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U.S. Arts and Cultural Diplomacy: Post-Cold War Decline and the Twenty-First Century Debate



Within the last years, the U.S. government significantly cut funding for cultural and arts diplomacy. While arts exchanges constitute a core component of public diplomacy in many countries, recently, the U.S. arts diplomacy has not been carried out properly by the government, nor by private or public sectors. Although the international image of the U.S. has shattered, the public is reluctant to urge the government to take a lead in arts diplomacy again. A unique perception of arts in American society, prevalence of democratic and “free market” principles, and dominance of international cultural trade policy keep the debate about the governmental role in arts diplomacy in progress.
LAW, AND SOCIETY, 40: 169–183, 2010
Copyright C
Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
ISSN: 1063-2921 print / 1930-7799 online
DOI: 10.1080/10632921.2010.504509
U.S. Arts and Cultural Diplomacy:
Post-Cold War Decline and the
Twenty-First Century Debate
Natalia Grincheva
American University, Washington DC
Within the last years, the U.S. government significantly cut funding for cultural and
arts diplomacy. While arts exchanges constitute a core component of public diplo-
macy in many countries, recently, the U.S. arts diplomacy has not been carried out
properly by the government, nor by private or public sectors. Although the interna-
tional image of the U.S. has shattered, the public is reluctant to urge the government
to take a lead in arts diplomacy again. A unique perception of arts in American
society, prevalence of democratic and “free market” principles, and dominance of
international cultural trade policy keep the debate about the governmental role in
arts diplomacy in progress.
KEYWORDS arts diplomacy, arts exchanges, Cold War, cultural diplomacy,
cultural relations
Recently, interest in cultural and arts diplomacy (cultural diplomacy) in the United
States and other countries has increased dramatically because of global anti-
American sentiment. Cultural diplomacy research, along with reports at the state
and federal level indicate that the most important challenge for the United States
today is restoring its international image. “Over the last five years, the percentage
of people with a favorable image of the United States has decreased 11 percent in
Japan, 18 percent in Argentina, 30 percent in Germany, and 32 percent in Indonesia
and even in the United Kingdom, the number of people with a favorable view of
the USA is a meager 51 percent” (Bellamy and Weinberg 2008, 55).
Address correspondence to Natalia Grincheva at
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This situation draws attention to other nations’ poor perception of American
values, culture, and beliefs. As such, cultural diplomacy has become a leading
topic at a number of conferences around the country and abroad as it is accepted
as one of the most important components of public policy in many countries. “The
artists or cultural programs are going abroad to testify to the cultural vitality of
their home countries. It is a sub-genre of diplomacy, but nonetheless one that many
nations take seriously” (DeVereaux and Griffin 2006, 1).
For the United States, arts diplomacy was an important soft power in the frame-
work of cultural diplomacy during the Cold War, and it was extensively sponsored
and supported by government programs. Interestingly, in the past decades, cultural
diplomacy in the United States has not been properly carried out by the govern-
ment or any other nongovernmental agency. Currently, American researchers are
engaged in a debate about whether or not the government should return to the
position of taking leadership in this area. Though some international polls and
surveys signify an urgency to improve the international image of the United States
and to establish successful communication with other countries, the debate about
the government’s responsibilities in cultural diplomacy issues is still in progress.
The failure to make a quick decision and put an end to the discussion can be
explained by several important reasons that shape American society’s perception
of arts and arts policy. The roots of this debate go back to the beginning of the
twentieth century, when the first official cultural and arts policy agencies were
established by the government and the administration had to overcome a certain
amount of hostility from the public.
The goal of this article is to provide some reasons that explain why cultural
diplomacy has declined during the past two decades and why American society
hesitates to keep the government-support model that was introduced and exer-
cised during the Cold War. Three main interrelated cultural and economic reasons
answer the questions regarding why cultural diplomacy in the United States is
doubted to be a priority for the U.S. government in the beginning of the twenty-
first century. The first reason is a different perception of arts in society, rooted in
the national core cultural values of democracy and a free market that have been
historically developed in American society. This attitude toward the arts is differ-
ent than the one accepted in most countries in the world. The second reason is
American cultural diversity and pluralism shaping the perception of arts as a means
of individual self-expression rather than as a national cultural identity of people
in the country. These two reasons are essential to understand the third reason,
which is economic—dominance of international cultural trade policy over U.S.
arts diplomacy. Success of American transnational cultural trade companies in the
global markets and their concentration on maximizing profits decrease the impor-
tance of developing arts diplomacy in the country, which requires a significant
investment and long-term commitment.
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Cultural Diplomacy: Why Is It Important?
Many researchers and diplomats indicate that nowadays, cultural diplomacy is an
increasingly meaningful component of a country’s international public diplomacy.
Because of the changing nature of public diplomacy and a growing emphasis on
reaching a broader public, cultural diplomacy plays a unique role as an intangible
form of power that can bring people together for interactive communication and to
share cultural values and beliefs. Cultural diplomacy by using “creative expression
and exchange of ideas, information, and people to increase mutual understanding”
(Schneider 2006, 1) encompasses a broad range of exchange programs including
educational, professional, and arts exchanges. Arts exchange programs constitute
a separate stream of cultural policy, leading to the term arts diplomacy. This term
is frequently used in a number of recent publications by American and European
researchers1and can be defined as part of cultural diplomacy, concentrating on
international exchange programs of visual and performing arts organizations,
individual artists, and art professionals (curators and arts managers) to increase
mutual understanding, appreciation, and respect of foreign cultural values and
It is essential to note that cultural diplomacy indicates high arts, as opposed to
popular culture and mass cultural products. Within this definition, art can take a
variety of forms, including different genres of music, theater, painting, photogra-
phy, architecture, installation, and ceramics. Art always has been an expression of
national cultures and traditions, which is why arts play such an important role in
the cultural diplomacy practices. Aimee Fullman, Program Director in the Center
for Arts and Culture of the U.S. Department of State, believes that “the visual and
performing arts have the power to engage the U.S.A. and international citizens
on a personal rather than political level, highlighting commonalities rather than
differences, thus contributing to the U.S.A. government policy objective of mu-
tual understanding. Artists effectively build bridges by demonstrating and sharing
what the peoples of the world hold in common” (Fullman 2004, 2). In this manner,
cultural diplomacy provides U.S. citizens and the international audience with an
opportunity to share multifaceted stories and cultural values.
