Triandafyllidou of the global power. This has

Triandafyllidou & Sz?cs (2017) viewed that
culture has a significant role in uniting the EU community despites crisis that
had affected the region such as the recent financial crises, the flight of
Syrian refugees and the withdrawal of the United Kingdom (UK) from the union or
Brexit. They agreed that elements of culture could be implemented in recovering
relations among the member states in addition Europe had experiences of using
cultural diplomacy in building their capacity to emerged as one of the global
power. This has been demonstrated through the “Joint Communication Towards an
EU Strategy” adopted in June 2016 by the European Commission (EU) and the EU’s
High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, which underlined
three strategies namely; supporting culture as a tool in maintaining
progressive economic and social development; advocating intercultural forums
for peaceful inter-society relations; and emphasizing cultural heritage


Cultural Diplomacy

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Triandafyllidou & Sz?cs’ defined cultural
diplomacy in two approaches. Traditionally, cultural diplomacy is perceived as
a soft power mechanism adopted by state or international organizations in
achieving foreign policy goals. This mechanism involved cooperation and
collaboration among cultural agents such as the ministries, foundations,
museum, artists and celebrities from various states and continents, in
advocating closer relations among nations, encompassing social and political
influence, evolving geopolitical interests as well as strengthening trade
policy. Technically, cultural diplomacy is a policy that fostered quality of
communal life, the arts, mutual capacity building, social unity and economic
progression. The international cultural relations aimed in bridging together national
governments, international associations and civil society in an equal and
mutually recognized arena for a constructive discussions, regardless of the disparity
of power and socio-economic capabilities among nations and actors involved.


Diplomacy: the EU’s Approach

The authors further discussed that the EU
embraced cultural diplomacy which is based on their hybrid definitions, that
cultural diplomacy supported the EU’s commitment towards a constructive
dialogue with the third world nations in a mutual exchange and respect
environment, besides being a tool for soft and smart power in increasing the
EU’s presence and influence. The EU’s approach on cultural diplomacy aimed to
call for partnerships between public and private institutions hence building an
interaction between national cultural ministries, local entrepreneurs,
celebrities and cultural networks. It also emphasizes a ‘people-to-people’
approach rather than applying a hard diplomacy at the inter-state level with
the goal to outreach third world nations through cultural appreciation on
creativity, excitement and expressions. This efforts was proven by the European
Commission in initiating series of cultural pilot projects in the third world
nations by enhancing transnational relations that develops communal trust and
avoiding social disintegration and radical movement among the nations, to
improve their relations with the EU. Therefore, both authors argued that
cultural diplomacy played crucial roles in supporting the EU’s development,
trade, defense and security policies as well as an integral part in the EU’s
strategic foreign relations. In order to develop a strong basis for cultural domain,
the EU has to communicate directly to the cultural institutions, artists,
museum curators, local authorities and non-governmental organizations (NGO),
national agencies as well as extending good accords in regional and
international level such as the Council of Europe and also the United Nations
Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in attaining global
recognition and influence.


the EU’s Cultural Diplomacy

Both Triandafyllidou & Sz?cs argued that strong
instruments for each and every mega plans and strategy should be tested in
ensuring its implementation could be sustained. They examined the roles of four
institutions namely the European Commission (EC), the European External Action
Service (EEAS), the European Parliament (EP) and the Council of the European
Union has their own political and judicial roles in driving the EU’s cultural
diplomacy and their activities are supported 
by participations of active stakeholders and civic community, and
interactions among these institutes are claimed to be free from any conflicts,
despite national sensitivities and other limitations in finance and competency.
Under the EC there are three agencies namely the Directorate-General for
Education and Culture (EAC), the Directorate-General for International
Cooperation and Development (DEVCO) and the Directorate-General for
Neighborhood and Enlargement Negotiations (NEAR), in which the DEVCO and the
NEAR has the largest budget allocations. The three Directorate-Generals (DG) has
been collaborating closely with one and another as the EEAS are responsible for
planning actions, whereas the EAC take charge on drafting new regulations. These
collaborations are crucial to support financially towards each other’s roles
and actions in planning and delivering cultural diplomacy programs, such in the
case of large scale development project currently take place in Tunisia, strong
partnership between the DG DEVCO and DG NEAR together with contributions from
the EEAS and the local EU Delegations is best illustrated the needs for
strategic communication between agencies. The EU is currently coming up with
negotiations for establishing the Multinational Financial Framework in
financing the strategies, in which the amount and financing instrument to be endorsed
will give a clear impact on moving forward the EU cultural diplomatic programs
in achieving the region’s prominence in the race for soft and smart power.


