The arts produce a unique combination of social, cultural, and economic benefits, which cities across the Country could increasingly recognizing and encouraging. The arts and culture industry attracts innovative, vibrant new businesses in fields such as publishing, advertising, music, dance, design, and architecture, and creates jobs for artists who anchor local cultural production.
Arts and culture can also play a key role in urban revitalization and community renewal, as well as the development of cultural tourism opportunities and the enhancement of a city or state’s public image.
The arts and culture sector also has a role to play in the development of innovation hubs, geographic clusters of capital and talent that can fuel economic growth and innovation in areas such as design, technology and manufacturing.
Art, in its many forms, exists in every community, culture and country. It has been around since the beginning of civilization itself, paintings etched on the walls of caves or sculptures carved out of stone. Humans have always felt the need for expression
In today’s world, we know that art can be a major economic force, yet we continue to question the worth of it. It has historically been seen as accessible only to the elite class. Today, it has transcended into everyone’s daily lives, stopping us in our fast-track lives to appreciate the beauty that surrounds us and at times, enhancing the way we think and behave. It adds that punch of colour, uplifting the space to compliment the surroundings. This need of Art is the day to day life has made it into a full blown business. Gone are the days when it was not considered a medium for business and only had an intellectual value.
Here are seven quick ways to prove that art is genuinely a good business avenue these days.
Art Buying and Selling- The traditional and the most comfortable way of investing in a piece of art, can be a painting or a sculpture. One goes to an art gallery and picks up from the stock of work that already exists and the cycle of buying and selling is maintained thereon.
Art Commissioning- This is a more challenging because it is customized.A bespoke piece is a lot more personal and aesthetically pleasing. The artist creates something for you from scratch rather than buying off the shelf. This is dependent on the space, style, budget and a many other variables. Art Commissioners are very much in demand these days because of the increasing trend of commercial and residential artworks and installations.
Art Restoration- Over the years the hues in paintings start to fade away due to humidity and pollution in the environment. Art professionals are appointed to study the style of the artist and touch up the pieces to keep it from looking dull. There are full time courses to study about it.
Art Valuation- With every passing year a piece of art, just like real jewelry appreciates in value if created by the big artists. If an artwork is bought when an artist is new and budding, maybe 20 years down the line its value has tripled. A professional is then appointed to value the art in monetary terms and collectors usually have an entire portfolio of art to maintain. This is called portfolio management, a well-known term for anyone who deals in the Share market.
Art Insurance- When an art investor or collector buys an expensive piece of art or a gallery is shipping a collectable item, an insurance needs to be purchased against the piece. The amount paid for insurance is directly dependent on the valuation of the artwork. There are banks and institutions that specialize in this field which is a limited and niche area within art. Art insurance works in the same way as travel or life insurance which is dependent on the package that you choose.
Art as a gifting option- A painting, sculpture or a portrait makes a great gift for weddings, house warming parties and milestones. Getting a piece commissioned has an element of personalization. Buying something from a gallery art fair or online is also possible. There are so many ecommerce ventures in this space that one does not need any evidence to validate this point.
Art Camps and Workshops- Children and adults today have all the resources to learn and grow so easily with several art camps and workshops happening all year around. This is an essential exercise for a child’s development and growth whereas it’s one of the best destressing outlets for adults. So there are many companies and organizations who organize these exclusive art camps.
Art can inspire us, make us happy, or even motivate us. Living in a purely functional world would lack meaning for us as human beings. If we try to run our lives on the metrics, we may end up bored and empty. A steep rise in wealth has fueled art market.
As art buyers increase in numbers, along with their appetite for luxury, it’s touched off a race among service providers, trying to break into the market.
For the last century, financial and institutional capital have been the priority leverage points for addressing society’s challenges. I deeply believe that, in the future, human, social, and creative capital will have the greatest impact.
And this is where arts and culture are a necessity.
There is no discipline that nurtures and sparks the cognitive ability to imagine, and unleashes creativity and innovation, more than arts and culture. There is no approach that breaks barriers, connects across cultural differences, and engages our shared values more than arts and culture. There is no investment that connects us to each other, moves us to action, and strengthens our ability to make collective choices more than arts and culture.