Cultural Diplomacy as a Government-Supported Model:
A Multicountry Comparison
As recent cross-cultural analyses indicate, many countries have been engaged in
exchanges and arts diplomacy for a long time, and the importance of supporting
international arts programs on a national level has been recognized. For example,
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the report International Cultural Relations: Multi-Country Comparison identifies
agencies through which cultural and arts exchanges are organized in different
countries and presents interesting data on the level and sources of funding for these
programs (Wyszomirski 2003). The geographic diversity of this analysis spans
North American, European, and Pacific regions. Although there are differences in
the way that government agencies can integrate cultural and arts diplomacy into
their structure, the report concludes that in all countries, program administration
and management are introduced through State Departments of Foreign Affairs
or Ministers of Culture. Financial responsibilities for these programs are mainly
defined as government priorities: “France is the leader in supporting cultural
diplomacy activities in three dimensions: in total government spending, in total
Foreign Minister Spending and in spending per capita. The United Kingdom
is ranked in second place on two measures and third in per capita spending”
(Wyszomirski 2003, 25). The presented figures indicate that the amount of money
spent on cultural diplomacy in total and per capita in many European countries
significantly prevails over the amount of money spent in the United States. “The
total U.S. State Department funding for cultural diplomacy activities in 2002
equals $184,359,000. This is considerably less than France, $30 million less than
the UK and $25 million less than Japan. Per capita spending is 65 cents, which
is significantly less than all of the comparison countries” (ibid.). Only a small
part of this money goes for international arts exchange programs; for example, in
2002 the budget of the Office of Citizens Exchanges for Arts Programs constituted
around $2 million (Sablosky 2003, 13). However, according to the cross-country
analysis, a significant part of cultural diplomacy budgets in France and other
countries support mainly arts exchanges through embassy programs and different
cultural centers (Wyszomirski 2003, 24). This situation puts the United States in
a position different from the one taken by other countries toward the arts and
cultural diplomacy issues.
A great deal of current research indicates that the United States has significantly
cut the budgets for cultural diplomacy in the past 20 years. “Since 1993, budgets
have fallen by nearly 30%, staff has been cut by about 30% overseas and 20%
in the USA, and dozens of cultural centers, libraries, and branch posts have been
closed.” (Advisory Committee, U.S. Department of State 2005, 8) The level of
attention given to international cultural diplomacy from the U.S. government has
not stayed the same historically. The level of support of arts exchange fluctuated
according to the political changes in the international environment. The highest
support given to arts exchanges was demonstrated during the Cold War. Since
the breakup of the Soviet Union, the budget for international cultural and arts
diplomacy in the country has been significantly cut.
The debate about government responsibility regarding such diplomacy issues
rose again after the terrorist acts on Septempber 11, 2001 and is still in progress.
Opposite opinions can be found in a number government reports and research
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projects produced by cultural policy institutions. Some strongly advocate for cul-
tural diplomacy as an important part of the work of the State Department and
recommend improving the funding level for arts exchange programs. Others, on
the contrary, doubt the necessity of implementing these programs in the framework
of cultural diplomacy practices. Although the discussion is progressing, nothing
has been done yet to improve the situation. “Since the tragedy of 9/11 cultural
diplomacy has been analyzed extensively but executed minimally. Forty-odd re-
ports on public diplomacy have produced consensus that it is in crisis, but not
much more(Schneider 2006, 3). This debate is determined by some factors that
shape the attitude of Americans toward the arts in general and to arts exchanges
programs in the framework of public diplomacy.
Cultural Diplomacy: Doubts and Concerns
The recent debate around the importance of arts exchanges in the practices of
public diplomacy is mostly based on two main issues. The first issue addresses
the questions of effectiveness and methods of evaluation of the arts exchanges.
The second issue questions the power of these programs to embrace a broad
audience, different from elite circles, and to reach the majority of the population
for maximizing the effects.
Bill Ivey, American researcher and diplomat, doubts that arts exchanges now
“can produce desired outcomes,” and he points out that they target only an “elite
population” (Ivey 2007, 37). According to Ivey, cultural diplomats need to con-
centrate on reaching the majority of the audiences. In discussing the effectiveness
of cultural diplomacy, many researchers reveal that arts exchanges require con-
siderable funding, a number of human resources, and a high level of long-term
commitment. At the same time, it is difficult to measure the success and effec-
tiveness of these programs, and many people doubt the necessity to develop such
diplomacy. For example, John Brown, in contemplating the ways to improve the
image of the United States in the global community, said that cultural diplomacy
...can provide no quick fixes for America’s ‘image’ abroad, nor will it suddenly
move the needle of global public opinion in favor of the United States” (2006, 84).
Many questions reveal the absence of tools that can measure the impact of
arts exchange programs. How can we count “how many hearts and minds are
conquered” (Szanto 2003, 23) through music concerts, dance and theater per-
formances, or art exhibitions? How far can we predict influences of ideas over
the minds of people? Can we be sure that the values we want to share are per-
ceived in the right way and do not offend national feelings of people? Failure to
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measure arts exchanges quantitatively bring extra pessimism and a negative at-
titude toward such practices, “nonetheless, program offices are finding creative
ways to prove the merits of cross-border arts support. Alberta Arthur, former
head of Rockefeller Foundation’s Arts Humanities Division states, ‘you can count
artists who travel, you can count audiences, and you can get their testimonies. You
have to argue from the principle that such exchange makes sense, and then look
for ways of counting”’ (ibid.). Though counting the audience and artists doesn’t
sound convincing when measuring impact of arts exchanges in the long perspec-
tive, the practice of such programs between different countries demonstrated that
sometimes these programs can be a powerful weapon in struggling with negative
stereotypes and perceptions. The following section will provide some historical
examples to support this statement.
Government-Supported Cultural Diplomacy: Historical Examples
Cynthia P. Schneider, distinguished professor in the practice of diplomacy and
former U.S. Ambassador to the Netherlands believes that during the Cold War,
“soft power played a great role in undermining the Soviet Union and sowing the
seeds for its eventual dissolution” (2006, 1). During the time of the strong political
tensions between the U.S. and Soviet empires, which presented the opposite social-
economic systems—capitalism and communism—arts was the only “safe” way
to communicate a set of different values and beliefs. The result of arts exchanges
between the United States and the Soviet Union can be measured in qualitative
terms and can demonstrate that arts diplomacy has great power. Many historical
examples from the Cold War era demonstrate that arts exchanges can build positive
attitudes toward countries, communicate cultural ideals and beliefs, and even create
mutually shared values for better understanding and respect of each other.
