The International Conference on Cultural Diplomacy & the UN

"Cultural Diplomacy & Soft Power in an Interdependent World: The Opportunities for Global Governance"

(New York City & Washington D.C.; February 21st - 24th, 2012)

Conference Report

Thank You!

The ICD would like to extend its gratitude to all of the speakers and the participants who attended the conference.  Special thanks goes to the entire UN and Cultural Diplomacy team including; Sylvia Zerbetto, Lisa Jost, Pawel Trzcinski, led by Amy Soar, Hannah Smith and, Claire Leavitt for contributing to the phenomenal success of this exciting and vibrant international event that was thoroughly enjoyed by all involved.

The International Conference on Cultural Diplomacy and the United Nations was held as one of a three-part series of International Conferences held by the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy (ICD) on the issue of “International Institutions and Global Governance: The Role of Cultural Diplomacy’.

The aim of the International Conference on Cultural Diplomacy and the United Nations was to reflect on the role of the United Nations within the international system, on global governance as a whole in terms of key international issues and on how Cultural Diplomacy takes place. The program consisted of lectures and speeches by leading figures from international politics & diplomacy, academia and civil society.

In an age of international instability and discontent, the United Nations made a noted transition towards an increased use of soft power in international relations. Due to the specific aims of the UN to foster peace and cooperation agreements, they were the first institution to focus on relations between states and international understanding. As such, Cultural Diplomacy is becoming increasingly important within international relations and the ICD reflects the desire to expand on this work.

Prof. Dr. Abdul Aziz Said
Professor of International Relations, International Peace and Conflict Resolution Program, American University
“Contextualizing Politics”
Dr. Afredita Hakaj
Assistant Director for the Centre for International Human Rights
“Soft Power as a Tool for International Peace and International Cooperation”
H. E. Amb. Ahmad Kamal
Senior Fellow United Nations Institute for Training and Research
Lieutenant General Clarence E. McKnight (Ret.)
Former General in the US Army
“Revolution in Global Telecom and the Increased Need for Soft Power and Smart Power to Avoid Any More Long Wars”
H. E. Amb. Csaba Kőrösi
Permanent Representative of Hungary to the United Nations
“Role of Culture, Traditions in Tackling Challenges of Transition and in Tim of Crisis”
Dr. Eduardo Ochoa
Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education, USA Government
“Smart Leadership: Higher Education in the Global Century”
H. E. Amb Elena Poptodorova
Ambassador of Bulgaria to the United States
Frank Ucciardo
UN Correspondent for CBS                       
“Soft Power, Diplomacy and Social Revolutions”
Hussein Haeri
Attorney Latham & Watkins LLP
“The Future of the UN”
Prof. Dr. Jean Krasno
Associate Research Scientist and Lecturer in Political Science
“Kofi Annan and the Role of the Secretary-General and the Rule of Law”
Prof. Dr. José Alvarez
Herbert and Rose Rubin Professor of International Law, New York University
“The UN’s Soft Legal Power”
Rear Admiral Joyce M. Johnson (Ret.)
Former Director of Health and Safety for the U.S. Coast Guard
“Cultural Diplomacy: The UN and the Role of Health”
H. E. Amb. Kazuo Kodama
Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations
“Challenges Confronting the UN: Democracy, Nationalism and Secularism”
Sen. Larry Pressler
Former US Senator from South Dakota
“Will U.S. Foreign Policy Enter a New ‘Dark’ Age of Isolation from Cultural Diplomacy?”
Maria Jessop
Senior Program Officer, Academy for International Conflict Management and Peace-Building, US Institute of Peace
“Intercultural Dialogue: A Practical Tool or Floating Concept?”
Mike Beard
Director of Better World Campaign
H. E. Amb. Mitar Kujundzic
Ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the United States
“Peace Establishment in Bosnia and Herzegovina: From the War to the Way Toward the EU and NATO”
The Hon. Nazar Al Baharna
Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bahrain
“Cultural Diplomacy: An Effective Tool for Applying Human Rights Approach in Development “
H. E. Amb. Neil Parsan
Ambassador of Trinidad and Tobago to the United Nations
“Cultural Diplomacy as a Tool for Unity in a Heterogonous Society “
Patrick Worsnip
Chief Correspondent United Nations, Reuters
“The United Nations and World Conflicts: A Reporter’s View”
Major General Paul Eaton (Ret.)
Senior Adviser to the National Security Network, Retired United States Army General
“Institutional Framework: Balancing the Components of National“
Philippe Kridelka
Director, UNESCO New York Office and former Representative to the United Nations
“Culture as a Tool for Peace and Sustainable Development”
H. E. Amb. Ranko Vilovic
Ambassador of Croatia to the UN
H. E. Amb. Robert Pearson
President, IREX
“Cultural Diplomacy at the Cutting Edge”
Prof. Dr. Ryan Irwin
Professor International Security Studies, Yale University “On Decolonization: Genealogies of Cultural Diplomacy in an International World”
H. E. Amb. Simona-Mirela Miculescu
Ambassador of Romania to the UN
“The Romanian Cultural Diplomacy in the Universal Arena: Opportunities and Challenges”
H. E. Amb. Thomas Stelzer
United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs, Department of Economic and Social Affairs
“Cultural Diplomacy in the UN”
William Davis
Director, Washington Representation Office, United Nations Development Program (UNDP)
“The UN’s Priorities for 2012: Working Together to Face Common Challenges”
Participant List
Name Name Name
Elias Negussie Prof. Ronald Edsforth Emmanuel Maduforo
Ashot Avetisyan Abbas (Alexandro) Ozlati Charles Hurst
Mahmood Noorzai Berhanu Tefera Gizaw Erich Helmreich
Yasir Ali Dr. Sahar Elfaki Kelli Cooney
Abdul Qoodos Dr. Samiha Abaker Haroun Habib
Naghman Waseeq Chaudhary Dr. Ebrahim Aladsani Ben V Wyche
Ahmad Bashir Enayatullah Prof. Toshifumi Nagamatsu Mahnaz Moinian
 Desislava Huin Megan Davis Stefanie Grupp-Clasby
Sophia Chinonye Ezeji Dr.  Jasmin B. Cowin Ashley Lubenkov
Samuel Ojogbo Dilshod Karabaev Agostine Ndungu
Prof. Chijioke C. Ohuruogu Ellie Richard Marilyn Lareau
Oluwabukola Olawoye Roser Clavell Soldevila Zarrin Caldwell
Eseosa Kolleta Okoro Andrea Freiberger Lilia Michelle Buenrostro
Elo Atarie David Smith Elena Lipilina
Samvina Zibiri Laurel McCormack Sabir Mammadov
Queenette Chisom Weke Jennifer Lada Samuel Duodu
Jacqueline Abieyuwa Osagie Phillip York Elena Bozhickova
 Jennifer Aiwerioghene Lauren Pucci Milena Oganesyan
Sayed Masood Ravi Flavia Eugenia Abrudan Xenia Felice Sonja
Philip Disanto Amanullah Khan Maria Hernandez De Benito
Aleksandra Humo DIAS, Tania Dias Matteo B. Scianna
Pamela Jeffery Dr. Frances Chukwukere Judit Trunkos
Leyla Falhan Kendra White Mate Olti
Stephen Wynne Dr. Nicol Truesdell Katrin Mader
Gloria Edusei Talena Mara Emily Stephens
Ryan J. Suto Cynthia Dekay Miriam Chaponniere
Najibullah Neyda Martinez Kevin Soubly
Lauren Obee Rowena Martinez Ulayan Kalisma Alayon
Marius Mazziotti Margarita Coppi Agostinelli Dr. Nicolas Serge
Tanuja Pariyar Seo Won Choi Gloria Kankam
Rosa Arcadina Florian Novas Mama Tady Conde Jimena Lara
Dr. Leara Rhodes Elhadj Mamadou Bah Katherina Cassidy
Christian Reynolds Youssouf Togba Mark Laichena
Salima Sango Ivana Kliajic Laura Toledo
Badri Glonti Yuwen Dai Ulziibayar Vangansuren
Xue Li Cristina Hurduilala Lisa Simon
Lizzy Kelly Sandra Yao Marlon Litz-Rosenzweig
Marina Fashchilina Ugur Poyraz Dr. Sharon Ingram
  Sally Chung  

