“A World Without Walls“:

An International Congress on "Soft Power", Cultural Diplomacy and Interdependence

(Berlin; November 6th - 9th, 2009)

Day 1 – Friday November 6th

“A World Without Walls: An International Congress on Soft Power, Cultural Diplomacy, and Interdependence” began with a welcome speech and introduction by Mark Donfried, Founder and Director of the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy. Mr. Donfried expressed his excitement and anticipation of the four-day congress, which coincided with the 20th anniversary celebrations of the fall of the Berlin Wall. This introduction was followed by a greeting speech by Nobel Prize-winning politician Lord David Trimble, which, since Lord Trimble was not able to attend the Congress in person, was read on his behalf by Professor Ulrich Brückner. The speech, which drew parallels between the Berlin Wall and the walls that divided Protestants and Catholics in Belfast and Londonderry, stressed the importance of dialogue in finding peaceful solutions to end conflict, and was a moving and emotive opening to the day’s events.

Following this introduction, Dr. Benjamin Barber, Professor of Civil Society at the University of Maryland, gave a lecture in which he stressed that, although it is often proclaimed that Americans won the Cold War, it was actually the 30 years of struggle of those behind the Iron Curtin that brought about its collapse on November 9th 1989. Barber posited that the fall of the wall had symbolized an exciting and unique opportunity to unite a bipolar world and lamented the fact that, since the end of the Cold War, democracy and freedom have become synonymous with capitalism and consumerism. He also argued that, while America has continued to attempt to remain at arm’s length from the rest of the world over the past 20 years, Europe has sought an increasingly united and interdependent approach.

During the second section of Friday's events, participants were treated to a presentation by Dr. Jo Ritzen, President of Universiteit Maastricht and former Dutch Minister of Education, entitled “Universities in a World Without Walls”. Along the same lines, a panel discussion followed with Dr. Ritzen, Dr Barber and Martin Hope (Director of the Benelux and EU Offices of the British Council), chaired by Mr. Brückner entitled “The Role of Education in a World Without Walls”. Mr. Ritzen drew upon his vast experience and his time at Universiteit Maastricht in the Netherlands, a pioneering university that focuses on providing desirable educational degrees and diplomas to foreign students using new methods of teaching and advertisement. The lecture covered the need for universities to step into a new era, and begin to cater to a wider range of students who wish to attain university qualifications, and how this could be achieved by breaking down social borders. The relationship between education and technology was also considered, along with the use of external organizations by universities to create global educational links. The panel discussion focused on how education can bring people together, specifically between culturally diverse nations, and touched upon the idea of creating "Global Citizens". These people are extremely culturally aware and think on a global scale when making life decisions, instead of being dependent on their own home nation and culture.

The subsequent question and answer session was also linked strongly to the topics of the weekend. During the discussion, the panel members considered the fact that universities are increasingly creating skilled workers rather than innovative leaders, who would be able to deal with the changes and challenges of tomorrow’s world Questions posed included; “Do universities focus on internal education rather than and international education?“, “Are universities doing enough to create global citizens?”, “If education becomes a global system can it still allow for national cultures to exist” and “Does current education exist without walls despite universities actively encouraging overseas students to study there?” Mr. Ritzen and Mr. Hope covered these questions well and responses from the audience were very candid and informed.

After a short interval and well deserved coffee break, Mr. Andras Simonyi, former Hungarian Ambassador to the USA, introduced a very pertinent lecture and panel discussion for the Congress, which were both led by Mr. László Kovács, the current European Commissioner for Taxation and Customs Union. Mr. Simonyi drew upon a humorous anecdote, where both politicians were on the tennis court in 1989 (the year in which Hungary opened its border with Austria) enjoying a lighthearted afternoon whilst the Iron Curtain was beginning to fall before their eyes. Despite the threat of imprisonment and the loss of everything, Mr. Simonyi noted that the game continued without hindrance. Mr. Kovács structured his lecture around the question of why Hungarian leaders chose to favor a different system from those in other Eastern Bloc Countries, as opposed to following a typically Soviet way of government. For instance Hungary opened diplomatic relations with many countries in the Western World, in particular the USA and also recognized opposing other political movements and certain nations. Mr. Kovács highlighted some of the key events in Hungary’s recent history, including the 1956 revolution and the aforementioned opening of the border between Austria and Hungary in 1989. He also highlighted that Hungary was unique in the respect that it had developed diplomatic links with other foreign nations that other Warsaw Pact countries had not had relations with due to Soviet policy. Kovács asserted that informal talks had lead to successful foreign policy after the fall of the Iron Curtain. The lecture was followed by a panel discussion that covered the Hungarian foreign relations mentioned in Mr. Kovács’ speech, as well as Hungary’s role in Europe today.