A good example from the history of the Cold War was organizing music tours of
American jazz and rock bands to the Soviet Union. Five years after jazz premiered
in Western Europe, it also “debuted in the Soviet Union and, within a short period,
developed into a popular form of music” (L¨
ucke 2002, 1). During the Stalinist
regime, the attitude toward jazz, a musical style with strong connotations of
freedom, moved from state sponsorship to censorship and restrictions. Domestic,
foreign, economic, and ideological factors were responsible for this shift. However,
throughout the entire Stalinist era, even when it was strictly restricted by the
government, jazz remained an important element of cultural life of the Soviet
people. In the course of the Cold War, many attempts were made “ ... to ban
music and the mere mention of the word ‘jazz.’ This did succeed on the surface,
but, through the burgeoning black market as well as in the Baltic republic, it was
nevertheless possible to buy, hear and experience live performances in the USSR”
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Russian researchers Zubok and Shiraev also indicate that American rock music
had an enormous impact on the Soviet cultural life. Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan,
Jim Morrison, Michael Jackson, Prince, and Bon Jovi shaped cultural preferences
and musical tastes generation after generation in Russian society. Unsatisfied
public demand to get legitimate access to those cultural products made American
culture even more desirable. “Russian pro-American perception became a matter
of mythology and imagination to a greater extent than anti-American views. People
invented their own image of America and continued to believe in it,” as it was
a symbol of freedom and prosperity (Zubok and Shiraev 2000, 20). No one can
prove that jazz or rock music destroyed the super empire of the Soviet Union, but
we cannot deny that these music movements introduced listeners to, and educated
them about, ideas of freedom and democracy.
The previous examples mostly demonstrate how cultural diplomacy can rep-
resent national values and beliefs abroad and also build positive attitudes in the
foreign culture environment toward the country. Arts exchanges also have the
power to integrate national cultural values in a foreign culture and create common
interests for mutual understanding. For example, a modest but effective program,
American Corners, has been initiated in Russia to revive the resources and the value
of the former embassy libraries and American Houses. They were closed down
in the mid-1990s under the “euphoria over the crumbling Berlin Wall” (Schnei-
der 2003, 14). American Corners provided a broad public in the Soviet Union,
and later in Russia, with a number of resources, literature, educational materials,
movies, encyclopedias, and magazines. When the U.S. government cut back its
funding, the program required domestic resources from the host country to sustain
itself. The demand of the Russian public to get access to American cultural and
informational resources, especially in highly educated circles as well as among
students, was so great that even in the hard times of great economic disorder of
the mid-1990s the program could manage to find local resources in Russia to con-
tinue. Through this program, new concepts of volunteerism and respect toward the
needs of local communities, so valued in the United States, were newly adopted
into Russian society. The staff for American Corners is built only from volunteers,
mostly Russian students from linguistic and cultural departments. The venues for
American Corners are provided by local libraries and the model of such cultural
community centers is transmitted to other practices in local communities.
The examples discussed previously demonstrate government-sponsored cul-
tural diplomacy practices that were developed extensively during the Cold War
“to fight communism” throughout the world. “Congress extended the authoriza-
tion for the international educational and cultural programs by passing the Smith-
Mundt Act, The United States Information and Cultural Exchange Act of 1948.
For the first time when the United States was not at war, the act pledged the U.S.
government to conduct international information, education and cultural exchange
activities on a worldwide scale” (Cummings 2003, 7). This was the first time in the
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history of American public policy that artists and their work were systematically
funded for export. In 1953, the State Department Fund for International Affairs
received $2.25 million to represent American dance, theater, music, and visual
arts abroad (Prevots 2001, 3). In comparison, after significant funding cuts in the
post-Cold War era in 1996, the budget of the Office of Citizens Exchanges for Arts
Programs constituted less than $1 million (Sablosky 2003, 11), which would equal
only $170,674 in 1953. In the government exchange programs in the arts, musical
artists have been the most active. “From 1952 through 1966, the Unites States
government awarded grants to some 25,000 persons. Of these, 987 were foreign
citizens coming to the USA and 1313 were Americans who went abroad” (McNail
and Hooker 1968, 52). Jazz bands and symphony orchestras frequently were re-
warded with grants to travel to Latin America, Western and Eastern Europe, and, of
course, to the Soviet Union. These tours were supposed to “showcase the values of
a democratic society in juxtaposition to a totalitarian system” (Schneider 2003, 2).
With the signing the Lacy-Zarubin Agreement in 1958, the U.S.–Soviet ex-
changes of performing arts became the most visible. Among the American ensem-
bles and individual artists that performed in the Soviet Union under the cultural
agreement were the Philadelphia Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Cleveland
Symphony, and San Francisco Symphony; in dance, the American Ballet Theatre,
Jose Limon Dance Company, and Paul Taylor Dance Company; in jazz, Benny
Goodman, Woody Herman, Earl Hines, and Duke Ellington; and in theater, the
Arena Stage, the American Conservatory Theatre, Hume Cronin, and many others
(Richmond 2003, 126). Soviet favorites in the U.S. included the Moiseyev Folk
Dance Ensemble and Bolshoy and Kirov Ballets, “whose repeated coast-to-coast
tours received glowing press reviews as well as handsome fees” (ibid). The same
positive effect was achieved by American troupes coming to Soviet Russia. When
George Balanchine took his New York City Ballet to Leningrad in 1962, the recep-
tion was revolutionary. Great interest of the Soviet public and sincere appreciation
of American performing artists was amply demonstrated by “sold-out halls, lines
of ticket seekers hundreds of yards long and the storming of gates by those without
tickets” (ibid). Richmond, in reviewing these cultural exchanges, emphasizes that
their effects in both societies were extremely positive because they provided a
unique experience that cannot be achieved through any other activities or prac-
tices. People from different societies found many values in common, shared human
feelings, and learned about different cultures and traditions.
Cold War Cultural Diplomacy: What Is Wrong with It?
