About us

© Pauline Caplet

The Cultural Relations Platform is an EU-funded project that connects cultural practitioners worldwide for dialogue, exchange and co-operation. It also provides expertise to the European Union (EU) in the field of international cultural relations.

The Platform is implemented by the Goethe-Institut Brussels, in partnership with the European Cultural Foundation; the International Network for Contemporary Performing Arts and the University of Siena.

The Cultural Relations Platform:

  • Develops research into the cultural and creative sectors in countries around the world
  • Facilitates co-operation and networking between cultural practitioners within and outside the EU including cultural organisations, private foundations and the civil society sector
  • Provides advice and expertise to EU institutions and EU delegations all over the world
  • Strengthens the capacity of cultural practitioners globally to deliver international cultural relations, through local conferences, workshops and training, and its Global Cultural Relations Programme

By doing so, it builds awareness of the importance of international cultural relations, as a means of sharing knowledge, increasing understanding between different cultures and contributing to economic, human and social development as well as to peace and conflict mitigation.

Background

Over the last 10 years, the European Union has strongly reinforced its commitment to international cultural relations (ICR). On 8 June 2016, the EU High Representative and Vice-President Federica Mogherini and Commissioner for Education and Culture Tibor Navracsics put forward a proposal to develop an  ‘EU Strategy for international cultural relations’. In the same year, our predecessor the Cultural Diplomacy Platform was launched by the Service for Foreign Policy Instruments  of the European Commission in order to support the EU institutions in the implementation of this new strategy. 

In May 2018, the European Commission adopted the New European Agenda for Culture and the European Council recognised international cultural relations as one of its five priorities in its  Work Plan for culture for 2019-2022

The Council took a further step in 2019 by adopting Conclusions on an EU strategic approach to international cultural relations and establishing a framework for action. It calls on EU Member States, the Commission, and the European External Action Service to strengthen coordination and strategic guidance on the best way to promote international cultural relations. 

The EU is strongly engaged in international cultural relations, with programmes supporting the cultural sector of its partner countries. It also fosters cultural cooperation, as it strongly contributes to inter-cultural dialogue, conflict prevention, reconciliation and resilience.”

Former EU Commissioner Mariya Gabriel and High Representative & Vice-President Josep Borrell on World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development – 21 May 2020

Team

Sana Ouchtati
Team Leader

As an independent cultural relations consultant, Sana Ouchtati is the Team Leader of the Cultural Relations Platform. She is also involved in and steering initiatives dedicated to external culture relations. She has two Master’s degrees, in EU policies and in International Relations & Business Administration. In 2001-2011, she worked at the European Institutions in Brussels, mainly on trade agreements. She has also been responsible for the cultural dimension of the EU external relations mainly with ACP-, Neighbourhood- and Emerging- Countries. She has a thorough knowledge of the cultural field, international relations as well as EU policies and instruments dedicated to external relations, culture and intercultural dialogue.

Rie Alkemade
Project Officer

Rie Alkemade joined the team as a Project Officer for the Cultural Relations Platform in May 2020. Her previous experiences have been in working across the broader creative and cultural sectors between Asia and Europe which has led to her keen interest in working on international cross-cultural and collaborative initiatives. She has worked primarily in managing global projects as well as focusing on cultivating sustainable, long-term partnerships and networks. In her prior experiences she has freelanced for large-scale art fairs and festivals as well as more small-scale local cultural operators and organizations looking at promoting and enhancing people-to-people cultural exchange and intercultural dialogue.

Caterina Fiaschi
Project Officer

Caterina Fiaschi joined the team as Project Officer for the Cultural Relations Platform in February 2022. Before that, she worked as project manager for different EU funded projects in the field of CCIs (Creative Europe, H2020, MedFilm, DG EAC) and developed her experience in the creative industries in the areas of theatre, music and cinema. Her interests lie in the crossing between culture, local development and urban policies. Caterina holds a bachelor’s degree in Arts Management and a master’s degree in Innovation and Organisation of Culture and the Arts, in which she graduated with a thesis on Creative Europe projects and partnerships.

Ziad Erraiss
Project Officer

Currently working as Project Officer for Global Cultural Relations and the Cultural Relations Platform, Ziad Erraiss has a Master’s Degree in EU Law from the Université de Bordeaux, and a BSc in European Economics and Politics from Sciences Po Bordeaux. To date, he also carried out assignments for the Cultural Relations Platform and Voices of Culture notably – spoke at various international conferences and colloquium and now enjoys a solid network.

Fu Lin Low
Communication Officer

Fulin Low joined the team as Communications Officer for the Cultural Relations Platform in March 2024, bringing her years of experience in communications, community building, and project management. Prior to Belgium, she worked in France, Japan and Singapore in public and private sectors. A keen storyteller passionate about the intersection of communications and community engagement, Fulin has designed and implemented communications strategies for organisations, delivered successful campaigns and produced content for different audiences. She looks forward to strengthening international cultural relations and fostering cultural cooperation.

Ruth Artiles Valero
Project Assistant

Ruth Artiles Valero is a Project Assistant at the Cultural Relations Platform. Before joining the team, she worked in international diplomacy, security, and peacebuilding in London, Lyon and Brussels at the European Commission, Interpol, and the Spanish Embassy in London. Ruth holds a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from The University of Sheffield and a master´s degree in Conflict, Rights and Justice from the School Of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. With a strong commitment to interdisciplinary and postcolonial research, her master’s thesis, which was later published, tackled performative art’s ability to reconcile societies in contexts of post-conflict / negative peace with a focus on Lebanon.

Consortium Members

The Goethe-Institut is the Platform’s consortium leader. It promotes the study of the German language abroad and encourages international cultural exchange, including through European projects.

The European Cultural Foundation promotes an European sentiment through developing and supporting cultural initiatives that let us share, experience and imagine Europe.

IETM – International network for contemporary performing arts is one of the oldest and largest cultural networks, which represents the voice of over 500 performing arts organisations and institutions, including theatres and arts centres, festivals, performing companies, curators and programmers, producers, art councils and associations from about 50 countries.

Università degli Studi di Siena (University of Siena) is one of the oldest universities in Europe with a well-established tradition of high-quality teaching and research. Two departments are particularly involved in training and research activities in the field of cultural relations, cultural diplomacy, and cultural heritage.