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The role of national cultural institutes

The Chinese state increasingly aspires to affirm itself as a key global power. To do so, it has developed a dynamic public diplomacy strategy

National cultural institutes remain a key tool of cultural cooperation, as shown by the tremendous expansion of the Chinese Confucius Institutes around the world.

Andrew Murray is the director of EUNIC, The European Union National Institutes for Culture. In this video, he explains what lies behind the term of National Institutes for Culture.

He points out that the key element to understand the missions of a national institute for culture is to look at the kinds of relationship it has with its country’s government.

Institutions like the German Goethe Institute and the British Council, which were among the founding members of EUNIC, have been arguing that national cultural institutes need to be at arm’s length from governments. But effectively this is not the case of all cultural institutes that are members of EUNIC, as others are more government-dependent.

As a result, there is no clear consensus on the missions of a cultural institute. For some a cultural institute’s role is to promote the culture of its country, whereas for others, it is mainly a tool to foster intercultural dialogue and mutual understanding.

Share your thoughts

Do you think the role of a national cultural institute is to promote a country’s culture and language or to promote mutual understanding with the country where it is located?

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Cultural Diplomacy

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