Though there is an opinion that these arts exchanges helped people from both parts
of the world to discover new perspectives and reveal propaganda stereotypes, many
American researchers indicate that these government initiatives in the field of cul-
tural diplomacy supported only groups of highly selected artists who were forced
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to become political and ideological ambassadors abroad. John Brown emphasizes
that these arts exchange programs “were not a culture business, it was an anti-
Soviet propaganda/information machine, not a promoter of American art abroad”
(Brown 2006, 81). For example, for promoting equal rights and democracy, the
government financially supported those jazz bands that were composed of mostly
African-American artists, but “the musicians themselves realized the irony of rep-
resenting a country that discriminated against blacks at home” (ibid.). Naima Pre-
vots, the author of the book Dance for Exports. Cultural Diplomacy and the Cold
War also indicates that the State Department promoted a vision of American culture
not universally accepted at home. In the visual arts, for example, the government
frequently sent abroad exhibitions of modern arts to counterpoint on social real-
ism imposed on Soviet artists. Although, “as domestic conservatives condemned
abstract expressionism as a subversive plot to undermine homegrown artistic tra-
ditions, works by Jackson Pollock and other modern painters were sent overseas”
(Prevots 2001, 3). This was supposed to present the U.S. as the new leader of
the avant-garde and to promote the American spirit of enterprise and individual
freedom. In dance as well, in spite of the criticism of public morality in American
society of “choreographers like Martha Graham for works that revolved around
the theme of sexuality,” the government consistently promoted her company as a
life example of the unique freedom of individual artists in the United States (Ibid.).
Because there was no actual tradition of supporting an everlasting flow of
arts exchange across countries in American society and the government programs
during the Cold War was only a response to “Soviet propaganda around the world”
(Brown 2006, 79), when the Cold War was finished, there was no longer a necessity
to provide financial support to arts diplomacy. John Brown points out that it was not
a surprise that after the Cold War, funding for arts programs fell dramatically. The
government always felt unease with these programs because very often “they led
to controversy, confirming the assumption of cautious foreign affairs bureaucrats
that arts diplomacy was a ‘hot potato’ that was far more trouble than it was worth”
(Brown 2006, 79). The above discussed historical examples from the Cold War
demonstrate that although arts exchanges programs were strongly supported by
the government during the Cold War, a strong government tradition for taking a
leading role in arts diplomacy was not developed. Many strong concerns remained
from both the artistic perspective and the governmental position.
Perception of Arts in American Society
This confusion in the distribution of financial responsibilities over cultural diplo-
macy in American society is not a new dilemma caused by recent events. “Ever
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since the beginning of such programs there has been a running debate as to whether
these activities can or should conform to the objectives of foreign policy” (McNail
and Hooker 1968, 78). The perception of arts in American society is quite different
from the one accepted in most of the countries in the world. For many cultures,
arts shape a national historical identity of people. Art is important for cultivat-
ing feelings of national pride and believed to be a national heritage that should
be protected and supported in society. For Americans, “arts have never been the
property of a whole nation.” (ibid., 45) Historically, American society developed
by accumulating and integrating a variety of arts traditions and cultures. That is
why the arts in the United States don’t blend into a national identity of people; in
fact, the concept of the national identity of Americans is based on the values of
culture diversity and equal rights for every cultural representative and freedom of
expression. “ ... culture—specifically high arts—is far less important as a means
of national self-definition than in countries with older, more established cultures
in continental Europe or Asia ... people see little need for a unique national high
culture that should be promoted at home or abroad; as Sumner Welles, the un-
der secretary of state during the Franklin D. Roosevelt Administration, remarked
‘The concept of an official culture is alien to us”’ (Brown 2006, 73). It is not
a surprise that in the debate of providing government financial support for the
arts, some express a fair concern that arts are at risk “when they are employed
for social or political reasons; ideally, intercultural mobility should emerge as a
manifestation of the vitality, pervasiveness, and the needs of the arts and the artists
themselves, without reference to foreign policy” (McNail and Hooker 1968, 45).
That is one of the main reasons why throughout the history of U.S. cultural diplo-
macy, many politicians, diplomats, and art practitioners raised questions about
financial responsibility of the arts exchanges.
Cultural Values of the United States
Another reason why government support of these programs never remained persis-
tent and was marked by significant decreases and increases in providing financial
opportunities is rooted in the core cultural values of American society. “The idea
that cultural activities overseas have a ‘civilizing mission’ has also traditionally
been quite alien to American thinking” and “quite difficult to justify to the tax-
payer” (ibid.). To understand this position, it is important to take into account the
most important values that shape cultural policy in the United States.
The United States is the only country in the world in which the government does
not provide substantial support for arts and culture development. For example, in
a cross-country comparison produced by the Canada Council for the Arts in 2003,
the United States is ranked last in the list of countries providing government
funding for the arts. According to the analysis, the U.S. National Endowment for
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the Arts (NEA) total budget per capita for arts programs is $0.51; in comparison,
the total budget per capita of the Arts Council England is $24.36 (McCaughey
2005, 12). In total figures, the NEA’s total appropriation for 2003 was $116 million,
and the total budget of the Arts Council England in 2003–2004 was £496 million,
which constituted around $909 million (Grantmakers in the Arts 2005, 39).
Jonathan Katz, CEO of the National Assembly of the State Arts Agencies,
believes that values such as individualism, democracy, and the free market are the
most important components that shape the attitude of Americans toward the arts.
Stressing a free-market competition for achieving excellence as well as satisfying
public needs, Katz emphasizes that democracy in American society is achieved
through giving everyone equal rights “to vote with dollars” (Katz 2008) for whom
to support in a broad range of charity organizations. Through establishing a non-
profit sector and cultivating philanthropic traditions in the country, the government
provides arts and cultural organizations with the opportunity to sustain themselves
without their financial support. By doing so, the government not only gives arts
organizations independence from their ideological and political influence, but also
educates and promotes free choice to the public. This value of free choice is
expressed in the freedom of everybody to subsidize those arts organizations that
bring a special meaning to them and satisfy their social needs.
The cultural values of independence from the government sector, democracy,
and equal opportunities work perfectly to shape cultural policy in the United States.
The main privilege of the arts organizations in the United States is an ideological
or political freedom, which is not necessarily achieved in other countries. This eco-
nomic independence from the government sector is supposed to establish a healthy
democratic environment in the development of arts in the United States. Being
independent from the government sector, arts organizations still have to comply
with the policies of free market demands and seek attention and support from
philanthropic sources. Recent events in the international arena and misperceptions
of U.S. cultural values indicate that domestic cultural policy, being projected to
cultural diplomacy, causes difficulties and challenges in establishing a free flow
of international art exchange. This prevents the U.S. from expressing its cultural
values in the global community and gives rise to widespread false negative stereo-
types around the world. The free market scheme encourages the development of
the cultural trade business rather than cross-borders arts programming.
