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Valletta 2018 Soft Power Destinations Salon

Island fortress or soft power refuge?

How can we use soft power to stimulate the creative economy?

Collaborative sense making for museum professionals, city developers and tourism executives further developing Europe’s capital of culture 2018 into a soft power destination.

Malta is one of the world’s great island fortresses from ancient times to world war ii. Yet its very name means ‘refuge’. England is an island fortress that has provided refuge for many over recent centuries. As part of the celebration of Valletta’s year as European capital of culture, soft power destinations award and leading cultural destinations is hosting a workshop in London to explore how soft power is transforming both cities. ‘soft power’ is people’s ability to influence behaviour using persuasion, attraction and agenda setting (in opposition to force and finance). Soft power is created by people through networks and civil society organizations; while hard power and the fortress mentality is exercised by government and large corporations. The humanitarian refugee crisis centered in the Mediterranean poses issues for people in London and Valletta. And there are also the painful consequences of historical humanitarian crises. Our panel will explore how soft power strategies can help overcome these crises with a focus on the role of cities, museums, cultural tourism and cultural industries. 


  • Mark Sealy, PH. D., MBE, Director of Autograph ABP
  • Ali Hossaini, Ph. D., Research Rellow, department of informatics, King’s College London  
  • Caro Howell, Director, The Foundling Museum

Panel moderators

  • Florian Wupperfeld
  • Gail Dexter Lord
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