Professor Dr. DDr. h.c. Hans Köchler

Academy for Cultural Diplomacy

Future Trends in Cultural Diplomacy and International Relations

Seminar Winter Semester 2018/2019 & Summer Semester 2019 & Winter Semester 2019/2020

Center for Cultural Diplomacy Studies (CCDS)
Soltauer Strasse 18-22, Berlin, Germany

© Hans Köchler, 2018-2020


5 November 2018

With the rapid progress of technology, in particular in the fields of transportation and communication, states have become more and more interconnected, and their economies are increasingly interdependent. This process, commonly described as “globalization,” appears to be irreversible (at least as long as the free trade régime of the WTO is upheld). It has meant an erosion of the traditional nation-state and – not least due to labor migration – resulted in the emergence of multicultural societies on all continents, in particular also in some of the major industrial states. Parallel to the process of globalization – after the end of the Cold War – is the development from a unipolar to a multipolar order – not only at the political, but also at the socio-cultural level. This makes a reassessment of traditional notions of “sovereignty,” “national interest,” but also “cultural identity” unavoidable. The goals and methods of diplomacy must be adapted to the changing realities.


[Chatham House] Globalization and World Order. London Conference on Globalization and World Order. Conference Papers. May 2014.

Köchler, Hans. World Order: Vision and Reality. New Delhi: Manak, 2009.

Köchler, Hans. "Philosophical Aspects of Globalization: Basic Theses on the Interrelation of Economics, Politics, Morals and Metaphysics in a Globalized World." Globality versus Democracy? The Changing Nature of International Relations in the Era of Globalization. Vienna: International Progress Organization, 2000. 3-18.

Brzezinski, Zbigniew. "Toward a Global Realignment." The American Interest, Vol. 11, No. 6 (July/August 2016). 1-3.



6 November 2018

The role of cultural diplomacy will profoundly change under the conditions of (a) the multicultural realities at the international, regional and domestic levels and (b) the gradual emergence of a new multipolar power balance between the global regions. In an ever more complex parallelogram of power relations, including political, economic, social and cultural factors, cultural diplomacy must be more than “propaganda” (meaning the propagation of a country’s cultural traditions and system of values). It should not be instrumentalized by global actors simply as a tool of “soft power,” but ideally should become part of a global dialogue of cultures. The policy of peaceful co-existence among nations, the very rationale of the United Nations Organization, ought to be complemented by a policy of co-existence among cultures and civilizations – as originally envisaged by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).


Dallmayr, F: Kayapınar, M. Akif; Yaylacı, İsmail (eds.). Civilizations and World Order: Geopolitics and Cultural Difference. Series "Global Encounters: Studies in Comparative Political Theory." Lanham/ Boulder/New York/Toronto/Plymouth (UK): Lexington Books, 2014.

Köchler, Hans (ed.). Cultural Self-comprehension of Nations. Studies in International [Cultural] Relations. Vol. I. Tübingen/Basel: Erdmann, 1978.

Köchler, Hans. Cultural-philosophical Aspects of International Cooperation. [Lecture delivered at the Royal Scientific Society, Amman, Jordan, 9 March 1974.] Vienna: International Progress Organization, 1978.

Köchler, Hans. "Unity in Diversity: The Integrative Approach to Intercultural Relations." United Nations Chronicle. Vol. XLIX, No. 3, 2012.

Köchler, Hans. Cultural Diplomacy in a World of Conflict. Keynote Lecture, Annual Conference on Cultural Diplomacy, "Promoting Global Collaboration, Unity & Peace through Cultural Diplomacy." Academy for Cultural Diplomacy, Berlin, Germany, 20 December 2017.

D. Paul Schafer. “Culture and the New World Order.” Hans Köchler, ed. The New International Economic Order: Philosophical and Socio-cultural Implications. Guildford: Guildford Educational Press, 1980, pp. 32-38.



7 November 2018

In the unipolar constellation resulting from the collapse of the bipolar order of the Cold War, and after the end of the ideological rivalry between the socialist and capitalist blocs, tensions have been increasing among nations with different worldviews and value systems. Samuel Huntington’s paradigm of the “clash of civilizations” has increasingly shaped the discourse on and perception of international relations. In repeated instances, armed force has been used with the purpose of “régime change,” justified by reference to humanitarian principles or democracy and the rule of law. The resulting destabilization in the affected regions led to increasing tensions between Islam and the West in particular, and has been at the roots of the migration crisis in Europe. The question cannot be avoided whether cultural diplomacy can play a constructive role or not under the prevailing circumstances. (A conceptual distinction must be made, in this regard, between conventional “cultural diplomacy” as governmental practice and “cultural relations” in which civil society plays a major role.) What are the criteria of a credible and, at the same time, effective effort to promote co-existence between nations through cultural diplomacy? (These questions will be addressed in more detail in session 6.)


