The photo of Navina Jafa, well known cultural heritage expert and dancer dancing with ambassadors in Orchha, Madhya Pradesh, brought alive the importance of public soft power diplomacy. Ambassador Chang Jae-bok of the Republic of Korea, one of the people with Jafa, produced a statement of soft power public diplomacy by creating a YOUTUBE on Naatu Naatu, showing him and his staff grooving to the iconic song. The Youtube video, which went viral and even caught Prime Minister Modi’s eye, is now a historical digital heritage celebrating 50 years of Indian-South Korean diplomatic relations.
Navina Jafa, a Fulbright Scholar from the Smithsonian Museum, Washington DC, in several talks, articles and projects on cross-cultural expressions, believes that projects on public diplomacy need to go beyond one-time events. In its most expansive frame, culture has and continues to play a significant role in geopolitical dynamics connecting countries and building trust, and many innovations can be created to assert sustainability in international relations through culture. But, in the meantime, the world rages and dances to the Naatu Naatu song written by Chandra Bose catchy, fast, racy tune, negotiating complex dance steps just like the essence of diplomacy itself.
About Navina Jafa
Dr Navina Jafa is a Cultural Heritage professional, well-known Kathak Classical Dancer, cultural historian, performing art scholar, cultural activist and curator of signature heritage tours. Awarded the Fulbright Scholar at the Smithsonian Museum, she has worked on projects for Cambridge University on Culture and Artificial Intelligence. Dr Jafa, as a Feldman Scholar, taught Culture and Sustainable Development at International School for Sustainable Development at Brandeis University, US.
Among several awards, the recent ones include – the Shakti Women’s Achiever by the ( TAAI) all India Tourism Agency For contributing to Heritage Tourism, Woman of Wonder – Vodafone Foundation, the CBSE Sahodaya Award for contributing to Multi-disciplinary Learning – Heritage Education in Schools, Heritage tourism and as a dancer.
She has also trained in art history and has worked extensively on Cultural Heritage Skill mapping Data Analysis and application in sustainable development programmes.Dr Jafa has worked with the Government of India, is on several boards of different organizations and is presently a consultant on culture, heritage, performing arts and tourism with the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India.