Humanities needed to harden up soft-power

Australia’s capacity to project soft-power is reduced by a failure to, “build language and cultural capabilities,” the Australian Academy of the Humanities warns in a submission to a Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade inquiry.

“While the emphasis is always on visits and exchanges and collaborations, this will only go so far if future generations do not have the language proficiency to communicate in the region. If soft power is to be seen as a long-term aim, language proficiency in Asian and non-Asian languages needs to remain a focus in schools and universities.”

The Academy also warns that humanities and social science scholars are, “a pool of international collaborators who are generally overlooked in their role in disseminating ‘soft power’ through a range of organisations and institutions both within and outside of the higher education sector. These experts, and their networks, are a rich resource that should be recognised and more effectively utilised by government.”

“Australia needs to urgently review its soft power capabilities and whether they are sufficient to meet its aspirations,” AAH argues.


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