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    Center for Soft Power

Conference On Soft Power

India Foundation’s Center for Soft Power held its inaugural conference on soft power between 17-19 December, 2018, in New Delhi. The conference was hosted in collaboration with Nehru Memorial Museum and Library and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), with the Center for Public Diplomacy of the University of Southern California and Nalanda University, Rajgir as the lead academic partners.

The aim of the conference was to bring together academicians, practioners, experts, policy makers and diplomats to deliberate and discuss Indian Soft Power. The conference discussed topics such as branding nations, digital storytelling and Indian soft power across multiple verticals – Ayurveda, Cinema, Cuisine, Art Craft and Design, Language and Literature, Musems, Performing Arts, Spirituality, Tourism, Education and Yoga.

  I. DAY 1

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1 Welcome Address

Vinay Sahasrabuddhe
Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha and President, ICCR

2 Inaugural Keynote Address

Venkaiah Naidu
Hon’ble Vice President of India

3 Conversation on Indian Soft Power

Founder, Isha Foundation

  II. DAY 2

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1 Indian Cuisine as Soft Power: Panel Discussion

Vikas Khanna
Restaurateur and Judge, MasterChef India

Manjit Singh Gill
President, Indian Federation of Culinary Association

Rohit Khattar
Chairman, Old World Hospitality


Public Diplomacy and Soft Power:

Keynote address and Panel Discussion


Amb. Syed Akbaruddin
India’s permanent representative to the United Nations


Jay Wang
Director of the USC center for Public Diplomacy

Jonathan McClory
General Manager Asia, Portland Communication & Author, Soft Power 30 Report

Kieran Drake
Minister Counsellor, Head of Politics & Press, British High Commission in India

3 Museums and Soft Power: Panel Discussion

Ngaire Blankenberg
Cultural Consultant and Co-Editor ‘Cities, Museums and Soft power’

Deepika Ahlawat
Museum Curator and Art Consultant

Nalina Gopal
Curator at India Heritage Centre


Indian Performing Arts as Soft Power:

Panel Discussion

Jonathan Hollander
Director, Battery Dance

Mira Kaushik
Director, Akademi London

Sharon Wezer
Director, Indian Dance Europe


Indian Art, Craft and Design as Soft Power:

Panel Discussion

Rahul Goswami
UNESCO expert on intangible cultural heritage in the Asia-Pacific region

Shelly Jyoti
Visual Artist and Independent Curator

Valerie Wilson
Author and Founder Moti Clothing Company

Robert Borden
Vice President of Enrolment, California Institute of the Arts

Gaia Franchetti
Owner, IndoRoman


Yoga as India’s Soft Power:

Panel Discussion

Suhag Shukla
Executive Director, Hindu American Foundation

Nouf Marwaai
Padma Shri awardee and Yoga Practitioner

Gopi Kallayil
Chief Evangelist, Brand Marketing


Cinema’s role in Creating Soft Power:


Bharat Bala
Film Director, Producer and Screenwriter

  III. DAY 3

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Ayurveda as India’s Soft Power:

Panel Discussion

Vasant Lad
Director, Ayurvedic Institute, Albuquerque

Abhishek Joshi
Ayurveda doctor at Universitas Hindu Indonesia

Rajiv Vasudevan
Founder-CEO, AyurVAID Hospitals and Chairman CII Core Group on Ayurveda

Ramkumar Kutty
Co-Founder, Punarnava Ayurveda Coimbatore


Indian Soft Power through Education:

Panel Discussion


Tatiana Shaumyan
Head, Centre for Indian Studies, Institute of Oriental Studies, Moscow


Shaunaka Rishi Das
Director Oxford Center for Hindu Studies

Subhash Kak
Regents Professor, Oklahoma State University

Ramdas Lamb
Professor, Department of Religion, University of Hawaii

Come Carpentier De Gourdon
Convener, Editorial Board, World Affairs Journal


Tourism’s and Indian Soft Power:

Panel Discussion

Anuradha Goyal
Author, Traveller and Founder, IndiTales

Nick Booker
Co-founder, IndoGenius

Manish Sinha
Founder, Unhotel


Indian Spirituality and Soft Power:

Panel Discussion

Dena Merriam
Author and Founder, Global Peace Initiative of Women

Christopher Quilkey
Member of Editorial Board, Mountain Path

Maria Wirth


Christopher Quilkey
Member of Editorial Board, Mountain Path

Banagala Thero
President, Sri Lanka Mahabodhi Society


Indian Language and Literature as Soft Power

Makarand Paranjape
Director, Indian Institute of Advanced Studies, Shimla

Paul Palmarozza
Director, Sanskrit at St James

Robert Arnett

Chirapat Prapandvidya
Professor and Head of Department of Sanskrit Studies, Silpakorn University

Paramacharya Sadasivanathaswami

Editor in Chief, Hinduism Today

Oscar Pujol
Director, Instituto Cervantes Spanish Cultural Center