By Saniya Giniatullina, Institute for Cultural Diplomacy.
The origin of the Holi One Festival goes back to Hindu culture in India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan where thousands of people gather together to embrace the colour, music and community. The original purpose of this festival was to celebrate the end of winter, as it is usually held in springtime, to thank the Gods for the rich harvests and fertile lands. Although it is the least religious holiday, within the region, it is a moment of togetherness and fun for peoples of all ages who are able throw coloured powder at each other, dance and laugh.
This event is currently taking place all over the world, including countries such as Brazil, the Czech Republic, Costa Rica, France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Poland, UK, USA and Spain. It is a great opportunity to promote Hindu culture as a tool of cultural diplomacy to educate the world about this unique event and tradition. By experiencing the Holi One Festival of Colours people from many nations will be able to become closer to cultures and countries which may otherwise be distant.
The city of Berlin will hold the event on August 10th 2013 in Festplatz Ringstraße 24, where several famous DJs will play sets and other performance artists will entertain the crowd. The participants of the event are invited to wear white clothes and purchase the coloured powder to throw at one another. The result is a colourful dance-like performance alongside the sound of live music and shows. The powder is environmentally friendly, non-toxic, allergy free and water-soluble. However, those who suffer from asthma or other sort of allergies are invited to wear mouth and/or eye protection.
The globalization of this event not only brings people different countries together, but also brings them closer to the Hindu culture. This enables the intercultural bridge between nations to strengthen. Even the motto of the event “We Are One” suggests a message of union and equality, which are the fundamental basics for cultural diplomacy.
On Thursday, May 16 th, 2013, the “Spanisches Filmfest Berlin”, in collaboration with the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy and The Colombia Carnival association, organized a Colombian event at the ICD House.
The event, chaired by Santiago Gomez Rojas, director of the Spanisches Film Fest Berlin, aimed to promote a deeper understanding of Spanish and Latin American culture through the mediums of dance, music, art and food. Participants included members of the Spanish and Latin American communities in Berlin, the ICD interns and students, as well as attendees interested in discovering more about Colombian culture.
For more information please visit ICD House page.
Olympic Games originated in Ancient Greece and date back to 776 B.C. As mentioned in some sources, during the time of Olympic games all the conflicts had to cease and be postponed until after the games. Many centuries later Olympic Games still take place once every four years but not necessarily in Greece, rather in different countries of the world. In August 2011, Qatar announced that it was competing to host Olympic games in 2020. Even though it didn’t win in this nomination, the country still wanted to have connection with Olympic games and recently opened an exhibition in its capital- Doha dedicated to Ancient Olympic Games. For this purpose Greece sent Doha Greek statues for the exhibition. This gift was supposed to become the “friendship bridge” between Greece and Qatar, but everything took different direction when Greece’s culture minister, Costas Tzavara discovered that his precious naked Statues were all covered by Dohans. As the administration of Doha Museum explains, it would have been not appropriate for Doha’s Muslim society and mostly for women to be exposed to naked statues. Greece revealed that it understands the standpoint of Dohans, nevertheless it cannot allow partial exposition of precious Greek statues. In fact, Doha t had to pack the statues and send them back to Greece. The precedent ended with a dialogue, but who knows, maybe it can become the reason for the conflict in the future?
By Ludmila Vávrová, Institute for Cultural Diplomacy
After the success of her projects, “Memory of Snow” and “Memory of Light”, Clare Maynard, a visual artist based in Wales is introducing a new project, “Memory of Fire”. Maynard‘s work is based on journeys she has made with the intention of connecting artistically with the landscapes and cultures of the regions she has visited. This exhibition of photographs stems from an interest in the culture of Etruscan history.
Maynard travelled to Lazio in order to walk amongst the remains of the Etruscan civilisation, including tombs, village foundations and other relics in the landscape. Some of the photographs represent the local foliage and food resources. The possible original uses of the land and the spiritual side of the culture in relation to animal symbolism and nature worship became a deeper interest for the artist over the course of her visit.
A selection of her photographs is available to view and purchase at the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy.
The “Literature and Cultural Diplomacy: An Essay on Cultural Readings” paper was presented by Daniel Sip, during the The Language of Art & Music Conference organized by the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy in Berlin, in August 2011 and tries to examining literature as a tool of cultural diplomacy.
“From a theoretical perspective, literature can work for cultural diplomacy as it can allow readers to imagine foreign countries or foreign cultures; characterizations of protagonists can invite us to empathize with people we would usually never meet or even fear, and even fictitious societies can potentially make us understand the workings of distant cultures. In reality, however, this potential of literature is complicated due to a variety of factors.”
More on the paper can be read here
By Jay Malarcher,The Arts Diplomacy Festival 2012: Cultural Diplomacy in Practice, March 2012, Institute for Cultural Diplomacy
“…Comedy deserves to be respected more for two significant advantages it has: first, it provides great exercise in critical reasoning skills, since comedy
works on the reason (as opposed to tragedy, which works on the emotions); second, the best comedy allows a penetrating insight into the society that generated the satire: Thus, my assertion that comedy belongs in a conference devoted to the arts‟ role in cultural diplomacy. In a very real way, we do not truly understand a society until we understand what makes them laugh.
Integral text can be read here
On April 26th, 2013 ICD Staff, Interns, and MA Students were able to attend a concert and discussion session with William Harvey, an American violinist and Director & Founder of the NGO “Cultures in Harmony,” who is currently working at the Afghanistan National Institute of Music as a conductor of the Afghanistan Youth Orchestra. Alongside Mr. Harvey, MA student Sercan Erbas, who is of Turkish background, played the ney, an end-blown flute that figures predominantly in Middle Eastern music. The ney has been played consistently for 4,500 – 5,000 years, making it the oldest musical instrument still in use.
