Cultural Diplomacy News (CDN)
Amb. Ismat Jahan (Ambassador of Bangladesh to Belgium)

06.12.2011 - Interview conducted by Liza Ipatenko & Csilla Volford

Q: What kind of tasks do you do that are in the field of Cultural Diplomacy?

As a diplomat I promote better understanding of Europe, we often organize events, for example International Mother Language day. This is an international day promoted by UNESCO. We also organize receptions to promote the importance of cultural diplomacy and other cultural events like exhibitions. Sometimes we send delegations from Bangladesh to Europe.

Q: There are numerous agreements between Europe and Bangladesh; how can cultural diplomacy be used to bring the EU and Bangladesh together?

You can do this if you understand that Europe has a very specific tradition of multiculturalism and education on multiculturalism. So the real objective is to bring people together; they're all immigrants coming from Africa, from Bangladesh and India, Turkey, etc., and they have been here for many, many years. So it is of course very important to understand and appreciate their diversity.

Q: In your speech you mentioned that for less developed countries media is a crucial tool for advancing cultural diplomacy….

Yes, I said that the media is a very important tool, because it determines how a country is projected. The international media has so many ways to project and build up the national image of a country; for example, it can highlight the culture and diversity of Bangladesh and help Europeans understand it better. But the media's power has flaws as well; they can often take instances out of context.