Young Leaders´ Forums

Cultural Diplomacy in Europe

July 2010

Cultural Diplomacy in Europe: A Forum for Young Leaders

(July 29th - August 5th 2010)

Forum Report

The weeklong conference for “Cultural Diplomacy in Europe: A Forum for Young Leaders” took place in Berlin from the 29th of July to the 5th of August 2010. The program focused on the construction of a European Identity and the role of civil society in reconciling differences among neighbours, the responsibility and approach Europe should take in tackling climate change, the accession of Turkey and the integration of the Western Balkans.

Other issues addressed were the place of Europe in the global economy and the role of hard/soft and smart power in European foreign policy for the conduct of peaceful and stable international relations. Additional insights were given into the field of cultural diplomacy. Also leadership initiatives for young leaders were explored. Specific case studies of several nations allowed for the theoretical lectures and discussions to be placed into context for the participants.

The Cultural Diplomacy in Europe Young Leaders further benefited from participating in the international conference entitled “Nation Branding in a Globalized World”, which explored the concept of Nation Branding and its economic, political and cultural dimensions within the context of globalization and interdependence.
Speakers and participants examined the history and development of the term “Nation Branding”, the extent to which it is open to interpretation and the degree to which a country is able to shape its own brand. The event review for the Nation Branding conference can be found at:
“Cultural Diplomacy in Europe: A Forum for Young Leaders” speakers included leading figures in contemporary European politics as well as many members of academia active in the non-for-profit sector.

  The participants were awarded an official certificate of attendance at the end of the program, which confirmed attendance and provided details of the speakers who took part during the week and the topics discussed.

Forum Speakers

Mark C. Donfried (Director and Founder of the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy)
Ingmar Redel (Co-Founder of the 'Echo' Project)
Sarmad Hussein (Foreign Policy Advisor and Chief of Staff to Klaus-Werner Jonas, an SPD- party Member of the German Parliament)
Severin Fischer (Research Associate Institute for European Politics, Berlin)
Karl-Erik Norrman (Former Head of the Cultural Department of the Swedish Foreign Ministry and Swedish Diplomat in Moscow, Peking, Geneva, Rome and others)
Natasha Wunsch (Programme Officer at the Alfred von Oppenheim Center for European Policy Studies)
Dr. Ulrich Brückner (Jean Monnet Professor for European Studies, Stanford University in Berlin)
Dr. jur. Joachim Würmeling (Former Sate Secretary for German – EU politics and Member of the European Parliament)
Dr. Hans Martin Sieg (Foreign Policy Advisor to the German Bundestag)
Martin Kremer (Researcher at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs)
Gesa-Stefanie Brincker (Research Associate and Corporate Manager at the Institut für Europäische Politik (IEP))
Peter Rees (Development Director of the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy)
Ares Kalandides (Managing Director- INPOLIS UCE GmbH; President - The Association for Place Branding and Public Diplomacy)
Carsten Claus (Senior Brand Strategist at Brandflight)
Dan Mulhall (Ambassador of Ireland to Germany)
Daniel Florian (Consultant at Dimap Communications)
Dimitris Rallis (Ambassador of Greece to Germany)
Elizabeth Corwin (Cultural Attaché at the Embassy of the United States of America to Germany)
Gisela Sigmund (Project Manager at the ProMexico)
Gregor C. Blach (Managing Director of WE-DO)
Dr. Helena K. Finn (Head of Public Affairs, US Embassy in Berlin)
J. Christian B. Kirsch (Secretary General at the International Delphic Council)
János Can Togay (Director of the Collegium Hungaricum Berlin)
Amb. Joy E. Wheeler (Jamaican Ambassador to Germany)
Luis M. Anaya Imazio (Director of the Department for Economics at the Embassy of Mexico in Berlin)
Dr. Makase Nyaphisi (Ambassador of Kingdom of Lesotho to Germany)
Maris Nicolas Christiansen (Author of “Der Deutschland-Faktor: Nationale Herkunft als Chance für die Markenstrategie deutscher Automobilhersteller auf internationalen Märkten”)
Marko Štucin (First Secretary of the Embassy of Slovenia to Germany)
Milan Gojković (Minister-Counselor at the Embassy of Serbia in Berlin)
Nataša Jovović (Minister-Counselor at the Embassy of Montenegro in Berlin)
Patrick Hart (Director - the British Council Berlin)
Sandra Blagec (Deputy Head of Mission, Minister Counselor at the Embassy of Croatia to German)
Shahid Riaz Gondal (President of Pak-German Council for Culture and Democracy)
Uffe Andreasen (Ambassador, Member of UNESCOs Executive Board)
Vladimir Ciobalasu (Minister Counselor for Economics at the Embassy of Romania to Germany)