Free Market Trade Policy
American “culture is now transmitted to remote places around the globe by the
private sector rather than by official public diplomacy efforts. Even as govern-
ment investment in the movement of culture around the world has declined, the
technology of globalization has triggered an explosion in USA cultural exports”
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(Ivey 2007, 22). Yet, these exports of pop culture stimulate distaste for the United
States in the global community rather than contribute to mutual understanding.
Because of the “free market” value in American society and a belief that “the
business of America is business,2arts diplomacy has been shadowed by trade
policy, “generating a new point of cross-cultural contact that on its own has the
potential to create more friction that cultural exchange is able to reduce” (ibid.).
Although many researchers find this situation dangerous for the U.S. public image,
others take it as a logical consequence of the development of democratic society.
“The planetary dominance of Hollywood ... is a reason why the American gov-
ernment neglects arts diplomacy.” (Brown 2006, 74) The culture of entertainment
or relaxation is the product of the profit-seeking private sector, and “its global
expansion provides intellectual ammunition to American citizens, both inside and
outside of government, who see no reason to promote arts diplomacy abroad at the
taxpayer’s expenses” (ibid.). As it is not a priority of the government or the private
sector, cultural diplomacy is barely surviving in the United States with only the
help of a few foundations and enthusiastic volunteers in the nonprofit sector.
International Arts Philanthropy
Government funding is not the only source of developing cultural diplomacy.
Some other more democratic schemes of support can be established through de-
velopment of international philanthropy. This tradition is not new to American
society; the roots of philanthropic support of cultural diplomacy are traced to
the eighteenth century, when the first national learned societies were established.
“By the mid-1700s, Benjamin Franklin had been selected for membership in
the Spanish Academy of History, and the American Philosophical Society was
electing Europeans and Latin Americans as corresponding members” (Ivey 2007,
4). By the nineteenth century, many American museums and universities were
sponsoring expeditions abroad while simultaneously attracting foreign scholars to
positions in the American headquarters. Bill Ivey indicates that before World War
II, the leadership in international arts groups touring belonged to private sector
and foundations, but when in 1938 the State Department established a Division
of Cultural Relations, the agencies “acted hesitantly, sensitive to the leading role
of the government.” With this loss of initiatives for arts diplomacy issues, founda-
tions stayed passive during the period of the Cold War, and now the philanthropic
tradition for developing international arts exchanges among the foundations is
hardly coming into force. The report of Andreas Szanto on the current state of the
international arts philanthropy among U.S. foundations indicates that “among the
minority of foundations that supports the arts, international exchange grants rank
among the lowest of funding priorities. When measured at the height of American
philanthropic activity, total direct grants for international arts exchange programs
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amount to far less than one percent of foundation disbursements” (Szanto 2003,
1). Moreover, grantmaking in the area of arts exchanges is very concentrated and
limited within six big foundations: the Duke, Ford, Freeman, Mellon, Rockefeller,
and Starr foundations. The author of the report explained this situation by saying
that the majority of the foundations established in the last century to support local
causes have kept a domestic focus because foreign relations “were understood to
be a government responsibility” (ibid.). This confusion explains why arts diplo-
macy has not been properly carried out in the country in past years. Additionally,
misunderstanding regarding the distribution of roles and responsibilities among
public diplomacy players in American society demonstrates public uncertainty
toward trusting art diplomacy to the government or to private sector.
Cultural diplomacy shapes the relationships between many countries and is be-
lieved to be an effective way of communicating internationally as well as building
understanding and respect among different cultures. Some historic examples from
the Cold War demonstrate the power and significance of arts exchange programs
in the framework of public diplomacy. In spite of the success of implementing arts
diplomacy in the past, there was always a great deal of unease in the U.S. from
the governmental side to provide financial support to cultural diplomacy prac-
tices. The current situation in the international arena and the rise of anti-American
attitudes in the global community signify a problem of misunderstanding and mis-
communication between the U.S. and the rest of the world. This situation draws
great attention to public diplomacy issues and to cultural diplomacy as one of
its core components. Cultural diplomacy has declined in past years in the U.S.:
neither government, nor private, nor public institutions have taken a lead in devel-
oping cultural diplomacy. The debate in American society of whether or not the
government should take national responsibility for cultural diplomacy initiatives
is in progress.
There are three main interrelated reasons behind the debate that make this so
difficult to resolve. The first reason relates to a set of national core values, such
as democracy and the free market that shape the attitude of Americans toward
the role of arts in society. Another reason is that the arts do not form the national
identity of American society. American society is very diverse, and pluralism of
different arts and culture traditions promote democratic freedoms of individual
self-identity rather than a feeling of belonging to a national unity. The third reason
is economical but based on cultural values and beliefs. The dominance of trade
policy over cultural diplomacy in international communication issues, as well as
a monopoly of American transnational companies in the global cultural markets,
reveal the conflict of interests. This tension is between the private sector, seeking
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more profits by any means, and the national interests of the United States, facing
problems of national security and misperception in the global community.
In the process of making decisions and resolving current problems, it is im-
portant to take into consideration national cultural values and beliefs of American
society. Although in many countries around the world, the government takes
all leadership in public diplomacy issues, the U.S. needs to find a reasonable
consensus that will secure the democratic values of the country. With powerful
philanthropic traditions in American society, it is possible to find alternative ways
of developing cultural diplomacy in the U.S. and integrating it successfully into
public diplomacy initiatives. The goal of this article was to introduce the debate
on such diplomacy and to explain its nature and reasons. Additional research is
required to look closer at nonprofit and a private business sectors within American
society, to indicate their roles in this area, and to suggest how they can be changed
to fulfill the mission of diplomatic efforts through arts exchanges. Nevertheless,
this article presents research, revealing the main reasons of a recent decline of art
diplomacy in the United States. Understanding why American society is reluctant
to trust the business of cultural diplomacy to the government is important for
finding democratic ways to resolve the current impasse.
