Achieving Soft Power Goals Through Education Diplomacy by Southeast Asian Nations

Main Article Content

Dr Naureen Nazar Soomro
Sohni Siddiqui
Ghulam Murtaza Khoso


Globalization has brought huge changes in every section of life, including education. The international relations have been impacted on by globalization as well. The students, scholars and researchers, these days, are regarded as actors in diplomacy. Education diplomacy is considered as an important tool in the conduct of international relations worldwide. The public diplomacy through provision of education opportunities, known as soft power tool, has emerged as a new trend by which countries extend their national interests and attempt to shape the preferences of others and affecting their behaviour in one’s favour. International Education has proved to be a major contributor to soft power goals and has emerged as an important part of public diplomacy that has created many advantages. The countries anticipate, by means of education diplomacy, the promotion of nation’s policy priorities and interests and subsequently, to contribute to country’s economic development and investment. The present study aims to explore the soft power goals of the Southeast Asian Countries. It further explores the goals that are achieved by the countries through implementation of public diplomacy in education.

Article Details



Amirbek, A., and Ydyrys, K. (2014). Education as a soft power instrument of foreign policy. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 143, pp. 501-503
British Council. (2018). ASEAN higher education systems are becoming more open for international engagement. Manchester: British Council. Retrieved from: /asean-higher-education-systems-are-becoming-more-open-international-engagement
Byrne, C. (2016). Public diplomacy. In S. Smith, A. Hadfield, and T. Dunne (Eds.). Foreign policy: Theories, Actors, Cases (pp. 168-185). Oxford: Oxford University Press
Byrne, C., and Hall, R. (2014). International education as public diplomacy. International Education Research Network, Research Digest 3. Melbourne: International Education Association of Australia (IEAA)
Centre for Education Diplomacy and Leadership (CEDL) (n.d.). What is education diplomacy? Washington D.C.: Centre for Education Diplomacy and Leadership. Retrieved from: (Accessed on December 23, 2019)
Ferreia de. Lima, A. (2007). The role of international education exchanges in public diplomacy. Place Branding and Public Diplomacy, 3 (3), 234-251
Griffiths, M. O’Callaghan, T., and Roach, S. C. (2008). International relations: The key concepts. (2nd Edn.). London and New York: Routledge, Taylor and Francis
Ikande, M. (2017). Types of diplomacy in international relations. Legit. Retrieved from: (Accessed on December 8, 2019)
International Affairs Office (IAO) (2018). Succeeding globally through international education and engagement. International Affairs Office, U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved from: /international/objective-2-learn-from-and-with-other-countries-to-strengthen-u-s-education/ (Accessed on December 10, 2019)
Lee, J. T. (2015). Soft power and cultural diplomacy: Emerging educations hubs in Asia. Comparative Education, 51 (3), 353-374
Li, J. (2018). Conceptualizing soft power of higher education: Globalization and universities in China. Singapore: Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd.
Mallow, S. (2016). Higher education in ASEAN. Paris: The International Association of Universities Melissen, J. (2005). The new public diplomacy: between theory and practice. In J.
Melissen (Ed.) The new public diplomacy: soft power in international relations (pp. 3-27). New York: Palgrave Macmillan
Ministry of Education (n.d.). Malaysian International Scholarship (MIS). Ministry of Education, Government of Malaysia. Retrieved from: (Accessed on November 27, 2019)
Nambiar, S. (2017). Malaysia. In P. Intal, and L. Chen (Eds.) ASEAN and member states: Transformation and integration, Volume 3 (pp. 164-179) Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia
Nanyang Technological University. (2019). Graduate admissions: Scholarships. Singapore: Nanyang Technological University. Retrieved from: (Accessed on December 15, 2019)
Nye, J. (2004). Soft Power: The means to success in World Politics. New York: Public Affairs Othman, N. A., and Sharbawi, S. (2015). Brunei’s role in ASEAN integration: English language as capital. In R. Stroupe, and K. Kimura (Eds.) ASEAN integration and the role of English language teaching (pp. 72-87). Phnom Penh: IELTS Peterson, P. M. (2014). Diplomacy and education: A changing global landscape. International Higher Education, No. 75
Sheng-Kai, C. C. (2015). Higher education scholarships as a soft power tool: An analysis of its role in the EU and Singapore. EUC Working Paper No. 23. EU Centre in Singapore.
Thien, R. (2018). Brunei can employ education diplomacy to strengthen ASEAN bonds: US official says the Sultanate’s English language enrichment project has paid dividends. Retrieved from: (Accessed on December 30, 2019)
Tuch, H. N. (1990). Communicating with the world: US public diplomacy overseas. New York: St. Martin’s Press
Vaxevanidou, M. (2018). Education as public diplomacy: How to build on an international image in education. Journal of Media Critique, 4 (14), 55-70
Waithaka, J. W., and Maluki, P. (2016). International education exchanges as a public diplomacy instrument. International Journal of Science Arts and Commerce, 1(3), 1-8
Wan, C. D., Sirat, M., and Razak, D. A. (2018). Education in Malaysia towards a developed nation. Economics Working Paper No. 2018-4. Singapore: ISEAS, Yusof Ishak Institute