Brief Project Description:
Soft power, according to Joseph Nye is the country's ability to attract and convince.1 Thus, while hard power is intertwined with the ability to coerce, mainly through military or even economic power, soft power is based on the attractiveness of a country's culture, political ideals and political choices.
Today, many governments are implementing specialized soft power strategies aimed at strengthening the image and reputation of their country (nation branding) on the international stage. These strategies are often interlinked with cultural diplomacy, public diplomacy or even with economic diplomacy and defence diplomacy. Although the sectors of defence and economy fall primarily within the realm of hard power, they too can be used in a way that reinforces a broader soft power strategy. After all, Nye does not see soft power as a substitute but as a complement to hard power. In combination, hard and soft power give to the state "smart power".
Unlike hard power policies, soft power policies are not usually easily understood, nor are they perceived as easy to understand. They are not often promoted indirectly, for example through non-governmental organisations or by using private sponsorship. In this context, the Internet plays a decisive role in the modern world which should also be mentioned. It is not by chance that an undeclared war for influence is being waged in this area. Then again, without a doubt, the impact of such coordinated soft power strategies by one state on the formation of public opinion in other states can be very significant.
The Institute of Studies for Politics and Democracy seeks to investigate this issue, focusing its attention specifically on the case of Cyprus. This is an issue which has not been given any substantial consideration to date. Which are the countries implementing such soft power policies in Cyprus, which content are they using and what is their target? How are they perceived by Cypriots and how do they affect, if they do, their perceptions of these countries? Secondly, this research will also examine to the extent to which the state of Cyprus itself uses soft-power policies to promote its interests.