  • ICD House of Arts and Culture
  • German Parliament
  • Representation of the European Commission in Germany

Summary of Events

Monday August 2nd, 2010: The conference started with lectures introducing the topic of cultural diplomacy and the way several European countries have used it as a tool for foreign policy within and outside Europe. The participants also visited the German Parliament and were introduced to the future role for Europe as a political and economic actor in a globalised world.

Tuesday August 3rd, 2010: The second day of the forum considered the realities of climate change and global warming. As a global political and economic actor, Europe will have to take the lead in international policy making, especially after Copenhagen ended without resolution. The example of Scandinavian countries and their efforts of nation branding were also examined.

Wednesday August 4th, 2010: Three days into the conference, the participants were taken for a series of lectures to the Representation of the European Commission in Berlin. Most of the talks focused on the construction of a common European identity in order for Europe to increase and deepen the process of integration. Additionally the need for leadership and a European figure-head was highlighted, if the Union wishes to have a true supra-national character. 

Thursday August 5th, 2010: The last day of the conference addressed the relationship between hard power, soft power and smart power and the role of cultural diplomacy in European politics and contemporary international relations in general. The role of sports in Cultural Diplomacy was also put to the forefront. The participants ended the conference with a farewell session.

Monday August 2nd, 2010

Central daily Themes
  • Before considering the role of Cultural Diplomacy today, it is important to look at its history and development.
  • Diplomacy has developed throughout time according to specific political and social contexts.
  • Throughout the 20th century, Cultural Diplomacy has come to play a crucial role in the conduct of peaceful relations and interactions among countries.
  • Globalisation has meant that countries will have to use diplomatic means to find common solutions to new global issues that have arisen, such as climate change.
  • Europe as a political actor faces challenges especially in trading for resources in Africa.
  • In the future there will be an increase in the competition of resources. Especially due to global warming and certain metal resource shortcomings, competition between countries is going to rise.
  • The economic power of Europe is increasing even though there are problems in overspending and in the fact that there is a decline in the European demographic.
  • Germany is competitive in trading within the European Union as well as a sovereign country worldwide.
  • There are different areas of policies within the EU. Its biggest role is trade and it is a superpower in that domain.
  • EU is traditionally associated with soft power. However it will need to use more hard power strategies in order to successfully address problems with countries like Russia, China or Iran.

Tuesday August 3rd, 2010

Central Daily Themes
  • The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) created possible scenarios to show the possible consequences that  global warming might have for the future. The EU Summit of 2007 on global warming concluded on keeping the global warming temperature  to rise no higher than 2°C.
  • The Carbon-monoxide levels have also risen in the past two decades due to cheaper air travel and the increase of car ownership ,especially in Europe after 1990.
  • The ETS (Emission Trading System) promotes renewable energies and has the leading role in global climate policy.
  • The Copenhagen Climate Conference in 2009 tried to help the branding of Europe as “Green Europe”.
  • While the geographical isolation of Scandinavia is important to its identity, throughout history, the composite countries have demonstrated diverging cultures. Whilst Denmark is known to have one of the oldest monarchies in the world, and Sweden has retained “smart neutrality”, Finland was engulfed in the Cold War’s Soviet sphere of influence.
  • Sweden finally became a member of the European Union following a referendum in 1994, which saw a 53% majority in favour of joining Europe. Sweden became an EU member along with Finland and Austria in January 1995.
  • Branding is a modern concept which is crucial for less established countries, especially for those fighting for credibility, for example the ex-Soviet and newly independent Balkan states.
  • In the 1970s, Sweden was the third richest country in the world and the second largest shipbuilder.  Now this situation has chifted and Sweden is engaged in the branding process by promoting itself abroad through cultural institutions.
  • Whilst Iceland is perhaps not the best known country, its reputation for fishing could perhaps be considered as to how it is best represented abroad. Norway is most commonly associated with Oil. Danes have remained commercial champions, perhaps best known in the international business world.
  • Whilst the Scandinavian countries all have their own individual languages, they have the capacity to understand each other. This common language however is disappearing, and Scandinavian countries choose to use the lingua franca to communicate instead.