The performance session began with a brief introduction by Mr. Harvey to the logistics of such a meeting between Western music, in the form of the violin, and Middle Eastern music, in the form of the ney. Mr. Harvey’s organization, Cultures in Harmony, was founded in 2005 in order to forge connections across cultural and national barriers through the medium of music. Cultures in Harmony organizes collaborative projects fostering lasting relationships between American musicians from top US conservatories and musicians from various other parts of the world. Through the universal language of music, these projects encourage cross-cultural dialogue and improve relations between the US and the rest of the world. In this sense, Mr. Harvey is accustomed to bridging the gap between the music of western compositions and musicians and that of other musicians from cultures, especially those in the Middle East.On April 26th, 2013 ICD Staff, Interns, and MA Students were able to attend a concert and discussion session with William Harvey, an American violinist and Director & Founder of the NGO “Cultures in Harmony,” who is currently working at the Afghanistan National Institute of Music as a conductor of the Afghanistan Youth Orchestra. Alongside Mr. Harvey, MA student Sercan Erbas, who is of Turkish background, played the ney, an end-blown flute that figures predominantly in Middle Eastern music. The ney has been played consistently for 4,500 – 5,000 years, making it the oldest musical instrument still in use.
The compositions played during the duet consisted of traditional Turkish songs by famous composer M. Nurettin Selçuk and poet Yunus Emre. The song titles included ‘Rivers of Heaven’ and ‘ I Asked the Yellow Flower’, which gave an insight into the music of Turkey and the themes it encompasses. MA student Sercan Erbas described the experience as eye-opening, saying that “[it is] good to see Western instruments tuning into Eastern instruments and music. This kind of tuning in is also needed in International Relations.” Erbas continued to say that although “sometimes it is difficult to solve international conflicts, today showed me that all you need is patience and communication.”
The successful performance session was followed by an interactive discussion where a number of topics were examined. Mr. Harvey shared his experiences of meeting people who did not know how to read music and how different cultures interpret music differently. He emphasized the fact that in the Middle East it is often the case that pieces of music get passed down through generations, being slightly modified every time. This makes for a very different musical experience than in Western musical traditions, in which musical compositions are emulated as much as possible. Mr. Harvey added that he thinks the Western classical music culture could learn from this more creative facet of the Eastern musical tradition.
During the discussion, Mr. Harvey was asked whether there are combinations of instruments that simply do not work. In his answer, he referred to another very important concept in politics, the necessity of knowing when to sit back and simply watch. It is important to know when your instrument simply does not fit with the rest, and in these cases you must be able to give your place up for someone else. Overall, the concert and discussion session proved very informative and educational and was a unique opportunity for the audience to participate in Cultural Diplomacy in action.
For more picture, please click here
During the “Symposium on Cultural Diplomacy in Afghanistan & Central Asia,” participants will have the exciting opportunity to attend the 13th All Nations Festival in Berlin. The All Nations Festival Berlin will grant an insight into the diverse cultural aspects of the participating countries and will allow participants the chance to experience International Relations in practice. Not only will embassies open their doors to the public, but many other cultural institutions will grant free access to their facilities, thus creating a great occasion for participants to find out more about the host countries. Visitors will also have the chance to have “visas” inserted into their free Festival Passes as a souvenir at each location included in the All Nations Festival. The Festival Pass will also help the visitor find their way around Berlin with a guide to public transport, however, there is no set route, so visitors are free to combine this experience with other aspects of Berlin sightseeing. In the past, The All Nations Festival has involved embassies from all around the world, including Afghanistan and Kyrgyzstan which is central to the theme of the Symposium.
The All Nations Festival is an exceptional opportunity to get to know the customs and traditions of nations that participants are less likely to come across in their day-to-day lives. In 2010, the All Nations Festival was presented with the “Germany – Land of Ideas; 365 Locations within the Land of Ideas” award which is given only to events deemed to have an enduring impact on Germany’s cultural sustainability. These awarded locations stand for imagination, passion, and drive for the implementation of ideas that put Germany at the forefront of Cultural Diplomacy, giving people the chance to participate in cultural exchange.
The All Nations Festival is held in Berlin every year in close collaboration with the Berlin embassies and cultural initiative institutes throughout the capital. This being the 13th time the event has been held, a positive development regarding the number and diversity of participating embassies and cooperating cultural institutions.
The All Nations Festival 2013 will include the participation of several embassies and cultural institutions that will allow visitors to experience as many diverse cultures and traditions as possible. Partner embassies and organizations will include:
For more details on the All Nations Festival, please click HERE
The IndieLisboa 2013 Film Festival returned to Lisbon yesterday and was opened by the Pablo Larraín movie “No” (Chile) at the São Jorge Cinema. The film is based on a campaign that took place to decide if Augusto Pinochet was going to be kept in power.
The IndieLisboa is a Film Festival that happens every year in the capital of Portugal and screens independent movies from all over the world. This year, some of the movies include: Love by Ulrich Seidl (Austria), Parallax Sounds by Augusto Contento (America) and Le Grand Soir by Benoit Delépine and Gustave Kervern (France and Belgium). In the following days, there will also be a premiere of Spring Breakers by Harmony Korine (America), the episodes of Death Row Portraits by Werner Herzog (America), Rafa by João Salaviza (Portugal), and the documentaries, Animal Love, Jesus You Know ,and Models by Ulrich Seidl (Austria).
The Festival will close on April 28, with the film Before Midnight by Richard Linklater (America) – it’s the end of the trilogy that opened the first edition of the festival in 2004, with Before Sunrise.