08 Apr 2018 – 8:53
DOHA: Minister of State H E Dr Hamad bin Abdulaziz Al Kawari has said that cultural diplomacy allows for the continual development of an honest pattern of ongoing dialogue with other cultures in the firm belief in reciprocated diversity and understanding.
“Thus, cultural products, including the arts and literature that transcend geographical boundaries, become the main currency for this type of mutually beneficial exchange among societies,” he said in his lecture on ‘cultural diplomacy’ recently delivered at Zagreb University, in Croatia. “These newly accepted products may appear in some cultural facilities whose task is to make peoples’ cultures known to other societies.”
He said that he had previously made cultural diplomacy an essential main component of the campaign he had run as the candidate of the State of Qatar for the post of Director-General of Unesco in 2017.
“I gained further knowledge and experience in this kind of diplomacy throughout my diplomatic career when I served as ambassador to more than one European, American and Arab country, and it has come to be my ‘daily bread’ so to speak, throughout my work as Minister of Information and then Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage of Qatar.”
On education, Al Kawari said that according to Unesco report there are 58 million children who are dropped out of school primarily for economic reasons. “One of the most important tasks of cultural diplomacy is to bridge this poverty gap and push for providing education for all and above all. I am, therefore, both pleased and grateful to Qatar, my home country, for having taken education initiatives ranging from the World Summit for Innovation in Education (WISE) to the “Education Above All” Project, to the “Educate A Child” initiative which has so far provided education to more than 10 million children in the most marginalised, poverty-stricken areas of the world.”
He further said that he was very fortunate as he belonged to a country that had spared no effort to promote reciprocated cultural exchange, “which is embodied in its openness to the cultures brought about by the successive waves of expatriates settling within its borders, turning it into a colourful and exciting crossroads, a plethora of multi-cultural civilisations.”
“The secret of this openness stems from the constant belief in culture as an essential means of bringing peoples and nations closer together, being a transcendent bridge traversed between nations, so to speak.”
He said that celebrating a year of culture (in Qatar) has become a wonderful tradition since 2013. The years of culture succeeded one another with various countries, including, Japan, Brazil, Turkey, Russia, China and Germany wholeheartedly participating and bringing new and exciting ventures and proposals to the table.
“The exchange between nations is based not only on material goods but also on creative industries based on imagination and on the ability to generate innovative ideas and new ways of interpreting the world in its various forms. Therefore, the focus on cultural diplomacy makes these creative industries a true, resounding means of creating valuable exchanges of human knowledge among peoples.”
Dr Al Kawari said: “One country boycotting the artistic or cultural works of another country for political differences is a dangerous phenomenon which would subject culture to political volatility,” adding, “Let’s move politics away from culture!”