Hard Vs. Soft Power

Foreign Policy Strategies in Contemporary International Relations

(Cambridge University, UK; June 23rd - 26th, 2010)

Simon Berry

Head of the Third Sector Team, Defra; Founder and Director of ColaLife

Simon Berry is Head of the Third Sector Team at Department for Environmental, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and Founder and Director of ColaLife, an initiative which aims to use Coca Cola’s distribution channels to deliver essential medicines to communities in need.

During his time with ODA and Defra, Simon worked in the Caribbean, South America and Africa. He had the initial idea for the ColaLife ‘pod’ in 1988 whilst working in Zambia on climate change initiatives. The idea only became a reality in 2008, however, when Berry posted a blog about his idea on Radio 4’s iPM website – the blog was picked up by Radio 4 and the subsequent publicity eventually came to the attention of Coca Cola, who are now in the process of developing the first ColaLight pods.

Simon began his career by working with ODA, now DfiD, as a Technical Co-Operation Officer from 1978 -1989. Among his many achievements, he was Founder and Director of the Warwickshire Rural Enterprise Network – an organisation that helps to maintain Warwickshire’s rural network. Similarly, the Community Broadband Network, and Ruralnet UK, both of which he was instrumental in founding, aim to extend broadband to rural British communities. More recently, his ColaLife initiative saw him win the Compact Award for Excellence at the National Level in 2009 and be a national finalist for the New Statesman's New Media Awards in 2007.