December 3, 2012

The World Expo began at the height of the Industrial Revolution and had for a long time drawn broad enthusiasm among organizers and visitors alike in the industrialized nations. It had, however, faded from popular imagination in the West.

December 3, 2012

Few had probably even heard of the country Kazakhstan until the 2006 film Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. At the time, the satiric film starring Sacha Baron Cohen was roundly denounced by Kazakhstan for its unflattering portrayal of the country, still coming out of the shadows of the former Soviet Union.

[It had] a very complex culture, with very sophisticated and beautiful material, a very complex social organization, [and] a very intelligent relationship with the landscape. And it gives an idea of the lifestyle of these people, who continued in Kazakhstan until relatively recently and is part of their proud heritage.

Kazakhstan was decidedly not amused when British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen poked fun at the former Soviet nation six years ago in his rollicking, often profane mockumentary "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan."

The government of Kazakhstan seems eager to counter any negative perceptions about the Central Asian nation. It has spent substantial sums on global public relations, striving to shape an image as a modern, open and investment-friendly nation by relying on a stable of top-tier public relations firms and international advisors.

The U.S. State Department, in recognizing the need for inclusiveness in the world of sports and people-to-people exchanges, has announced today that it will bring 14 athletes from Kazakhstan to the United States to participate in an inaugural exchange for athletes with physical disabilities.

Asserting that India and Kazakhstan have rich heritage and culture, Union Minister of Tourism, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Kumari Selja on Wednesday said mutual cooperation and organisation of cultural events and exhibition between the two nations will go a long way in cementing mutual cultural relations.

Good cultural diplomacy is always drawn from the unique.  American country music is one area that projects a wholly American image of the rugged hero sitting high in the saddle or a scorned yet powerful woman singing about lost love. Country songs are about what the French would call la condition humaine, universal stories strummed on a guitar. As such, country music has a vast global appeal.