Cultural Diplomacy

Cultural Diplomacy

The impact of Culture on the conduct of modern diplomacy is unquestionable. Culture is a powerful instrument in the hands of diplomats to pursue National interest in an unintrusive, intelligent, convincing and cost-effective manner. Culture is utilized actively in bilateral and multilateral diplomacy to foster intercultural understanding and meaningful dialogue between nations. However, it is also a tool of conflict resolution and comes under the domain of Public diplomacy.

One of the most successful initiatives which embodies the principles of effective Public diplomacy is the own European Union. In the 1950s, the original purpose of the European Coal and Steel Community was to tie the economies of Europe together so much that war would be impossible. The European Union has achieved both, this goal and the extra benefit of catalysing greater international understanding as European countries did more business together and the ties among member states' citizens increased.

A good architect of cultural diplomacy has his own understanding of the world Culture and Civilization. Culture is the tool which diplomats and peoples representatives, at large, should understand and apply in their day to day dealings. In the age of globalization, nations should realize that Culture is more needed today and it has to play more positive role. Nations and Individuals are recognized by their cultures and deeds and not alone. Studies of Culture should be taken up in a more broader context as it is through this how peoples participation in civic and political life is refined and reflected.

Throughout its history, Culture has become into a cornerstone of some Member States' diplomacy: since the monarchies where the promotion of arts and letters was used to illustrate the magnitude of a powerful and absolute kingdom until the second half of the twentieth century, where Culture offered the seeds of an alternative diplomacy, first in a bipolar world and after in a multipolar one, a humanist civilization based on freedom of expression and equal rights which are, as well, fundamental values of the European Union.

In contrast to hard power, that of the army in short, soft power uses a more subtle policy (softer) to influence the other. The effect is that a country A influences on B's reality, on a whole set of elements that make A and its practices seem less foreign to B, the latter having finally adopted the same, or at least a part of these practices.

This influence goes through different public policies such as cultural policy and, for example, hosting major global events (Olympic Games, World Cup, World Expo). Empowerment's perception by the world is more imposed through the organization of those major events in succession whereas the elements of traditional hard power mark less to public opinion. Cultural diplomacy plays a major role in soft power which understands the need to better adapt to new times, understands that International relations mean less to be in confrontation and elimination of the opponent's pawn, but rather turn it back subtly.

However, since the entry into the third millennium and the acceleration of a globalized world subject to the trading rules and still influenced by the last financial crisis, we are witnessing to an ideological and budgetary pauperization of International cultural policies at National level which endangers European cultural networks abroad but also sends negative signals in commercial exchanges. Budget cuts in Culture in Member States induces artists to seek funding from private entities currently affected also by the recent financial crisis setting to the group of artists in a difficult situation.

In one hand, linked to the intimate structure of the European Union, Fundamental Rights can become into landmark for European artists and citizens worldwide. On the other hand. the EU could enrich itself by facilitating the arrival and reception of non-European artists who carry with them the essences of other cultures. The conditions of entry and residence of artists in the European territory depends on the goodwill and discretionary rights of diplomatic services.

The promotion of European languages should be a prime target and European external cultural action should not rule out the artistic expressions that choose a language other than the most widespread. In the case of music, for example, the European groups performing in English, French or Spanish benefit from additional international support while the rest is often relegated outside of major broadcast circuits. At the same time, the most widespread European languages may favor by its own nature with greater intensity and speed the transmission of elements of European Culture.

Thanks to new digital media, artists evolve within a globalized world where they learn new ways of thinking, feeling and acting beyond boundaries and beyond their native languages within the framework of a transnational dimension on cultural action. The strict separation between National and European cultural policy has no place today. Indeed, this new transnational and diplomatic dimension of Culture requires the support of the European Union via institutions as the European External Action Service.

The European Union must embody the European dream, the Founding Fathers' dream, the values that are intrinsic and can inspire to Youth and artists all around the world.

Tag(s) : #Culture, #Foreign Affairs