BA Eng Lit, MSc Politics, DipHG

Advocate / writer

Indra Adnan has been writing consistently about soft power, public diplomacy and the power of attraction and relationship in international relations for over a decade, in major UK and US publications.

For more email Indra Adnan

New book chapter: Indra Adnan, “The Changing Role of Soft Power”, p194-5, in The Era of Global Transition: Crises and Opportunities in the New World, edited by Robert W. Davies (Palgrove Macmillan, 2012)


Indra’s regular columns in the Huff Post

End of Which Era?

Posted April 22, 2013 | 3:00 PM

After a week of media battles over Her legacy, BBC Newsnight opted to report Margaret Thatcher’s funeral in an unusually useful way…

Global Governance Gets a New Image

Posted February 21, 2013 | 4:22 PM

I suspect it was no accident that Simon Anholt’s masterclass was held on the 28th floor of Millbank Tower — one of the higher points in London (though, not yet the Shard). Instantly we were breathing the rarefied air of the global consultant, able to grasp distance as an illusion…

Re-framing Britain

Posted August 9, 2012 | 12:20 PM

Against all my own expectations, the Olympic Games have emerged like unexpected blossom on a tree that only flowers erratically. When was the last time GB could stand so proudly tall? I’m reminded of the post war years when the response to the end of WW2 was to implement the…

Who’s got the X-Factor on the Global Stage?

Posted October 20, 2011 | 8:51 AM

Against all previous form, I took part in a round of the X Factor this week. It was the familiar mix of competing styles and contingent emotion, followed by measures of first kind then merciless appraisal. My group didn’t win: our blend of British “existential angst” with bold Brazilian overtones…

WikiLeaks and the Disconnectivity of the Web

Posted December 10, 2010 | 8:50 AM

I am ambivalent about WikiLeaks. While I go with the undisputed righteousness and emotional pull of principles like freedom of speech, I feel I am being hoodwinked and dragged into a fight that is not my own.

In an Era of Soft Power, a Way Forward for Women

Posted March 8, 2010 | 8:20 AM

Is there a connection between the lack of soft power in public life and the lack of women in top leadership positions? Are women inherently more capable of soft power than men? With soft power increasingly becoming the ‘weapon of choice’ for international as well as…

Living In The Possibility-Based Global Community

Posted April 8, 2009 | 11:26 AM

Barack and Michelle Obama are home after a breathtaking tour which took in the G20 summit, the Nato gathering, a symbolic meeting with the Islamic world in Turkey and an unscheduled popping in to see the troops in Iraq since they were en route.

Is Hillary Soft Enough to be Smart?

Posted February 11, 2009 | 10:22 AM

Hillary Clinton’s forthcoming trip to Asia will be the first test of ‘smart power’ — America’s new comprehensive tool box for international relations. For those who don’t keep up with the jargon, smart power is a balance between what Joseph Nye termed ‘soft power’ (getting results without the use…

It’s not American Leadership the World Wants, it’s American Companionship

Posted January 18, 2009 | 7:42 PM

London, UK. With less than 24 hours to go before the inauguration, I’m somewhat lost in the Presidential foreplay. From seductive portrait exhibitions of his new eclectic team of advisers to celebrity videos calling us to community action on his behalf.

Soft Power is Obama’s Greatest Strength

Posted November 13, 2008 | 8:35 AM

The recent commemorations of the First World War conjured up some wishful thinking for me. Taking in pictures of soldiers in black and white, watching grainy footage of clunky low tech tanks, it was easy to imagine that war was somehow part of the 20th century…


Indra’s Guardian columns

After gender neutrality

2 Apr 2008: Indra Adnan: Women are often berated for their ‘feminine thinking’, but can soft power qualities change the political game? 115 comments

A global roar

2 Oct 2007: Indra Adnan: Today is the first International Day of Non-Violence and it’s time to honour the strength and past and future triumphs of that belief. 8 comments

Friendship by numbers

27 Aug 2007: Indra Adnan: Social networking has turned relationships that were easy to distinguish into one amorphous web. 32 comments

Softening up

19 Jul 2007: Indra Adnan: While Douglas Alexander’s call for the US to use ‘soft power’ in international diplomacy will be widely welcomed, some may be wondering how it’s done. 9 comments

Better than Live 8

10 Jul 2007: Indra Adnan: Bob Geldof’s anti-poverty drive led nowhere but for all its faults, Live Earth showed that we the people can effect change. 32 comments

A lighter touch

12 Apr 2007: Indra Adnan: By using soft power over hard power do we become weaker or stronger? It’s a question of whether the ‘we’ is Britain, or a more global polity.6 comments

Artful politics

1 Mar 2007: Indra Adnan: A commitment to cultural diplomacy could open British politics up to the possibility of change. 11 comments

Mother knows best

22 Feb 2007: Indra Adnan: Motherly wisdom – the knowledge that is accrued from raising children – should not be confined to the home. 2 comments

A new, non-violent world order

2 Feb 2007: Indra Adnan: Gandhi’s 100-year-old resistance movement could provide a model for a new approach to international relations. 13 comments

Men, step aside: tackling terrorism is women’s work

27 Jul 2006: Indra Adnan: If persuasion, attraction and understanding are the new arts of power, then the future looks profoundly female. 24 comments

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