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Chinese Cultural Diplomacy in Africa


The Chinese government has spent billions of dollars in Africa on public diplomacy initiatives that are intended to improve the country’s image. Central to that strategy is the growing network of Confucius Institutes (CIs) spread across the continent that are designed to introduce Chinese language and culture to the African masses. Today there are over 40 CIs in Africa but despite their good intentions, these institutes attract significant controversy.

Goethe University post doctoral research fellow Falk Hartig is an expert on CIs and the broader role they play in China’s cultural diplomacy overseas. Hartig joins Eric & Cobus to discuss whether cultural diplomacy is actually effective, particularly in China’s case.

For more on Hartig’s research, don’t miss his 2014 lecture at the University of Southern California: “Confucius Institutes: The Globalization of Chinese Soft Power.

About Falk Hartig:

Falk-HartigFalk Hartig is a post-doctoral researcher at the Frankfurt Inter-Centre-Programme on new African-Asian Interactions AFRASO at Frankfurt University, Germany. His research focuses on public and cultural diplomacy, political communication and issues of external perception. He received his PhD in from Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia.

He holds a MA in Sinology and Journalism from the University of Leipzig, Germany. From 2007 to 2009 he was deputy chief editor of “Cultural Exchange”, Germany’s leading magazine for international relations and cultural exchange. Before coming to QUT he was a visiting fellow at Xinhua News Agency in Beijing and a research assistant at the GIGA Institute of Asian Studies in Hamburg. He writes for German journals and magazines and is the author of a book about the Communist Party of China.

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