The first International Forum of Cultural Diplomacy, organised by the Ukrainian Institute in co-operation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, has started in Ukraine.
The event brought together leading experts from Ukraine, the United States, the United Kingdom, Austria, the Czech Republic, Lithuania and Turkey to share best practices and find inclusive solutions to cultural diplomacy under global crises and threats. Among the key topics were best practices of cultural diplomacy; perception of Ukraine abroad; state image and national security; and Ukraine in the world ranking of soft power.
Opening the forum, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba noted that Ukraine has an institutional base for cultural diplomacy based on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ukrainian Institute. As he stated, a whole generation of Ukrainian artists and art managers has already grown up in Ukraine, who were ready to engage in cultural diplomacy and were already embodying successful artistic collaborations abroad.
“There are two major priorities in cultural diplomacy. First is the creation of new meanings and narratives that we promote regarding Ukraine in the world. Second is the implementation of new, bright projects, which we surprise the world with and influence the attitude to Ukraine in different countries via the soft power of culture,” the diplomat declared.
The Minister stressed that each country has its specific knowledge about Ukraine and attitude to it. “The art of cultural diplomacy is to target individual countries as special audiences with their perception of our state,” he said.
According to Kuleba, efficient cultural diplomacy, like foreign policy, needs adequate funding. And it is not only about budget resources, but also about the mutually beneficial partnership with patrons. “We need to develop formats of co-operation with business, exporters interested in trade with specific countries,” he said. “We are the best allies. ”