The International Symposium on Cultural Diplomacy 2009

"The Role of Soft Power in the International Environment"

Berlin, 27th - 31st July 2009
The International Symposium on Cultural Diplomacy 2009 (Berlin, 27th – 31st July) comprises a weeklong program of lectures and panel discussions that will explore the role of soft power in international relations. The speakers during the week will be leading figures from politics, academia and civil society who, through their academic and professional experience, will provide valuable perspectives on the meaning of the term and its application today. The participants at the International Symposium will be an inter-disciplinary, international group of individuals at different stages in their careers. Through evening activities they will have the opportunity to socialise and network with each other.

The Symposium Program

Day 1: Monday, July 27th

The International Symposium will begin on Monday, July 27th at 10:30 in the Amerika Haus Berlin with an introduction by the Founder and Director of the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy, Mark Donfried, who will welcome the participants and outline the aims of the week. Mr. Donfried’s welcome will be immediately followed by a video lecture from Harvard University Professor Joseph S. Nye Jr., pioneer of the term “soft power”, who will outline the term’s meaning and its relevance today.

The opening day of the Symposium will then feature a keynote speech by the UN High Representative for the Alliance of Civilisations and former President of Portugal, Jorge Sampaio, who will look at the challenges faced by the younger generation in promoting intercultural dialogue. The afternoon of the first day will also feature lectures by Member of the Ukrainian Parliament and former Ukrainian Foreign Minister, Borys Tarasyuk, who will speak on the cultural relations the former Warsaw Pact countries have with Russia and Europe respectively, and former German Ambassador to the United Nations Dr. Gunter Pleuger, who will look at the use of soft power in German Foreign Policy.

A group dinner on Monday evening will welcome the participants to Berlin and provide them with an opportunity to get to know each other and reflect on the topics raised during the day.

Day 2: Tuesday, July 28th

The second day of the International Symposium will begin with a lecture by former US Ambassador to the Netherlands Prof. Dr. Cynthia Schneider, who will consider the new cultural diplomacy of the United States towards the Middle East. The importance of religion in world affairs will then be explored in detail in the second speech of the day, by A.D. White Professor-at-Large at Cornell University Dr. Bassam Tibi, who will offer a cultural perspective on transnational religion in world affairs.

The afternoon of the second day of the Symposium will feature two keynote speeches by former Heads of State. Former President of the Republic of Mauritius, Cassam Uteem, will speak to the group on democratic participation and cultural inclusion in multi-ethnic societies. President Uteem’s speech will then be immediately followed by a lecture on the role of the UN in promoting peaceful intercultural dialogue in the 21st Century by the former President of Latvia, Dr. Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga.

During Tuesday evening the participants will have the chance to further develop their networks with each other during an evening reception in the Amerika Haus Berlin that will feature Jazz/ R&B live music.

Day 3: Wednesday, July 29th

Prof. Dr. Christian Armbrüster, Judge and Professor in Law at the Free University Berlin, will begin the third day of the Symposium with a lecture on anti-discrimination policy in Europe and Germany. This session will be followed by a speech on the role of culture in politics and foreign relations by John Holden, Visiting Professor at City University London.

During Wednesday afternoon and evening the focus of the Symposium will be on the African continent. Former President of Mozambique, Joaquim Chissano, will speak on the role of soft-power and multilateralism in African politics. President Chissano will then take part in a public panel discussion, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR & SRI) in Africa: A Form of Soft Power?, which will explore the extent to which the private sector can generate and apply soft power. The panellists for the discussion, which bring the symposium participants together with individuals from Berlin’s political and academic spheres, will include professors and CSR practitioners from the private sector.

Following the panel discussion on Wednesday evening there will be an opportunity for Symposium participants and other invited guests to network and socialise.

Day 4: Thursday, July 30th

The penultimate day of the International Symposium will begin with an outline on the relationship between soft and hard power from the perspective of NATO by Dr. Gerlinde Niehus, Head of the Corporate Communications Section in the Public Diplomacy Division of NATO.

During Thursday afternoon the participants will hear three speeches by current politicians with an active role in policy making and cultural policy at different levels. Erkki Tuimioja, Member of the Finnish Parliament and former Foreign Minister, will look at the role of soft power in Common EU Foreign Policy. Ints Dālderis, Minister of Culture of the Republic of Latvia, will the outline the Latvian experience of cultural power distribution and re-distribution. In the final session of the day Romanian Minister for European Affairs, Dr. Vasile Puşcaş, will look at the role of the EU in global developments.

Following the speech of Dr. Puşcaş a Symposium Gala Event will be held featuring high-profile speeches and live music, giving the participants the opportunity to relay and further develop their contacts within Berlin.

Day 5: Friday, July 31st

The final day of the Symposium will begin with a speech by Prof. Dr. Gudrun Doll-Tepper, Vice-President at the German Olympic Sports Confederation, who will evaluate the link between international sporting events and intercultural exchange. Following this speech there will be an opportunity for the participants to learn more about the field of climate change and the importance of multilateral cooperation on this issue through a public panel discussion.

During the Friday afternoon there will be a speech by Samuel Jones, Head of Culture at British think-thank Demos, who will look at the future of international cultural exchange and cultural diplomacy, providing an appropriate close to the academic components and food for thought as participants then take part in a guided tour of museums and art galleries in the famous Berlin artistic district of Mitte.

The Symposium will be brought to a close with a reception at a Berlin art centre, featuring live music, which will offer an opportunity for participants to reflect on the week and discuss future cooperation with each other.