“From Europe to the Arab Peninsula? Cultural diplomacy practices in the United Arab Emirates”, Daniel Gołębiowski (IES, Poland)

This paper analyzes the practice of “cultural diplomacy” and “soft power” in the United Arab Emirates in light of previously developed practices in European countries such as France and Germany. These two concepts referred to international relations and invented in the Western world, describe strategies that have been taken up by non-Western governments, either to complement their hard power capacity with its soft equivalent orto fill a gap where hard power is missing. Diverse (especially state) actors in international relations appear convinced that public and cultural diplomacy, as an example of soft power, is the most advanced, non-invasive way of conveying a positive image, values, or lifestyle, being at the same time a non-violent means of pursuing national interests. How is the concept of cultural diplomacy applied and facilitated in non-Western countries? Which model of public diplomacy best describes actions undertaken by the Emirati authorities and what are the reason for developing a soft power strategy in the United Arab Emirates (UAE)? This article answers these questions through a comparative analysis of the United Arab Emirates with the examples of France and Germany. It points out the potential challenges and opportunities which arise from a non-Western government using a tool of cultural diplomacy by analyzing diverse initiatives undertaken by UAE, including the “Emirati Film Review in Poland”.

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