Building a global Wales after Brexit: international perspectives on small nations and soft power


Principality Stadium

Westgate Street, Cardiff, CF10 1NS

Cardiff, Wales, GB, CF10 1NS


The Welsh Government wants Wales to be an ‘ambitious, outward-looking country’, connected to the rest of the world through lasting economic, social and cultural links.

Wales has established tourism, trade and inward investment-led approaches to international engagement, but British Council Wales wants to see Wales further nurture the soft power capital of its world class educational, sporting, civil society, governance and creative assets.

This one-day international symposium will hear from leading international experts on soft power and explore the experiences of other small nations in harnessing their own soft power capital. The symposium aims to inspire leaders in Wales to think strategically about how Wales’ soft power can help all sectors, including education and culture, achieve their international ambitions. This will be ever more important after Brexit.

The symposium will focus on three key questions:

  • What are the value and benefits of international engagement for a small country?

  • What is Wales’ soft power capital?

  • How can Wales and other small countries nurture their soft power capital?



0930 Registration and networking


1025  Auriol Miller introduction and housekeeping


1030  Introduction to soft power and cultural relations: Sir Ciarán Devane, CEO, British Council


1040  Keynote speaker – Wales and the world: Rt Hon Carwyn Jones AM, First Minister, Wales


1100  Wales Soft Power Barometer 2018: Jonathan McClory, Creator and Author of The Soft Power 30, Portland Communications


1145  Panel 1: Why should small nations, regions and cities develop and deploy their soft power resources?


  • Moderator: John Dubber, Head of Policy & External Relations, British Council

  • Rebecca Matthews, CEO, Aarhus 2017 – European City of Culture

  • Michel Lafleur, Assistant Deputy Minister, Bilateral Affairs, Québec Ministry for International relations

  • Professor Gary Rawnsley, Professor of Public Diplomacy, Aberystwyth University

  • Professor JP Singh, Professor of Culture and Political Economy and Director, Centre for Cultural Relations, University of Edinburgh


1245  Lunch


1345  Panel 2: What is Wales’ soft power capital?


  • Moderator: Carole Green, Brexit Correspondent, ITV Cymru Wales

  • Sophie Howe, Future Generations Commissioner for Wales

  • Roger Lewis, Chairman, Cardiff Airport

  • Kully Thiarai, Artistic Director, National Theatre Wales

  • Professor Iwan Davies, Senior Pro-Vice Chancellor, Swansea University and Chair, Global Wales


1445  Short break


1500  Panel 3: How can small nations, regions and cities use their soft power capital to strengthen global engagement?


  • Moderator: Sara Pepper, Director of Creative Economy, Cardiff University

  • Geraint Talfan Davies, Former Chair, Welsh National Opera

  • Shona McCarthy, Chief Executive, Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society

  • Shain Shapiro, CEO, Sound Diplomacy

  • Nic van der Marliere, Representative of the Government of Flanders in London


1545  Closing remarks and launch of British Council series Imagining Wales’ Global Future: Jenny Scott, Director, British Council Wales


1600  Drinks, canapés and networking


1700 Event ends



The Institute of Welsh Affairs and the British Council are working in partnership to deliver this important discussion.

The British Council helps Welsh students, academics, teachers, artists, and others connect with people around the world. 

For more information on the work of the British Council, please visit their website.



Tickets for this event are free but limited; please book a ticket to ensure your seat at this event.