Cultural diplomacy, an indispensable component of public diplomacy, Foreign Minister says

Cultural diplomacy has evolved into an indispensable component of public diplomacy, Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides has said, adding that if correctly and skillfully utilisied can have afar reaching effects in promoting national policies.

Addressing a seminar organized by the Cyprus Youth DiplomaCY on Cultural diplomacy: the initiatives of the Republic of Cyprus and the role of Youth, the Minister also said that at the heart of cultural diplomacy lies the building-up of influence by states, the use and harnessing of elements of culture � including but not limited to the arts, education, science, sports, technology, customs, language � to influence foreign publics, opinion makers, political leadership.

Referring to the destruction of Cyprus’ cultural heritage in the island’s northern Turkish occupied areas, he said the protection of cultural heritage is a foreign policy priority, stressing that the challenge is to raise awareness but also to hold the perpetrators accountable.

The Foreign Minister also referred to the important initiative in efforts to protect one’s cultural heritage, an initiative which led to the adoption of the Nicosia Convention in 2017, the first international legal text which incorporates a criminal code for perpetrators who destroy, steal or trade cultural heritage treasures.

Part of these efforts, he said, is the resolution of the UN Council of Human Rights on cultural rights, which was adopted unanimously by the 74 member states of the organization and which condemns unequivocally any action of destruction of cultural heritage.

Moreover, he talked about the praiseworthy work of the bicommunal Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage, which continues to restore important cultural and religious sites throughout Cyprus.

Cyprus’ EU membership has offered an invaluable platform from which to exercise cultural diplomacy, he said, adding that activities in the area of protecting archaeological artifacts and combatting art trafficking have been included in the context of the trialateral cooperation mechanisms with neighbouring countries, such as Egypt, Israel, Jordan and Lebanon.

There is much more that can and needs to be done. For countries such as Cyprus, cultural diplomacy needs to be institutionalized and be at the heart of our dialogue and interaction with the academia, the world of art, the media, think tanks and NGOs and the private sector, said.

The Minister talked about the need for a long-term effort and for long-term strategic vision.

We need as many ‘ambassadors’ as possible and youth has a key role in that. The younger generation needs to be at the forefront of the work in cultural diplomacy for many important reasons, but probably the most valuable advantage is growing up in such a technologically advanced world, he concluded.

In her presentation at the seminar, Elena Theodoulou Charalambous, from the Ministry of Education and Culture, explained the term of ‘cultural diplomacy’ and referred to action the Ministry is developing in this respect.

Inter-state relations, on a bilateral and multilateral level, promoting the arts and culture and European and international networking are but a few, she said.

Welcoming participants to the seminar, the president of Cyprus Youth DiplomaCY Athanasia Constantinou talked about the organization and its activities.

CNA was the media sponsor for the event, which took place on Tuesday evening at the Bank of Cyprus Cultural Foundation.

Source: Cyprus News Agency