British Council Wales has commissioned the first research into Wales' soft power, which is published in its report Wales Soft Power Barometer 2018.

The report was produced by Jonathan McClory of Portland, who produce the Soft Power 30, the annual ranking of the countries with the most influential soft power in the world.

What is soft power?

Soft Power builds a country or a region's international influence through culture, public diplomacy and positive global contribution.

 Countries around the world are using soft power to improve international relations and bolster trade and tourism.

 How was the research done?

Data about Wales' government, use of digital technology, culture, enterprise, international engagement and education was compared to that of nine other countries/regions: Scotland, Northern Ireland, Catalonia, Flanders, Quebec, Corsica, Puerto Rica, Hokkaido in Japan and Jeju in South Korea.

Opinions on Wales and the nine other countries/regions were gathered from 5,000 people in Canada, China, United Arab Emirates, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Japan, Qatar and the US.

Some key findings from the report: 

  • Wales was ranked 6th out of the ten countries/regions for soft power influence, behind Quebec, Scotland, Flanders, Catalonia and Hokkaido and in front of Corsica, Northern Ireland, JeJu and Puerto Rico.

  • Wales was ranked second for sport, just behind Catalonia
  • In the data analysis results Wales scored best for its use of digital technology, taking third place behind Scotland and Jeju. 

  • Wales also did well for enterprise at fourth place, outperforming larger regions Catalonia and Hokkaido. 
  • Wales came in at seventh for education in front of Catalonia, Corsica and Northern Ireland.
  • Welsh cuisine is not held in high regard, ranked ninth just ahead of 10th placed Northern Ireland.

Dr Christopher Lewis, head of education and society at British Council Wales, said: “Globalisation and devolution present major new opportunities to countries such as Wales, which do not have the same foreign policy levers as nation-states, to operate on the world stage. We’re pleased to see the report finds that Wales has considerable soft power resources. The appeal of our sporting culture has clearly been boosted by Wales’ performance at Euro 2016 and the country’s digital infrastructure and investment environment are among its other strengths. 

“The challenge now, particularly in the context of Brexit, is to build on this performance and unlock our true soft power potential. We’re calling on the Welsh Government to develop a new international strategy for Wales that will really help bolster global engagement”.


Welsh Soft Power Barometer 2018 Infographic

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