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About SPARC

Butterfly. Photo by: ISTOCKPHOTO/JERIDUSoft Power at Macquarie University

Over the last three years, the work of Macquarie University's Soft Power Research Group has caught the attention of leading public diplomacy researchers and practitioners from around the world.

Confidence in Macquarie University's ability to play a greater role in contributing to the soft power and public diplomacy debate was reflected in a generous $1m anonymous philanthropic gift in 2011.

Against a backdrop of accelerating academic and government interest in public diplomacy and soft power, this funding has provided an excellent pathway to establish the Macquarie University Soft Power Advocacy and Research Centre (SPARC). SPARC was inaugurated on 17 April 2012 by Professor Joseph Nye, a distinguished Harvard professor. (see video)

SPARC - Soft Power Video

Aims of SPARC

  • Pursue a broad agenda of research and analysis to develop new theories and debate around models for soft power and public diplomacy.
  • Develop affiliations and strategic partnerships with key national and international organisations spanning the public and private sector, government agencies and select academic institutions.
  • Develop and collaborate on cooperative projects and ventures related to soft power and public diplomacy between Australia, China and India (and communities from within the Chinese and Indian diasporas) that attain knowledge exchange, education and cultural understanding.

Map of AsiaOutreach within the Asia Pacific Region

As the world's largest developing nations, the expanding cooperative relationship between China and India has never been more important.

Through SPARC, Australia can help play a significant role in actively advocating and nurturing soft power initiatives between our three countries, encouraging and implementing cooperative projects between diasporic communities.

Projects under the SPARC aegis will encompass the following types of engagement - Diasporic; Research; Education; Arts and Culture; and Media - spelling DREAM. These projects will have the intention of contributing positively to the way in which the different parties see each other.

Multi-Disciplinary Focus

Although SPARC will be based in the Faculty of Arts, it is trans-faculty in nature. The disciplines represented in the original Soft Power Research Group include Environment and Geography; Media and International Communication; Law; Museum Studies; Politics & International Relations and Sociology.

The Centre will also work closely with practitioners associated with International and Strategy, Institutional Advancement and Marketing at Macquarie University, and support and enhance Macquarie University's outreach initiatives, including Macquarie International Office; PACE; The Great India Project; the Policing Intelligence and Counter Terrorism (PICT) Global Leadership Program; the Centre for Research in Social Inclusion; and the University's Museums in India project.