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Global Soft Power Summit 2021

25 February 2021, 12:00–16:00

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.

Join us at Brand Finance's Global Soft Power Summit 2021, hosted as a virtual event at the renowned Queen Elizabeth II Centre in Westminster, London. Practitioners and researchers of soft power will come 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 are delighted to announce that we will be joined by esteemed former US Secretary of State and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Dr Henry Kissinger, as our keynote speaker.

Hosted in partnership with BBC Global News, the Summit will feature 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 will be hosted online. Click the link to register for the event.

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].

25 February 2021, 12:00–16:00
Media partners
BBC Global News

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, 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.

BBC Global News Website


Dr Henry Kissinger
Former US Secretary of State and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

Henry Alfred Kissinger was sworn in on September 22, 1973, as the 56th Secretary of State, a position he held until January 20, 1977.  He also served as Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs from January 20, 1969, until November 3, 1975.  In July 1983 he was appointed by President Reagan to chair the National Bipartisan Commission on Central America until it ceased operation in January 1985, and from 1984-1990 he served as a member of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board.  From 1986-1988 he was a member of the Commission on Integrated Long-Term Strategy of the National Security Council and Defense Department.  He has served as a member of the Defense Policy Board from 2001-2020.

At present, Dr. Kissinger is Chairman of Kissinger Associates, Inc., an international consulting firm.  He is also a member of the International Council of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.; a Counselor to and Trustee of the Center for Strategic and International Studies; an Honorary Governor of the Foreign Policy Association; and an Honor Member of the International Olympic Committee.  Among his other activities, Dr. Kissinger served as a member of the Board of Directors of ContiGroup Companies, Inc. from 1988-2014 and remains an Advisor to the Board, a position he also holds at American Express Company since 2005, after serving on the Board from 1984.  He is also a Trustee Emeritus of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; a Director Emeritus of Freeport-McMoRan Copper and Gold Inc.; and a Director of the International Rescue Committee.

Among the awards Dr. Kissinger has received have been a Bronze Star from the U.S. Army in 1945; the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973; the Presidential Medal of Freedom (the nation’s highest civilian award) in 1977; and the Medal of Liberty (given one time to ten foreign-born American leaders) in 1986.

Dr. Kissinger was born in Fuerth, Germany, came to the United States in 1938, and was naturalized a United States citizen in 1943.  He served in the Army from February 1943 to July 1946.  He graduated summa cum laude from Harvard College in 1950 and received M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Harvard University in 1952 and 1954.

From 1954 until 1969 he was a member of the faculty of Harvard University, in both the Department of Government and the Center for International Affairs.  He was Director of the Harvard International Seminar from 1952 to 1969.

Dr. Kissinger is the author of:

  • A World Restored:  Castlereagh, Metternich and the Restoration of Peace, 1812-1822 (1957);
  • Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy (1957);
  • The Necessity for Choice:  Prospects of American Foreign Policy (1961);
  • The Troubled Partnership:  A Reappraisal of the Atlantic Alliance (1965);
  • Problems of National Strategy:  A Book of Readings (ed.) (1965);
  • American Foreign Policy, Three Essays (1969);
  • White House Years (1979);
  • For the Record:  Selected Statements, 1977-1980 (1981);
  • Years of Upheaval (1982);
  • Observations:  Selected Speeches and Essays, 1982-1984 (1985);
  • Diplomacy (1994);
  • Years of Renewal (1999);
  • Does America Need a Foreign Policy?:  Toward a Diplomacy for the 21st  Century (2001);
  • Ending the Vietnam War: A History of America’s Involvement in and Extrication from the Vietnam War (2003);
  • Crisis:  The Anatomy of Two Major Foreign Policy Crises (2003);
  • On China (May 2011); and
  • World Order (September 2014).

He has also published numerous articles on United States foreign policy, international affairs, and diplomatic history.  His columns appear in leading U.S. and international newspapers.

Dr. Kissinger is married to the former Nancy Maginnes and is the father of two children by a previous marriage.

Carl Bildt
Co-Chair, European Council on Foreign Relations and Former Prime Minister of Sweden

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.

David L Heymann M.D.
Professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

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 Smith
New Zealand Story Group

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 Joseph Nye
Harvard University

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.

Tom Tugendhat
Member of Parliament of the UK

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.

David Haigh
Founder and CEO
Brand Finance

David is the CEO and founder of Brand Finance plc. David qualified as a Chartered Accountant with Price Waterhouse in London. He worked in international financial management then moved into the marketing services sector, firstly as the Financial Director of The Creative Business and then as Financial Director of WCRS & Partners. He left to set up a financial marketing consultancy, which was later acquired by Publicis, the pan European marketing services group, where he worked as a director for five years.

David moved to Interbrand as Director of Brand Valuation in its London-based global brand valuation practice, leaving in 1996 to launch Brand Finance. David has represented the British Standards institute on the International Standards Committee working party on the standardisation of brand valuation methods and practices, whose draft standard (ISO 10668) was published in November 2010.

David has written many articles for the marketing and financial press on branded businesses and brand valuation and is the author of numerous publications. He also lectures on the subject of branded business, brand and intangible asset valuation at many of the leading business schools around the world.

Zeinab Badawi
Broadcaster & Presenter

Zeinab is a broadcaster and presenter on BBC World News and HARDtalk. She has interviewed the Dalai Lama, the President of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir and Desmond Tutu. She has worked in news, current affairs and documentaries, including covering the famine in Africa, conflicts in Somalia, Iraq before the first Gulf War and Syria. She presents the multi-part series The History Of Africa on the channel.



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