1. The term was used in the following publications: John Brown, “Arts Diplomacy: The Ne-
glect Aspect of Cultural Diplomacy,” in America’s Dialogue with the World (Washington,
DC: George Washington University, 2006) 71–90; Constance DeVereaux and Martin Grif-
fin, “International, Global, Transnational: Just a Matter of Words?,” Eurozine, October 2006, devereauxgriffin-en.html; Margaret J. Wys-
zomirski, “International Cultural Relations: A Multi-Country Comparison,” Americans for
the Arts, 2003: 1–67. (ac-
cessed November 12, 2008).
2. The statement comes from a speech by Calvin Coolidge called “The Press Under a
Free Government,” which was given before the American Society of Newspaper Editors in
Washington, DC, on January 17, 1925. The real quote is: “After all, the chief business of
the American people is business.” (Bittinger 2006)
Advisory Committee on Cultural Diplomacy, U.S. Department of State. 2005, September. Cultural
diplomacy: The linchpin of public diplomacy. Report of the Advisory Committee on Cultural
Bellamy, Carol, and Adam Weinberg. 2008. Educational and cultural exchanges to restore Amer-
ican image. The Washington Quarterly (Summer): 55–68.
08summer bellamy.pdf.
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Brown, John. 2006. Arts diplomacy: The neglected aspect of cultural diplomacy. In America’s dialogue
with the world, ed. William P. Kiehl, 71–90. Washington, DC: George Washington University.
Bittinger, Cyndy. 2006. The business of America is business? Essays, papers, & addresses written
under the auspices of the Calvin Coolidge Memorial Foundation.
html/the business of america is bus.html.
Cummings, Milton C. 2003. Cultural diplomacy and the United States government: A survey. Ameri-
cans for the arts. (accessed November 5, 2008).
DeVereaux, Constance, and Martin Griffin. 2006. International, global, transnational: Just a matter of
words? Eurozine (October): 1–9. devereauxgriffin-
Fullman, Aimee. 2004, May. Arts as diplomacy: 21st-century challenges. Arts in embassy program. (accessed November 11, 2008).
Grantmakers in the Arts. 2005. Vital signs. Culture funding by country. Grantmakers in the Arts reader. doc/VitalSigns.pdf (accessed November 21, 2008).
Hurlburt, Heather F., and Bill Ivey. 2007. Cultural diplomacy and the national interest. The Curb
Center for Art, Enterprise, and Public Policy at Vanderbilt.
Katz, Jonathan. 2008, November 6. Cultural policy: A reflection of values. Speech, American Univer-
sity, Washington, DC.
ucke, Martin. 2002. Vilified, venerated, forbidden: Jazz in the Stalinist era. Music and Politics 1(2):
McCaughey, Claire. 2005. Comparisons of arts funding in selected countries: Preliminary findings.
Canada Council for the Arts.
pdf (accessed November 11, 2008).
McNail, Lowry, and Gertrude S. Hooker. 1968. The role of the arts and humanities. In Cultural affairs
and foreign relations, 45–88. Washington, DC: Columbia Books.
Nakada, Naoka, Vanessa Novak, and Catherine Rose. 2003. Effective models of audience development
from an international perspective. Australian Council Research Hub. http://www.australiacouncil. marketing/audience development/effective models of audience development
from an international perspective.
Prevots, Naima. 2001. Dance for exports. Cultural diplomacy and the cold war. Middletown, CT:
Wesleyan Univ. Press.
Richmond, Yale. 2003. Cultural exchanges and the cold war. Raising the iron curtain. University Park,
PA: The Pennsylvania State Univ. Press.
Sablosky, Juliet Antunes. 2003. Recent trends in Department of State support for cultural diplomacy.
Americans for the Arts. (accessed November 5,
Schneider, Cynthia P. 2003. Diplomacy that works: “Best practices” in cultural diplomacy. Americans
for the Arts. (accessed November 12, 2008).
——. 2006. Cultural diplomacy: Why it matters, what it can—and cannot—do?http://www1.
Szanto, Andreas. 2003. A new mandate for philanthropy? U.S. Foundation Support for International
Arts Exchanges. Americans for the Arts. (accessed
November 11, 2008).
Wolf, Charles, Jr., and Brian Rosen. 2004. Public diplomacy: How to think about and improve it.
Rand-initiated Research. papers/2004/RAND OP134.pdf.
Wyszomirski, Margaret J. 2003. International cultural relations: A multi-country comparison. Amer-
icans for the Arts: 1–67. (accessed
November 12, 2008).
Zubok, Vladislav, and Erick Shiraev. 2000. Anti-Americanism in Russia: From Stalin to Putin.New
York: Palgrave MacMillan.
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... cultural diplomacy as the exchange of ideas, information, art and other aspects of culture among nations and their peoples in order to foster mutual understanding' which 'can also be more of a one-way street than a twoway exchange, as when one nation concentrates its efforts on promoting the national language, explaining its policies and point of view, or "telling its story" to the rest of the world (dalam Mark, 2009:6) Diplomasi budaya memainkan peran penting yang dapat menyatukan orang untuk komunikasi interaktif dan nilai-nilai budaya dan kepercayaan. Ini mencakup berbagai program pertukaran pelajar (Grincheva, 2010). Diplomasi budaya merupakan salah satu instrumen politik luar negeri yang dalam implementasinya memerlukan hubungan budaya antar negara (Boy & Menezes, 2019). ...
Artikel ini bertujuan untuk mendeskripsikan peran mahasiswa Sudan di Indonesia dalam memperkuat hubungan diplomasi di antara kedua negara. Konsep yang digunakan dalam menganalisis adalah beasiswa sebagai instrumen diplomasi budaya. Penelitian ini dilakukan dengan menggunakan metode kualitatif dan data dikumpulkan melalui wawancara dengan sejumlah mahasiswa Sudan penerima beasiswa dari Indonesia di beberapa universitas di negara ini, dan juga wawancara dengan perwakilan kedutaan Sudan dan Indonesia untuk mendapatkan pemahaman yang lebih luas tentang hubungan antara dua negara melalui beasiswa sebagai diplomasi budaya. Temuan dari penelitian ini adalah sebagai berikut. (1) Beasiswa menciptakan kepercayaan antara Indonesia dan Sudan; karena melalui beasiswa, orang-orang dari dua negara dapat membangun kepercayaan dengan memahami pola pikir penduduk setempat, mendobrak batasan bahasa, dan membangun persahabatan dengan keluarga dan akademisi. (2) Beasiswa menciptakan hubungan internasional antara dua negara karena mahasiswa dapat memahami budaya tuan rumah yang berkontribusi pada transfer dan partisipasi budaya dalam jangkauan luas kedua masyarakat. Adaptasi tersebut akan memfasilitasi pemahaman, membuka jalan bagi implementasi perjanjian kerja sama, dan membangun hubungan yang mencapai kepentingan kedua negara. (3) Beasiswa adalah cara untuk memahami nilai dan gagasan; dimana mahasiswa Sudan memahami nilai-nilai bangsa Indonesia, dan mahasiswa Sudan melakukan kegiatan budaya di perguruan tinggi yang mengenalkan masyarakat Indonesia pada nilai dan budaya Sudan. Jika ada seratus mahasiswa Sudan di Indonesia, artinya ada seratus duta yang tersebar di berbagai kawasan Indonesia, dan mereka memahami nilai-nilai dan perilaku masyarakat setempat.
