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Interview with Jan van Weijen (Head of Culture, Public Diplomacy & Press, Embassy of The Netherlands in the UK)

newmugQ1. How relevant do you think art is as an accessible form of cultural diplomacy?

I think Art is the most apt form of cultural diplomacy as it gives an unbiased way of expressing yourself as it gives no words, it’s just there and people are free to create/develop an opinion about it, feel and experience it. As a result this does not bring any political message but facilitates the dialogue between people.

Q2. How do you think the art exchange can foster and/or encourage future multiculturalism in society?

Art exchange is intrinsically linked to culture. There is no art without culture as art comes from the place where it is born! Sometimes it is born in a place where there is only one culture and sometimes it is born in a place with several cultures. As I explained, the world is becoming more and more inter-linked so multicultural will play a more significant role but so will something that comes from within. So you show and present yourself to the world through your art work which is very important.

Q3. My final question is what is your opinion on the use of cultural diplomacy in international relation and inter-cultural relations?

I think it is very important, as I said for example the New York philharmonic played in Pyongyang two years ago. This was not a political statement but a concert so where there is little or no possibility of talking one can still show/present and share their cultures. This was also done during the cold war period where there were cultural commissions who were involved in cultural exchanges. It keeps people talking to each other and keeps them connected where other means may not be as viable as they are. From the olden days Cultural Diplomacy has played a large role in impressing other people and showing that you are a strong and viable person and doesn’t come across as threatening. Therefore I think Cultural diplomacy will continue to thrive over the next millennia.

Conducted by Jason Dudhee
Center for Cultural Diplomacy Studies Publication
Institute for Cultural Diplomacy
www.ccds-berlin.de
www.culturaldiplomacy.org

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We are the Blogsphere Team of the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy. We are the interactive part of the web resources of ICD. We spread culture and mutual understanding among cultures through blogs.

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The London Art as Cultural Diplomacy ConferenceAugust 21st, 2013

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