The First Training Course in "Cultural Diplomacy" was Successfully Completed


The first edition of the Cultural Diplomacy training course, jointly organized by the Diplomatic Institute and the State Cultural Institute under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, took place between March 25 and 27, 2024.

Among the participants were some of the newly elected directors of the Bulgarian cultural centers abroad, experts from the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the UNESCO Regional Center for the Protection of Intangible Cultural Heritage in South-Eastern Europe. The main purpose of the course is to increase the professional qualification and foreign policy competence of the participants, before the start of their long-term secondment, to bring the activity of the Bulgarian cultural institutes abroad in line with the priorities of the foreign policy of the Republic of Bulgaria, as well as the improvement of coordination and partnerships with the institutions in the country in the field of cultural programming and promotion of sustainable projects.

On the first day of the opening of the course, the directors of the two institutes Snezhana Joveva and Tanya Mihailova addressed the participants with greetings, highlighting the effort to develop such a course for the first time within the framework of the strategic agreement signed in December 2023 between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Culture to improve the activities of the Bulgarian Cultural Institutes Abroad (BKI). The director of the State Institute for Culture Snezhana Joveva emphasized the diverse program of the course, the search for new approaches in cultural diplomacy and the need for a joint cultural calendar that serves as a benchmark for Bulgarian cultural institutes abroad and is in line with foreign policy priorities.

During the course, which took place over three consecutive days at the Diplomatic Institute, topics related to the foreign policy priorities of the MFA, the changing geopolitical environment and the inter-civilizational dimensions of cultural diplomacy, as well as the available tools, networks and programs for intercultural cooperation, were discussed. Introductory sessions on communication protocol and etiquette and presentations on strategic communications and countering disinformation, creating the "Bulgaria" brand, export strategies of cultural and creative industries, city strategies for cultural promotion and building administrative capacity and transparency, Bulgarian participation were included in the 6th edition of the Venice Biennale, etc.

  Among the speakers were: Angel Orbetsov, ambassador with special mandates, Directorate "Foreign Policy Planning, Information and Coordination" of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dimitar Mihailov, ambassador with special mandates at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Lyubomir Kyuchukov, chairman of the Institute for Economics and International Relations, Dr. Valentin Katranjiev, Marina Vladimirova and Nikolay Krumov, chief experts at the Diplomatic Institute, Yavor Koinakov, chief expert at the State Cultural Institute at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sandra Mishkedi, director of the Hungarian Cultural Institute in Sofia, Dr. Gabriela Boneva, Institute for Historical Studies to the BAS, Dr. Nadezhda Dzhakova, commissioner of the Bulgarian participation in the Venice Biennale 2024, Mirena Staneva, executive director of the Bulgarian Music Association, Yana Genova, deputy mayor of Sofia Municipality and Silva Khacheryan, director of the Directorate "International Cooperation, European programs and regional activities" in the Ministry of Culture.

On the final day of the program in the "Mission" gallery, certificates were officially presented to those who successfully completed the first edition of the course by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Ivan Kondov and the Deputy Minister of Culture, Mrs. Amelia Gesheva.

In his address to the participants on behalf of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mrs. Maria Gabriel, Ambassador Kondov congratulated the two Institutes for their excellent work and highlighted the main goal of the course - increasing foreign policy competence in promoting Bulgarian culture and asserting her place on the world stage. Deputy Minister Amelia Gesheva also congratulated the participants and pointed out the key importance of the role of Bulgarian cultural institutes abroad, emphasizing cultural diplomacy as the "soft" power to achieve the country's foreign policy interests. She concluded her speech with the words "Culture is a mission".