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Public diplomacy is how a country communicates with citizens of other countries to improve its public policy and image. Public diplomacy helps define how states relate with each other as well as what are the attitudes among the public of these states. Cultural diplomacy, on the other hand, is the use of culture in improving communication and understanding between different nationalities. This paper analyses cultural diplomacy as part of public policy, its development and future improvement.
Most European countries have used cultural diplomacy in establishing foreign policies. There exists a relationship between the government and cultural diplomacy. This is because cultural diplomacy is a medium through which governments are able to achieve goals of foreign policy. It is through cultural relations that products like films, literature, arts, science, radio and TV programs are developed. The main aim of promoting these products on the national as well as on the international levels is to ensure that foreigners become familiar with the culture, language, and people of a certain country. In addition, it is important in eradicating different negative stereotypes and perceptions about a certain country. The difference between cultural diplomacy and cultural relations is that cultural diplomacy aims at benefiting only one nation while cultural relations provides mutual benefits to many nations.
One of the best ways to promote and improve cultural relations is through exchange programs. Students from one country are granted an opportunity to learn about culture of another country. For instance, students from Europe can have a chance to visit Eastern Europe, study there, learn new culture and vice versa. Through these programs, United States of America seeks to encourage public diplomacy by providing chances for citizens of other countries to communicate, create relationships, and learn new culture from Americans. For the same purposes it creates opportunities for Americans to go to different countries of the world. Teachers, doctors, nurses, volunteers and many other professionals are encouraged to gain international experience outside the US. The department of state has supported cultural exchange by continued increase of budgetary allocations to finance the growing number of such programs. Over the past ten years, the government has increased its funding of the exchange programs by 10 million dollars: from 2million dollars in the year 2001 to about 11.5million dollars in 2010.
Cultural diplomacy in the United States
As it can be understood from the information presented above, United States has been known for encouraging exchange programs. This was evident even back in 1988, when many citizens of the Soviet Union decided to visit the country. Most of them came as engineers, scientists, students, athletes and dancers. Their main interest was to learn different culture of the United States. People like Julius Nyerere, Anwar Sadat, Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blaire are among many individuals who visited the US with an intention to learn more about its culture. It is due to these visits and increased understanding of the US that these individuals were able to take leadership roles in their home countries. Americans also had a chance to visit foreign countries e.g. Soviet Union. Among these people were tourists, entrepreneurs and students.
Even though it can be challenging to measure the effect of these exchange programs, it is evident that they are beneficial for achieving foreign policy goals. Research indicates that exchange programs played an important role in eradicating cultural stereotypes and internal inadequacies in American culture. These exchange programs benefited US in the past years, especially during Post-Cold War period. American culture has helped to develop different countries globally. Different individuals have agreed that, indeed, the American culture has played a crucial role in developing nations worldwide. For instance, in 2001 business, cultural, and international political leaders agreed that there is no relationship between the American culture and the level of hostility witnessed in the US. In addition, most Muslim nations testified that US television and films are important in promoting peace worldwide .
If to speak about current research on the issue, it is possible to say that most programs that were formulated during the Cold War are now becoming irrelevant. One of the reasons why many countries supported US in its war with Iraq was the availability of exchange programs that enabled people to learn more about American culture. Poland has been reported to have much interest in the US culture. This is the reason why most leaders prefer getting education in the US. It is due to exposure to the American culture that they are able to make efficient decisions that can help Poland to achieve success.
After Cold War was finished, there appeared various challenges that resulted from exchange programs. Due to extremist Islamic beliefs there has been a need for the US to review its cultural and public policy. This happened because individuals have created new expectations about these exchange programs. Cultural strategies developed during the Cold War period are proving to be ineffective especially in this century, when global society changes at an enormous pace. These changes are witnessed in the political, economic and social spheres of life. Cultural relations are becoming increasingly tense especially between Muslim nations. It has been reported that most Muslim countries do not have a Department of Cultural Affairs. The main cultural agenda of these nations is dictated by their religious values. It thus has been challenging for US to convince these nations to create Departments for Cultural Affairs in order to promote cultural exchange. This has not been easy due to negative attitudes that Islamic extremists hold against the US.
Cultural diplomacy in EU
Cultural diversity within the European Union has necessitated the creation of an environment that promotes and improves cultural diplomacy. Different nations are gathered on the territory of European Union. This creates a continuous exchange of different cultural ideas and values among people partially due to exchange programs that exist between countries. There are some individuals, however, who argue that Europe will not be able to attain integration through these exchange programs due to its selfish nature. These individuals believe that the main reason why European nations attract people is to develop their own culture and not that of other nations. Among these individuals is Jurgen Habermas. It is through cultural diplomacy that legitimacy is achieved in the process of integration. In addition, cultural diplomacy helps nations understand the importance of unions in promoting cultural relations among nations.
One of the reasons why European Union develops cultural diplomacy is to ensure the existence of cultural diversity on its territory. The notion that the primary aim of European Union is promoting equality among European nations is somewhat inaccurate. There are different representatives that are selected to represent each nation within the EU. The composition of the European Union is unique in its own way. This is because unlike other unions it is comprised of different ambassadors which contribute to promoting cultural exchange. There exist many differences between nations within the EU due to historical factors. Therefore, it was thought necessary for these nations to share interests, knowledge, culture, experiences, and ambitions through exchange programs. There has been a lot of controversy regarding the question of whether or not the future of this union is fully dependent on the success of cultural diplomacy. There are different diplomats who are considered to be major contributors to the success of this union. They include Robert Schuman and Charles de Gaulle.
