, International Advisory Board of Japan's National Graduate School for International Policy Studies (GRIPS), International Advisory Committee of Mitsubishi Corporation and the MUFG Global Advisory Board. He is an independent Board member of AIA, Pinduoduo, an e-commerce company newly listed on NASDAQ and New Yangon Development Corporation. He is a senior advisor to Brunswick for its geopolitical initiative and Singapore’s V3 Group. Mr Yeo served as a Member of the Pontifical Commission for Reference on the Economic-Administrative Structure of the Holy See from year 2013-2014 and the Vatican Council for the Economy from February 2014 to July 2020.
David Miliband is currently the President and Chief Executive of International Rescue Committee (IRC), the New York-based non-profit humanitarian organisation. IRC employs 16,000 people around the world and works in 40 countries where lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster. David has an unusual/unique position of a senior UK politician who has now lived in the US for many years. He is plugged into a new administration and has a global view.
From 2007-10 Miliband served as the UK’s Foreign Secretary, where he was responsible for a global network of diplomats in more than 160 countries. He established a distinctive voice for an internationalist Britain, from the war in Afghanistan to the Iranian nuclear programme to engagement with the world’s emerging powers.
As Minister for Schools from 2002-04, he was regarded as a leader of reform. As Secretary of State for the Environment, he pioneered the world’s first legally binding emissions reductions bill. As Minister for Communities, he championed the renaissance of Britain’s great cities.
He was also Vice Chairman of Sunderland Football Club until 2013. He has taught at MIT and Stanford University, debating important geopolitical issues. Along with Jose Maria Figueres of Costa Rica, Miliband was Co-Chair of the Global Ocean Commission.
In 2020, Miliband joined a new venture capital firm, Giant Ventures, sitting on the advisory board.
Miliband set up “Movement for Change”, which trained 10,000 community organisers in the UK to make changes in their own communities. His accomplishments have earned him a reputation, in former President Bill Clinton's words, as "one of the ablest, most creative public servants of our time," and as an effective and passionate advocate for the world's uprooted and poor people.
He sits on the WHO Independent Panel on Pandemic Preparedness and Response and he publishes on global political trends in The Times, Guardian, New York Times, Washington Post and Newsweek.
Tom Tugendhat left the British Army in July 2013 after a career in which he served on operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and, most recently, as the military assistant to the Chief of the Defence Staff. As a Territorial Army officer he worked on everything from operations in Iraq and Afghanistan to establishing the Armed Forces Muslim Association. Tom also worked for the Foreign Office and helped set up the National Security Council of Afghanistan and the government in Helmand Province.
Tom grew up in London and Sellinge, near Ashford, before going to read Theology at Bristol University where he also worked in the local homeless shelter in the St Paul’s area. He then studied for a Masters’ degree in Islamics at Cambridge University, which included learning Arabic in Yemen.
After graduating, Tom went to Beirut as a journalist where I wrote about the conflict as well as regional politics and economics. Soon after he established one of Lebanon’s first public relations companies and won some major international clients. When Tom returned to the UK he worked as a management consultant before going into energy analysis in the City. At about the same time he joined the Territorial Army.
When the Iraq War broke out in 2003, Tom was mobilised as an Arabic-speaking intelligence officer to serve with the Royal Marines. He went in as part of Op TELIC, the invasion of Iraq. After the war he returned to his job in the City, but was soon asked to help with the distribution of the New Iraqi Dinar as part of the economic reconstruction effort. Over the next six months Tom ran the central region – Baghdad and surrounding cities – and distributed much of the $4.5 billion-worth of cash that went into Iraq.
The next year Tom saw a series of projects conducted on behalf of the British government and companies including helping to improve Morocco's ports to ensure they were compliant with modern protocols. In 2005, he was asked by the Foreign Office to go to Afghanistan and help grow the National Security Council. Working in the Dari language, the project involved setting the strategic goals for a new office that coordinated Afghanistan’s strategic advice to President Karzai.
When one of the members of the National Security Council was named governor of Helmand Province, he asked for Tom to go with him as his adviser. Together, and this time working in Pashto, the language of southern Afghanistan, they set up the first non-warlord administration in Helmand since the Soviet invasion.
After two years in Afghanistan Tom returned to the UK, but his former Royal Marines unit was deploying to Helmand and asked him to go too. Tom agreed to be mobilised and served operationally for a further two years, for which he received the MBE, coming off his last patrol in July 2009.
On returning to the UK, Tom was asked by the new Chief of the General Staff (the head of the British Army) to work on the Army Strategy Team helping prepare for the Strategic Defence and Security Review.
When the Chief of the General Staff was made Chief of the Defence Staff (the professional head of the British Armed Forces) he asked Tom to serve as his military assistant and principal adviser. He remains a reserve officer.
In 2015 Tom was elected as Member of Parliament for Tonbridge, Edenbridge and Malling and is honoured to have been re-elected in 2017 and 2019 too.
In Parliament Tom sat on the Speakers' Advisory Committee on Works of Art of the House of Commons and in July 2017 was elected Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, which he also Chairs in this current Parliament. Tom is a Dementia Friend and an active supporter of the Alzheimer's Society while being a Honourary Fellow at St Augustine’s College of Theology in West Malling, and Patron of Hospice the Weald, The Bridge Trust in Tonbridge and Spadework in Offham.
Tom lives with his wife, Anissia, and their two children near Edenbridge.
Steve Thomson leads the survey component of the Global Soft Power Index programme. He has a wealth of experience gained across a 30+ year career focussing on understanding consumer values, attitudes and behaviour around the world. Steve leads the market research practice at Brand Finance including management of our proprietary research programme in over 30 markets. He has widespread expertise in consumer values and trends, brand positioning and strategy, public opinion, nation branding, and advertising effectiveness. He has direct research experience in 60 markets across a diverse range of cultures, from single-market deep-dives through to the management of large global insight programmes. He is an acknowledged expert on the impact of social forces (online social media and offline word-of-mouth) on brand choices, and how these drive commercial outcomes for brand owners. As such he is a regular speaker at industry conferences.
Minster Ma’s experience in international affairs dates back nearly 30 years working within the International Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China. He was posted in London between 1999-2001 and studied Public Policy in University College London as a postgraduate between 2005-2006.
He was Director General of the Bureau for North American, Oceanian, UK and Nordic Affairs before taking up his current role in February 2017.
Parul leads the team of analysts and consultants behind Brand Finance’s annual Global 500, Nation Brands, and Global Soft Power Index studies. She has a wealth of experience in Business and Brand Valuation working across sectors, specialising in Nation Branding, Food & Drinks, and Utilities. She is an experienced research and data analyst with survey experience across a range of evaluation and research issues.
Parul has worked with a variety of clients such as GREAT Campaign and PromPeru. She has a BSc in Economics and Economic History from the London School of Economics and is a chartered global management accountant, CIMA.