On the development of cultural diplomacy in Ukraine


The development of cultural diplomacy is one of the most effective tools of external communication, popularization of our country and integration into the world cultural space.

Anatolii Solovei — Head of the Public Diplomacy Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine.

Cultural policy of the state is a component of soft power, as well as one of the harmonization factors of its relations with the outside world. Cultural potential allows the country to expand its interstate dialogue and to create a favourable environment for achieving the desired goals in the political, economic, security and other fields.

Ukraine, as an actor in the world political arena, is not the exception.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, in 2016, began the systematic institutional formation of a new dimension of activity — public and cultural diplomacy. An operating unit — the Public Diplomacy Department (PDD) with the Department of Cultural Diplomacy — has been created. It actively applies innovative approaches and creative solutions for promoting Ukrainian culture abroad, as well as engages various segments of the cultural field of the state in cooperation. In particular, acting as one of the most effective instruments of external communication, cultural diplomacy covers art, science, tourism, educational projects, etc.

Cultural diplomacy focuses on the integration of the country into the world cultural space.

World experience shows that the active use of instruments of cultural diplomacy by states facilitates the integration of the country into the world cultural space. Viewing the influence power, the leading states consider the soft power of cultural diplomacy on a level with military-political and economic means. That is why, activation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs activity in the field of cultural diplomacy and image-building policy is necessary.

The system has to be independent of the political situation.

The plans of the Department have strategic nature. Today we are to a wide extent focused on system-building work. We are developing a stable and continuously acting state system of positive presentation of Ukraine in the world for many years to come. This system should be as independent of the political situation, the will and the influence of individual politicians and institutions as possible. Such an approach requires the modernization of the entire mechanism of external cultural ties, including training of professional staff, making tangible changes to Ukrainian legislation and improving the procedures for forming the appropriate budget. One of the key prerequisites for the success of this work is the involvement of modern cultural forms and creative industries in the cooperation.

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On the development of cultural diplomacy in UkraineAmendments to the CMU Resolution No. 165 as of March 22, 2017 significantly expanded the possibilities of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Launching the work of the new subdivision has become a powerful impetus for the modernization of the regulatory framework. In particular, we have managed to abolish the notorious 102 decree of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine on the procedure for spending money within the framework of the budget program aimed at promoting the positive image of Ukraine abroad. This state act completely blocked the implementation of modern projects of public and cultural diplomacy.

The new adopted Procedure for Using Budget Funds in the context of public and cultural diplomacy (CMU Resolution No. 165 as of March 22, 2017) has considerably expanded the possibilities of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, foreign diplomatic institutions and the newly established Ukrainian Institute.

The implementation of international projects makes it possible to popularize Ukraine in the world arena.

While working on the draft document, we held consultations with the representatives of foreign cultural institutions working in Ukraine. We took into account the international work experience of foreign policy departments of foreign countries in the field of public and cultural diplomacy, and we also summarized our own experience in the implementation of largescale projects. Such powerful opportunities, as conducting information campaigns, business trips of non-government experts abroad, organizing conferences and roundtables, etc., which are put into the document, significantly expanded the list of activities in the field of cultural and public diplomacy.

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Ukrainian Institute — new opportunities for the development of cultural diplomacy of our country.

Nowadays, in the field of capacity building, our flagship project is the creation of the Ukrainian Institute, which will bear such a responsible task as comprehensive presentation of modern Ukraine abroad. In early 2017, Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin presented this project and launched the public discussion. We believe an open dialogue with the public can become a guarantee of public trust in this project of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the interest of the representatives of the country’s cultural field in cooperation.

Diasporas play an important role in the work of the Institute.

Foreign Ukrainians are potential partners in this process. They are an important source of knowledge and useful contacts for the Institute’s work. At the present stage, the work with the related government agencies on organizational issues has almost been completed. The announcement of the competition for the post of director of the newly created structure and the creation of a network of foreign branches of the Institute are ahead. We are planning that at the first stage this institution will operate as a part of central office in Kyiv and 4-5 foreign offices: Paris, Berlin, Rome, Warsaw and New York.

Strengthening Ukraine’s position abroad is a major task that the Public Diplomacy Department puts on itself.

I can assure you that Ukrainian public and cultural diplomacy makes the best eff orts for Ukraine’s active integration into the world context and contributes to strengthening the positions of our state abroad. Which is evidenced by our achievements in 2017. Popularization of Ukrainian contemporary and traditional culture, strengthening of spiritual and cultural ties with foreign Ukrainians, sports cooperation, provision of educational services, creative economy, increase of tourist attractiveness – all these components should expand understanding of Ukraine and its presence in different parts of the world.

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On the development of cultural diplomacy in Ukraine

Hundreds of cultural and fashion events, including participation of Ukraine in a number of significant international projects, were held by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs together with Ukrainian foreign diplomatic institutions during the reporting period. The most prominent measures that covered a numerous foreign target audience and had a significant image-building effect became:

  • Annual Open Air Ministry of Foreign
  • Participation of Ukraine in international book fairs: the Frankfurt Book Fair, the Belgrade Book Fair.
  • Participation of Ukraine in the Contemporary Art Fair SWAB Barcelona (organization of performances of the Lugansk Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Austrian conductor Kurt Schmidt in Vienna, Linz and Salzburg).
  • Participation of Ukraine in international fi lm festivals: the Cannes Film Festival, the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), the International Documentary Film Festival in Leipzig.
  • Representation of Ukrainian contemporary art within the framework of the Week End à L’Est International Festival. Édition Kyiv, devoted to the city of Kyiv and Ukrainian culture.
  • Exhibition of contemporary Ukrainian painting at the UN headquarters.
  • Carrying-out translation, printing and distribution of materials on historical, political, cultural subjects.
  • Implementation of a large-scale Ukrainian-German project “Year of the Ukrainian Language in Germany and the German Language in Ukraine” has begun.
  • A series of conferences, forums and round tables devoted to such priority directions of work of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as counteracting of Russian aggression against Ukraine and de-occupation of the Crimea and Donbas, the increase of investment attractiveness of Ukraine, promotion of scientific, educational and touristic potential were organized.