A new institute investigating how cultural relations affects the world has been launched.
The Institute for International Cultural Relations (IICR) will explore how global cultural interactions in areas such as the arts, education, sports, and political economy can have an impact.
The inaugural event will be held at the University’s Playfair Library, Old College on Thursday 26 January.
Speeches from Professor Jo Beall, Director of Education and Society at the British Council, and Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs will mark the occasion.
The IICR will run a series of seminars designed to promote a better understanding of how to bridge the gap between diverse global cultures when engaging in political and cultural diplomacy.
Researchers will undertake innovative research to measure the impact of so-called soft power, when a nation promotes its culture and political ideals on the global stage. They will also analyse the origins of global cultural interests and values.
“In an age of hard Brexit and hard-line political leaders, soft power still matters. Arguably, cultural diplomacy is more important than ever. The instinct for people and nations to connect is as reflexive as breathing. The Institute’s work will help us understand the conditions under which either empathy or misunderstanding, cooperation or discord, cultural wars or peace may arise.”
Later this year the IICR will launch a speaker and workshop series and in June it will host a scholarly conference. It is also developing its first post-graduate teaching course starting 2017-18.
The Institute also has an official journal Arts and International Affairs.