... In accordance, the institution of sister cities among China and several African countries has been This initiative was considerable for Sino-African connection since, as Grincheva (2010) mentions, art is considered as national heritage. More recently, Caruso (2019) notes that during the COVID-19 ...
... Culture and art represent high national brand assets (e.g., awareness, images [44][45][46]). In an increasingly advanced society, a country's unique culture and art play a role by enhancing the country's interests and cultural prosperity [47][48][49][50]. Therefore, as a cultural asset of South Korea, Korean dance needs to establish a brand personality. ...
Full-text available
Brand personality is a useful tool that forms a favorable brand image and that ultimately builds powerful brand equity. However, there has been insufficient empirical research on the brand personality of Korean dance. In the context of using culture and the arts to support national competitiveness, we examine traditional Korean dance in terms of a potential brand personality that can influence the perceptions of global consumers. We look at how this brand can affect consumer perceptions of how easy it is to learn Korean dances as well as their perceptions of the physical benefits of these dances. The respondents included global consumers who had listened to or watched Korean dance music and videos on TV and the Internet, searched for and watched Korean dance videos on YouTube, and searched for Korean dance information on social media at least once. A survey was conducted over the course of four months, from October 2020 to January 2021, in four countries: South Korea, the USA, the UK, and South Africa. Valid data were obtained from 649 individuals. We conducted an empirical study by applying and integrating the technology acceptance model (TAM) to the brand personality of Korean dance. A structural equation model was used to analyze the responses. The brand personality of Korean dance enhanced its perceived ease of use and its perceived usefulness among global consumers, which led to positive attitudes toward the dances. Furthermore, it led to a sustainable behavioral intention, that is, interest in learning traditional Korean dances. Since no studies have integrated Korean dance into a single brand personality to use it as a cultural asset, this study makes considerable contributions to the literature.
Penelitian ini membahas mengenai strategi kebijakan luar negeri Indonesia dalam mempertahankan hak berdaulat ZEE di Perairan Natuna Utara dari kepentingan Nine Dash Line China. Proses analisa strategi kebijakan luar negeri Indonesia tersebut menggunakan pendekatan strategi kebijakan luar negeri yang dikemukakan oleh John Lovell. Mendukung proses penelitian, penulis menggunakan metode kualitatif dengan teknik pengumpulan data berupa wawancara, telaah kepustakaan yang didapatkan melalui buku, media daring, maupun dokumen terkait. Hasil penelitian menunjukkan bahwa dalam menghadapi kepentingan China dengan gagasan nine dash line China yang mulai menyentuh Perairan Natuna Utara, pemerintah Indonesia menyadari bahwa kapasitas negaranya lebih inferior dibandingkan dengan China, sehingga strategi yang dilakukan berorientasi pada concordance strategy dengan cara kerjasama bilateral melalui BRI, dan kerjasama multilateral ASEAN melalui AOIP yang menguntungkan Indonesia.
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This paper investigates the art world as a setting for hegemonic status or prestige politics. Powerful states engage in art world status-seeking but appear to face challenges distinct to the art world in so doing. To explain, I adopt a Bourdieusian forms of capital approach, framing the art world as a social field with distinctive contentious dynamics and symbolic politics. I argue states must work through art world networks and institutions to pursue status there, observing local rules in so doing. I frame art world prestige as symbolic capital—the overt, observable pursuit of which tends to undermine any gains. Hegemonic incumbents and challengers face differing such constraints. The existing global art world models rules and standards by homology on that of the current hegemon. A challenger must adapt to this status quo before they can revise it. I unpack these dynamics in the cases of America, China, and India. I focus on their shifting standing in the global art market and performances of national aggrandizement at a recurring global art world event: the Venice Biennale.
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This study attempts to reveal cultural diplomacy, which Turkey implements towards Indonesia. The ‘golden period’ of Turkey is from 2007 until 2013. After that, the public diplomacy of Turkey was not effective as before, and it was fallen dramatically. The country’s instability caused by the political turmoil within the country also influences the growth of international isolation. With these based on the problem that influences its image, Turkey needs to prove a different and better image to promote itself abroad. Public perceptions can be shaped and controlled by doing cultural diplomacy that acts as soft power. Having one thing in common as a country with a Muslim population as the majority, Turkey has a special place in the hearts of the Indonesian people. Based on the theory of cultural diplomacy by Milton C. Cummings, the authors drew two arguments. First, Turkey’s Cultural diplomacy towards Indonesia is done not only by state actors (officially by the government) but also by non-state actors such as individuals and companies. Second, cultural diplomacy carried out by Turkey towards Indonesia is through all aspects of the needs of the Indonesian people, such as films, fashion, news, music, food, and education.
Full-text available
Creative and cultural industries currently enjoy significant hyperbole as drivers of economic growth and human development in the least developed countries. This optimistic institutional discourse has yet to be matched by practical implementation of economic interventions intended to expand quality, professionalism, opportunities, and revenue in the cultural industry sectors. This hesitancy is examined through a historical overview of the role of culture in international development, and a cross-disciplinary approach will be used to examine concerns and possible frameworks regarding cultural policy in strategic planning in least-developed countries (LDCs). An autoethnographic case study of the music industry sector in Liberia explores the tension, opportunities, and potential drawbacks of an interventionist approach in one of the world's poorest economies. Informal markets, sector gaps, and research gaps present obstacles that necessitate non-instrumental, localized, non-linear approaches and reasonable expectations for sector growth. Can bottom-up sector reform informed by existing practice be encouraged while simultaneously working towards WIPO compliance, strengthening copyright policy, and preparing for the global marketplace? There are many questions to be answered, and key areas where research is needed to begin to answer them shall be identified. Demonstrating legitimate, non-instrumental, intrinsic spillover effect(s) could convince governments to prioritize further development funding of interventions in cultural market sectors. This study hopes to bring us closer to being able to answer the question: are economic interventions in cultural industry sectors in LDCs worth pursuing?
