This category contains 48 posts

The Culture Trip

the-culture-trip-body“Passionate about global art and culture, Dr Kris Naudts founded The Culture Trip in 2011. As an academic, Kris used to travel a great deal and always prepared for his trips by trying to find books and films that were set in or about his destination. He was struck by how much time and effort went into finding a country’s icons of literature and cinema, not to mention obtaining their work in translation. Apart from talking about psychiatry with his local colleagues, he loved to hear about their favourite local writers and directors, and return with a travel bag full of books and films to devour back home.

This way of life brought him hugely enjoyable travel experiences and a truly global library, but also a sense of bewilderment about how some countries’ finest writers and directors are virtually unknown across cultures and continents. Add to this an entrepreneurial spirit and constitutional insomnia and you have the main ingredients necessary to start up something like The Culture Trip: a one-stop, easy-to-navigate global website that showcases the best of art and culture for every country in the world.

In the past year, the site acquired a loyal following in more than 200 countries and feedback has been fantastic. For that reason the concept is currently being expanded beyond art, literature and film into music, apps, galleries, events, accommodation, restaurants and tours – for every single country in the world.”

For more information click HERE


Blog Update: New Speakers List

UK speakersWe added a new feature to the ICD News Blog which enables you to find out more information about the speakers that attend our conferences.

Hover over the link below where you can find out more about the speakers that you are interested in; each link contains video footage of your chosen speaker, and background information on the topic being discussed.

For more information, please click HERE

Thank you for your support
The ICD Team

Center for Cultural Diplomacy Studies Publication
Institute for Cultural Diplomacy

The Art of Georgian ‘Supra’ as a Form of Cultural Diplomacy

Pirosmani Georgian Table

By Ana Lordkipanidze, Institute for Cultural Diplomacy.

‘Supra’, a traditional type of Georgian feast, is a unique social occasion in Georgia that transforms formal meetings into informal gatherings with the aid of several glasses of homemade red wine. Usually held on a long table, the tradition of ‘Supra’ involves numerous rules and customs. The ‘Tamada’, the person who introduces each toast, always leads the “Supra” and sits at one of the corners of the table. The ‘Tamada’ initiates toasts of friendship, love, gratitude, and blesses everyone at the table, including a personal expression of praise for each person. Each toast and each drink requires all who are present to drink along, as refraining from doing so is considered a sign of disrespect. During toasts people will usually become relaxed and open, and will start playing on the guitar, singing and saying kind words to each other. And of course, drinking is always accompanied by delicious Georgian food. Scrambled eggs, fresh melted cheese with butter on top of specially made dough make up one of the most famous Georgian dishes, ‘Khachapuri’. Another famous type of Georgian food, ‘Khinkali’, has an interesting relationship with the word ‘friendship’ in Georgia. Friend in Georgian is ‘Megobari’ and is derived from the word ‘gobi’, the word for a big bowl. Thus a ‘Megobari’ is a person with whom you share ‘gobi’. ‘Khinkali’ is usually done in ‘gobi’ by several people, who while using the same pots, or ‘gobi’, become ‘megobari’, or friends. The way that linguistics, food and the concept of friendship interplay in this sense is part of a cultural tradition as, for Georgians, ‘friendship’ from ancient times is associated with sharing and preparing food together. This individualistic approach is usually quite appealing and since these toasts are accompanied by delicious food and wine, they create a friendly atmosphere for people to meet one another. By taking part in this custom, individuals come together peacefully regardless of how well acquainted they are, integrating smoothly through the positive interaction facilitated by Georgian ‘Supra’.

Center for Cultural Diplomacy Studies Publication
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A Cultural History of Arts and Music of the Indian Subcontinent

Cultural Diplomacy in Central & South Asia

By Cristina-Elena Pestrea, Institute for Cultural Diplomacy

The ICD Annual Conference on Cultural Diplomacy is the world’s leading event in the field of cultural diplomacy and will include parallel large-scale events dedicated to the fields of cultural diplomacy & international relations, peace building, human rights, arts and culture.

The  2012 Edition of the ICD Annual Conference on Cultural Diplomacy took place in Berlin and was focused on reviewing in detail, debating and evaluating the most significant developments in 2012 in the field of Cultural Diplomacy.

The conference brought together current and former heads of state and ministers, as well as celebrities and dignitaries including an interdisciplinary group of participants traveling to Berlin from all over the world to discuss Cultural Diplomacy in our interdependent world.

