The International Symposium on Cultural Diplomacy 2010:

Culture, Globalization, and International Relations over the next Two Decades

(Berlin; May 23rd - 30th, 2010)

"Defining and Understanding Culture in an International Context"

(23rd – 25th May)


The International Symposium on Cultural Diplomacy will run from Sunday, 23rd - 30th May 2010 and will consist of three related, component parts. The first component part of the Symposium is entitled “Defining and Understanding Culture in an International Context”, and will run from Sunday 23rd – Tuesday 25th May.

During this part of the Symposium the program will look at the terms “culture” and “identity” in more detail, focusing on how they are defined and understood today. Academic experts and practitioners from the cultural sphere will offer their perspectives on how the expression and interpretation of culture has changed over the past century, and will reflect on the different layers of identity that are present in us as individuals. Having provided some working definitions for these concepts, the program will then move to consider their relevance on an international context and the extent to which state borders also influence culture and identity.


The first component of the Symposium will consist of a series of lectures, debates, panel discussions, roundtable discussions that will focus on the following issues, and will be followed by a variety of social and cultural activities:

Interpreting and understanding of culture in the past, present and future:
  • The essence of culture
  • The development of cultural expression
  • The extent to which a global culture is emerging
  • Moving beyond definitions of “high” and “low” culture
The formation and expression of cultural identity:
  • Is cultural identity inherited or created?
  • The implications of global migration for cultural identity
  • Does culture matter in defining national and regional identities?
  • The role of governments in shaping national identity
  • Should cultural diversity be encouraged, or does it inevitably lead to conflict?
  • The politicization of identity and implications for government
  • Are nationalism and fundamentalism byproducts of globalization?
  • The challenges and opportunities of identity and integration
  • The European Union and the emergence of a European identity
The evolution of cultural interaction:
  • The extent of globalization’s impact on local culture
  • Technological advances and cultural exchange
  • The development of transnational communities
  • Cultural interpretations of globalization  
  • The democratization of the media: a global phenomenon?
  • The emergence of budget travel and the consequences for intercultural interaction
  • Does cultural identity divide more it bridges peoples?
  • Is globalization a synonym for Americanization?
Religion and modernity:
  • The evolution of religious expression since 1945
  • Does globalization limit or accelerate the spread of religious dogmas?
  • Exploring the religious rights and responsibilities of migrant communities
  • Does the global reach of religion provide solutions or problems for peace and stability?     
  • The role of religious leaders in generating multilateral dialogue
  • Assessing the political, cultural, and religious points of conflict in the Middle East
The influence of language in intercultural relations:
  • The relationship between culture, ethnicity, and language
  • The impact of globalization on minority languages
  • The challenges and opportunities of the spread of the English language
  • The role of governments in promoting language education
The role of governments in promoting international cultural exchange: cultural diplomacy and cultural relations
  • How much of a role should governments play in encouraging cultural exchange between their citizens and the rest of the world?
  • Do government-funded cultural and public diplomacy institutions have a viable future?
The relevance of Samuel Huntington’s “Clash of Civilizations” thesis in contemporary global politics
  • How has the world changed since Huntington presented his prediction of the future?
  • Is there a clash of civilizations occurring today, and if so, has globalization been its catalyst?