Huntington, Samuel. "The Clash of Civilizations?" Foreign Affairs, Summer 1993. 22-49.

Fukuyama, Francis. The End of History? The National Interest, Summer 1989. 3-18.

Lewis, Bernard. "The Roots of Muslim Rage." The Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 266, No. 3, September 1990. 47–60.

International Progress Organization. The Baku Declaration on Global Dialogue and Peaceful Co-existence among Nations and the Threats Posed by International Terrorism. International Progress Organization. Baku, Azerbaijan, 9 November 2001.

Köchler, Hans. "Civilization as Instrument of World Order? The Role of the Civilizational Paradigm in the Absence of a Balance of Power." Fred Dallmayr, M. Akif Kayapınar, İsmail Yaylacı (eds.). Civilizations and World Order: Geopolitics and Cultural Difference. Lanham/ Boulder/New York/Toronto/Plymouth (UK): Lexington Books, 2014. 19-33.

Köchler, Hans. Culture and Empire: The Imperial Claim to Cultural Supremacy versus the Dialectics of Cultural Identity. Lecture delivered at the Second People's Forum, Bogotá, Colombia, 22 March 2009. I.P.O. Online Papers, 2009.

Köchler, Hans. "Cultural Diplomacy in a World of Conflict." [Keynote Speech, Annual Conference on Cultural Diplomacy 2017: “Promoting Global Collaboration, Unity and Peace through Cultural Diplomacy.” Berlin, 20 December 2017.] Current Concerns, Zurich, No. 2, 22 January 2018. 1-4.

Köchler, Hans, and Grabher, Gudrun (eds.). Civilizations: Conflict or Dialogue? Studies in International Relations, Vol. XXIV. Vienna: International Progress Organization, 1999.

Köchler, Hans. تشنج العلاقة بين الغرب والمسلمين.. الاسباب والحلول. Jadawel: Beirut, 2013.  

Köchler, Hans. Religion, Reason and Violence: Pope Benedict XVI and Islam. Statement by the President of the International Progress Organization, Prof. Hans Koechler, on the lecture delivered by Pope Benedict XVI at the University of Regensburg on 12 September 2006. International Progress Organization. Vienna, 16 September 2006.

Köchler, Hans. "Using History to Understand Muslim-Western Relations and the 'Arab Spring'." Fletcher Forum of World Affairs. The Fletcher School / Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts, USA, 1 May 2013.



8 November 2018

Traditionally, cultural diplomacy has been situated in the domain of information and public relations, with a view of assisting a country’s foreign policy through the propagation of its intellectual and artistic exploits. Its motivation was not intellectual curiosity in other cultures and lifestyles, but to improve the international image of a country and, thus, to strengthen its position in the global bargaining of interests among sovereign states. In this sense, cultural diplomacy was monological (as opposed to dialogical) and unidirectional. In the ever more complex environment of globalization and in the global struggle for power and influence that is typical for periods of transition, when a new balance of power is being “negotiated” among global players, culture is – more than in other periods – being used as a tool to project power. This is where the fashionable notion of “soft power” comes into play. However, in view of the ever more visible and distinct multicultural reality at the global level, with the threat of a “clash of civilizations” becoming the new normal (replacing the earlier ideological conflict as driving force of inter-state relations), the role of cultural diplomacy must be redefined and recalibrated. Instead of an ultimately reductionist approach, defining culture as an aspect of power, the paradigm of dialogue may be more adequate for the definition of the role of cultural diplomacy. Unlike other factors in the global interplay of forces, culture – as expression of a nation’s or people’s “Lebenswelt” (life-world) – requires a unique space of freedom from politics and societal pressure to preserve its integrity. This must also be reflected in the cultural diplomacy of the future. Only if states resist the temptation to instrumentalize culture for the projection of power, can cultural diplomacy become part of a dialogue of civilizations – which is indispensable for the preservation of peace under conditions of globalization. 


Nye, Joseph. Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics. New York: Public Affairs, 2004.

Ellwood, David. ’Soft power’ is a flawed tool in foreign policy, but a valuable form of global leadership. LSE USCentre / London School of Economics United States Centre. [01.08.2018]

Khatami, Mohammad. Address by H.E. Mr Mohammed Khatami, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Round Table: Dialogue among Civilizations. United Nations, New York, 5 September 2000. Provisional verbatim transcription.

