The International Conference on Cultural Diplomacy in the EU "Crisis, Conflict, and Culture: The Role of Cultural Diplomacy in the European Project" (Brussels, December 6th - 9th, 2011). The Chairman of the IDEA Society, Dr. Stefan Stoev, participated in the Conference. www.culturaldiplomacy.org
At the ICD Conference, in the European Parliament, the Chairman of the IDEA Society, Dr. Stoev, presented the PANGAEA Collection for World Peace and talked on "Bringing Cultures Together Through the Arts to Facilitate Cultural Diplomacy in the Context of the European Project".
"...The culture of Europe has a long history and relies on a series of overlapping cultures. Thus the question of "common culture" or "common values" is very complex.
Culture is central to international relations.
As the carrier of culture, the arts have an important role to play in this regard, and they must be given their proper due as part of the diplomatic process.
In times when Europe’s economy is under pressure, cultural diplomacy takes on increased importance for inter- European as well as worldwide understanding and cooperation.
History has shown over centuries that the arts can be instrumentalized as an effective tool of "soft" power.
The Arts are an Ice Breaker in Cultural Diplomacy.
They can inspire or degrade cultures, enable interaction among communities, tear people apart or bring them together.
The Arts are a strong asset for opening a difficult dialogue.
Through the arts, people can approach sensitive topics in an open and respectful way and breach difficult subjects as well as address political agendas on sensitive topics, for which it is sometimes difficult to find the right words.
The Arts have never been intended to solve political problems, but they can be a beautiful facilitator of cultural diplomacy. The fact is that art can not only be a manifestation of beauty and humanity but also a representation of politics and culture.
The Arts have sensitized human perception in so many positive and profound ways from expressions of beauty to representations of love!
Art is the outward manifestation of our humanity!
So where is Contemporary Art taking us today and how can this influence the European Project?
At present, artists are experimenting with a variety of new media and materials.
Form and method in art are continually changing and adapting to new technical possibilities. Art topics and content are widening in a variety of different ways over a diverse spectrum.
So, the modern mass production of art not only calls into question what art will sustain over time but also what message it will have.
The major approach of the IDEA Society is to facilitate the Cultural Dialog among Nations and to stimulate artists from all over the world to collaborate and to be creative together.
An example for such a successful collaboration is the PANGAEA Global Art Initiative.
The enhancement of a socio-cultural understanding, would be of value and support the European Project.
The European Union, however, has yet to come up with a broad cultural diplomacy; it relies on the cultural diplomacy of its individual member states. This will have to change for the E.U. to take on a larger role in international/world politics.
Partnerships, both within the arts and between the arts and diplomacy, can provide the means for doing this, and The IDEA Society is poised to step into this void with its work. Cultural diplomacy reflects the soul of a nation, and in the case of the E.U., the soul of a union that is economic and monetary, but has yet to realize its full potential in the arts and foreign policy.
The question is “How do you present Europe?”, and that will be a question to be answered in the coming years..."
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