13. Challenges of cultural diplomacy

14 Feb

Challenges of cultural diplomacy

1. Under the development of so-called public diplomacy, “cultural diplomacy” now has the challenge of properly projecting the nation’s image, prestige and trust in the international arena. It is a valuable tool in the field of foreign affairs, whose purpose is increasingly explicitly articulated as having economic and business goals and also development cooperation. This new strategy of cultural diplomacy basically uses the cultural potential of the nation for the benefit of its external relations. , counting for that purpose, in the framework outlined, with the creation, development and promotion of a “country brand” project.

2. “Country brand” projects are aimed at creating a visual identity of the respective country using differential factors to place the country in a special position in the world in order to obtain, among other benefits, greater global recognition and a significant increase in its international respectability. Moreover they will attract more foreign investment, increased tourism, adding value to their exports and effectively disseminate the quality of the nation’s culture and sport.

3. In recent years, nations have made great efforts to enhance its image abroad by using experts to establish their “country brand” projects. In this regard, the “branding” (creating and promoting the “brand”) is usually a routine action when states project an international image consonant with achieving the objectives of its foreign policy

4. Public diplomacy is in essence a set of initiatives aimed at influencing public opinion abroad. Because its purpose is the promotion of the national image, the projection of its values, and also the efficient dissemination of their views, public diplomacy often has the scope of influencing public opinion in third countries, the business world, and also to civil society in general. Public diplomacy reassesses the diplomatic function today beyond a certain extent of the rigid pattern inherent in purely intergovernmental ties, and it also contributes significantly to the actions of the so-called traditional diplomacy.

5. With regard to cultural diplomacy, the term was coined decades ago by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the then Federal Republic of Germany, Willy Brandt, and it was considered as the third pillar of the foreign policy of nations, together with the essential aspects of political and economic diplomacy.

6. The current universe of cultural diplomacy is immense in size and wealth, and is naturally related to the cultural heritage of countries, with their on-going cultural development and also with its historical past. However, these alone are not enough as a starting point of a foreign cultural policy. It is also imperative that countries are able to know how to use these essential factors for the benefit of the proper projection of their image and prestige.

7. Cultural diplomacy requires the formation of teams composed of experts with high level academic training in cultural matters. Likewise, diplomats who participate in it must broaden their knowledge on the culture of their own country and know how to properly relate it with the cultural characteristics of other countries with which they intend to strengthen relationships of trust.

8. Building a positive image and trust is crucial country’s in the international promotion of its cultural heritage and its cultural riches to attract investments in economic and technological development. At present, the cultural prestige of a country is a basic component of the so-called “soft power” which is essential for building an international image favourable to the national interests.

© by Odeen Ishmael

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