What is Cultural Diplomacy?
"Cultural Diplomacy may best be described as a course of actions, which are based on and utilize the exchange of ideas, values, traditions and other aspects of culture or identity, whether to strengthen relationships, enhance socio-cultural cooperation, promote national interests and beyond; Cultural diplomacy can be practiced by either the public sector, private sector or civil society."
Cultural Diplomacy (or "Diplomacy between Cultures") has existed as a practice for centuries. Whilst the term "cultural diplomacy" has only recently been established, evidence of its practice can be seen throughout history and has existed for centuries. Explorers, travelers, traders, teachers and artists can be all considered living examples of “informal ambassadors” or early “cultural diplomats”. Indeed, any person who interacts with different cultures, (currently or in the past), facilitates a form of cultural exchange, which can take place in fields such as art, sports, literature, music, science, business & economy and beyond.
For example, the establishment of regular trade routes enables a frequent exchange of information and cultural gifts and expressions between traders and government representatives. Such deliberate efforts of cultural and communication exchange can be identified as early examples of cultural diplomacy.
Throughout history the interaction of peoples, the exchange of language, religion, ideas, arts and societal structures have consistently improved relations between divergent groups. No longer relegated to the periphery of the international relations discipline, cultural diplomacy today is a vibrant and innovative academic field of research and has successfully established itself as a stand-alone theory and practice.