Wednesday, June 18, 2008

China lacks "soft power"

The other day i received this interesting report which is definitely worth checking out if you are interested in Asia in general and China in particular:

"New Report Reveals China Lags Behind U.S. in Using Non-Military “Soft Power” to Gain Influence in Asia
The Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the East Asia Institute (EAI) released a major new report, Soft Power in Asia 2008. The report provides an eye-opening look at how China, just months before it is set to take the world’s center stage during the 2008 Summer Olympics, still ranks below the United States as a multifaceted power in the opinion of its Asian neighbors.
The report, which is based on public opinion survey in five East and Southeast Asian countries and the United States, reveals that perceptions of China’s soft power -- the ability to wield influence by indirect, non-military means -- generally trail those of the United States and Japan. These perceptions persist despite China’s strong economic relationships in Asia, and around the world, and its consistent and concerted efforts to leverage the Olympic Games to bolster its public image.

The Chicago Council and EAI conducted more than 6,000 interviews in China, Vietnam, South Korea, Indonesia, Japan, and the United States in January and February 2008 before the unrest in Tibet and the Sichuan earthquake. The survey asked between forty and sixty questions in order to gauge how citizens of these five Asian nations and the United States view each country’s popular culture, commercial prowess and brands, intellectual influence and appeal, universities, diplomatic reputations, different political systems, and more.

The full report of survey findings can be downloaded online at

Thursday, April 10, 2008

WHAT WOMEN WANT? - Ladies, please cast your vote!

My firend is running an international poll that may be of interest to some of you, especially LADIES!

Capucines Boulevard international art gallery launched an international art poll on April 9, 2008 called "WHAT WOMEN WANT?" and it will run 2 weeks. We truly believe that all women are artistic and more often than not they want to receive something special as a token of attention and appreciation, something besides the trite and commonplace gifts like a purse, perfume or a box of chocolates. We believe they deserve something unique and beautiful - an original work of art.

From Leonardo da Vinci to Salvador Dali women inspired the creation of most outstanding works of art. And even if you think of a landscape we believe it is also influenced by a feminine energy, after all, Mother Earth is a LADY :-) It's time they received something back.To celebrate the up-coming Mother's Day and women everywhere we would like to ask you, dear, ladies, what DO YOU WANT?

You have to go to and choose from various artistic forms and genres. It will take you less than a minute. You will also be able to see how other ladies around the world voted.

Thank you for your participation!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

A seminar for job seekers

If you are an international living in Chicagoland (whether a professional or a graduating students) and have a very slight idea on how to optimize your job (especially if you have not yet realised that 70% of all job in the U.S. are found through networking according to the Federal Bureau of Statistics) you are very encouraged to attend my seminar for job seekers that I am organizing on March 10, 2008.

You will be able to learn all the important tools and techniques, the HOWs and the WHEREs of networking specifically tailored for Chicago market. All participants will get a FREE copy of my Chicagoland guide "The Legal Alien's Guide. Building a Career and Life in Chicago, Ilinois" For more information and to register, please, visit

Monday, February 11, 2008

My book signing event


I cordially invite everybody to my first book signing event!

WHEN: MARCH 21, 2008, 7 – 9 pm
WHAT: Book signing “The Legal Alien’s Guide. Building a Career and Life in Chicago, Illinois” Meet the author, ask questions about career and small business related issues, get your signed copy of the comprehensive Chicagoland networking guide.
WHERE: Barnes & Noble, 659 W. Diversey Parkaway, Chicago, IL 60614

I will be very happy to see everybody!

Sunday, February 03, 2008

International Experiences

As I mentioned a couple of months ago I have recently published a book about my experience of relocating to USA which I believe will be helpful to many people as a guidebook to building a career and life in this country. You can read more about my book at

This story (which consists of 3 short stories actually) is my "international expereince" with trying to promote my book with various cultures.

1. THE AMERICAN STORY. I often promote my book at various business networking events and there is this one business networking group that I really liked and that I have been a member of for 2 years. Recently the group leader changed and now instead of us paying for whatever everyone eats/drinks during the lunch meeting as it used to be everyone has to pay a flat fee whether one eats or not. I raised a question about it because I have a baby who is breastfeeding and has serious colic so I am very selective about what I eat (I don't eat outside home for now) but I was told I must pay as everybody else because that's the new rule or I should go to a "mommy & baby" netowrking group instead. I was totally appauled by the approach (people totally don't understand the concept of diersity and inclusiveness): they may be vegans in the group, jews who eats only a Kosher food or muslims who don't eat when it's Ramadan... And many other specific situation which are totally discarded by the group leadership. And this is a typical American approach in business too: "we either do it our way or we don't do it at all". No further comments.

2. THE RUSSIAN STORY. I was doing a networking presentation at one of the networking groups where I also sold my books at the end of the event. I Russian woman came to me for advice and she also wanted to buy the book but she didn't have cash with her. She promised to send me a check by mail so I gave her the book. Guess what? I never got the money. Some time after that I decided to hire a PR company to help me promote my book and I wrote my parents about it. Do you know what was their first reaction? - "Don't! People will take your money and run away with it!" Having lived abroad for 9 years now I already forgot that this in fact a common thing in Russia. Very often you cannot trust people you do business with. If in Europe and USA such occurances are more of an exception from the rule, in Russia it's more of a norm, unfortunately... Be vigilant!

3. THE ASIAN STORY. A week ago I was promoting my book at the Asian American Gala. All attandees coulb be devided into 2 main ethnic groups Indian-Pakistani and Chicnese-Korean-Japanese. The former expressed a keen interest in my book, they were very communicative, asked a lot of questions and some of them bought the book because indeed it is designed to help all the immigrants. The latter behaved in a strtange way: they seemed to be intrigued by the look of the book but when I asked them if they wanted to learn more about it they got confused and left the booth. I really cannot explain this phenomenon. Either they were shy or not confident in their knowledge of English or something else. It looked like they were interested but didn't dare to ask for more information, let alone buy the book. May be I was doing something wrong... I wish I could understand my customers better so if anyone has an insight, please share it with me!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Art and Politics

It is amazing how international relations (i.e. relations between governments) influence all areas of everyday life, even art on the international arena.

One of my favorite blogs, International Art blog, has recently published a post about the scandal around the potential exhibition of treasures from Russian museums in UK. Quite an amazing story which also generated an interesting discussion on the blog. Even if you are not into arts this is an interesting reading and something to reflect upon:

Saturday, January 05, 2008


There are a lot of travel site out there but I find very fiew of them special. I recently came across a site, a travel directory, that I really like -

The owners not only provide general information (hotels, insurance, air travel, etc.) you can find on other site but also try to attract contributors from all over the world to add to the site. They have a blog directory with blogs from all over the globe, forums for each specific country. The site is also developing a travel photo gallery too.

I also like their section on Special Travel ( which includes very unique categories such as:
Native American
Working Holidays

and many others.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Country Insights

Usually good "countries of the world" are put together by Americans. There are loads of educational resources from CIA Factbook to more detailed specific information per country. That's why I was very surprised to find out a great CANADIAN website with tons of useful information (not that the Canadians are not capable of doing such a thing but because U.S. websites always somehow dominate search engine results...)

Country Insights, , is a Canadian government site that has fast facts, profiles, and useful links for countries worldwide. I also like that some profiles have cultural dos and don'ts which tell you the local attitudes and customs about dress, conversation, displaying emotion, punctuality, resolving workplace conflicts, religion, and communication styles, so you can make the best impression when you go there.