Gastrodiplomacy, how countries conduct cultural diplomacy through promotion of their cuisine, is an increasing popular strategy for public diplomacy and nation branding. The author examines gastrodiplomacy as a strategy of middle powers trying to create better brand recognition. Numerous middle powers have invested significant capital resources in culinary diplomacy projects to enhance global awareness of their respective cultures as a means to further nation brand status and soft power. This article outlines theoretical distinctions of gastrodiplomacy. It analyzes the strategy and tactics of a variety of gastrodiplomacy campaigns conducted by a range of middle-power states, and examines gastrodiplomacy in the context of people-to-people engagement.
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On history and theories of culinary diplomacy, see Sam Chapple-Sokol's excellent ‘Culinary Diplomacy: Breaking Bread to Win Hearts and Minds’, Hague Journal of Diplomacy (forthcoming). Also Roger Boyes (2010) and the new U.S. Department of State's Diplomatic Culinary Partnership Initiative, and Rockower (2012).
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North Korea has also been conducting elements of culinary diplomacy, with branches of state-owned restaurants in Thailand, Laos, Indonesia, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Nepal and the UAE. However, North Korea's efforts are excluded from the article as the efforts are perceived more as a means to raise hard currency than to gain soft power. For more on North Korean-run restaurants abroad, see: http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2011/06/north-korea-run-restaurants-spread-propaganda-and-kimchi-across-asia/239929/1/ and http://www.npr.org/2010/12/31/132491605/dubai-restaurant-offers-a-taste-of-north-korea.
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Rockower, P. Recipes for gastrodiplomacy. Place Brand Public Dipl 8, 235–246 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1057/pb.2012.17
- public diplomacy
- cultural diplomacy
- nation branding
- soft power