Mr. Meir Shlomo of the Public Diplomacy Division of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs presented the next lecture, which included a very informative presentation with various humorous and thoughtful videos. These videos provided examples of contemporary Israeli propaganda, stressing the positive aspects of Israel and Israeli culture with the aim of attracting more tourism and investment. In addition, it explained how Israel seeking to counteract its world image after having been portrayed negatively by international press due to its problems with conflict and division. The content also explained the way Public Diplomacy plays a key role in the development of a country’s relations, and the way in which Israel uses public diplomacy to identify itself in the Middle East. Mr. Shlomo also used a map of the Islamic world to emphasize Israel's geographic position, and demonstrate how it is often hard for Israel to participate with its neighbors due to the immense cultural division.

The lecture was followed by a heated discussion, covering the conflict in Israel and Palestine, where several interesting questions were posed. Participants raised the issue of the wall that exists on the West Bank, dividing Israelis and Palestinians, and whether the conflict between the two nations would ever end. Mr. Shlomo’s response was very direct and straightforward. He expressed his dislike of the wall, but also commented upon its effectiveness in stopping attacks. This point caused a certain amount of audience discussion, and showed that cultural diplomacy is not always a straightforward and positive task.

During the third section of the afternoon, the participants received an entertaining speech and discussion given by Jack McConnell, former First Minister of Scotland, on the subject of “Peace-Building and Conflict Resolution Today,” with special concentration on how the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the end of the Soviet Union created a less stable world. Mr. McConnell explained that traditional conflict focused upon the struggle for land and natural resources, and is not as prevalent today, whereas internal conflict and the struggle for political power is currently the biggest threat to peace. He discussed how his involvement with teaching and peace building in Africa (Mr. McConnell is a maths teacher by profession) played a key role in campaigning for the prevention of conflict, rather than its resolution. Mr. McConnell also discussed some of the positive aspects such as the continuing existence of the European Union, the progression of peace in Latin America and the election of an American administration with a multi-lateral approach. Two other themes Mr. McConnell touched upon were the idea of secure states being responsible for fragile states, and how the approach to conflict politics needs to involve greater military/civilian synchronization.

Mrs. Merethe Stagetorn, a defense lawyer for the Danish Supreme Court, presented the next lecture on the subject of “Human Rights and Freedom of Expression: A Scandinavian Perspective”. Mrs. Stagetorn began by highlighting the similarities between each of the Scandinavian countries' constitutions, and how it is often the case that certain principles do not need to be written into the constitution in order to create cohesion between democracy and everyday life. The key topic Mrs. Stagetorn raised was the recent media circus that surrounded the publishing of cartoons by the Danish Media depicting the Prophet Mohammed with a bomb under his headwear. The cartoon caused an immense backlash from all cultures around the world, Danish flags were burned and terrorist activity was threatened. Mrs. Stagetorn commented that because of cultural division (Denmark is a country of 5 million people, 300,000 of which are Muslim), a joke, which was not intended to offensive, had caused an international scandal. The event raised the issue of the balance between offending people and the right to freedom of speech. As a defense lawyer, Mrs. Stagetorn brought forth her legal perspective, saying that the cartoonists could not be prosecuted as they had the right to freedom of expression, even thought the Islamic world demanded retribution. This situation was very interesting as Danish human rights could have been contradicted had the cartoonists been prosecuted as requested.

The last event of the day was a speech from Mirko Tomassoni, former Captain Regent of San Marino. Tommassoni spoke on the “Impact of Globalization on the World’s Oldest Sovereign State”. He began by discussing the cultural diversity in Berlin in, its people, food and music, and went on to discuss democracy and human rights after the 1960’s. He also discussed how removing local cultures, traditions and faiths can result in negative actions as people attempt to defend their cultural identity. Mr. Tomassoni also discussed how San Marino desired to play a part in the decision-making in the EU and the UN.

