Implementing the EU Strategy for International Cultural Relations: Toward a New Paradigm

Principal Investigator:
Mafalda Dâmaso, CPD Research Fellow 2019-21

A growing body of public diplomacy literature focuses on the potential and pitfalls of using cultural programs to achieve diplomatic goals. In Europe, scholars have addressed the tension between the traditional model of cultural diplomacy and the paradigm of cultural relations, foregrounded in the EU’s Strategy for International Cultural Relations (2016, henceforth referred to as ICR). As is known, this strategy advocates for the integration of cultural action within the EU’s foreign policy instruments. However, the practicalities surrounding the implementation of this transnational model remain insufficiently examined. Arguing that the execution of the ICR strategy requires the development of a paradigm of International Cultural Relations Management that can be understood as neither public diplomacy nor as arts management, the research will ask:

  • What are the main characteristics of this emerging management paradigm? How does it differ from (and overlap with) public diplomacy efforts and the arts management model?
  • To implement it, what are the main competencies that professionals must hold?
  • What would be the main learning outcomes of continuing professional development aimed at training the staff of EU and national delegations within the framework of this new paradigm?

Answering these questions will help practitioners better respond to the challenges that are likely to emerge during the implementation of ICR. It will also help academics and policymakers to develop effective training programs to strengthen the design, implementation and monitoring of cultural relations programs, both in the context of ICR and beyond.