Joseph Nye to discuss America’s global role at Steamboat seminar |

Joseph Nye to discuss America’s global role at Steamboat seminar

Political science guru is last Seminars at Steamboat speaker this season

Joseph Nye

— The balance between “hard” and “soft” power has been the focus of Joseph Nye’s career. The creator of the idea of soft power, favoring diplomacy instead of harder tactics such as military strength, Nye has earned followers among the upper echelons of academia and politics for years. His more recent theory of “smart power,” a combination of hard and soft powers, has had similar impact as the United States continues wars abroad.

As the final speaker in the Seminars at Steamboat series, Nye will speak about “Smart Power: America’s Global Position.” Nye said the speech would be a wide-ranging discussion of “America’s role in the world, questions of where we stand, are we in decline, what does this power mean and how do we use it to compete with China and so forth.”

Although he’s the author of several influential books and magazine articles about weighty topics, Nye said audience members don’t need to do any advance reading for the seminar.

“I think it’s really going to be neat to have ordinary citizens who want to understand what’s going on in the world,” he said.

Nye, a Harvard professor and former dean of Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, has played a role advising presidential administrations and periodically advises President Barack Obama’s administration. He said this is an important time for leaders to understand how to balance political strategies.

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“Great leaders know how to combine soft and hard power to exercise smart power, through which they generate trust and mobilize people around forward-looking agendas,” he said in a news release announcing his speech. “If the U.S. leadership can pull that off, this century will be one in which America still has a major role to play.”

The event is free, but a new policy requires that attendees get tickets for admission. No standing room will be allowed. Tickets will be available starting at 3:30 p.m. Thursday at the Strings box office, at the Strings Pavilion. The seminar will start at 5 p.m. at the pavilion.

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