During the evening, participants enjoyed the event “Transcending Borders”, which consisted of a speech and presentation entitled “Beyond the Fall”, given by Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Anthony Suau. The project covered the transition of 12 former Warsaw Pact countries from communism to capitalism, and contained fantastic images from November 9th, 1989, as well as deeply saddening images of the newly capitalist population dealing with the negative effects of the fall of communism.  This fantastic presentation was then followed by an enchanting concert with performances by ‘The Voice of the Sea’.

Day 2 - Saturday November 7th

The second day of “A World Without Walls” began with an informative lecture on the topic “Euro-Atlantic Perspective of Bosnia and Herzegovina” presented by Ana Trisic Babic, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Mrs. Babic's speech focused on the development of Bosnia and Herzegovina from the fall of the Iron Curtain, through the civil war, to the contemporary situation in which the country is campaigning for the recognition of its identity and the goal of becoming a part of NATO and the European Union. Mrs. Babic discussed the problems that currently plague Bosnia and Herzegovina, particularly their attempt to become a full member of the EU and NATO. Babic also elaborated on the importance of incorporating the Western Balkans into the global community. Specifically, she emphasized how regional organizations such as the EU are one of the greatest incentives to ensure peace and stability.

Later in the morning, participants enjoyed a presentation and speech by Dr. Alfredo Palacio, former President of Ecuador, entitled “New Perspectives on Globalization: New International Agreements, Goals, Regulation and Global Citizenship”. Dr. Palacio based his ideas on a biological point of view, pointing out the need for better world energy use, and the need to budget world funds away from military spending and more towards medicinal advancements. Dr. Palacio also emphasized how healthy citizens play a key role in developing a better world. Dr. Palacio discussed how the difference between rich and poor countries could be seen as a wall, as developing countries cannot compete on an equal basis. Finally, he summarized his three-point theory to creating a better world: Biology (putting life first), international law (ensuring peace and stability) and global economy (practically that there are certain global goods that cannot be owned or used to make a profit). The presentation was well received in the Kurfürstendamm theatre.

The next lecture focused on the Berlin Wall itself, and covered the history of physical walls around the world. Slovenian Minister of Education and Sport, Dr. Igor Lukšič, highlighted the strong relationship between Slovenia and Germany, as well as Slovenia's reaction to the fall of the wall in 1989. Dr. Lukšič then went on to describe the history of walls, starting from the dawn of man, through the classical period onto the Great Wall of China. Dr. Lukšič made a very interesting point by saying that China today still has a “wall” regarding internet and media restrictions, but acknowledged that these kinds of walls can sometimes be positive, especially regarding safety: for example, the existence of firewalls protecting children from harmful Internet media. Dr. Lukšič also described the history of the Berlin Wall in detail and highlighted the links between protective and retaining walls, including those in Palestine and between North and South Korea.

ICD Director and Founder Mark Donfried introduced the next lecture by Mrs. Nouzha Skalli, Moroccan Minister of Social Development, Family and Solidarity, highlighting her impressive involvement with human rights promotion in Morocco, and her work on the headscarf issue in Germany. Mrs. Skalli's lecture focused on the idea that walls are still present in Morocco today, especially with regards to women’s rights. Some very interesting points were highlighted which demonstrated the success and hard work of Mrs. Skalli, who has fought for equal opportunities since the age of nineteen. Skalli and campaigners like her have managed to increase the number of women in Moroccan parliament from 0.5% to 12.38% over a relatively short period.

Mrs. Skalli also drew on the success that Morocco has experienced in the area of women's rights, including the official recognition of female politicians in 2007 and the new “image” of 21st century Muslim women. This great success came as a shock to campaigners like Mrs. Skalli, and was reinforced by the appearance of important figures such as the wife of Morocco's current King in official appearances and in the media. In addressing the issue of human rights in the following discussion, Mrs. Skalli revealed her own brother had spent time in jail due to his beliefs. An audience member brought an important observation into the discussion, commenting that in her experience, usually only women speak at events promoting gender equality, and that she would like to see more male participants and speakers.