Köchler, Hans. "Clash of civilizations." Bryan S. Turner, Kyung-Sup Chang, Cynthia F. Epstein, Peter Kivisto, J. Michael Ryan, William Outhwaite (eds.). The Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Social Theory (Vol. I). 1-3. Chichester, West Sussex (UK): Wiley-Blackwell, 2017.

Köchler, Hans. Philosophical Foundations of Civilizational Dialogue: The Hermeneutics of Cultural Self-comprehension versus the Paradigm of Civilizational Conflict. International Seminar on Civilizational Dialogue (3rd: 15-17 September 1997: Kuala Lumpur). BP171.5 ISCD. Kertas kerja persidangan / conference papers. Kuala Lumpur: University of Malaya Library, 1997.

Köchler, Hans. "The Philosophy and Politics of Dialogue." [Lecture delivered at the Global Dialogue Conference 2009. University of Aarhus, Denmark, 6 November 2009.] Culture and Dialogue, Vol. 1, No. 2 (2011). 5-19.

International Progress Organization. International Symposion on The Cultural Self-comprehension of Nations. Final Resolution. Innsbruck, Austria, 27-29 July 1974.



8 November 2018

Digital media has profoundly changed society in diverse cultural environments – in terms of communication between individuals and collectives, but also as regards decision-making in the domestic and international framework. Its use has further accelerated the process of globalization, bringing different life-worlds and value systems in direct, almost constant contact. It has empowered individuals, enabling them to circumvent “officialdom,” access alternative information, and propagate their own views and positions in an interactive way. “Citizen diplomacy” is one of the most creative forms of its use. However, the advantages in terms of social and democratic empowerment have to be measured against the risks of disinformation, stereotyping (of a magnitude not imaginable in the pre-digital world) and, in general, trivialization of the public space. The new social media has not only “empowered” citizens, but also those who rule over them. It has become a formidable tool in the hands of governmental actors and international organizations. This relates, first and foremost, to a new form of public relations that gives political actors direct and immediate access to the electorate, allowing them to circumvent the mainstream media. It remains to be seen whether a tool of social emancipation (as which the social media were initially described) can indeed be responsibly used by the holders of power – or whether it is not all too often used for purposes of propaganda, or exploited by intelligence services as part of the arsenal of hybrid war. Diplomacy requires careful deliberation and negotiation – or, in terms of realpolitik and national interest, bargaining between geopolitical competitors on the basis of confidentiality. In this regard, use of social media by governments cannot be part of diplomacy per se. It is citizen diplomacy where social media can play its most productive and constructive role.


Köchler, Hans. "The New Social Media and the Changing Nature of Communication: Chance or Challenge for Dialogue?" Force or Dialogue: Conflicting Paradigms of World Order. Collected Papers Edited by David Armstrong. Studies in International Relations, Vol. XXXIII. New Delhi: Manak, 2015. 323-340.

Online versions: (English) (Turkish) (Russian)

Adesina, Olubukola S. "Foreign policy in an era of digital diplomacy." Cogent Social Sciences (2017), 3: 1297175.

Alexandru, A. Twiplomacy 2015 report: Twitter is the channel of choice for digital diplomacy (2015).

Bradshaw, S. Digital diplomacy - #notdiplomacy (2015).

Pohan, Syafruddin; Pohan, Hazairin; Savitri, Indah Nuria. Digital Diplomacy – Maximizing Social Media in Indonesia’s Economic and Cultural Diplomacy. 1st International Conference on Social and Political Development (ICOSOP 2016). Advances in Social Science, Education and Humanities Research (ASSEHR), Vol. 81.

Permuy, Carmen Villasante. Facebook as a Public Diplomacy Tool: Canadian Diplomatic Missions in Europe. Facultad de Ciencias Humanas y Sociales, Universidad Pontifica Comillas ICADE- ICAI. Madrid 2015.

Su, Shumin. "Twitplomacy: Social Media as a New Platform for Development of Public Diplomacy." International Journal of E-Politics (IJEP), Vol. 6(1) 2015.