PLEASE NOTE: This publication is currently available to download for free using the DOI link above (or here: Cultural diplomacy designates a policy field, in which states seek to mobilize their cultural resources to achieve foreign policy goals. The nature of those goals, and of the cultural resources mobilized to achieve them, has been subject to historical change, and a range of terminology has been used to designate this kind of policymaking in different national and historical contexts. Nevertheless, the term cultural diplomacy is a viable one for designating this particular area of foreign policy, which is often understood as one component of a state’s broader public diplomacy or, following Joseph Nye’s terminology, its “soft power.” Cultural display and exchange have arguably always played a role in the relations between peoples. With the emergence of the modern state system in the early modern period, such display and exchange became an expression of formal diplomatic relations between courts, yet it is only in the 19th century that we see the emergence of cultural diplomacy in the sense it is understood today: It is no longer a matter of communication between rulers, but rather an expression of national identity directed at an international public. Throughout the 19th century, cultural diplomacy was closely associated with the rivalry of the Great Powers, particularly in the colonial context. However, following the end of the First World War, cultural diplomacy increasingly came to be understood as a means to pursue ideological competition, a trend that became central to the cultural diplomacy of the Cold War. Nevertheless, scholarship’s focus on the cultural dimensions of the confrontation between the two Cold War superpowers has drawn attention away from other varieties of cultural diplomacy in the “Third World” or “Global South,” which sought to establish forms of solidarity between postcolonial nations. The post–Cold War world has been characterized by a shift in the rhetoric surrounding cultural diplomacy, which now frequently contains an economic dimension, as states compete for markets, investments, and attention in the context of neoliberal globalization. Nevertheless, we also see a pluralization of strategies of cultural diplomacy, in which a range of actors tailor their approach to cultural foreign policy according to their own perceived position in a multipolar world. Nevertheless, despite the continued popularity of cultural diplomacy in policymaking circles and the significant attention it has received from researchers in the 21st century, the assessment of the impact of cultural diplomacy remains a challenge.
The concept of public diplomacy, which is used as an important instrument in many countries’ foreign policy, generally refers to the provision of the communication activities between the foreign country’s people and institutions and that of the home country. The basis of public diplomacy with all aspects relies on the countries’ use of their soft power. Subjects like the media, culture, arts, science, sports, and education are the tools of soft power. It is known that many countries using public diplomacy particularly conduct musical activities with this purpose. In this regard, culture and art diplomacy became prominent among Turkish groups within the Soviet Union during the USSR Era, when ideological limitations were intense. In this process, the relations between Azerbaijan and Turkey constitute a special example. The concerts that were given by Turkish artists in Azerbaijan and, likewise, the ones given by Azerbaijani artists in Turkey, which had great appeal by the people, were significant activities in terms of public diplomacy. Indeed, the developments in music and arts field gained a new pace in both countries following the convergence between Turkey and Azerbaijan since 1990, when the disintegration process of the Soviet Union accelerated. The increase observed in the number of concerts given by both countries’ artists and joint music albums made a significant contribution to the refreshment of emotional bonds.
Shiraev and Zubok analyze growing anti-Americanism in Russia, now high again after several years of "honeymoon" with the United States. An evaluation of this phenomenon is significant for assessments of current and future international developments and especially some "worst-case scenarios" in light of further steps towards European integration, NATO expansion, and of future regional conflicts. This analysis is also crucial for theoretical and popular discussions about the course of democratic transition, as well as the practical aspects of the nature of relations between democracies. Shiraev and Zubok investigate to what extent Russian anti-Americanism is a phenomenon of a democratic polity and thus challenges a quite popular "democratic peace" thesis stating that spread of democracy makes international tension and conflicts far less frequent and profound.
A new public diplomacy strategy to enhance the U.S. reputation will require a thorough understanding of the role of cultural and educational exchanges, or what is commonly called citizen diplomacy, and the many ways it can be more effectively leveraged.
"Yale Richmond records a highly significant chapter in Soviet-American relations during the final decades of Communism. He provides us with a deftly written, accurate, and thoughtful account of the cultural exchanges that were such important channels of influence and persuasion during those years. His book covers the whole spectrum--from scholars and scientific collaboration to fairs and exhibits. We should be grateful that he has undertaken this task before memories fade."--Allen H. Kassof, former Executive Director, International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX), 1968-1992 Some fifty thousand Soviets visited the United States under various exchange programs between 1958 and 1988. They came as scholars and students, scientists and engineers, writers and journalists, government and party officials, musicians, dancers, and athletes--and among them were more than a few KGB officers. They came, they saw, they were conquered, and the Soviet Union would never again be the same. Cultural Exchange and the Cold War describes how these exchange programs (which brought an even larger number of Americans to the Soviet Union) raised the Iron Curtain and fostered changes that prepared the way for Gorbachev's glasnost, perestroika, and the end of the Cold War. This study is based upon interviews with Russian and American participants as well as the personal experiences of the author and others who were involved in or administered such exchanges. Cultural Exchange and the Cold War demonstrates that the best policy to pursue with countries we disagree with is not isolation but engagement. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Yale Richmond, now retired, spent more than forty years in government service and foundation work, including thirty years as a Foreign Service Officer in Germany, Laos, Poland, Austria, the Soviet Union, and Washington, D.C. His previous books include From Nyet to Da: Understanding the Russians (3rd edition, 2002) and From Da to Yes: Understanding the East Europeans (1995).
International, global, transnational: Just a matter of words? Eurozine
  • Devereaux
  • Martin Griffin Constance
DeVereaux, Constance, and Martin Griffin. 2006. International, global, transnational: Just a matter of words? Eurozine (October): 1–9.
Arts as diplomacy: 21st-century challenges. Arts in embassy program
  • Aimee Fullman
Fullman, Aimee. 2004, May. Arts as diplomacy: 21st-century challenges. Arts in embassy program. (accessed November 11, 2008).