The uniqueness of the EU also lies in different mediums they use in exchanging ideas between nations. They use mediums like language, music, sports and culture. The European Union has frequently used sports to unite different European nations. In the year 2002 a survey carried in the United States ranked the EU as the third country in terms of influence on the world. In this rating EU was behind the United States of America, Japan, and China. Further, the British council was established in Great Britain with an intention of spreading the British culture.
Cultural diplomacy in China
Development of cultural diplomacy in China
During past years China has used its rich and peaceful history to promote its public image throughout the world. While its rise has been viewed with caution by the West, the United States and Japan in particular, China has embarked on various cultural platforms to advance its public diplomacy throughout the world. It has embarked on Soft power approach to public diplomacy. Apart from the two primary foundations of public diplomacy, which are economy and politics, China uses culture as the third foundation. It advances its cultural diplomacy with countries around the world by undertaking various activities throughout Europe, America, Africa, and the Middle East.
The government of China established Confucius Institutes in 2004 to create awareness and help the public in different nationalities to learn Chinese culture. The institutes are China’s joint venture of governmental and higher educational institutions. The first of these Confucius institutes was started the same year (2004) in University of Maryland. There are about three hundred centers in about 87 countries around the globe. Today over 80 million people are learning Chinese language and culture, which has helped China achieve much in its public policy.
Language and culture has been two important tools with a help of which China has been able to carry out its public policy throughout the world. The students who excel academically are granted scholarships and are sent to other parts of the world to study. This is one way through which exchange programs are developed. China has also been promoting its public diplomacy by hosting various workshops and events in its country. In the April 2006 China hosted third world elite members in Hangzhou to showcase their development model. China has also organized Buddhist forums to showcase its cultural lineage. It has also been organizing cultural activities in other countries and towns such as New York, London, Arizona, Vancouver, Bangkok, and Paris where it has held ceremonies like Chinese Cultural Festival, “Year of China’, and Chinese New Year celebrations. China also conducts more than 1300 cultural exchange programs and events in the world yearly .
Music and sport
China has also been able to use music, movies, and sports to promote its culture. It has used various superstars to symbolize the country. These stars include Yao Ming an athlete and Zhang Ming, a famous Chinese actress. Chinese martial arts generally known as Wushu or Kungfu become an Olympic sport since 2008 Olympic Games. This sport is now practiced in 78 countries in the world.
In order to develop tourism sector different cultural activities have been incorporated in this field. About 20 million people visit the country annually. Among them are the tourists who come to see numerous places of historical interest. It is due to this that UNESCO awarded China 33UNESCO world Heritage sites. The tourists coming to China have a chance to try different cuisine and cultural activities that make them understand the history and tradition of China.
Development of cultural diplomacy
William Gibson believed that in order to achieve success in future it is important to improve or even broaden the cultural diplomacy scope. This can be done through adding new activities, items, and carrying out reassessments. It is evident that cultural diplomacy was mainly embraced by western countries. Apart from this, Japan is one among few non-western countries that have been interested in developing cultural diplomacy. This has probably contributes to county’s fast development over time. During the post cold war period most Eastern and Central European countries decided to adopt an approach of Western European countries in promoting cultural diplomacy. This was successful due to continuous support from embassies. A classic model has proved to be ideal in developing cultural diplomacy in different nations. This model is taking two major directions which include new players’ arrival and multilateral approach development .
China seems to be putting more emphasize on development of cultural diplomacy. This is evident through fast development of different Confucius centers and cultural centers over time. Korea, India and some other Asian countries are working hard to ensure that they compete favorably with China in promoting cultural diplomacy. The major targets of China are countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, and Vietnam. It is expected that by 2020 more countries will be participating in promoting cultural diplomacy. These countries will have to focus on both neighboring and overseas countries in order to achieve success.
Apart from increasing its scope, it is expected that cultural diplomacy will change from traditional bilateralism to multilateralism. EUNIC is working hard to ensure that this goal is achieved. This is done primarily through creation of clusters that enable group members to agree on the type of activities they would like to engage in order to promote the language and art sector. Members of EUNIC are, therefore, coming together in order to develop large projects that cover a wider range of subjects Members have, therefore, formulated language policies that can help in language development13. In addition they have come up with arts projects and literary translations.
There is another trend that is geared towards promoting cultural diplomacy worldwide. It is expected that governments will be able to form foundations that help them in realizing cultural objectives. Anna Lindh Foundation and Asia- European Foundation are examples of foundations formed by the government in order to achieve cultural objectives. These foundations work together with 43 countries. An increase in country branding is another trend that has been considered useful in promoting cultural diplomacy globally. Even though this technique has been used by different nations, there are different changes that have been made in ensuring that efficiency is achieved. Most nations are embracing this approach. These nations include Ukraine, Ghana, Greece, and Australia.
It is clear that cultural diplomacy is important in enabling a nation to achieve its foreign policy goals. European Nations, United States, and China are among many nations that have embraced cultural diplomacy. There is a great difference between cultural diplomacy and cultural relation. It is through cultural relations that products like films, literature, arts, science, radio and TV programs are developed. In order to promote cultural diplomacy United States has continually adopted exchange programs. Even though it faces challenges because of Islamic extremists, it hopes to continue developing cultural diplomacy for the wellbeing of nations all over the world. European Union brings together different European nations to share and exchange, knowledge, ideas and interests on cultural development. China has created Confucius institutes and cultural centers in order to develop and promote its culture. It is hoped that all nations will be able to embrace cultural diplomacy and use it to their own advantage and the advantage of other nations.
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