The Spread of Information and Education through Cultural Diplomacy

By Aldona Z. Wos (Former US Ambassador to Estonia)


Cultural Diplomacy has been in practice for many centuries, and the role of Cultural Diplomacy has really never been more important than it is currently. Not only is it a fundamental tool that is used in the United States to prove the United States image abroad, but it also really impacts on our peace and our national security.

Cultural Diplomacy, when it is used either as a method of outreach or as a method of communication, can be extremely effective, and its effectiveness is really measured in the long term, whether the goals of Cultural Diplomacy are to increase mutual understanding and respect among cultures, to advocate US policies to decrease Americanism, or simply to create an environment for foreign governors and for foreigners to be receptive to the American message.

A strategic, integrated approach to Cultural Diplomacy can actually overcome our ideological differences in the world. This, in turn, can help decrease the conflicts around us and therefore prove our national security. We, in the United States, must continue to lead, but also to inspire.

Cultural Diplomacy has been very effective in breaking down barriers, in building human relationships, in developing trust and understanding- usually through the arts and through education- but now more than ever, it is very important to include medicine, commerce, and religion as tools of Cultural Diplomacy.

What better way to influence foreign governance and the people than to share that bigger vision through targeted Cultural Diplomacy?

This visible diplomacy of deeds, when it is combined with real information and lots of publicity, can help mitigate these misconceptions about the United States and allow the people around the world to be more receptive to our views.

- The International Symposium on Cultural Diplomacy in the USA 2012; Washington D.C., June 26th, 2012