European Public Spaces

Triandafyllidou & Sz?cs further elaborated
the EU initiative of establishing a common fora known as the European Public
Spaces, founded by the European Commission (EC) and the European Parliament in
2007, which is one of the strategies in forging the EU international cultural relations
through organizing events by catching youths’ interests and participations. Its
networking encompasses 18 EU member states capitals and interested in
developing engagements between the EU National Institute of Culture (EUNIC) and
the national governments, regional and local agencies, cultural institutes and
stakeholders, and NGOs in each participating country. This networking are
managed by the EC and the EP in providing a space in organizing European ideas
to support unity in diversity environment besides executing a unified European
vision. The authors discussed that the Public Spaces has transformed into real
European cultural hubs and impartial dialogue forums, that interacted European
member states to develop an integrated European identity. In this Space, events
and activities were organized by close collaborations among cultural partners,
government agencies, embassies, universities and other European networks.
Besides that, the Space also aimed to attract youth involvement by engaging
performers, celebrities and musicians with a concrete circle of network and
fans, as well as providing platforms for artisan community to express their
creativity and productions through the organizing film festivals, book fairs,
cultural showcase, awards and other programs that could foster unity of
diversified heritage and languages. Several occasions provided as example to
proven initiatives propagated by the Space such as the European Research Night,
Women’s Day, and proposal to establish Houses of European Spaces in the third
world nations in disseminating cultural diplomacy of the EU.


and Opportunities

Triandafyllidou & Sz?cs underlined six
challenges and opportunities in executing cultural diplomacy in the EU region.
First is on coordination for participation of all state actors like regional
and local authorities, ministries and national cultural institutions, and
non-state actors such as celebrities, curators and associations, into all
cultural programs and activities to avoid redundancy and duplication of
functions such as between the actions by the Council of Europe and the UNESCO.
Second is on the involvement of all cultural patrons in co-organizing
activities such as film festivals, arts exhibitions, and other cultural
products and services in order to instill the sense of co-ownership of projects
and efforts. Thirdly, is the critical demand for security, education and
infrastructure that need to be addressed before possible engagement in cultural
activity could be manifested, in which some community are dependent on cultural
industries in order to be employed and improving their economy and lifestyle. Fourth,
is the co-creation of common values for running development, mobility and
exchange programs in order to achieve the same goals in promoting cultural diplomacy
programs.  Fifth, is the diversified
countries that appreciates their native heritage as well as the culture of
other people such as diaspora or migrants, could contribute for success in
achieving the EU strategies in the international cultural relations by
developing cultural project. Finally, is the issue of sustaining the progress
of implementing cultural diplomacy, where cultural projects need to be run or
repeated within a given long-term time frame in order to reflect and measure
its impacts on social relations and development, and targeted group should be
informed on the progress in order to increase their awareness and feedbacks on
the project’s impacts to the community.



Triandafyllidou & Sz?cs tried to highlight
on the challenges and opportunities faced by the EU in promoting and enhancing
cultural diplomacy as one of the strategies to emerge as prominent regional
power in the international relations. The EU has a strong institutional
fundamental where the Union structures are supported by various agencies that
collaborates among them in steering for cultural diplomacy implementation,
besides the involvement of individual member states. But one concern raised by
the authors was on financial and competence limitation hence collaboration of
various agencies and bodies are relevant to co-funding those programs. The EU
believed that cultural diplomacy could be instrumental to soft power by the
means of exchange of cultural elements and engaging the collaboration between
national government and the non-state agents like celebrities, art performers,
museum curators, cultural bodies and the mass people directly. Besides engaging
relevant institutions together, cultural diplomacy from the EU’s point of view
also could improve social life, stimulating economic progression via trading
and exports, building trust as well as mutual respect and appreciates the
diversified heritages, languages and practices.      

authors also underlined the role of the European Public Space in disseminating
cultural values and founding an equal, mutual arena for dialogues and forums,
mobilizing youth participation and appreciates the works of art performers that
can be translated into exhibitions, fairs, festivals and awards. This
initiatives also helps in development programs in the third world countries as
in this case in Tunisia. However, the authors did not provided as much examples
or occasions in detailed to illustrate the EU’s efforts and projects undertaken
to support the argument. In terms of challenges and opportunities, Triandafyllidou
& Sz?cs suggested that proper coordination, involvement of all
contributors, and sustaining the projects are key challenges in ensuring the
EU’s cultural diplomacy strategies to be achieved. However, the authors failed
to present real case scenarios on these challenges took place instead of
providing theoretical and descriptive elaborations. Alternatively, the authors
recommended for the active roles by media and digital technologies not only to
mobilize youth involvement but also to widely spread the EU’s plans and
projects. (1881 words)


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