“Cultural diplomacy, a soft power to highlight national identity” (seminar)
22/06/2019 18:53, TUNIS/Tunisia

(TAP) - Tunisia pays great attention to cultural diplomacy, convinced as it is of the need to enhance the country's image and highlight its cultural and civilisational features, Minister of Foreign Affairs Khemaies Jhinaoui and Minister of Cultural Affairs Mohamed Zine El Abidine stressed on Saturday.

They were speaking at a seminar on “Cultural Diplomacy”, organised by the Tunisian Association of Former Ambassadors and Consuls General at the Tunis International Centre for Cultural Policies based at the Palace of Letters and Arts ‘Ksar Said’.

In his speech, Foreign Minister Khemaies Jhinaoui announced that his department will begin the establishment of the diplomatic academy in July.

A clear plan of action including training and a specific budget are needeed to strengthen cultural diplomacy, he pointed out.

Jhinaoui also said that cultural diplomacy is one of the tasks of Tunisian embassies, noting that cultural action in embassies is however unstructured.

He emphasised the need for culture to become a tool of development and wealth creation.

Minister of Cultural Affairs Mohamed Zine El Abidine emphasised the importance of initiatives that bring together state institutions and civil society to promote the image of Tunisia abroad.

"We cannot talk about cultural diplomacy without talking about the position of culture in the state," said the minister of cultural affairs, listing several cultural programmes that uphold the right to culture and creation.

President of the Tunisian Association of Former Ambassadors and Consuls General Tahar Sioud said that cultural diplomacy is a "soft power" highlighting Tunisia’s identity and cultural specificity.

He noted that the notion of cultural diplomacy was not widespread, as the Tunisian diplomacy used to focus on the political, security, social, economic and media sectors.

Former Minister of Cultural Affairs and retired ambassador Salah Bakkari reviewed the historical context of the emergence of cultural diplomacy and its role in promoting culture, calling to use modern communication tools for more effective cultural diplomacy.

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