Cultural Diplomacy at the Front Stage of Canada’s Foreign Policy (2019-06-11)

Cultural Diplomacy at the Front Stage of Canada’s Foreign Policy (2019-06-11)

Canada must develop a cultural diplomacy strategy to meet foreign policy objectives
June 11, 2019

Ottawa – The federal government must develop a comprehensive strategy to strengthen cultural diplomacy as a pillar of Canada’s foreign policy. Despite historical attempts to use arts and culture as tools for international diplomacy, Canada has not reached its full potential, said a Senate committee on Tuesday.

The Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade recommends tasking Global Affairs Canada with defining the resources and objectives needed to develop a strategic policy framework that will promote Canada’s cultural profile on the international scene. It recommends cultural diplomacy training be provided to Global Affairs employees, particularly to those posted abroad.
The committee also recommends the government explore opportunities for greater and more effective collaboration with provinces, territories and municipalities in its cultural diplomacy activities and provide a progress report after two years.
These are among the eight recommendations included in the committee’s latest report, titled Cultural Diplomacy at the Front Stage of Canada’s Foreign Policy. The committee is convinced that a framework that recognizes the importance of arts and culture in Canada’s foreign policy would amplify the reach and impact of those activities to the long-term benefit of this country’s international engagement.

Quick Facts
This is the first comprehensive study of the role of arts and culture in Canadian foreign policy since the 1994 report by the Special Joint Committee of the Senate and the House of Commons on Reviewing Canadian Foreign Policy.
Early post-War initiatives in cultural diplomacy include the establishment of Radio Canada International in 1945 and the creation in 1966 of a “Cultural Affairs” division within the Department of External Affairs.
The committee held 27 hearings where it heard from more than 60 witnesses and received several written briefs.

“The full reach and potential of cultural diplomacy, as an essential pillar of Canadian foreign policy, has yet to be maximized. We must develop a policy to consistently support Canada’s unique culture and arts in the international fora. This report underscores the richness of the Canadian culture and arts community and the way forward to ensure that the Government of Canada understands its potential for Canada’s future.”
– Senator Raynell Andreychuk, Chair of the committee

“We heard from many witnesses about the power of arts and culture to send messages that mere words or traditional diplomatic endeavours cannot convey. In order for our country and our values to be better understood in the world, we need to further rely on our arts and culture as tools of international influence.”
– Senator Paul J. Massicotte, Deputy Chair of the committee

“Canada must invest in a strategic framework to support arts and culture in Canada. Supporting the development of Canada’s brand, and reinforcing that brand through cultural diplomacy, can shape the way this country is thought of on the global stage. If our brand is well received, our priorities are more likely to be met.”
– Senator Dennis Dawson, member of the Subcommittee on Agenda and Procedure

Associated Links
Read the report: Cultural Diplomacy at the Front Stage of Canada’s Foreign Policy.
Follow the committee on social media using the hashtag #AEFA.
Sign up for the Senate eNewsletter.

For more information, please contact:
Sonia Noreau
Public Relations Officer | Senate of Canada
613-614-1180 |

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