The International Cultural Academy is co-organized by the Hellenic Foundation for Culture and the Institute of International Relations, Athens.

TheInternational Cultural Academy aims to bring students, researchers and practitioners from interdisciplinary fields and settings together to discuss and share theory, research and best practice and foster a dialogue on issues related to International Relations and Cultural Diplomacy. The courses are held in the morning while in the afternoon there are practical exercises , group discussions, film viewing, etc.

At the International Cultural Academy:

  • We give a broad introduction to issues and ideas concerning International Relations (IR) and Cultural Diplomacy (CD).
  • We think critically about problems, conditions and opportunities for IR and CD around the world.
  • Concepts and theories are examined interdisciplinary, in light of diverse empirical experiences mainly from western democratic states and of extensive thought about policy-making.

Diplomacy is, and always has been, the means to effect foreign policy – the way for countries and states to exert political influence and promote their interests internationally. Although war has been referred to as “diplomacy by other means,” we tend to think of diplomacy as comprising the non-violent means available to states for exercising foreign policy. These means can be formal and informal, the cultivation of goodwill in the social, political, economic and cultural space of another state entity and the use of cultural capital to promote the image and influence of a state abroad, often referred to as “soft power.”

In this context, public diplomacy has played and plays an important role in serving the interests and promoting the influence of individual actors. Language institutes, journalists, university programs and exchange, the arts, technology and innovation are among the various means employed in public diplomacy. Natural disasters may also provide a venue for the exercise of public diplomacy, by offering an opportunity to cultivate a positive image of a state providing humanitarian assistance, as well as to build connections, communication and solidarity.

Foreign policy, as carried out through cultural diplomacy of a country, seeks to communicate the importance, goodwill and prestige of the relevant state entity to its audience, in order to influence developments for the benefit of the specific state and its alliances. Moreover this is the role of diplomacy in general, which seeks the execution of foreign policy in such a way as to maximize the benefit for the state in the international system and international society.

When we investigate cultural diplomacy, we are considering culture as an integral feature of foreign policy, contributing to the projection of the image and the interests of the state in its external relations. The image of a country is an ongoing reality or reality construction of modern international politics, and one that is able to influence developments negatively or positively, to stabilize situations or dramatically overturn structures.