Society and Culture | Wilson Center

Society and Culture

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.

From “New Babylon” to “King Lear”: The Kozintsev-Shostakovich Collaboration

Partnerships between composers and filmmakers have frequently resulted in narratively rich and cinematically remarkable films. The 40-year relationship between Dmitrii Shostakovich and Grigorii Kozintsev is a prime example. The speakers will discuss the films created through this collaboration against the ever-changing background of the political and ideological transitions from Stalinism, to Khrushchev’s Thaw, and finally, Brezhnev-era Stagnation.

Theater Performance: Lady with a Lapdog, with Jokes and a Happy Ending

We invite you to join the Kennan Institute for a reception and trip to the summer resort of Yalta as we present an exclusive performance of Lady With a Lapdog, With Jokes and a Happy Ending, a comedic play based on the beloved short stories of Anton Chekhov performed by The Russian Arts Theater & Studio.

The Paradox of Carnaval: Afro-Brazilian Contributions to a National Celebration

February is Black History Month in the United States: a time to celebrate and contemplate the sacrifices and triumphs of members of the African American community in the struggle for civil rights. But the United States is not alone in celebrating its African heritage this month. On February 9, Brazilians began the annual celebration known as Carnaval.

Public Diplomacy and the Evolution of US-Japan Relations

Wariness of political correctness and distrust of intellectuals has led to the proliferation of “post-truth” or “fake news”. That has made it more difficult to distinguish between the role of public diplomacy and outright propaganda. How the United States leverages its soft power could define Washington’s relations with key allies worldwide, including Japan. Join us for a discussion on the outlook for public diplomacy between Japan and the United States, and the challenges of political communications amid rapidly changing perspectives on national identity.

FILM SCREENING | Fronteira da Grandeza: Brazil’s National Identity from Past to Future

From Iguaçu to the edges of the Amazon and through the centers of power in Brasília and São Paulo, see this vast country anew and learn from Brazilian voices why its people see a bright future amidst challengesincluding those that come across its borders.


Project Seeks a New Generation of Politicians from Rio’s Favelas

In 20 years, do you see yourself being mayor of Rio de Janeiro?

Can Soft Power Be Measured?

Can a nation’s soft power be measured? How do things like clothing, food, movies & TV, values, education, and religion effect a nation’s ability to extend its influence beyond its borders? We asked Irene Wu, a Fellow with the Wilson Center’s Kissinger Institute on China and the United States and Asia Program, to explain her efforts to quantify soft power in this edition of Wilson Center NOW.