The first and the most important task of the cultural diplomacy in its foreign direction

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The first and the most important task of the cultural diplomacy in its foreign direction is to ensure the image of the state as well as the successfulness of its foreign policy

What is cultural diplomacy? It is a creation of Ukrainian cultural institutions. Which specialists are prepared by the Institute for Journalism and International Relations tells the director general and artistic director of the Ukraine Palace, the director of the Institute of Journalism and International Relations, vice-rector of the KNUCA (Kyiv National University of Culture and Arts), Doctor of Political Sciences, Professor of the Department of International Relations, Honoured Culture Worker of Ukraine Inna Kostyria – exclusively for the FD

What is the cultural diplomacy for you? What do you mean by these words?

– Diplomacy is a part of culture. The first and the most important task of cultural diplomacy in the external direction is to ensure the image of the state and the success of its international policy, and in the domestic one – the change of the paradigm of culture and the reformation of cultural policy that determines the content and quality of the cultural product. All the states that have staked on public and cultural diplomacy tell themselves about their own vision of the world and place among the others, about the important values for them. There are countries for which the culture and the one that follows it – cultural diplomacy is a matter of the most important state significance. Ukraine has faced this task already. But one thing should be emphasized severely – the implementation of an effective policy of cultural diplomacy, is impossible without providing an appropriate analytics that will define the goals and objectives more clearly and correlate through them the following activities.

The first and the most important task of the cultural diplomacy in its foreign direction
Інна Костиря та Чжен Вей (радник Посольства Китайської Народної Республіки в Україні, заступник Посла, куратор гуманітарного напрямку діяльності Посольства)

You are the head of the Subdepartment at the Institute of Journalism and International Relations. Tell us, please, in which directions the training of specialists in your institute is provided?

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– I am the head of the Department of International Relations. The department is very powerful; we have got the highly professional team. Meetings with presidents of different countries, well-known politicians, ambassadors and representatives of diplomatic institutions are constantly held.

At meetings, our high-profile guests share their knowledge and experience with the students. The young generation is delighted with this. This can be understood through their posts and photos in Facebook and Instagram, the children today are immersed in social networks – this gives them an opportunity to cover all the events of their student life, and their parents can immediately watch it. By the way, I keep friendly relations with my students in Facebook and Instagram, I try to be an example for them, to be a mentor and I try to help them to find a way in life.

How much, in your opinion, has the state policy in the sphere of international popularization of Ukraine changed since 2014?

– I would say that it had changed rather seriously.

Will the creation of the Ukrainian cultural Institutes at our Embassies abroad improve the situation in general?

– The issue of the creation of Ukrainian cultural institutes has become one of the most controversial in the cultural environment. On the one hand, this should be an important step towards the implementation of the state policy of cultural diplomacy, with the relevant strategy, legal unanimity, system of tasks and functions. On the other hand, the emergence of another institution in the actual branch of the imperfect cultural policy is not justified. The condition for the establishment of Ukrainian cultural diplomacy institutes is to overcome the misunderstanding of the concept of culture in the EU and in Ukraine and its recognition as a facilitator of social change and development.

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Realizing that future activities of such institutions should be oriented towards European practices of cultural policy and cultural promotion, one should take into account the many nuances of their importance for Ukraine. For example, one should pay attention to the fact that this state institution should be maximally adapted to the deficit of budget funds. However, the process of creating Ukrainian cultural institutions should be considered as an important stage of advocacy of culture, changes in attitudes towards it from the state and society.

The first and the most important task of the cultural diplomacy in its foreign direction
Інна Костиря та Красімір Мінчев (Надзвичайний і Повноважний Посол Республіки Болгарія в Україні)

As a specialist in international politics, how would you evaluate the activity of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine by the 5-point scale? Why?

– As an expert, I always try to evaluate myself and my work more than the work of the other people. If each of the specialists followed such principles, the work would be more efficient, but in general I would like to say that we have made a huge breakthrough and each of the ministries has been becoming more powerful.

I think that this is influenced by many factors – starting from the personnel and finishing with the overall political strategy of the country.

2017 witnessed the powerful breakthrough in our foreign policy – Ukraine has got a visa-free regime with EU countries. What could we expect this year?

– I dare to hope that everything will be better. We must stabilize our economy, we must become attractive, and the most importantly – we must become reliable for foreign investors, we must intensify reforms in all the spheres: in economy, in education, and – the most important – in culture. In my opinion, we do not devote a lot of attention to culture and that is a serious mistake. Usually urgent needs ring first and cultural policy seems less important, and that is a huge mistake. The Ukrainians will have more confidence that the country has been moving in the right direction, but there will be a plenty of skeptics too, so a lot of tasks ahead of the political elite must be completed and these tasks must be resolved quickly and effectively.

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Which strategy of Ukrainian cultural diplomacy should be chosen in your opinion?

– The request for a policy of cultural diplomacy has already been formed, as well as the mechanism of its implementation. In the nearest future, it would be very important to combine all initiatives in a single focal point for the development of a document that will reflect the principles of the policy of cultural diplomacy. It is expedient to involve Ukrainian research centres in particular, Ukrainian studies departments at the largest universities of the world. They are the well-developed network of Ukrainian cultural institutions abroad. Cooperation with Ukrainian communities and activists should be one of the priorities of the public and cultural diplomacy of Ukraine. The high result of the promotion and of the development of Ukrainian culture is possible only with the involvement of many agents of cultural diplomacy: the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine, independent artists and expert community, volunteers and global Ukrainian expatriates.

What would you like to wish for the readers of our magazine?

– First of all, I would like to wish the peace and stabilization of the situation in our native Ukraine. I wish you to wait only for the good news. We are all different, but being together we are stronger, so I wish unity and strength to all of us. And, of course, I wish good health, happiness, and the fulfillment of all dreams.