CNN iReport – The International Symposium on Cultural Diplomacy 2009
August 2009: Berlin, Germany: The World is Going Soft
The 2009 International Symposium of Cultural Diplomacy, hosted by the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy (ICD), brought together a diverse group of participants from around the world for a week long series of lectures, panel discussions, and social events to explore the role of soft power in contemporary international relations.
Soft power, as the term implies, refers to the practice of gaining co-operation by means of attraction as opposed to coercion, or payment. This years themes encompassed the use of art and culture as vehicles of national foreign policy and the influence of the private sector in the generation and application of soft power.
Former presidents who participated in the Symposium included:
- Jorge Sampaio - Former President of Portugal, UN Representative
- Joaquim Chissano - Former President of Mozambique and Former Chair of African Union
- Dr. Varia Vike-Freiberga - Former President of Latvia
- Cassam Uteem - Former President of Republic of Mauritus
This year, five related themes were the center of attention with regard to the implementation of soft power.
The approaches of states and international organizations to soft power and the role it plays in their policy making.
The importance of multi-lateral of multi-lateral understanding to cooperation on global challenges.
The role of cultural diplomacy in relations between the Western world and the Middle East.
The challenges and opportunities of using art and culture as vehicles of national foreign policy.
The influence of the private sector in the generation and application of soft power.
The founder and director of the ICD is Mark Donfried, currently a visiting professor at Humbolt University in Berlin. Among his seminars for undergraduates includes Searching for a Cultural Diplomacy. He is focusing his current research and publishing in the field of civil society based cultural diplomacy.
Bader TV News Berlin Bureau was on hand for the event and produced this special report…