To unlock this lever for change, I believe we must do several things:
Focus on strategies that foster real collaboration—finding the best ways to leverage existing structures.
Identify the stakeholders who must join, support, and advocate for solutions—we must reach beyond the “choir” to deeply understand the values, needs, and motivators of other partners including development organizations, business, neighborhood, and civic leaders.
Identifying solutions (programs, structures, policies, practices, and financial models) that might be outside our comfort zone
Learn from ourselves and others—a great deal of thinking and work has been done and has changed the positioning, importance, and funding in many other arenas.
Recognize that it will be hard and will take a long-term commitment—this is not a simple or obvious task. The political challenges, economic constraints, competing interests, priority gaps, and complexities are all real and significant challenges.
And ultimately we must:
Seize the moment—we are in a time of massive economic challenge, political, and generational change. Historically, the most significant reforms and investments in social capital and game-changing approaches have been accomplished during similar periods of challenge and transformation. We are in a time when policymakers will have to address significant structural changes and where the body politic is in play with pendulum swings left and right that demonstrate a willingness to risk the status quo.
Events of this magnitude can be explained and understood by making a brief but important introduction on what is Cultural Diplomacy and its enormous benefits for countries that adopt such diplomacy to emerge in the international context.
“Cultural Diplomacy may best be described as a course of actions, which are based on and utilize the exchange of ideas, values, traditions and other aspects of culture or identity, whether to strengthen relationships, enhance socio-cultural cooperation or promote national interests; Cultural diplomacy can be practiced by either the public sector, private sector or civil society.”
Whilst the term “cultural diplomacy” has only recently been established, evidence of its practice can be seen throughout history and has existed for centuries. Explorers, travelers, traders, teachers and artists can be all considered living examples of “informal ambassadors” or early “cultural diplomats” (for example, the establishment of regular trade routes enables a frequent exchange of information and cultural gifts between traders and government representatives). Such deliberate efforts of cultural exchange can be identified as early examples of cultural diplomacy. Indeed, any person who interacts with different cultures, (currently or in the past), facilitates a form of cultural exchange, which can take place in fields such as art, sports, literature, music, science, business & economy and beyond.Through the interaction of peoples, the exchange of language, religion, ideas, arts and societal structures have consistently improved relations between divergent groups.
Cultural Diplomacy in Practice Cultural diplomacy in practice (or applied cultural diplomacy) is the application and implementation of the theory of cultural diplomacy, including all models that have been practiced throughout history by individual, community, state or institutional actors in order to facilitate and improve relations and collaboration between disparate cultures. These models include for example diverse cultural exchange programs, international delegations (e.g., American jazz ambassadors) or sports competitions. The examples are uniquely able to affect intercultural and interfaith understanding and promote reconciliation.
The Importance of Cultural Diplomacy in an increasingly globalized, interdependent world, in which the proliferation of mass communication technology ensures we all have greater access to each other than ever before, cultural diplomacy is critical to fostering peace & stability throughout the world. Cultural diplomacy, when learned and applied at all levels, possesses the unique ability to influence the “Global Public Opinion” and ideology of individuals, communities, cultures or nations, which can accelerate the realization of the 5 principles below. By accomplishing the first principle, one enables the second, which in turn enables the third until the fifth ultimate principle of global peace and stability is achieved.
The principles are:
- Respect & Recognition of Cultural Diversity & Heritage
- Global Intercultural Dialogue
- Justice, Equality & Interdependence
- The Protection of International Human Rights
- Global Peace & Stability
Cultural Diplomacy & the Public Sector, Two broad approaches to conducting regional and international relations can be distinguished; that of ‘hard power’ and ‘soft power’, but this is another story.
Cultural Diplomacy & the Private Sector As the move towards more socially responsible business practices gains momentum, the ability to understand and embrace the different values and needs of diverse cultures and societies becomes ever more important. There are many reasons why corporations need to be aware of the differences between cultures in their strategic decision-making process and adopt cultural diplomacy models into their agenda:
- In the era of growing social awareness, corporates with culturally sensitive marketing plans and campaigns will enjoy a positive public opinion and good image, thus financially perform better.
