The Role of Cultural Diplomacy in the Ukrainian Revolution

(Berlin, ICD House; March 3rd, 2014)

The Event was organized by Kristine Kampmann and Tamás Csiszár
photo stripe_ukraine.jpg
On March 3rd, 2014 ICD interns participated in the panel discussion organized by the team members of the Institute. Debate topic was “Cultural Diplomacy in the Ukrainian Revolution”. The situation regarding the events taking place in the Ukraine has been widely discussed both in diplomatic circles and in civil society around the globe. There are concrete issues which have attracted the attention of the international community. Regarding the escalating conflict in the Crimean peninsula and eastern Ukraine, new challenges and threats have arisen.
During the discussion, ICD members addressed a few focal points of the revolution and its outcomes. From the very beginning they tried to put aside political issues and see how culture has been involved in the revolution thus far. There are a variety of proofs that cultural diplomacy has been taking place at Maidan which was a hotbed of the revolution. 40 film directors have united to create a joint project “Babylon 2013 – cinema of a civil protest”. Their video project was intended to raise awareness about the situation in Ukraine and in the future will be translated into a full-feature film about this turning point in Ukrainian history. Art projects have additionally been developing in other different forms; furthermore, there was an open air university as a well a library which has proven that Maidan is not an island in a sea of battles. The places have turned into grounds for sharing, discussing and creating.

In regards to the current military threat, it is challenging to find culturally diplomatic ways to assist in the situation. ICD interns raised issues regarding the splitting of the country across physical and invisible, cultural borders. The influence of media and prospects of international involvement in the situation of the Ukrainian state were also discussed. There was an additional emphasis placed on the role of propaganda and ideology as a means of encouraging clashes in Southern and Eastern Ukraine. Needless to say, the “information war” has done much more to escalate the conflict than the presence of Russian troops on Ukrainian soil. It was agreed that the use of culturally diplomatic solutions may have limited success now that the conflict is in full swing. However, peace concerts have been planned in the troubled regions in the hope of reviving a common understanding and sense of cooperation between the citizens of all Ukrainian regions.