In order to analyze and understand how art and cinema are elements of cultural diplomacy it is important to understand what cultural diplomacy is. Cultural diplomacy is a set of actions that are focused on the utilization of exchanging ideas, traditions, values and cultures with the purpose of strengthening the ties between the involved cultures, promote national interest or improve the social cultural cooperation between different cultures (Luke & Kersel, 2013). It is important to note that cultural diplomacy can be practiced by private sector, public sector or the civil society.
According to Black (2010), the practice of cultural diplomacy is not a new practice since it started centuries ago. However, cultural diplomacy has always been under the shadow of international relations. The vibrant nature of cultural diplomacy has made it an independent body and is used as an area of academic research and is now known to be a stand-alone practice and theory. The history of cultural diplomacy can be seen to have been supported by travelers, teachers, explorers, and missionaries. These are considered to be the early cultural diplomats who moved from their culture into other cultures to bring new ideas, practices and products. A critical example is the establishment of trade routes in the early days enabled the frequent exchange of information and gifts between different people from different cultures. The interaction between people from different cultures, whether currently or in the past has an effect on the people interacting who learn new things as far as art, music; cinema, literature, sports, business, and science are concerned.
In business today, companies that practice corporate social responsibilities enjoy good image and customer loyalty. Haerens (2014) emphasize that organization in the private sector would aim to ensure that its business is socially responsible to keep up with the demand of customers. In this case the agent is a non-governmental organization which operates in the private sector. Such a company needs to know the importance of different cultures which will in turn help the organization when it comes to decision making processes and marketing strategy. Without sufficient knowledge of different cultures, an organization risks sending offending advertisements or missing the right gestures to attract customers from a particular culture (Bel, 2010). Globalization has made it possible for different organizations to leave their home countries and expand into other countries with different cultures. An organization that seeks to expand into a new market must ensure that it conducts a thorough research on the culture of the new country or risk being irrelevant and failing eventually.
The Agenda of the institution is to foster for peace between two countries having a conflict. The main aim of ending conflict is to enjoy world peace and good relations between nations. Many countries use different strategies to ensure there is peace when there is conflict. One way of solving conflict is using force and this includes military forces. But in history this strategy had turned out to have more negative effects than positive effects. The world has now become a global village where there is interaction and socialization. With interaction and socialization there must be conflict due to difference in opinions and views. Sometimes the conflicts are too much for two parties to handle without the intervention of external parties. The inclusion of external parties brings about fairness, since it is considered they are neutral.
The vehicle to be used by the non-governmental organization is an art and cinema. Art and cinema are historical part of mankind. There are different types of cinema and art associated with different people from different cultures. The use of different instruments and time of use makes different types of art which are associated with different cultures. A person from one culture may not appreciate an art or cinema from another culture. One of the reasons why they would not appreciate is lack of understanding or lack of interest. The second reason is simply a wrong attitude towards the music or cinema (Georgia Museum of Art, 2012).
Gienow-Hecht & Donfried (2010) describe art as one of the most deep and vital tools of diplomacy. Art gives room for an individual or a group of people to express themselves on a personal, national, and collective level, which enables artists, performers, and partakers to engage with one another and exchange ideas. A cultural understanding is achieved when art is used because through performances whether aural or visual, read or performed creates a bond between the involved parties (Luke & Kersel, 2013). When art is mentioned a lot comes to mind, from music, photography, plays, film and music. All the mentioned are types of art that can be used in practicing cultural diplomacy. The institution can use music to end the conflict between the two entities.
Music is a powerful tool that is enjoyed all over the world. There have been many different songs that have been used to create awareness such as We are the world done by the USAID foundation. The song was done in collaboration with many different music superstars and was meant to encourage people to give to the less fortunate children in third world countries. In the same way, having a song done by superstars and popular musicians from the two conflicting countries can help ease the tension and eventually end the conflict. The institution can also use cinema in its pursuit of peace through involving casts from both countries. Having a movie that involves main actors and actresses from the conflicting countries can create a picture of peace and harmony that allows them to work together.
When sending a message, the target audience is an important consideration. Through the determination of the target audience, the sender of the message will determine how best to package the message to ensure it is well understood and best serves its purpose. The target audience in this case is the leaders of the conflicting countries. The leaders have the final say on whether the conflict will end or not. Targeting them will lead to a faster solution than targeting the citizens. In most cases it is the most influential people in a government that determine the outcome of the relationship between two countries. It is important to target the leaders of the country since they will be under pressure from the citizens who will keep demanding for peace. One way that the leaders of the conflicting nations can be influenced by the production of music and film is by engaging them in the premier of the film or releasing of the song done by people from both countries. When they appear at these functions they will be under pressure to socialize and communicate which will increase the chances of solving their conflict.
Art plays an important role in our day-to-day lives and bring us joy frequently. Through art we are able to be educated, entertained and informed. However the ability to use art to communicate with one another is often underestimated. Art through music and cinema can bring about cohesion and create awareness as far as different cultures are involved. There is little research however that has been carried out to find out the power that art has when it comes to good relationships amongst people and how people can use art to develop and create a harmonious environment where people can co-exist peacefully. The future of Cultural diplomacy depends greatly on how well people can identify and use different forms of art to understand different cultures and appreciate them. The research question should be, People from different cultures have different ways of life, and how can people from different cultures understand one another?
In order to understand people from different cultures, it is necessary to use clear language. Where it is not applicable use of interpreters can be employed. In the same way if it is in a play or music, interpreters or sign language experts can be used to send a clear message to the people who do not understand. Interpreters are important because they understand both languages and can be trusted by both cultures. Since they are experts in what they do, they can be relied on to send a clear message that can be understood and appreciated (Moeran, 2010).
Bel, B. (2010). Communication, culture and confrontation. Los Angeles: Sage.
Black, J. (2010). A history of diplomacy. London: Reaktion.
Georgia Museum of Art. (2012). Art Interrupted: Advancing American Art and the Politics of Cultural Diplomacy. Athens, GA: Georgia Museum of Art, University of Georgia.
Gienow-Hecht, J. C. E., & Donfried, M. C. (2010). Searching for a cultural diplomacy. New York: Berghahn Books.
Haerens, M., & Zott, L. M. (2014). Corporate social responsibility. Detroit: Greehaven.
Luke, C. M., & Kersel, M. M. (2013). U.S. cultural diplomacy and archaeology: Soft power, hard heritage. New York: Routledge.
Moeran, B. (2010). Communication. (Advertising: critical readings, 3.) Oxford [etc.: Berg.
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