During July, the Ukrainian Institute with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine held a series of discussions on what cultural diplomacy is, why Ukraine needs it, and what challenges the Ukrainian Institute faces. Read about what was discussed in a short summary.
On the tasks of cultural diplomacy and the role of the Ukrainian Institute
«The dynamics of processes and situation in the world — political, economic, social — are changing so fast that we need modern creative tools. And the Ukrainian Institute is a wonderful tool that implements these tasks with elements of culture and soft power», said Emine Dzheppar, First Deputy Foreign Minister of Ukraine.
«Cultural diplomacy as a phenomenon has existed for centuries, there are many approaches. We have to decide which of the models we want to apply to the activities of the Ukrainian Institute, which will be more effective and suitable to the Ukrainian situation. Cultural diplomacy is one of the tools of public diplomacy. Undoubtedly, it influences the formation of the country's image and brand», noted Tetyana Filevska, Creative Director of the Ukrainian Institute.
Experts often ask: what is more important, culture or diplomacy? Volodymyr Sheiko, the Director General of the Ukrainian Institute, defined culture as content and diplomacy as form: «We do not put something above each other. Of course, we work to achieve foreign policy interests, and we do it through the cultural content that Ukraine produces, and through the meanings that appear in the Ukrainian cultural field. This is a complex puzzle that should be formed in the activities of the Ukrainian Institute and other players in the field of cultural diplomacy. Our activities must systematize and direct these efforts.»
«We need to work hard and systematically in this direction to show that Ukraine is really integrated in the world cultural landscape», said Sergiy Korsunsky, Director of the Gennady Udovenko Diplomatic Academy of Ukraine at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, newly appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine to Japan.
Writer and journalist Andriy Kurkov explained how culture works in practice: «Ukrainian culture forms, basically, the image of Ukraine. At first, most often, there is a political interest to the country, and it entails cultural interest. Because politics cannot explain a country, people, traditions, etc. When something in the world happens, for instance, in Albania, someone goes to almost every bookstore and asks, "Do you have anything to read about Albania?" This is how Ismail Kadare explained Albania to the whole world.»
On the role of strategy
The programme activities of the Institute in 2020 have already based upon the strategy. The strategy is a living document, which is formed both by the daily practice of the Institute's team, and , anda feedback from the professional environment, which helps to adjust our activities for the future.
«It is very important that the document, in addition to the vision, mission and goals, sets out what the Institute is and what it is not. It clearly sets out the mechanisms by which the Institute works with various stakeholders - with public and cultural figures and society in general. The roadmap is wide, but very clear», said Lilia Mlynarych, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Ukrainian Institute, President of the Jazz Koktebel Festival.
«The Ukrainian Institute shows an example with an open discussion of the strategy. I hope that this example will serve as a model for other institutions that are under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine and are involved in public diplomacy. If all organizations elaborating these strategies will work together and coordinate their efforts, they will be systematic and effective», said Kateryna Smagliy, Head of the International Cooperation and Communications Department of the Hennadiy Udovenko Diplomatic Academy of Ukraine at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Fellow of the Next Generation Leaders Program of the McCain Institute.