Let the recap from GW Today do the talking, regarding British Council chief executive Sir Ciarán Devane’s remarks at George Washington University:
Fully combatting ISIS, he said, must include efforts to connect with displaced Muslims and Arabs. Among other things, it disturbs the ability of ISIS to connect with them first. That’s a tactic that goes back to the British Council’s founding. Established in 1934 to counter Nazi propaganda, the organization had evolved by 1940 into one that aimed to create connections of knowledge and cultural understanding between nations—the building blocks of smart power.
“There was a pragmatism to that,” Mr. Devane said. “The first countries we operated in were Spain, Egypt and Turkey—all non-aligned countries. If they had a connection to us then they were less likely to believe this evil ideology and extremism from [the Nazis].”