Lords to quiz diplomats and experts on the benefits of Commonwealth and EU membership

11 October 2013

The House of Lords Committee on Soft Power and the UK’s Influence will, on Monday 14 October, take evidence from leading Foreign Office officials as well as Baroness Prashar, former President of the Royal Commonwealth Society, and HE Carlos dos Santos, Mozambique’s High Commissioner to the UK.  The session will start at 4.15pm in Committee Room 1 of the House of Lords.

itnesses how the UK can make better use of the Commonwealth to advance its interests abroad, and how the Commonwealth compares to other international organisations such as the UN and EU in bringing the UK influence overseas.

Then, at 5.30pm, the Committee will question experts and leaders from the Centre for European Reform, Open Europe, and the European Policy Forum about whether being a member of the EU brings foreign policy advantages to the UK.

On Tuesday 15 October, the Committee will also take evidence over video link from Professor Joseph Nye, former Dean of Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, who first coined the phrase ‘soft power’ in relation to international diplomacy. The session will start at 4pm in Committee Room 1.

Members will question Professor Nye about how the influence and role of soft power has changed since he originally wrote on the subject in 1990, and whether soft power needs to be backed up with hard force. A former Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs and Chairman of the National Intelligence Council in the US, Nye will be asked about how power and influence work for America and Britain in the post-Cold War world.