Speaking about cultural diplomacy, we refer to the conduct of policy through arts and literature, language and religion. This is a policy which aims at the intensification of the relations among countries, as well as the influence of the public opinion and of the political decision-making centres.
In my point of view this is the most sophisticated and efficient way to conduct foreign policy through the civilization, especially when we refer to Greece, the cradle of the European civilization.
In order to realize the importance of civilization in the conduct of foreign policy, we should just reflect on the art of jazz and rock’ n’ roll, with “ambassadors” such as Armstrong, Madonna and others through whom America attempted to spread the ideals of the liberty of the Western world during the Cold War.
On the other side, the Soviet Union conducted tough cultural diplomacy through the ballet of Bolshoi or Kirov, with dancers such as Baryshnikov or Nureyev, who left their cultural traces all around the world. I should also recall the campaign of the CIA during the decades of 1950 and 1960 targeting the extinction of the soviet propaganda, the dissemination of the American way of life (cinema, books, music), as well as the provision of a great number of scholarships to the citizens of countries of the third world.
This year, at the concert hall for example, the otherwise lovely musical works of Tchaikovsky “Swan Lake”, “The Nutcracker” and the incredible “Sleeping Beauty” were repeatedly performed from 15th December until Easter, while other works, as those of the Heptanesian Pavlos Karreris (“Despo, the Souliotissa heroine”, “Kira Frosini”, “Mpotsaris” and many more) are forgotten unfairly, and especially on 25th March. At great celebrations, such as Christmas or Easter, there are various works which could be performed on greek music stages, for example the Christmas carols from “The Mother’s ring” of M. Kalomiris or, during Easter, the shattering “Symphony of Leventia”, where the choir chants the “Hymn to the Victorious Virgin Mary” in the 4th part. I strongly believe that it would be to our benefit to create a greek trend relating to these celebrations, according to the example of the Austrians, who succeed in having the gaze of the whole world upon them.
The conduct of Cultural Diplomacy ought to be the sole conduct of foreign policy of this country and its arts ought to be the sole means of communicating its culture. This policy is the only way to achieve our cultural and diplomatic goals and to influence decision-making procedures.
The civilization, according to Professor Ch. Giannaras, is the unit of the distinct mental, materialistic, intellectual and emotional features, which characterize a society or a social group. It includes not only arts and literature, but also models of life, the fundamental human rights, systems of values, traditions and beliefs. It consists of the language, the ideas, the beliefs, the symbols, the norms, the means, the pieces of art and the ways in which we organize our everyday needs.
…it contributes to the creation of a “foundation of trust” among countries and to the conclusion of agreements in political, financial and military level. It highlights the values of the civilization and creates relationships of emotional closeness with foreign nations, who exist beyond the changes of governments.
It offers an agenda which promotes the cooperation (despite the political differences), constitutes a counterbalance to misunderstanding, hatred and terrorism, and functions as a flexible and entirely acceptable way to re-approach countries, whose diplomatic relations are tense or absent.
Peter Dennis Kapsaskis
pHD Candidate in Cultural Diplomacy
Peter Dennis Kapsaskis for PLOUTOSS