“In March 2016, we have launched the Cultural Diplomacy Platform, to gather all the actors – governments, regions, cities, cultural institutes, civil society organisations, artists, scientists, performers, individuals and many more – of the European external cultural relations, and engage them on a continuous basis, receive feedback, policy advice and support.
Culture is at the core of our foreign policy, and for quite some time now, the development of a strategic approach to international cultural relations is one of our priorities. In this perspective, we – Commissioner Navracsics and I – have presented a strategy for culture in the EU external relations to the Council of the EU and the European Parliament in June 2016.
Indeed, as in today’s world cultures are bound to meet, we have a duty to make the most out of this encounter. Therefore, the whole of Europe needs to share the same sense of direction when engaging in these cultural exchanges with the world. And this direction must go beyond the simple teaching of our culture: cultural diplomacy is about learning, listening, sharing new ideas and making them grow together.
The Cultural Diplomacy Platform will strengthen our ability to engage on an equal footing with our partners across with the globe – from international organisations, national governments, local authorities, civil society organisations and individual citizens. The Platform will provide support and policy advice to the EU institutions, including the EU Delegations, cultural stakeholders in Europe and outside, and set up a global cultural leadership training programme for young cultural managers.
Ultimately, this will truly make culture the European way to engage partners around the world.”
High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
Vice-President of the European Commission
©European External Action Service
The Cultural Diplomacy Platform has been launched early March 2016 by the Service for Foreign Policy Instruments of the European Commission, to support the EU institutions in the implementation of a new ‘EU Strategy for international cultural relations’.
The Cultural Diplomacy Platform aims at carrying out activities enhancing the EU’s cultural engagement with third countries and their citizens, mostly by supporting and advising EU institutions, including the EU Delegations across the globe, and setting-up a global cultural leadership training programme.
British Council, Centre for Fine Arts/BOZAR, EUNIC Global, European Cultural Foundation and Institut français have formed a consortium, led by Goethe-Institut, to support the implementation of the Cultural Diplomacy Platform. This consortium has been selected through a call for tender.
The Cultural Diplomacy Platform is set in the continuity of the Preparatory Action ‘Culture in EU External Relations’, which took place in 2013-2014. This Preparatory Action had been called for by the European Parliament in 2012 – following a resolution on the cultural dimensions of the EU external action adopted in 2011 – and implemented by the Directorate General Education and Culture of the European Commission.
The main objectives of the Cultural Diplomacy Platform are to:
1) Support the further development of cultural diplomacy policies, activities, methodologies, tools and training programmes, within the broader framework of EU Public Diplomacy;
2) Assist in policy dialogues and advising on cultural diplomacy issues;
3) Strengthen communities/networks of cultural diplomacy practitioners.
The Cultural Diplomacy Platform aims at providing – mainly upon request – expertise, recommendations and advice to the relevant EU institutions regarding the role of culture in external relations and how culture can contribute to the development of the EU’s relationships with its key partners. For now, the Platform focuses mainly on the 10 Strategic Partners of the EU – namely Brazil, Canada, China, India, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, South Korea and the USA.
The Cultural Diplomacy Platform will also include a cultural leadership training programme designed to reinforce the skills of future cultural leaders in an international context and thereby facilitating mutual cultural engagement and cooperation.
In the long term, the consortium implementing the Cultural Diplomacy Platform hopes that these activities will lead to:
• New and positive development of existing cultural diplomacy policies and methodologies at EU level;
• An increasing number of cultural diplomacy activities at EU level, including by EU Delegations;
• New and positive development of existing tools and training programmes for cultural diplomacy at EU level;
• Changes in EU Strategic Partnership Agreements (or other documents setting the frame for EU relations with partner countries).
The Goethe-Institut is the Platform’s consortium leader. It promotes the study of German abroad and encourages international cultural exchange, including through European projects.
The Institut français is in charge of implementing France’s cultural action abroad. It helps to promote French influence abroad through greater dialogue with foreign cultures.
Since 1943, British Council works to create a friendly knowledge and understanding between the people of the UK and the wider world. Its work is known as cultural relations.
The Centre for Fine Arts (BOZAR) in Brussels is a unique European house of culture, which brings together the arts, culture and debate in all its diversity and richness.
ECF is a grant-making incubator catalyzing and connecting civil society initiatives through arts & culture, to rethink and build Europe as an open, inclusive and democratic space.
EUNIC brings together the EU Member States’ bodies for cultural relations and cultural diplomacy. It works through a global network of over 100 collaboration platforms (clusters).