- Companies seeking to expand abroad will encounter problems unless they conduct research into, and act according to the cultural differences with the host country.
- Companies with a national focus face a related challenge in ensuring that they are aware of and sensitive to national cultural minorities.
Ultimately, the goal of cultural diplomacy is to influence a foreign audience and use that influence, which is built up over the long term, as a sort of good will reserve to win support for policies. It seeks to harness the elements of culture to induce foreigners to:
- Have a positive view of the country’s people, culture and policies,
- Induce greater cooperation between nations,
- Aid in changing the policies or political environment of the target nation,
- Prevent, manage and mitigate conflict with the target nation.
In turn, cultural diplomacy can help a nation better understand the foreign nation it is engaged with and foster mutual understanding. Cultural diplomacy is a way of conducting international relations without expecting anything in return in the way that traditional diplomacy typically expects. Cultural exchange programs work as a medium to relay a favourable impression of the foreign country in order to gain outsiders’ understanding and approval in their cultural practices and naturalize their social norms among other cultures.
Generally, cultural diplomacy is more focused on the longer term and less on specific policy matters. The intent is to build up influence over the long term for when it is needed by engaging people directly. This influence has implications ranging from national security to increasing tourism and commercial opportunities. It allows the government to create a “foundation of trust” and a mutual understanding that is neutral and built on people-to-people contact. Another unique and important element of cultural diplomacy is its ability to reach youth, non-elites and other audiences outside of the traditional embassy circuit. In short, cultural diplomacy plants the seeds of ideals, ideas, political arguments, spiritual perceptions and a general view point of the world that may or may not flourish in a foreign nation.
Soft Power Dynamics in Middle Eastern Conflict
The Middle East is synonymous with eternal conflict as being at the cross-point between Africa, Europe, and Asia.
The paper intends to understand how the power could be derived from the cultural roots in a world filled with pre-existing biases based on religious values, nationality, and interpretation of history.
Palestine receives strong international support through social media by sharing its pain and grievances increasing its soft power that hampers Israel’s international relations. A new question emerges can the soft power paradigm be used to resolve the problem?
The roots of the Middle Eastern problem are driven by historical-religious literature which shows the Middle East to be the historic homeland of Jews and they wanted to get back to their original homeland due to two-millennium long suppression that finally ended up as the holocaust.
Israel continues to emphasize and promote stories related to Second World War which help them gain the legitimacy to exist as a state. It is also remarked that the holocaust may have been a decisive condition for the creation of a Jewish state but this action would have occurred sooner or later.
One of the biggest strengths for Israel and its legitimacy comes from the Biblical literature which has some historical stories in it and mentions Israel and Judah in the Middle East providing American Christian Support which seems to be dropping as a result Israel needs to work on its soft power.
A similar strength can be found in Quran for Israeli as Surah Al-Ma’idah in Chapter 5 verse 12 states about the Children of Israel and verse 21 explains that they are “destined to enter and not to turn back else they will become the loser.” These verses motivate Israeli for their cause which raises an interesting phenomenon that some pro-Israeli media would use Quranic verses to gain legitimacy.
History needs to be studied to understand how and where the differences between Jews and Muslims started. Originally there was a peaceful relation between Jews and Muslims but Jews refuse to acknowledge Muhammad a non-Jew as one of the prophets of God which caused the relationship between Jews and Muslims to deplete.
Finally, Banu Qurayza a Jewish community allied with Qurashites against Prophet Muhammad that caused Medina to suffer a war-built hatred towards Judaism.
However, even after looking at the differences Muslims, Christians, and Jews are Abrahamic religions maintaining their base Judaic-monotheistic tradition as both Roman Catholics and Arab previously had polytheistic culture and Israel has indirectly benefitted from this historical fact.
Israel could benefit from various religions by showing show respect to the leaders of Abrahamic religions and even maintain an apologetic attitude on behalf of some of the members of the Jewish community which may have conducted villainous actions as per some stories based on other religious doctrines.
The tower of one’s ego can prohibit supporting the national interest which could only be achieved by becoming softer to gain soft power.
It is argued that the ancient Philistine is related to present-day Palestine. Palestine as a result gets associated with David and Goliath or Samson’s struggle with Philistine. However, the term Palestine is more complicated which had developed in the period.
