Research Trip to the Academy for Cultural Diplomacy

By Irene García, Piotr Rembowski and Manav Sumara 

As Master’s research students fortunate enough to be part of the research trip to Berlin, our fourth day, Thursday 27 July 2023, was marked by a special panel event on “The Futures of Transcultural Diplomacy & Transcultural Leadership” hosted by the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy (ICD) at the Academy for Cultural Diplomacy. This is a topic of major importance to our research group, which is specifically dedicated to researching “The Future of Transcultural Diplomacy”. Our excitement was heightened by the unique opportunity to be part of organizing and facilitating this session.

During the panel discussion, we were privileged to hear and learn from experts in the field of cultural diplomacy. These included Valeza Oruqi, Deputy Head of Mission-Minister Counsellor at the Embassy of Kosovo in Germany; Dr Didem Aydurmus, PhD in Political Science and Executive Member of the Left Party; and Faculty Member of the ICD Academy for Cultural Diplomacy and Prof. Dr Ulrich Brückner, EU Jean Monnet Professor for European Studies and Politics at Stanford in Berlin.

Prof. Dr Julika Baumann Montecinos gave the opening speech and set the scene for the panel discussion. Mark Donfried, Director General of the ICD, then led the discussions on “What will the future of (transcultural) diplomacy look like?” and “The future of transcultural leadership“. He also shared his views on the distinction between cultural and transcultural diplomacy, highlighting the evolving landscape of diplomatic practices. The speakers then had the opportunity to introduce themselves on a personal and professional level. We had the privilege of asking questions related to our research as well as questions of personal interest, opening the floor to the audience that filled the forum. “Culture is not something that sits in a museum, culture is something that lives and breathes “, was a particularly evocative statement by Mark Donfried towards the end of the panel discussion. This insightful statement captured the essence of cultural diplomacy as a dynamic and evolving force that challenges the view that culture is static, which can be an academic shock to those who advocate this perspective. However, to us, and we are sure to those on the panel discussion, it served as a reminder that cultural diplomacy is an ongoing journey of creation and exploration that shapes our understanding of the world.

Special thanks to Academy of Cultural Diplomacy for organizing such an enlightening discussion.