Cultural Diplomacy

Cultural Diplomacy
Dietmar Rabich / Wikimedia Commons
“Münster, LVM, Skulptur -Körper und Seele- — 2016 — 5920-6” / CC BY-SA 4.0

Institute for Cultural Diplomacy

What is Cultural Diplomacy?

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.

Cultural Diplomacy Platform

Cultural Diplomacy Platform

“In March 2016, we have launched the Cultural Diplomacy Platform, to gather all the actors – governments, regions, cities, cultural institutes, civil society organisations, artists, scientists, performers, individuals and many more – of the European external cultural relations, and engage them on a continuous basis, receive feedback, policy advice and support.

Culture is at the core of our foreign policy, and for quite some time now, the development of a strategic approach to international cultural relations is one of our priorities. Indeed, as in today’s world cultures are bound to meet, we have a duty to make the most out of this encounter. And this direction must go beyond the simple teaching of our culture: cultural diplomacy is about learning, listening, sharing new ideas and making them grow together.

The Cultural Diplomacy Platform will strengthen our ability to engage on an equal footing with our partners across with the globe – from international organisations, national governments, local authorities, civil society organisations and individual citizens. The Platform will provide support and policy advice to the EU institutions, including the EU Delegations, cultural stakeholders in Europe and outside, and set up a global cultural leadership training programme for young cultural managers.

Ultimately, this will truly make culture the European way to engage partners around the world.”

Federica Mogherini
High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (2014-2019)
Vice-President of the European Commission

> Council Conclusions on the Work Plan for Culture 2019-2022
> New European Agenda for Culture 2018


EUNIC – European Union National Institutes for Culture

EUNIC – European Union National Institutes for Culture is Europe’s network of national cultural institutes, with 36 members from all 28 EU member states and offices in over 150 countries. EUNIC members work in the arts, languages, youth, education, science, society, inter cultural dialogue and development. At a local level, EUNIC members join together in over 100 clusters – in cities, regions, and countries – to collaborate on common projects and programmes and to promote the role of culture in the EU’s internal and external relations. The EUNIC Global Office in Brussels supports the work of EUNIC clusters around the world.

European Union

European Houses of Culture: 5 Pilot Projects Selected

What is the European Houses of Culture pilot project?
The pilot project “European Houses of Culture” is testing new ways of working together among EU Delegations, EU National Institutes of Culture and the local cultural sector to help deliver the European Union’s strategy on cultural relations.
The Preparatory Action was initiated by the European Parliament to test and implement innovative collaboration models between European actors (EUNIC members and EU delegations) and local stakeholders in non-EU countries.

The term ‘Houses’ is to be understood rather symbolically: the project tests collaboration models and practices in a broader sense, that create spaces, whether physical or digital, permanent or temporary, for cultural exchange, co-creation and people-to-people contacts.