museum diplomacy

President Nicos Anastasiades paid tribute to Cyprus-Israel relations during the opening of an exhibition in New York titled ‘Jewish refugees in Cyprus en route to Israel’, which was held at the Sam and Esther Minskoff Cultural Centre in Manhattan. 

Secretary of State John Kerry warned Wednesday against creeping American isolationism, making the case that U.S. global leadership is essential in uncertain times as he hosted a rare public reunion of five of his predecessors. Speaking at the groundbreaking of a new museum celebrating the achievements of American diplomacy, Kerry said the United States looks inward at its peril and that U.S. engagement is needed more than ever.

China's cultural scene has certainly flourished in recent years from art, to music and, of course, museums. Curator Cheng Guoqin says part of the reason the government supports the opening of new museums is that it improves the country's image. "The government has realized that economic success is not enough," she says. "It realizes that soft power and the creative industries must play an important role."

Her guests include Chinese ambassador Cui Tiankai, who has called Bao Bao Washington’s other Chinese ambassador, acknowledging a longstanding practice of “panda diplomacy” where China would gift or loan pandas as a message of cute goodwill between two countries.

The museum has “a very broad ambition in terms of programming and our audience,” says director Henry Kim. It aims to introduce the art, material culture and performing arts of Islamic civilizations – with artifacts largely from the Aga Khan’s family collections, spanning more than 1,000 years of history from Europe to India, and from manuscripts to contemporary dance.

Over the course of six weeks during the height of the Cold War, almost three million Soviets visited an exhibition that celebrated America. American kitchens, American art, American cars, and most especially American capitalism. The American National Exhibition in Moscow was a full-court press to convince the Soviet people of American superiority.

Most outsiders know the United Arab Emirates from Dubai’s accomplishments in international commerce, tourism, and indoor skiing. What is less known is that Abu Dhabi is investing a great deal of money in education, medicine, art, and music as a new kind of cultural diplomacy.

The fictional archaeologist Indiana Jones has long enthralled movie audiences, taking on assorted villains in quests to find mythical treasures, with some limited help from the government. Minus any bullwhips, the real-life U.S. State Department works with other federal departments in a journey to protect important archaeological sites and ancient treasures in the face of conflict, according to professional archaeologists Morag Kersel and Christina Luke in their new book "U.S. Cultural Diplomacy and Archaeology: Soft Power, Hard Heritage" (Routledge, 2012).

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