Though Philosophy of Culture exists for a long time, as well as Political Philosophy and Philosophical Anthropology, the domain of Cultural Diplomacy is too recent and therefore the philosophical reflection on this subject is actually open to be developed, with the perspective of many precious new ideas to create, I think.
II. Philosophy as a practice of Cultural Diplomacy
The study of Philosophy itself implies the acquaintance with concepts and methods coming from various thinkers – belonging to different cultural environments of the whole world, from the Antiquity to our times –, their understanding and their critical approach, through the filter of every scholar’s cultural influences and personal choices. Therefore it cultivates already a way of thinking in accordance with the principles and the objectives of Cultural Diplomacy.
In addition, Philosophy is a science exercised at a global level. This implies that, in practice, the students, the researchers and the teachers in Philosophy spend usually various periods of time in other countries and institutions. This attitude was current for many centuries and even more nowadays, as people may profit of numerous projects of international exchanges. They also participate in international conferences, research and editorial activities, reviews….
The International Federation of Philosophical Societies (FISP) is a global organisation uniting all national and international philosophical associations (focused on particular themes). It sponsors the World Congress of Philosophy and the International Philosophy Olympiad every five years, which constitute vast meetings of thousands of philosophers from all countries.
The UNESCO is also supporting international philosophical co-operations, as they constitute a part of the world’s educational accomplishments. To cite only one example: the EON project (Eleatic Ontology: Origin and Reception), in which I participate as a member of the editorial committee, is a multi-volume work, uniting articles of specialists from all continents exploring the development and influence of Eleatic ontology in every period of the History of Philosophy.
Seen from that angle, Philosophy becomes evidently a privileged way to practice Cultural Diplomacy.
III. Philosophy as an education for Cultural Diplomacy
Philosophy develops per excellence independent questioning and encourages the liberty of thought, the originality and the creativity of every person.
It cultivates critical thinking, the clear and well-structured expression of rational arguments, orally and in a written text.
In parallel, philosophy educates in the profound understanding of different points of view, by the study of various theories, as mentioned above. Thus, it presupposes the capacity of listening to the Other, the respect for the different opinions and a cooperative attitude in view of realising a constructive dialogue.
Precision, rigorous attention to details, analytical skills and capacities for a larger, synthetic overview, without overlooking the crucial differences among all positions, are also necessary for a successful philosophical activity.
Therefore, I believe that Philosophy may be considered as an excellent education for Cultural Diplomacy and it could be a precious part of the curriculum for the persons who wish to study theoretically, as well as to integrate concretely this domain.
The present paper is of course only a first and elementary approach of the multiple relations between Philosophy and Cultural Diplomacy. I hope however that it shed some light on the actuality of this rich subject and the high interest of its future developments, in theory and in practice.