Arts Global

23 April 2012

A New Mission—Cultural Diplomacy

Arts Global embarks on new mission—projecting Cultural Diplomacy through international musical collaborations worldwide. Over the 2012–2013 season, five projects will be developed in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, bringing together musicians of different cultural and musical backgrounds to showcase the unique power of music as a tool of an intercultural dialogue.

Cultural Diplomacy is frequently associated with the application of soft power. The intellectual interest in music, beyond its affiliation with entertainment, whereby music is perceived as an intercultural dialogue and exchange of cultural values, is not a novelty. Initially, the Greeks and Romans expressed their curiosity in the healing power of music and, by the 19th century, critics, philosophers, writers, journalists and scientists became increasingly convinced that music would become a principal force in inspiring global control. In 1852, the French scholar François Sudre officially proposed turning music into an international language to prevent rivalry among nations, and in the 1890s, Alfred Fouille stated his conviction that "music would become the herald of peace in the twentieth century."

Music, then, has always been an integral part of human communication. Throughout our lives, we all have experienced some of the most magnificent and magical moments when listening to music. The medium undeniably transforms people and speaks to them in a convincing and powerful way, becoming indeed, a unique tool that, on one hand, allows us to protect and guard our identity, yet simultaneously bridges cultural differences. Music unquestionably can play a central part in the implementation of cultural diplomacy. Its universal accessibility—whether performing, listening or participating—makes it a unique, distinctive and exclusive tool. In fact, music is unmatched in its ability to communicate on a sensitive and emotional level and to convey a message more directly than politics and diplomacy.

In our era of globalisation, nearly every artistic collaboration assumes the involvement of different cultures: the venue, the actual performance, or the artists themselves. Therefore, each cultural performance is, in effect, an act of diplomacy. Frequently, the attendance at musical performances by the leaders of hostile nations constitutes the only possible method of interaction and communication on a non-confrontational level. Music can bring together opposing sides and serves as the ultimate conduit for dialogue. Arts Global is uniquely positioned to demonstrate this power of music, and to assist in it application to special situations around the world.

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