Wednesday August 4th, 2010

Central Daily Themes
  • The main changes after the Lisbon Treaty were: the introduction of a permanent President of the European Council, the introduction of a fairer voting system (double majority), a stronger foreign policy representative, more majority voting (especially on sensitive issues, such as security), and a stronger say for national parliaments.
  • The political system and the structure of the EU is very complex, which makes cooperation and understanding quite difficult.
  • The lack of a common European identity among its citizens also makes the task harder. Different opinions and visions for the EU can clash and thus halt the progress of integration.
  • Also, the EU suffers from a democratic deficit and lack of transparency which could explain the resistance often felt against further integration. Its legitimacy can only be enhanced if its citizens have sufficient information on its decision making process and internal structures. 
  • Democracy in the EU would be possible by creating a federal European state or by having sovereign national states and no comprehensive democratic system.
  • The European Union is in great need of leadership and must choose a political figure that will serve the member countries’ common interests best. The enlargement of the EU means more actors and more diversity, which in turn makes it harder to find a common denominator.
  • In general, there is a high support for a European leader (according to an opinion poll taken in early 2010). However, younger members (Poland, etc.) are less supportive of the idea – this is possibly due to their communist past.
  • The EU needs to speak with one voice on the global stage and other countries want to know who speaks for Europe.
  • Political leaders of member states are not the ideal choice – they are well known, but they are concerned with internal politics, so it is hard for political figures to run Europe as well as their own countries.
  • The EU has different options for its leaders, ranging from Jerzy Buzek (President of the European Parliament) who is elected by the Parliament, which in turn is directly elected by the public, to Jose Manuel Barroso (President of the European Commission) who is in power for five years, which brings continuity, and as head of a supranational body, he is not affected by national minorities.  

Thursday August 5th, 2010

Central Daily themes
  • In politics, power has come to be defined as “the ability to affect others to get the outcomes that you want“ (Joseph Nye, 20006)
  • Hard power and coercion are necessary tools in the international arena, and they have been the main means for nations to approach other political entities.
  • Following the destruction and devastation unleashed by the alliance system of Nation-States in World War I, US President Woodrow Wilson called for more transparency in International diplomatic relations, set out in his Fourteen points and codified in the creation of the League of Nations. This was the beginning of Soft Power as the mainstream approach in international relations.
  • Soft Power can be defined as: “the ability to get what you want through attraction rather than coercion or payments. It arises from the attractiveness of a country's culture, political ideals, and policies. When our policies are seen as legitimate in the eyes of others, our soft power is enhanced” (Joseph Nye, 2005).
  • Smart Power is a nascent concept in the field of international relations theory. It has been defined as: ““the strategic use of diplomacy, persuasion, capacity building, and the projection of power and influence in ways that are cost-effective and have political and social legitimacy”.
  • This policy mix of Hard and Soft Power combined could be helpful in tackling some of the world’s intractable hotspots, like North Korea, Israel-Palestine as well as Transnational Terrorism.
  • Sports can also play an important role cultural diplomacy between nations
  • Sports are increasingly being used for peace building but also national economic and social development.
  • Sportsmen also act as international ambassadors as they represent the face of their nation in the media. The values of sports such as teamwork and respect for common authority, can be applied to cultural diplomacy.
  • Some examples include the Olympic Games of 1968 where John Carlos made black power salute at the medal ceremony, and the 2006 World Cup in Germany during which the world embraced contemporary Germany.