Amongst those participants were Raazia Hassan Naqvi (Department of Social Work (DSW) University of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan) and  Muhammad Ibrar Mohmand (Lecturer, Department of Social Work (DSW), Institute of…

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The Eurovision Song Contest: Connecting The World Through Music

By Ester De Greef, Institute for Cultural Diplomacy.

download (11)Saturday May 18th the annual Eurovision song contest was held in Malmö, Sweden. 26 countries competed. But of course there can only be one winner: Denmark.

The Eurovision song contest is an example where different cultures and nations come together through cultural diplomacy using music and dance. Hundred millions of people watch the show every year. It has the largest international audience of any non-sporting event. The contest is therefore a great opportunity to create awareness and understanding between cultures.

The slogan of the contest was ‘we are one’. This refers to the basic of the contest: bringing people together in a shared project. Not only European citizens are involved, the contest united millions of people from all over the world. The main idea of this event is diversity, happiness and togetherness.

For the graphics they chose a butterfly, because butterflies exist in different shapes and colours but we use a common name for them: ‘butterflies’. This the connection to the diversity between people in this world. We are all human but also really different, but in the end we are one strong identity. This what the Eurovision song contest wanted to achieve this year with their logo.




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From Folk-dance Ensemble (1960 to present) to Traditional Musicians: Proposing ‘Cultural Diversity’ as the New Model for Arts policy and Cultural Diplomacy in Pakistan

pakistan usic

Image source here

By Shumaila Hemani, Phd. Student in Ethnomusicology, Music Department, University  of Alberta

In the following paper, Shumaila Hemani proposes a new model of Cultural Diplomacy for Pakistan –one that is in line with UNESCO’s convention of intangible heritage.

In particular, she focuses on Pakistan’s cultural policy towards music. Ms. Hemani refers to traditional musical communities of Pakistan as “not only national treasures, but as part of humanity’s profound heritage, preservation of which would promote pluralism both within Pakistan as well as in the image of Pakistan as a multicultural society”. She explains how, after the partition in 1947, Pakistan sought to establish its own distinct identity and national culture through traditional folk dance and music. Given the strong influences of the Hindu culture, it became increasingly important to “establish Pakistan’s identity on the cultural map of the world.” Although stringent policies during General Zia’s rule in the 1970’s, and the short undemocratic regimes of Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif in the 1990s had a great impact on the promotion of arts and music, things gradually changed when General Musharraf came into power. Post 9/11, Pakistan’s foreign policy underwent a radical shift and there has been a greater emphasis on projecting a “soft image” of Pakistan though the promotion of culture, sports, and tourism. Although there has been a revival of music and art activities, especially in urban areas of Pakistan, Ms. Hemani highlights the need to promote the “multicultural heritage of the nation”, through preserving traditional cultures and communities and facilitating intercultural dialogue, both at the national and global level. The idea is not to have a cultural policy focused solely on presenting a “positive image” of Pakistan, but one focused on promoting an active exchange of cultural knowledge and experiences.

To read the entire paper, please click here

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The Roaring Twenties: How dance played a role in women’s liberation

By Ester De Greef, Institute for cultural Diplomacy.

the roaring twenties 1The 1920s were important years for women throughout the world. A lot of things changed in terms of fashion, music and dance – all of which eventually played a role in women’s liberation. Women’s clothes became more casual; skirts and dresses became shorter; short-bob haircuts were in fashion as well as cosmetics and public smoking.

The 1920s were also important for politics and the labor market. Women’s labor force rose from 23.6% to 27% between 1920 and 1930. Positions in textiles, domestic services and agriculture were increasingly filled by women The first generation of women also graduated in 1920, in careers such as nursing, education and social work. Around the same time, women were granted the right to vote in many countries. To see the complete list, please click here. In 1925,  Bruce Bliven wrote in The New Republic, “Women have highly resolved that they are just as good as men…”

But the roaring twenties are most known for the obsession of dance. It was a way of escape for many following the horrors of the First World War (1914-1918). Through dance, women were able to express their emotions and optimism. The wild women of the twenties were known as flappers, and were trendsetters in their time when it came to fashion and dancing. They hardly cared about etiquettes.

These “wild” women introduced wild dances like the Charleston, The Grizzly Bear and The Shimmy. Women started to dance more with their upper body. The typical dance of the 1920s was not solely about dance and fashion; it was  more about freedom and experiencing a sense of peace. This wasn’t only expressed in the way women dressed and danced; between 1914 and 1929, divorce rate in America doubled, and premarital sex was even rising faster.

The optimism of the 1920s came to an end on Black Monday in September when the American Stock Market collapsed. During the great depression, the mood of the American people completely changed.

Although the roaring twenties contributed significantly to women’s liberation,  this doesn’t mean it was all sunshine and roses. Women’s rights grew tremendously, however in many cases they were still not equal to men. Even today, gender inequality and bias persists in many advanced industrial societies, making it one of the world’s greatest global challenges.