Day 1

  • The first two days of the conference took place in the offices of the United Nations headquarters in New York.
  • The day also welcomed a number of participant papers, these papers are areas of research, theses or publications authored by participants of the conference.  PhD candidate at the University of South Australia, Christian Reynolds, presented his thesis on “Diplomatic Gastronomy”.
  • Prof. Dr. Ronald Edsforth of Dartmouth University provided a lecture and discussion on the unfolding of the current economic crisis.
  • The first day was concluded at the welcome dinner at a traditional German Bierhaus in midtown Manhattan.

Day 2

  • One notable event of the second day of the conference was a keynote address from Philippe Kridelka, Director of the New York office of UNESCO.  He addressed the importance of preserving minority cultures and the significance of World Heritage Sites.
  •   The second day also featured a visit to the Tibet House US, an organisation which seeks to protect and promote the culture and way of life of the Tibetan people, despite the current precariousness of their geopolitical circumstances. The premises was opened after hours for participants and speakers, and a private tour of the House was provided by the Executive Director, Ganden Thurman.

Day 3

  • The team, crew and participants moved south to Washington D.C. for the final two days of conferencing and activities, courteously hosted by the Bulgarian Embassy.
  •  The second half of the conference began on the afternoon of the 23rd February with a lecture from William Davis, Director at the Washington office of the UNDP, who spoke on the subject of US funding to the United Nations.
  • The Hon. Nazar Al Baharna, former Minister of the State for Foreign Affairs of Bahrain and active Advisory Board member, discussed how cultural diplomacy can be integrated into global governance in the promotion of Human Rights.
  • The day was concluded with a night tour of the D.C. monuments.  The tour incorporated the Washington monument, the World War II Memorial, the Lincoln Statue and the recent Martin Luther King memorial.

Day 4

  • Dr. Eduardo Ochoa, Assistant Secretary for Post-Secondary Education for the US government, provided a lecture on the role of education in diplomacy and development on the final day of the conference.
  • Another key speech came from Rear Admiral Joyce M. Johnson (Ret.), Former Director for Health & Safety for the U.S. Coastguard.  In her experience working with the World Health Organisation (WHO) she underlined how crucial an understanding of a culture is before health and aid can be applied.
  • Prof. Dr. Abdul Aziz Said, the renowned International Relations academic and practitioner,  was the official closing speaker of the conference.  He used his lecture to share and explain  his opinions on the Arab Spring, from the dual perspective of his Syrian ethnicity and Western education.