How Pakistan can improve its positive image? Nation Brandishing isn’t a go-to task. It requires elbow grease to shape the world’s impressions about your country. Seems scary? Don’t be! Pakistan is proactively uplifting its positive image by the hue of cultural diplomacy. Although these steps look trivial, for sure they give us a road map for embedding a soft image of Pakistan.
Cultural Diplomacy as a building block of soft power is spelled internationally by mediums like the education system which brought foreign students, exchange programs, media, and popular culture, art exhibitions, unmasking the cores of civilization, and whatnot. To capitalize on Pakistan’s reputation overseas, we’ll have to strategize along these lines of mediums.
Attaining ‘wish image’ as a soft power!
A discourse whirling in the town is: how to reflect Pakistan’s real image? But why do international players think the way they do? Are they familiar with our people or culture? Do they have poor information and knowledge? What are their areas of misunderstanding and its eventual causes?
Then yes, the outside world doesn’t know much about Pakistan’s positives and has fixed some patchy dopes in their mind. They subscribe to a concrete opinion that we have hostility, prejudice, apathy, ignorance, etc. To counter these detractors our evangelists, need to spill the beans by doing specific practices. For this, Pakistan will have to triumph the art of winning hearts and minds globally to magnify its soft power as a ‘brand’ to attract others.
Cultural diplomacy is the way out! How?
Well, when diversified origins of people interact with each other they’ll get an acquaintance with each other cultures and societies. More so, they’ll comprehend each other literature, arts in its broad-spectrum, customs/tradition, history, folk tales, or even gesticulations. Because it is a two-way process of connection which renovates a country’s positive image. That’s why Pakistan should use this underutilized tool to strengthen its bridge with other states.
Let’s bite the bullet then!
Exchange programs and Internships, both worth it!
Organizing Cultural Exchange Programs to envisage soft skills invariance. For instance, shows vigilance to the host country’s people, try to learn, and speak their languages, and exchange ideas and opinions about your country to the host one.
Parallel to this, Student Exchange Program is also a good alternative. This semantic approach of the YES program, Upgrade, Fulbright, and Chevening gather students from all over the world. In this acculturation, Pakistan can hit two birds with one stone. First when it introduces the positive aspects to foreign students and then the same students become ambassadors of Pakistan in their respective states. This exemplifies by NUST Internship Program for International Students which boosts cultural diplomacy to the next level.
Exercise of cultural artifacts in foreign commemoration.
Embassies of Pakistan should manifest more cultural festivals and events to promote Urdu, our Sufi culture, and literature. These cultural facets will elevate the soft image of Pakistan.
Such as holding a seminar in Rome’s attractive Capitolino Museum about Pakistani Literature Day where books of two Italian writers were discussed on Abdul Satter Edhi and Allama Iqbal. Or a cultural week in Beijing to illustrate the Gandhara civilization’s Buddhist statues (sleeping Buddha) in the National Museum of China.
Last but not the least, in World Art Dubai Batool Jafri, did breath-taking artwork by using couplets of gigantic Urdu poet Mirza Ghalib. And Salman Toor’s artistry of queer men of South Asian descent changes the world’s perception about Pakistan. Such events must transpire often to delineate the soft image of Pakistan.
What about our vibrant cinematography and mainstream media?
Films work as a distinctive medium that inspires the outside world about Pakistan, builds new narratives, and creates a mutual feeling of closeness. This platform is a huge plus for connecting people on each side of the lens. Therefore, ISPR should make more films on improving Pakistan’s image abroad rather than putting ahead the stance of military image. Lala Turki, a recent project based on the khilafat movement, under the flagship of Pakistan and Turkey is on its way to set fire.
Talking about films our mainstream media is on the same road. Hence, PTV World could improve its international reach by dubbing local dramas in foreign languages and then streaming them on podiums like Netflix. With this government has launched a separate channel ‘Discover Pakistan’ to promote insights into the country.
Taping our social media in this investment to bring forth a clear vision ahead. This could be done by the vlogs, blogs, tweets, and more of foreigners. Be it, Eva, from Poland, or Mark from the United States, they not just limn Pakistan’s scenic beauty but its gracious culture and people.
Pro-Peace gesture, a toolkit
The opening of the Kartarpur corridor is for the Sikh community to have intrinsic worth as it not just presents a visa-free initiative for the Sikh community for cross-border pilgrimages but enhances the soft image of Pakistan. This is a well-articulated cultural diplomacy effort by Pakistan! Preservation of archaeological sites in Swat, Jhelum, and Gandhara becomes a gateway of cultural exchange. This heritage will help Pakistan to improvise its image overall.
So, by doing such efforts we can contribute to promoting Pakistan’s positive image.
Zunaira Ali is the Freelance writer. She is working at STUDENTINN SOLUTIONS as Intern Content Writer.