There are also claims that the Syria Palaestina was constructed as a punishment for Bar Kochba Revolt in 135CE while the name Palaestina given to the region seems to be older than Bar Kochba Revolt and even older than the Roman Emperor Hadrian.
The image of the Israel and Palestine conflict is connected towards mythical combat between David and Goliath. David was an inexperienced youth who later became king of Israel and defeated a giant from ancient Philistine called Goliath.
Some actors who are sympathetic to the Palestinian cause have also connected Palestine with David who was weak at the beginning of the story while they perceive Israel as an unjust giant and the toughest fighter in the region.
The Middle Eastern conflict goes beyond religion and history as it has multiple dimensions due to multiple crimes against humanity causing people to be refugees that inflict social, political, and economic damages.
A medium to obtain soft power is by resolving the humanitarian crisis and Israel being perceived as a perpetrator tampered with its national image.
Israel as an economically advanced country with large spending power can establish economic institutions to raise funds in providing education, training, and employment to victims of that conflict regardless of their religion, ethnicity, gender, or political views who have been scattered around the world which would help Israel gain legitimacy.
The economic recovery of the war victims can minimize some damage enforced upon the national image but there is a strong opinion that the Palestinian community lacks legal rights as being in Israeli jurisdiction. So, political rights might have to be secured to the Palestinians while they have to live in Israel for Israel to create a positive national image.
The Israeli government also create an option for the Palestinian community to have the right to return, granting them protection in Knesset (Israeli Parliament), while promoting Arab Israeli politicians, and can even reflect how they have shaped the Israeli government in the international arena to build Israel’s soft power.
Finally, the last piece of the puzzle is the social affairs which are closely tied to the soft power paradigm.
There is a clear fear that the Jews are eclipsing the social identity of the Palestinian people but in reality, they are closely linked as Arabic language and Hebrew are Semitic languages, their scripts have common Aramaic ancestry, and Halaal and Kosher dietary cultures are also similar.
There should be an effort to study the similarities to build unity and to study unique qualities as to appreciate one another’s differences. Israel could also create Cultural Relations Centers around the world that promote both Jewish and Palestinian language, culture, and cuisine to create respect and solidarity.
There can also be the production of television programs, movies, digital applications which could allow people to understand the Middle Eastern community.
Tel Aviv is the center for the development of many technological advancements and carries great potential to build creative applications and visual storytelling that could help spread awareness about the Middle East.
On the other hand, the Palestinian Authority could request the Israeli government to provide scholarships in various Israeli Universities which could enhance their credential for making effort to create a peaceful world as well as proposing exchange programs by inviting Israeli students to visit regular Palestinian colleges and working spaces decreasing bitterness.
The Palestinian Authority could also pursue Israeli investment in core-Palestinian settlements that could create employment as well as mutual dependence allowing Palestine to grow with a greater bargaining power while maintaining a symbiotic relationship.
Culture, history, and institutions can be combined to create harmony. A key aspect to gain soft power and legitimacy is by becoming softer by showing respect to the opponents while appreciating and accepting others’ viewpoints.
Therefore, the study of religion, history has to be conducted from a neutral perspective that can be trusted by all international actors and could serve as a uniting factor while maintaining an apologetic attitude towards historic mistakes. There needs to be an effort to provide economic and political compensation for the victims which have caused notoriety in the international arena and finally the culture of the two competing communities needs to be celebrated through cultural institutions to build trust and harmony.
Biden-Putting meeting: Live from Geneva
19:00 The places of the flags on the Mont Blanc bridge on which President Biden and President Putin will pass to reach the meeting venue on Wednesday usually hold the flags of the different Swiss cantons. Not today. The American and Russian flags have been placed to welcome the two leaders.
18:00 A day before the Geneva summit: Hotel Intercontinental where the American delegation and probably President Biden himself is staying, how the city looks like a day before the meeting, what are the security measures like, why isn’t the UN involved and are the usual protests expected?
Iveta Cherneva with live video political commentary from Geneva one day ahead of the Biden-Putin Summit
Will the promotion of cricket in GCC add to its Soft Power?
