December 19, 2015

Three main strands run through the narrative: learning Japanese, creating camaraderie with Keio University students, and acquiring extropy. That ambassadors come and go is a truism. Yet, precious few make a permanent mark on the country and people where they are accredited. Aftab Seth is one such scholar-diplomat. 

The Kremlin is backing an ambitious effort to make the B-sides of the Russian literary canon more accessible to a global audience. Is it a boon for cultural understanding — or propaganda? [...] They (U.S. and Russia) were joining forces to publish a treasury of Russian literature in English, at least 100 volumes strong, spanning three centuries and possibly more.

José Carreño Carlón, director of the Fondo de Cultura Económica, said the truck is meant to promote Spanish-language learning, especially among the children of Latin American families. [...] Jose Luiz Martinez, director of international affairs for the National Council for Culture and the Arts, said the book truck is an example of "cultural diplomacy."

An Irish couple celebrate Bloomsday in Dublin.

Just after Bloomsday, a celebration of Ireland's public diplomacy.

IBNA- Kianoush Kiyani Haftlang, the Senior Advisor of the Center for the Great Islamic Encyclopedia, said that Book-oriented cultural diplomacy is best for a global dialogue, but how to turn this motto into action is important.” 

Frameworks for cultural diplomacy in the U.S. are often too narrow and too broad. On the one hand, self-identified practitioners of cultural diplomacy – within and outside government – tend to identify, if somewhat generically, specific exportable forms of expressive culture (think: music, theater, literature, dance, murals, or film).

Saudi Arabia boasts about the annual Riyadh International Book Fair, where Saudis can explore a flourishing book market, meet authors and engage in intellectual discussion. Every year, however, the book fair is transformed from an intellectual market into something more resembling a battle for the hearts and minds of Saudis.