The emergence of the United Arab Emirates as a global soft power: current strategies and future challenges

Osman Antwi-Boateng, Amira Ali Alhashmi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Using the Soft Power 30 Index, this research focusses on assessing the soft power status of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) by examining the elements of its soft power and potential challenges it may face in the future. This study conducts in-depth interviews with foreign diplomats and academics based in the UAE and Emirati diplomats and academics. These data are supplemented with primary and secondary data from governmental and international agencies as well as media sources. The UAE’s case demonstrates that soft power can be consciously developed by any country regardless of its regime type, size, location, and religious or racial background by getting its domestic affairs in order. A country’s domestic success in governance, enterprise, culture, education and digital infrastructure leads to global attraction, which ultimately enhances the image of a country such as the UAE. It eventually creates opportunities for more global partnerships and engagements in the areas of multilateralism, philanthropy, peacebuilding, conflict resolution and event hosting. However, these efforts face the following challenges: the threat of widely diffused actions among public and private actors, the financial cost of soft power engagement and projections, the UAE’s lack of a global media platform for shaping global agendas and its increasing use of hard power in response to geopolitical threats which can negatively affect its image.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)208-227
Number of pages20
JournalEconomic and Political Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Abraham Accords
  • United Arab Emirates
  • nation branding
  • public diplomacy
  • soft power

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Political Science and International Relations


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