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Sum up of Week 1

Review of the learning achievements of the week
Hello. We have reached the end of this first week, so I’m going to wrap it up in a couple of words. The objective of this week was to introduce some of the main concepts of cultural diplomacy. By introducing concepts, such as cultural cooperation, public diplomacy, international cultural relations, we pointed out the fact that there is a tension between two different approaches. On the one hand, an idealist approach, which is characterised by an idea that international cultural relations should be disinterested. And on the other hand, a more realistic approach, which considers that if the state is going to invest in cultural diplomacy, it has to lead to concrete outcomes.
So we started, for example, with a concept like public diplomacy, which is rather a top-down concept, meaning that culture along with media can serve a country’s interest by promoting its values and culture around the world. And we ended up this week with the concept of transnational cultural relations, which is a more bottom-up concept, which includes along with state actors a variety of civil society and individual actors, which go along with states without needing the mediation of the states. So this raises a question which we will go into more detail next week. The question of the role of the state in cultural diplomacy. This week, we already brought some material which gives some elements about the different stakeholders of cultural diplomacy.
When talking about cultural cooperation, we mentioned the fact that beyond state actor there were also international organisations, but also local cultural institutions involved. When talking about soft power, we mentioned the importance of private actors that run TV shows or media, which are also important in promoting their country’s culture. And of course, when we talked about transnational cultural relations, we saw that a lot of individuals and civil society actors are also involved in developing transnational cultural relations. So these are all elements we will delve into more detail next week. Thank you for following this week, and see you soon.

The objective of this week was to give an overview of the concepts to address cultural diplomacy and the questions they raise with regards to the theory and practice of cultural diplomacy

We first looked at the top-down notion of public diplomacy, according to which culture, along with the media, is perceived as one of the tools to promote national interests and project a positive image of a country. But we have seen that cultural diplomacy does not only take place in embassies: it involves different types of international and local organisations. We in fact analysed the more bottom-up conception of public diplomacy for which non-state actors – civil society, museums, religious organisations, and NGOs – have the resources to conduct relations across borders without the mediation of the State.

This leads us to two questions. What role is there in cultural diplomacy today for the State? And what does the rise of non-state actors mean for cultural diplomacy? To address these questions, next week, we will look more at the different stakeholders involved and how they interact.

We hope you enjoyed this first week! Don’t hesitate to give us your feedbacks in the comments!

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Cultural Diplomacy

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