After lunch, the participants received a lecture and discussion from Sir James Mancham, Founding President of the Seychelles on the subject of “National Sovereignty and the Development of International Relations Since 1989: The Example of the Seychelles.” Within this topic, Sir Mancham discussed the Cold War as well as other wars since 1989, the role of the USA in future peace, and the voice of small nations. He also talked about the concept of spending money for peace making, rather than for peacekeeping. He finished his lecture by speaking about the importance of creating statesmen, rather than politicians, who desire to improve peace and quality of life over ensuring their seat in an election.

The afternoon panel discussion saw three speakers and moderator Mr. Brückner discussing the role played by NATO today in Afghanistan, and the way in which NATO could develop its future world relations. Dr. Solomon Passy, former Bulgarian Foreign Minister, opened the discussion, highlighting how walls still exist for some countries wishing to join global organizations such as NATO and the United Nations. The “walls” he highlighted included the following:

1.     The United Nations as a wall itself, offering protection, but also as an obstacle for countries who are still developing the correct requirements to join.

2.     United Nations Security Council, which many nations want to join but are not allowed to. The Council also represents a wall in terms of influencing the decisions it makes.

3.     The wall of common fears.

4.     NATO, which was explained as both a shield and a wall.

5.     The EU is a wall, which Turkey has spent 40 years trying to scale.

6.     The Schengen wall, which blocks non-member countries.

7.     The Euro Zone was described as a wall, which affects many prospective states.
Countries wishing to join must have the correct economy and be a member of the EU.

8.     The “Great Wall of China” was described as representing the barrier that exists today between NATO and China.

Mr. Passy also described a Bulgarian project to replace the poppies that fuel the heroin trade in Afghanistan with roses. Whilst Mr. Carlo Ungaro, former Italian Ambassador, contributed the fact that Italy had also grown olives for Italian olive oil in the arable land. The discussion continued with a detailed section by Mr. Ungaro, who has spent a total of 14 years in Afghanistan, notably Herat. He highlighted that Afghanistan was one of the most troubled nations on Earth, and reflected on the interventions and conflicts that have taken place throughout history, notably with the British Empire and the Soviet Union. He also covered in detail the current NATO occupation and the difficult relations with local tribes and organizations such as the Taliban and supposedly deposed Al-Qaeda. Mrs. Marina Pendes, Deputy Minister of Defence of Bosnia and Herzegovina spoke of NATO as a bridge to the United Nations and the EU, and mentioned the potential EU accession of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is a key national priority.

The participants then received a highly informative speech from H.E. Yasar Yakis, former Turkish Foreign Minister, on the subject of “Turkey as a European State: Progress and Challenges.” Mr. Yakis began by discussing what Turkey has accomplished and continues to strive for in lining up with EU requirements. He also framed the discussion in terms of why Turkey believes itself to be a European state, mainly through its ideology and values, despite being an Islamic country with a geographical location in Asia. Mr. Yakis continued this lecture by discussing the history of European culture, the history of Turkey, the reasons Turkey wishes to be a part of the EU and Turkey's existing role in NATO. Mr. Yakis also answered audience questions about the changing face of Turkey citing the example of the re-legalisation of the Kurdish language. Finally, he discussed how Turkey is attempting to become more synchronized with the European Court of Human Rights.

The evening discussion was titled “The US-Russian Relation: Europe’s Role Then and Now” and included the panelists Ivaylo Kalfin (MEP; Former Bulgarian Minister of Foreign Affairs), Dr. Passy, Minister Dr. Lukšič, Dr. Barber, Mr. McConnell, Radmila Sekerinska (Former Prime Minister of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia), and Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic (Croatian Ambassador to the USA). The discussion was chaired by Karl Erik Norrman (Former Head of the Cultural Department of the Swedish Foreign Ministry). The panel discussion took the format of a small speech by each panelist, followed by a question and answer session involving the participants and other speakers in the audience. The panel was comprised of representatives from some of the smaller states in Europe, particularly from the Balkans. Mr. Norman moderated, and began by linking the new generation of Swedes with America's younger generation through media and cultural influences. The topic of Balkan involvement with U.S. relations was touched upon by questions, and it was brought to attention that Russia is often 'laissez-faire' when it comes to developing and strengthening international relations.

An evening of music titled “Cold War Diplomacy: A Tribute to Jazz Ambassadors” then capped off the day's events. This also included an informative and entertaining a welcome speech by former Ambassador of Hungary to the United States András Simonyi, which highlighted the importance of Jazz music behind the Iron Curtain, as well as live music from the ICD house band, the “Jazz Ambassadors”.