In recent years, Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, have been trying to bolster their ‘Soft Power’ in a number of ways; by promoting tourism, tweaking their immigration policies to attract more professionals and foreign students and focusing on promoting art and culture. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has taken the lead in this direction (in May 2017, UAE government set up a UAE Soft Power Council which came up with a comprehensive strategy for the promotion of the country’s Soft Power). Under Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman (MBS), Saudi Arabia has also been seeking to change its international image, and it’s Vision 2030 seeks to look beyond focusing on economic growth. In the Global Soft Power Index 2021, Saudi Arabia was ranked at number 24 and number 2 in the Gulf region after the UAE (the country which in the past had a reputation for being socially conservative, has hosted women’s sports events and also hosted the G20 virtually last year)
Will the promotion of cricket in GCC add to its Soft Power?
One other important step in the direction of promoting Soft Power in the GCC, is the attempt to popularize cricket in the Gulf. While the Sharjah cricket ground (UAE) hosted many ODI (One Day International )tournaments, and was witness to a number of thrillers between India and Pakistan, match fixing allegations led to a ban on India playing cricket at non-regular venues for a duration of 3 years (for a period of 7 years from 2003, Sharjah did not get to host any ODI). The Pakistan cricket team has been playing its international home series at Sharjah, Abu Dhabu and Dubai for over a decade (since 2009) and the sixth season of the Pakistan Super League is also being played in UAE. Sharjah has also hosted 9 test matches (the first of which was played in 2002).
Sharjah hosted part of the Indian Premier League (IPL) tournament in 2014, and last year too the tournament was shifted to UAE due to covid19 (apart from Sharjah, matches were played at Dubai and Abu Dhabi). This year again, the UAE and possibly Oman are likely to host the remaining matches of the IPL which had to be cancelled due to the second wave of Covid19. The ICC Men’s T20 World Cup to be held later this year (October-November 2021), which was actually to be hosted by India, could also be hosted not just in the UAE, but Oman as well (there are two grounds, one of them has floodlights). International Cricket Council (ICC) is looking for an additional venue to UAE, because a lot of cricket is being played there, and this may impact the pitches. The ICC while commenting on the possibility of the T20 World cup being hosted in the Middle East said:
, “The ICC Board has requested management [to] focus its planning efforts for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 on the event being staged in the UAE with the possibility of including another venue in the Middle East’
GCC countries are keen not just to host cricketing tournaments, but also to increase interest in the game. While Oman has a team managed by an Indian businessman, Saudi Arabia has set up the SACF (Saudi Arabian Cricket Federation) in 2020 and it has started the National Cricket Championship which will have more than 7,000 players and 36 teams at the school level. Peshawar Zalmi, a Pakistani franchise T20 cricket team, representing the city of Peshawar the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which plays in the Pakistan’s domestic T20 cricket league – the Peshawar cricket league — extended an invitation to the SACF, to play a friendly match against it. It’s owner Javed Afridi had extended the invitation to the Saudi Arabian team in April 2021. Only recently, Chairman of SACF Prince Saud bin Mishal met with India’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Dr Ausaf Saeed, to discuss ways for promoting the game in Saudi Arabia. He also visited the ICC headquarters at Dubai and apart from meeting officials of ICC also took a tour of Sharjah cricket ground.
GCC countries have a number of advantages over other potential neutral venues. First, the required infrastructure is already in place in some countries, and there is no paucity of financial resources which is very important. Second, there is a growing interest in the game in the region, and one of the important factors for this is the sizeable South Asian expat population. Third, a number of former cricketers from South Asia are not only coaching cricket teams, but also being roped in to create more enthusiasm with regard to the game. Fourth, UAE along with other GCC countries, could also emerge as an important venue for the resumption of India-Pakistan cricketing ties.
In conclusion, if GCC countries other than UAE — like Saudi Arabia and Oman — can emerge as important cricketing venues, their ‘Soft Power’ appeal is likely to further get strengthened especially vis-à-vis South Asia. South Asian expats, who have contributed immensely to the economic growth of the region, and former South Asian cricketers will have an important role to play in popularizing the game in the Gulf. Cricket which is already an important component of the GCC — South Asia relationship, could help in further strengthening people to people linkages.
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