Society and Culture

Asserting Taiwan’s International Space: The Challenges Ahead for Taipei’s Leadership

Taiwan’s unique status in the world has come under greater pressure in recent months as China steps up efforts to challenge Taipei’s global standing. Taiwan remains a leading Asian economy and a vibrant democracy. Yet strained cross-Strait relations have made it increasingly difficult for Taipei to ensure its standing in the international arena. Join us for a discussion on the political, security, and social challenges ahead for Taiwan, and how Taiwan may be able to overcome some of its vulnerabilities to ensure a stable and prosperous future.

Ballet Empire: Silver Age St. Petersburg and the Legacy of the Ballets Russes

James H. Billington Seminar on Russian History and Culture

Russia’s Strange Obsession with Sobibór

A new Russian movie, Sobibór, is making its way into Russian theaters and European capitals. The big-budget, highly promoted film tells the story of a prisoner escape from the Nazi death camp Sobibór in October 1943. The escape, a uniquely successful event of the Holocaust, was organized by Alexander Pechersky, a Jewish Red Army officer and a prisoner in the camp.

Russia’s War on Telegram and What It Tells Us about Russian Politics

Almost three weeks have passed since a Moscow court ruled that Telegram—an encrypted messaging app created by Pavel Durov, of VKontakte fame—must be banned in Russia for failing to cooperate with the Federal Security Service, or FSB (so-called “information distributors” are legally required to make user data available to the authorities, according to a 2014 law).

Faberge Rediscovered

Since its founding in 1842 in St. Petersburg, Russia, Faberge’s creations have entranced the world with their beauty and intricacy. Thanks to the recent opening of Russian archives along with technological advancements, there has been a flurry of discoveries related to Faberge’s most famous pieces, the Imperial Eggs. Join us on Thursday, May 10 to step inside the world of Faberge to discuss these recent discoveries.

Chinese Influence Operations in the U.S.: Shedding Some Light on All the Heat

In 2017, prior to the White House's declaration that China was a “horrible danger” to American interests, economic well-being, and values, U.S. China-watchers had become increasingly alarmed about Chinese political influence on American institutions and communities. Concern about the impact of Chinese Communist Party United Front work, investment, espionage, and market power on American higher education, film, technology, and other industries has grown since and has emerged as a new factor in bilateral relations.

Soft Power Amidst Great Power Competition

As the contours of a renewed era of competition between great powers become more clear, soft power has emerged as an increasingly significant measure of national might. Yet soft power is not as amorphous and undefinable as was once believed. A country’s ability to attract and influence can be measured, damaged, and strengthened.

In this report, Wilson Center Fellow Irene Wu discusses why soft power matters more today than ever, and how to measure its influence on broader considerations of global geopolitics.