Symposium on Cultural Diplomacy in the USA

“US Cultural Diplomacy: The Use of the Arts in Promoting Dialogue, Fostering Peace, and Initiating Mutual Understanding amongst World Cultures and Civilizations”

(Washington D.C. & New York City; June 24th - 28th, 2013)

Symposium Overview

In recent years, the international community has witnessed significant technological developments and the social networks have contributed significantly to the development, promotion and use of cultural diplomacy by all actors. Cultural Diplomacy and Soft Power are no longer foreign words and are now use often to improve and strengthen relations in order to achieve understanding, trust, and greater collaboration. The foundation of soft power, cultural diplomacy and related areas is primarily based on values such as fairness, justice, equality and their application and use enables positive change to create a more harmonic society.

Since the events of the Cold War, history has proven that each time US governmental agencies turned and used cultural diplomacy applications; they were successful and enabled better results in a one-of-a-kind, cost effective manner. It is not always easy to practice cultural diplomacy, especially at times of conflict where emotions are high and the level of dangers and risks often demand fast results and solutions. Despite that, and even in times of great urgency, however, cultural diplomacy and soft power practices are proven successful in enabling a more sustainable reality to be established. In the last decade we have seen tremendous progress and an evolution, where US Foreign and Defense agencies have acknowledged the unique nature of this approach and are practicing it more and more often. These efforts need to be increased in magnitude and frequency in the future.

The Institute for Cultural Diplomacy is making great efforts to promote cultural diplomacy amongst US Foreign and Defense agencies and has initiated and dedicated this Symposium to exploring the successful applications, best practices and the overall importance of cultural diplomacy by these agencies. The Symposium on cultural Diplomacy in the USA 2013 will outline past achievements, highlight current programs and offer future solutions and best practices for the USA to use cultural diplomacy and soft power in a more effective way and more often, in order to continue contributing to a harmonic interdependent world. The Symposium will present specifically a thesis that “the return on investment” of the application of cultural diplomacy is both high and sustainable and its cost effective contributions to the work of US governmental institutions are both irreplaceable and much more efficient than its alternatives. The symposium will prove that when effective cultural diplomacy and soft power are practiced it is much cheaper and easier to maintain over the long-term, than if it comes only after a hard power foreign policy has been implemented alone.

Symposium Locations

The International Symposium on Cultural Diplomacy in the USA will take place in two major American cities: the nation's capital in Washington, D.C. and the nation's cultural hub in New York City. The conference will be hosted at a number of important political, historic, and cultural locations across the two cities, and will consist of excursions to the country's top artistic institutions. Featured locations during the Conference will include: The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, NPR Headquarters, Smithsonian Institution, Johns Hopkins University,  the United Nations, Lincoln Center for Performing Arts, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Guggenheim Museum, Broadway and Times Square, Museum of Modern Art, New York Public Library, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, in addition to various foreign embassies and governmental institutions.

Symposium Participants »

Participation in the conference is open to governmental & diplomatic officials, academics, artists, journalists, civil society practitioners, private sector representatives, young professionals and students as well as other interested individuals from across the world.

If you would like to reserve a position and participate in the symposia, please click on the "Apply Now" link below and fill out the online application form:

Sustainable Network »

During the program participants will have a number of opportunities to network with one another, with the speakers, and with ICD Advisory Board Members and partners. Conference participants will become part of the ICD Alumni, a growing international network of people of diverse interests and backgrounds from around the world who share a commitment to intercultural exchange. Members of the ICD Alumni Group will benefit from the following opportunities: Alumni online forum, Advisory Board Networking, ICD support for individual Leadership Initiatives, free access to all ICD research, videos and photos as well as other event documentation. Participants will be able to remain in touch with each other through the ICD Networks. (more »)

Symposium Speakers

Speakers during the Conference will include artists, musicians, academics, authors, museum curators, human rights activists, dignitaries, politicians, and heads of state, as well as leading figures and experts in the arts, international affairs, the diplomatic community, and civil society from across the world. These speakers will include a large number of individuals from the ICD Advisory Board. To learn more about the ICD Advisory Board, please click here

Participant Papers »

The Academy for Cultural Diplomacy encourages academic research and analysis of issues related to the goals of the Symposia, and would therefore like to welcome participants to submit a paper they would like to be considered for delivery at the Symposium. Following the Symposium, the papers will be included in the proposal document that will be issued and sent to all governments and leaders of the international community. To read articles submitted by participants of our international conferences or to submit a paper please click here ».

Certificate of Attendance

All Symposium participants will be awarded an official Certificate of Attendance upon completion of the program, which will provide details of the speakers who took part in the event, and list the topics which were discussed. Each certificate will be signed by members of the ICD Advisory Board.

Symposium Agenda

The International Symposium on Cultural Diplomacy in the USA will concentrate on America's use of Cultural Diplomacy by all of its governmental agencies (including the US Army and Defense agencies). Particular emphasis will be given to the use of the Arts in America's Foreign Policy in promoting a positive image abroad. The aim of the Conference will be to show the interconnectivity and potential for the arts, humanities, and culture in creating cross-cultural bridges and cultivating peaceful relations amongst all civilizations, while at the same time maintaining cultural heritage and preservation of individual societies.

The Conference will focus in particular on the following areas:
  • American Cultural Diplomacy: Past, Present, and Future
  • The Use of Cultural Diplomacy by US Foreign and Defense Agencies
  • The Preservation of American Cultural Heritage
  • The Potential for American Art & Culture in Transcending Cultural Barriers
  • Academic Exchange as a Vehicle for Cultural Interconnectivity
  • Intercultural Dialogue to promote Democratic Rights