Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Badreya Al Jenaibi
In the modern world, soft power is a significant concept referring to nations’ ability to influence others without the need to use force or threats. Developed nations have made a great effort to enhance their soft power practices in order to utilize this power to influence fellow nations. The United Arab Emirates’ soft power is still considered a relatively new area of practical academic discipline. Nonetheless, the UAE's soft power practices remain essential in determining its position on the global scale. To develop a soft-power strategy, objectives and needs must be outlined. To address these objectives and needs, mixed-method research was conducted to (1) determine the UAE’s citizens’ perception of the effect of soft-power practices (humanitarian aid, economic diplomacy, cultural diplomacy, academic diplomacy) and media framing on international relations, and (2) explore the best soft-power practices to improve the UAE’s image internationally from the point of view of UAE’s diplomats and citizens. First, a quantitative survey of 300 citizens stratified from seven Emirates from the UAE was administered online using SurveyMonkey. Data analysis for the main hypothesis was tested using the Spearman’s Rho correlation and indicated that citizens perceived that a higher level of soft power practices will promote the UAE internationally and that media framing increases the level of soft power. However, the relationship between cultural diplomacy and international relations, as well as framing and cultural diplomacy, were higher than the other factors examined. At the end of the survey, respondents were asked to suggest the best soft power policies to strengthen the UAE's image internationally. The responses were analyzed thematically using ATLAS.ti. The following factors were ranked based on effectiveness: (1) cultural diplomacy, (2) media mediation effect, (3) foreign diplomacy, (4) nation branding, (5) economic diplomacy, (6) educational diplomacy, (7) humanitarian aids, and (8) sports diplomacy were explored using a thematic analysis of citizens' point of view. Second, a qualitative study was conducted through an interview with twenty diplomats to rate the generated factors. Applying thematic analysis using the ATLAS.ti, shows that all diplomats agreed that cultural diplomacy is one of the most effective forms of soft power, which confirms the citizens' point of view. The diplomats were also asked to rate the effectiveness of the eight factors of soft power extracted from the survey, of which the results show that all were rated as highly effective. However, among the eight factors, the foreign diplomacy initiatives were rated as most effective, and the media mediation factors were rated as least effective. In conclusion, the UAE must continuously measure its citizens’ perception to continuously stay informed about which areas require focus concerning its soft-power strategy.
Al Suwaidi, Ahmed Mohamed Saeed Jber, "THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES SOFT POWER IN THE INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS CONTEXT" (2021). Dissertations. 124.