9 November 2018

As with any other tool for the conduct of international relations, the value and credibility of cultural diplomacy will be tested under adverse political conditions. If it is meant to be more than just an ornament of a state’s self-presentation and international projection of power – or a mere corollary of the assertion of national interests, cultural diplomacy must be able to operate also under conditions of tension and conflict. It would be essentially meaningless and irrelevant, should it only be applicable in situations of inter-state harmony and peace. The crucial question is what concrete impact it may have in situations when these conditions are absent. Some of the issues – or dilemmata faced by cultural diplomacy – are: (a) What impact, if any, can it have in a clash of civilizations scenario? (b) How, if at all, can it operate under conditions of armed conflict (bilateral as well as multilateral)? (c) How will a hostile multicultural climate at home (which more and more has become political reality also in European states) impact on a country’s cultural diplomacy? Is the rejection of “multiculturalism” at the domestic (national) level compatible with a cooperative approach at the international level? (d) Can a country whose self-perception is based on the conviction of moral and civilizational supremacy – and its indispensability at the global level – credibly engage in cultural diplomacy? (e) Can exceptionalism, or a missionary attitude in terms of religious doctrine or ideology, in any way be reconciled with a diplomatic approach towards other cultures? (f) How can cultural diplomacy be conducted in a socio-political climate that is more and more shaped by the migration crisis (and not only in Europe)? These are some of the questions that touch upon the delicate relationship between the essentially dialogical dimension of the cultural approach on the one hand and power-centered international realpolitik on the other. The problems listed here are not abstract or artificial; they determine day-to-day reality in many countries and regions around the globe. An evasive approach will not only be intellectually disingenuous, but also politically counterproductive in the long term.


Ang, Ien; Raj Isar, Yudhishthir; Mar, Phillip. "Cultural diplomacy: beyond the national interest?" International Journal of Cultural Policy, Vol. 21(4), 2015. 365-381.

Köchler, Hans. The “Clash of Civilizations”: Perception and Reality in the Context of Globalization and International Power Politics. Lecture delivered at the International Forum on Globalization and a Dialogue between Civilizations, Tbilisi, Georgia, 30 September 2004.

Köchler, Hans. "After September 11, 2001: Clash of Civilizations or Dialogue?" Dialogue among Civilizations, Vol. I. New York/Rome/Beijing: GSP/Fordham University/Pontificia Universitas Lateranensis/Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, 2005. 205-218.

Online version published by the University of the Philippines:

Köchler, Hans (ed.). The "Global War on Terror" and the Question of World Order. Studies in International Relations, Vol. XXX. Vienna: International Progress Organization, 2008.

de los Santos, Jaime. "Improving Muslim-Western Relations to Strengthen International Co-operation against Terrorism." Hans Köchler (ed.), The “Global War on Terror” and the Question of World Order. Vienna: International Progress Organization, 2008. 111-122.

McGregor, E.; Ragab, N. The Role of Culture and the Arts in the Integration of Refugees and Migrants. European Expert Network on Culture and Audiovisual (EENCA). United Nations University / Maastricht University, 15 February 2016.

[European Union.] How culture and the arts can promote intercultural dialogue in the context of the migratory and refugee crisis. European Agenda for Culture, March 2015. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union, 2017.


General readings:

Köchler, Hans. Online resources related to the role of culture in international relations:

Köchler, Hans. The Dialogue of Civilizations: Philosophical Basis, Political Dimensions and the Impact of International Sporting Events.  Occasional Papers Series, No. 5. Vienna: International Progress Organization, 2002.

Köchler, Hans (ed.). Cultural Self-comprehension of Nations. Studies in International [Cultural] Relations. Vol. I. Tübingen/Basel: Erdmann, 1978.

Köchler, Hans. Democracy and the International Rule of Law: Propositions for an Alternative World Order. Springer: Vienna/New York, 1995.

Köchler, Hans. "Civilization and World Order." World Order: Vision and Reality. Ed. David Armstrong. New Delhi: Manak, 2009. Part II: 365-510.

Köchler, Hans. "Culture and Identity." Force or Dialogue: Conflicting Paradigms of World Order. Ed. David Armstrong. New Delhi: Manak, 2015. Part II: 217-298.

Köchler, Hans (ed.). The New International Information and Communication Order: Basis for Cultural Dialogue and Peaceful Coexistence among Nations. Vienna: Braumüller, 1985.

Nye, Joseph. Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics. New York: Public Affairs, 2004.

Schafer, D. Paul. The Age of Culture. Foreword by Federico Mayor. Oakville, Ontario: Rock’s Mills Press, 2014.

Seibt, J.,  and Garsdal, J. (eds.). How is Global Dialogue Possible? Foundational Research on Values, Conflicts, and Intercultural Thought. Process Thought, Vol. 24. Berlin: de Gruyter, 2015.