  • Suite 101, May 2013, available here
  • The Guardian, May 2013, available here
  • eHow, May 2013, available here
  • Wikipedia, May 2013, available here
  • 1920’s Dancing, May 2013, available here






Center for Cultural Diplomacy Studies Publication
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Education through the arts: the Joucotej theatre festival experience in the Democratic Republic of Congo

By Lucie Gil, Institute for Cultural Diplomacy.


source image here

 The 27th annual theatre festival Joucotej (Journée congolaise de théâtre pour et par l’enfance et la jeunesse) took place in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, from May 7th to 13th 2013. 45 plays were shown focusing on the issue of “peace and the rights of the child”.

The Joucotej festival was launched for the first time in 1987 by the theatre company Les Intrigants. It is dedicated to youth, and involved children and schools as well as theatre professionals. Valentin Mitendo, artistic director of Les Intrigants and president of the festival, points out the importance of educating and training the young generation through the arts. In an interview given to Agence France Presse, he declared that “if you do not educate your children, your country will be taken over by the children of others”. Promoting the “arts’ beauty and quality” is thus seen as a tool of empowerment and integration of the national youth.

The emphasis placed on youth education was particularly visible this year. Before the official festival even started, twenty teenagers were chosen to take part in a training program delivered by theatre professionals. They eventually presented their own creations and were fully included in the organizing team of the festival. At the same time, mainly from January 2013, 150 schools joined Les Intrigants, together with artists from Angola, France, Cameroun, Chad, Congo-Brazzaville and DRC. Valentin Mitendo believed in the Joucotej to be an important “meeting point” and underlined the fact that the DRC’s ministry of primary and secondary education now starts to understanding the aim of the festival and the benefits of this kind of initiatives.

Writers and actors intervened in secondary schools to explain and present their work to the children and make them play and experiment the theatre stage. The quality of these interventions was carefully watched by Les Intrigants who tried to promote regular meetings with the classes as well as artistic projects on the long run. The adaptation to school programs and schedules was a real challenge. Another was the lack of economic means, especially in this time of economic crisis. The theatre company thus developed its partnerships at the national and international level and managed to raise $30 000 to finance its event. Its main contributors were the Fédération Genévoise de Coopération, the Association de soutien au théâtre des Intrigants and the Fonds pour la promotion culturelle.

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Polish Cultural Evening

On the 25th of March, 2013, several ICD interns arranged a Polish evening at the ICD House to give participants a small taste of Polish culture. Departing interns Jakub Cywinski and Kasia Gluszak organized a screening of the seven-part miniseries, From Poland With Love, which offers viewers bite-sized insights into various cultural aspects of Poland, including the country’s music, cinema, and art. Through the screening of the miniseries, interns learnt about Polish cultural icons including the rapper Vienio, the band Mitch & Mitch, and movie director Xawery Zulawski.

polish event

One of the major focuses of the miniseries is the vodka of Poland, and specifically the long-running dispute over the origins of one of the worlds most widely consumed spirits. It was therefore fitting that interns had the opportunity to sample a number of Polish vodkas in the interludes between episodes. The Polish tradition of eating pickles after drinking vodka was an alien concept to most, although this proved to be a popular manner of consuming the drink, and we were also treated to cheese and homemade Polish baked goods.

All in all the event proved to be a success with a good turnout, and was a fitting way to say goodbye to many of our Polish interns who are departing at the end of the week.

Center for Cultural Diplomacy Studies Publication
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How to use art to turn the world inside out!

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By Ludmila Vávrová, Institute for Cultural Diplomacy.

JR is a French street artist who performs anonymously. Having started out as a graffiti artist, he never thought he could have changed the world, but has since become successful in this endeavor due to his unique “InsideOut Project.“ JR´s work has not gone unnoticed, and he was even awarded the 2011 TED Prize. You can watch his inspiring TED speech here, where he explains how can art change the world.

“InsideOut Project” is about using black and white photographic large format portraits to share the untold stories and images of people around the world. The portraits can be placed everywhere, from an abandoned building to a train or bridge, and all types of people are used as models.

JR´s latest project, entitled ”Women Are Heroes” focuses particularly on depicting women, especially women dealing with problems such as violence, oppression, or war.

Be the change!

I was able to experience JR’s work for the “InsideOut Project” firsthand when last year I was portrayed in black in white in the main city square while in France. Once the portrait was showcased and after seeing my face in large print, I experienced that indescribable feeling where you realize that you can be the change.


InsideOut Project website

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The London Art as Cultural Diplomacy ConferenceAugust 21st, 2013


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