Opening of the BRICS International School: About public diplomacy and soft power

28 August 2019

The International BRICS School has opened in Moscow – the only program in Russia aimed at training experts in conducting studies of that association. The organizers of the school are the National Committee on BRICS Research and the Alexander Gorchakov Public Diplomacy Fund with the support of the Russkiy Mir Foundation.

Participants of the school are young diplomats, Bachelor’s and Master’s students, post-graduates, journalists from Russia, Brazil, India, China, South Africa and the CIS states, ages 18-35. The agenda includes a series of lectures by Russian and foreign experts on the topics of BRICS, master classes on negotiations and meetings with representatives of field-specific ministries and agencies.

On the first day of the event, the participants visited the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia, where they had a meeting with Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov dedicated to the role of BRICS in the world. Sergey Ryabkov emphasized that BRICS was a unique association of countries with different foreign policies, ideologies, cultures, but at the same time coming out in a united front on the issues of mutual interest. According to the deputy minister, Russia sees the association as an important element of development of the multipolar world. Sergey Ryabkov answered questions of the participants about the future role of BRICS, conditions of the new industrial revolution and global ecological problems.

The event continued at the premises of the Gorchakov Fund. Deputy Executive Director of the Fund Roman Grishenin: “For some time now we have been providing support to the BRICS School, which demonstrates importance and uniqueness of that platform. I would like to thank the participants for their interest and invite them to attend similar events, which are organized, among others, by the Gorchakov Fund”.

Chairman of the Management Board of the National Committee on BRICS Research Vyacheslav Nikonov spoke to the attendees. “BRICS does not have sufficient coverage in the media space. However, we have noticed that more and more people are interested in cooperation and they learn more about the BRICS countries-partners, - mentioned Vyacheslav Nikonov. – Cooperation within that project is becoming an important factor in global politics and economy”. Vyacheslav Nikonov also stressed importance of youth cooperation within BRICS.

A discussion about strategies of implementation of the “soft power” of the BRICS states was held on the platform of the Gorchakov Fund.

“Despite the rich cultural heritage, the BRICS states have certain characteristics, which limit their opportunities for implementation of the soft power, – Professor of St. Petersburg State University, Professor of the Russian Academy of Sciences Yana Leksyutina told the participants. – However, when acting as a BRICS group, individual unfavorable characteristics of a certain country get pushed into the background giving place to the aggregated potential of the soft power”. The expert emphasized that the BRICS states were promoting a model of international relations with such characteristics as peaceful coexistence of different civilizations and religions, multilateralization, democratization of international relations, maintaining principles of sovereign equality of countries, noninterference into internal affairs, international law, equal and integrated security.”

According to Pyotr Yakovlev, Director of Ibero-America Studies Center of the Institute of Latin American Studies RAS, “the BRICS states, including Brazil, are turning into an independent growth pole in the developing new polycentric world order. This trend is based on the increasing trade-economic and military-strategic power of the BRICS members, above, all, China, India and Russia. However, the “soft power” and public diplomacy are playing more and more important role. Exactly those instruments allow BRICS to advance their approaches on the international arena in complicated geopolitical environment”. The expert discussed in detail a strategy of the “soft power” of Brazil and told how the country was implementing the “soft potential” under conditions of dramatic national events of the past years.