Day 3 - Sunday November 8th

Sunday morning began with a lecture and discussion from Martin Hope, Director of the Benelux and EU Office at the British Council and former Director at the British Council in Moscow, on the subject of “Cultural Relations in the 21st Century between the EU and Major International Partners.” The British Council is a charity, which promotes the teaching and learning of English as a transferable skill. Mr. Hope highlighted the contributions of the British Council to world peace and charity efforts specifically noting the Council’s lack of high turnover compared to other global charities.

Mr. Hope discussed the distinction between cultural relationships and cultural diplomacy and the direction of cultural institutions in the 21st century. He also noted the establishment of EUNIC (European Union National Institutes for Culture), the importance of non-governmental cultural organizations and global networking. He finished his lecture with an example of one of the projects carried out by the British Council in relationship with its Russian partners.

Following Mr. Hope’s presentation, Mr. Włodzimierz Cimoszewicz, former Prime Minister of Poland, gave a talk on the subject of “Poland's Path to Change”. Mr. Cimoszewicz discussed some interesting topics surrounding the development of Poland from a member of the Warsaw Pact to the country it is today. In particular, he identified the development of the electoral system and Polish foreign policy, as well as the various difficulties (such as hyper-inflation) that Poland has faced in its past and must also face in its future. Mr. Cimoszewicz also most informatively discussed the social and economic changes in Poland in the recent past.

Towards midday, the participants enjoyed an entertaining and informative speech and discussion by Australian Senator Alan Baird Ferguson on the topic of “Breaking Down Barriers and Building Bridges.” He discussed the relationship between Europe and Australia and explored Australia’s identity, which he claims defines itself as a European country in the Pacific Ocean. Mr. Ferguson also examined the importance of cultural exchange and the concept of traditional diplomacy versus cultural diplomacy and soft power. Finally, Ferguson considered the interdependence of countries and its relation to currency reserves.

Directly following Senator Ferguson's speech, participants were treated to a panel discussion with Ivaylo Kalfin, H.E. Yasar Yakis, Ioannis Kasoulides (Former Foreign Minister of Cyprus), Delia Domingo-Albert (Ambassador of the Philippines to Germany), and Dr. Miomir Žužul (Former Croatian Foreign Minister), chaired by Dr. Erkki Tuomioja (Former Finnish Foreign Minister). The panel discussion “Balancing Global Public Goods and National Priorities: Establishing Foreign Policy in an Interdependent World” mainly revolved around climate change, the issue of imposing emissions restrictions and the effect of climate change on the progress of developing countries. It was also discussed how global issues can often be directly opposed to national interests and that we need to become global citizens to overcome such issues and create global change.

After a relaxing lunch buffet in Savignyplatz, participants received a lecture and discussion from Mr. Alfed Sant, former Prime Minister of Malta, which addressed the question “Is A World Without Walls Compatible with Cultural Diversity and Regional Autonomy? A Look at the Medium and Long-Term”. Mr. Sant examined walls as physical, economical and ideological entities, discussed the strategy of the super powers and the effect they had, and also looked at the importance of the relationship between the state and its people. Mr. Sant also noted the progress of globalization and its possible effects on national identity. Specifically, he identified how this could create a sense of losing autonomy and how, in its worst manifestations, globalization can impede on national cultures and tradition, leading to civil unrest and terrorism.

After refreshments, former President of Romania Emil Constantinescu delivered a speech on the subject of “A Strong Europe is an Integrated Europe” which was followed by a panel discussion debating the same topic. The discussion included panellists Włodzimierz Cimoszewicz, Erna Hennicot Schoepges (MEP; Former Minister of Culture and Religious Affairs of Luxembourg), H.E. Yasar Yakis, Jytte Hilden (Former Minister of Culture of Denmark), and Marina Pendes. During this they discussed the paradox of globalization as it both unites and divides the world. It highlighted the possibility of globalization uniting the world through technology, but simultaneously dividing it due to aspects such as the cost of technological advances. They also discussed how technology presents a unique opportunely for education.

