The word 'Culture' is defined as a shared, learned, symbolic system of values (what is important), beliefs (how things work) and attitudes that shapes and influences perception and behavior (the way we do our affairs).
Culture is most commonly used in three basic senses:
- Excellence of taste in ‘Fine Arts’ and ‘Humanities’;
- An integrated pattern of ‘Human Knowledge’, ‘Belief’, and ‘Behaviour’ that depends upon the symbolic thought and social learning;
- A set of Shared ‘Attitudes’, ‘Values’, ‘Goals’, and ‘Practices’ that characterize an institution, organization or group.
'Diplomacy' is the art and practice of conducting negotiations between representatives of groups or states and it usually refers to international diplomacy, the conduct of international relations; however, in an informal or social sense, diplomacy is the employment of tact to find mutually acceptable solutions to a common challenge, in a non-confrontational or polite manner.
With view to the above 'Cultural Diplomacy' can be defined as the exchange of Ideas, Information, Arts, Lifestyles, Values, Traditions and Beliefs. It can be practiced by any number or combination of parties; from individuals to regional or global unions.
In principle, Cultural Diplomacy can prevail by applying three prescriptions:
- Recognition: Each party to recognise the distinct cultural dynamics of the other; this recognition affords equal Human Rights on equal terms.
- Understanding: The study of foreign cultural dynamics in order to gain an understanding of the traditions, history, language and general way of life, pertinent to the engaging party.
- Dialogue: Basic dialogue requires one party to listen while the other speaks and vice versa. Cultural diplomacy prescribes the observance of this and for parties to draw on their accrued cultural understanding when engaging in a dialogue.
Therefore, with a shared vision , WAALM has formed the first ever 'School of Cultural Diplomacy' to provide educational courses, study programmes, seminars, research and strategies to promote the application of the above prescriptions internationally, and assist turning the interested learners into true 'Cultural Diplomats'.