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Fri, 07 Sep 2012 10:51:53 EDT by admin, 125421 views
Corvinus University of Budapest
Cultural Studies paper by Sólyom, Erika (all papers)
Bicultural Bridges: Cultural Diplomacy at the American Corner Budapest
Today cultural diplomacy is not just an area of international relations but also a well-known field of academics. According to political scientist Milton Cummings, cultural diplomacy is "the exchange of ideas, information, values, systems, traditions, beliefs, and other aspects of culture, with the intention of fostering mutual understanding". Osojnik describes the concept the following way: cultural diplomacy is not used in the narrow sense of diplomacy referring to relationships between diplomats and government representatives but it describes various modes of cultural exchange.
The term cultural diplomacy may have only been defined recently but the practice of cultural diplomacy can be seen throughout history. “Explorers, travelers, traders, teachers and artists can be all considered living examples of informal ambassadors or early cultural diplomats (for example, the establishment of regular trade routes enables a frequent exchange of information and cultural gifts between traders and government representatives)”. Today any person who interacts with someone from a different culture facilitates a form of cultural exchange. The interaction of people and the sharing of language, religion, ideas, arts and traditions constantly improve relations between nations.
Cultural diplomacy can be practiced by the public sector, private sector or civil society. In my present talk, I will shed light on how cultural diplomacy is practiced in the American Corner Budapest, an information and resource center that was established in 2009 as part of the U.S. State Department’s American Corners initiative. AC Budapest is a cooperation between the U.S. Embassy in Hungary and Corvinus University of Budapest. At the beginning of the presentation, I will provide historical background of the American Corners worldwide and describe the goal and the mission of the centers. With specific examples, I will underline the importance of cultural diplomacy and introduce the types of events the American Corner Budapest is involved with, highlighting the Bicultural Bridges series with its programs that aim at connecting Hungarian and American cultures through history, people, events, exhibitions, books and films. The presentation will conclude with the importance of global intercultural dialogue, reached by respect and recognition of cultural diversity and heritage. American Corners around the world are helping nations to respect and recognize such cultural diversity.
Milton, Cummings. "Cultural Diplomacy and the United States Government: a Survey."
Cultural Diplomacy News. Institute for Cultural Diplomacy. Web. 10 Apr 2013.
Osojnik, Marta. “Cultural Diplomacy and the European Union: Key Characters and Historical Development.”
Constantinescu, Emil. "What is Cultural Diplomacy." . Institute for Cultural Diplomacy. Web. 10 Apr 2013.
US Department of State, Bureau of International Information Programs, March 2006 Newsletter.
Brief Professional Bio:
Erika Sólyom earned a B.A. degree in Russian and English Studies (EKTF, Eger) and received her first M.A. in English Language and Literature (ELTE, Budapest) in Hungary. In 2003 and 2005, respectively, she earned an M.A. and an M.Phil. in Linguistics at New York University. Her research interests are in intercultural communication, minority language education, linguistic human rights, language and gender as well as language change and globalization. Since 2004, she has been teaching Hungarian as a Foreign Language for US study abroad students of ELTE and Corvinus University of Budapest, where she is also the Director of the American Corner Budapest cultural center. In 2002, she published with Carol H. Rounds Colloquial Hungarian, Routledge’s well-known language learning series. In 2003, she was awarded a US Fulbright-Hays fellowship and conducted research on Hungarian language change. Her sociolinguistic findings appeared in Comparative Hungarian Cultural Studies edited by Steven Tötösy de Zepetnek and Louise O. Vasvári in 2011.