Cultural Diplomacy Should Lead  Foreign Policy
Art And Culture

Cultural Diplomacy Should Lead Foreign Policy

Cultural diplomacy in foreign policy and soft power that includes exchange of ideas, information, art and other cultural aspects among nations and their peoples is essential. This can help foster mutual understanding and build broad support for economic and political goals, said  Ali Jannati, minister of culture and Islamic Guidance in Tehran on Monday.
He made the remarks in his opening speech at the ‘Confab on Evaluating change in the Islamic world, opportunities and challenges ahead,’ IRNA reported.
Jannati, an advocate of greater freedom of speech under the administration of President of Hassan Rouhani said soft power should be the “leading force in an era marked by a transition of power to the people and non-governmental institutions.”
“Cultural diplomacy is also the way out of ‘Islamophobia’ and ‘Shiaphobia’ which is spread in the world by propaganda of vested interests,” he added.  
“The Islamic Revolution (1979) influenced the world with its values of resistance against injustice and tyranny; therefore the country should provide an exemplary Islamic management and governance. In today’s world, only soft power speaks, and cultural diplomacy can secure a nation’s interests outside its borders, and bring about change that no formal diplomatic mission can achieve,” he noted.
Cultural diplomacy goes beyond art and music festivals, and needs “proper long-term planning,” Jannati said.
  Positive Developments
“The world is now witnessing a wave of positive Islamic developments in a wide spectrum that has even reached Europe; at the same time some violent extremist forces such as Al-Qaeda and ISIS have emerged to distort the image of Islam and hinder those positive movements,” he said, urging the Islamic world “to portray real Islam through convergence.”
On the sidelines of the event, 27 well-known authors who have written books in the realm of culture and international relations, were appreciated and awarded.
Jannati also inaugurated the digital library of the Islamic Culture and Relations Organization (ICRO).
Atefe Nouri, head of the central library and the cultural archives of ICRO called the library one of the main sources in the realm of culture and international relations. It is now equipped with new technologies, where books and articles, and documents are offered in digital version and in other languages to researchers within and outside the country.

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