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Cultural Diplomacy - Beyond the National Interest?

Guest Editors: Ien Ang, Yudhishthir Raj Isar and Phillip Mar, The International Journal of Cultural Policy, Volume 21, Number 4/ September 2015

A Special issue of The International Journal of Cultural Policy: Cultural Diplomacy - Beyond the National Interest?, deals with the field of cultural diplomacy policies and practices, as well as with cultural relations, soft power and public diplomacy in today's globalised and interconnected world. The journal's articles seek in particular to understand how cultural diplomacy and cultural relations operate in different national contexts, focusing principally on Australia and Asia (China, Japan, South Korea). Complexity and confusion encompasses today's cultural diplomacy landscape, seen, on the one hand, as a practice conducted in the national interest by presenting the nation's best qualities to the world, and, on the other hand, as a practice which enhances intercultural dialogue, promotes cultural diversity and strengthens solidarity between peoples to the benefit of all. Thus, one of the main questions is: ''How can cultural diplomacy be both in the national interest and go beyond the national interest''? The last article analyses the emergent cultural diplomacy discourses and practice of the institutions of the European Union, which differ from those of nation-states. Europe recognizes the central role of culture in external relations in today's rapidly changing trans-national global cultural landscape, so one of the main goals is through different actors (EU officials and politicians, civil society bodies, and individual cultural activists who work closely with the EU institutions) to improve and promote cultural diversity and understanding between European societies, and to strengthen international dialogue and co-operation with countries outside Europe.

To conclude, the journal is primarily concerned with today's main issues on cultural policies and practices relevant to the contemporary world and it is a must-read for policy-makers, practitioners, academics, and students interested in this field.