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Diplomatic Relations

Question for Foreign and Commonwealth Office

UIN HL1480, tabled on 23 July 2014

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what new initiatives they are taking to maximise the use of soft power in their international diplomacy.

Answered on

11 August 2014

The Government has taken a number of recent initiatives to maximise Britain’s soft power, as detailed in our response to the House of Lords Select Committee on Soft Power and the UK's Influence Report of session 2013-14 (Command Paper Cm 8879 of June 2014).

We have increased the 2015-16 budget for the Chevening Scholarship Programme from £18.24m to £45m and trebled the number of places for applicants in developing countries. We are supporting the development of the Chevening Alumni Alliance, and my Rt Hon Friend the Member for East Devon (Mr Swire) held an event at Chevening on 9 July to celebrate the programme’s thirtieth anniversary, with some of its best known alumni.

We have increased our funding for the GREAT Britain campaign for 2014-15 from £30m to £46.5m, with the aim of generating a further £1 billion of economic benefits for the UK. Already the GREAT Britain campaign has delivered an audited economic return of £580m to date.

We hosted the first Girl Summit with UNICEF on 22 July, aimed at mobilising domestic and international efforts to end female genital mutilation and child, early and forced marriage. This involved 650 participants from 50 countries. The former Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right Hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), also co-chaired the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict in June, involving 1,700 delegates and 129 country delegations.