This was followed by the Gala Event “1989: A Celebration of the Year that Changed the World”, consisting of a keynote speech from Ségolčne Royal on European integration. Mme. Royale mentioned the walls she had faced in her political career, as well as the role of physical and mental walls in the world today. In particular, she highlighted the importance of what she referred to as the ‘United States of Europe’ as a way to combat such forces which might hamper the interdependence of Europe. The speech was followed by live musical performances of classic American rock, with a surprise guest appearance by Mr. Andras Simonyi.

Day 4 - Monday, November 9th

Monday morning began with a lecture and discussion by Mr. Ioannis Kasoulides, former Foreign Minister of Cyprus, which had the title “Breaking Down Visible and Invisible Walls”. In his lecture, Mr. Kasoulides highlighted the relation between physical barriers and socio-economic barriers. He drew upon some important ideas, which involved the wall phenomenon and discussed how visas could be seen as an invisible wall. Mr. Kasoulides also mentioned the ‘economic walls’ between developing and developed countries, for instance how countries outside the EU can be overlooked when it comes to world trade.

This was followed by a panel discussion involving Mike Kenneth Moore (Former Prime Minister of New Zealand and Director-General of the WTO), Janez Janša (Former Prime Minister of Slovenia), President Emil Constantinescu, President Dr. Alfredo Palacio, Radmila Sekarinska and Jack McConnell on the subject of “Global Leadership in a World Without Walls: The Challenges Ahead”. The panel mainly focused on the need for global statesmen as opposed to domestically focused politics, as well as the need to concentrate on global issues as well as domestic problems.

The participants then received a lecture and discussion from Luc Van den Brande, President of the EU Committee of the Regions, who discussed Belgium's role in the EU and global politics and diplomacy. Mr. Van den Brande explained how, through the particular systems of the EU, small countries can make their voices heard. For example, the “one country one vote” rule in the EU ensures that all countries have an equal say. He went on to discuss the importance of recognizing that global politics has an impact at national and regional level. Furthermore, he emphasized the importance of acquiring regional support for decisions, as policy often has its greatest effects at this level.

After a very interesting discussion the participants received a lecture on the topic of the “Emergence of the Slovenian State: The Importance of Soft Power” from Mr. Janez Janša who began by discussing the history of Slovenia. Mr. Janša concentrated on Slovenia’s declaration of independence from Yugoslavia and how they attempted to use soft power as a strong complement to hard power to achieve this, only using military force to defend themselves. This lecture provided not only a great example of a successful use of soft power, but also gave a in-depth and enthralling insight into the history of a Balkan country, which is often overlooked when compared to others in the region.

During the afternoon, participants enjoyed an open and informative lecturer from Mike Kenneth Moore on the topic of “A World Without Walls - Freedom, Development, Free Trade and Global Governance”. During this lecture, he discussed the use of globalization, how it presents great opportunities to developing countries but also how it can be misused by the powerful. He also discussed how economic areas such as the United States and the EU are creating new economic walls to protect themselves.

The last panel discussion of the conference was moderated by Ulrich Brückner and included panelists Merethe Stagetorn and Mark Donfried. The discussion was very conclusive, and the points brought up included the presence of physical and mental barriers in the world today, how it is very easy to celebrate nations coming together, even if such union might not always be positive. Mr. Brückner took the opportunity at this point to thank all of the speakers and panelists who had contributed fantastically to the event, and particularly thanked the ICD staff and interns for making the event possible. Mr. Donfried closed the weekend by inviting the remaining speakers to a celebratory dinner and to attend the “20 Jahre Mauerfall” celebrations at the Brandeburg Gate.

During the evening participants travelled to the Brandenburg Gate for the official celebrations of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, which included speeches from Mikhail Gorbachev, Angela Merkel, Gordon Brown, Hillary Clinton, Nicolas Sarkozy, Dmitri Medvedev, and others, as well as a symbolic 'domino fall' along the former path of the Berlin Wall.

The symbolic fall saw the end of a fantastic congress, which provided participants with a wide range of thoughts, ideas and points for further consideration and debate. The speakers executed successful and well-received presentations, lectures and speeches, and the panel discussions always provided something to provoke thought and interest from the participants and other audience members. The congress “A World Without Walls” was a ultimately a great success that has undoubtedly raised awareness of cultural diplomacy and soft power, as well as identified pressing issues for participants, speakers, and the broader public to address in the near future.