Amb. Solano López C. (Ambassador of Paraguay to the UK)

29.08.2011 - Interview conducted by Elena Dragomir

Good Afternoon and thank you for coming.

Q. How relevant do you think art is as an accessible form of cultural diplomacy?

A.  Not only is it relevant, it is highly important because for many countries artistic expression provides a very well defined differentiation that allows diplomacy to use it to open doors. Most people are susceptible to the beauty of art; call it painting, culture, poetry or music.  The first consciousness of a specific country usually comes through an art form, now as a case of Paraguay specifically we do have very famous painters and sculptures. We also have a winner of the Cervantes prize which is the second most important prize in literature throughout the world, yet these figures are not as well-known as our musicians. This is the reason why in my presentation I brought a long a musician to demonstrate just how accessible Paraguayan culture and society is through the channel of art.

Q. How do you think the art exchange can foster and/or encourage future multiculturalism in society?

Multiculturalism is not an easy subject as we have seen in the case of the London riots very recently. Different cultural elements sometimes very regrettable and unfortunately tend to clash. In any situation where you have different cultures and societies, within each of these cultures and societies you will have elements that clash with others and elements that come together. I think the job of government, diplomats and opinion makers is to foster those aspects of the cultures which tend to integrate ad go on from there.

Q. My final question is what is your opinion on the use of cultural diplomacy in international relation and inter-cultural relations?

A. I can tell you that in my country, a small and unknown country in most parts of the world, the use of music is extremely important. In the embassy here in London all our events, whether they be politically related or business orientated, we always introduce a musical element to it because it tends to open a mental door and results in the creation of a positive attitude among the speakers and guests.  I am very happy to see that there are many countries that do this whether it is through music like Paraguay or other forms of art. For example the Royal Academy of Art is holding an exhibition of photographs exclusively from Hungary. No one was really aware of the fact that Hungary had so many famous and fabulous photographers until this exhibition.

Thank you very much!