Amb. Mauricio Rodriguez Munera (Ambassador of Colombia to the UK)

25.08.2011 - Interview conducted by Shamara Wettimuny

Q.  How relevant do you think the arts are as a form of cultural diplomacy?

A.I think artists are the best ambassadors of a country, not just of its culture but its values, its history and its traditions and I think that a smart diplomatic strategy should ask artists to present their creations abroad as this is the most creative and attractive way of telling a country’s story.

Q.  Thank you. How do you think art exchange can foster future multiculturalism?

A.  I think that artists are very powerful communicators in by exchanging ideas with other artists and with the society in general they will not only enrich the lives of others but at the same time they will receive feedback ideas, culture, history and myths which will enrich their own lives. Through this continuous exchange of ideas we will all learn to be better human beings and artists will definitely become better artists if they are exposed to their colleagues’ artist creations all over the world. So everybody wins.

Q.  What is your opinion on the role that CD plays in the field of international relations and inter-cultural relations?

A. CD is playing an increasingly role in normal/general diplomacy.  And I think that it is a very smart decision as culture is able to bridge the gaps amongst people from different nations more effectively and faster than economic and political ties because people love and respect cultural manifestations from everywhere, their own countries and abroad, so people are more open to culture than economic decisions or political ideas so I am very pleased to see that cultural expressions are more important in diplomacy and in the future it will be the most important element of our diplomatic strategy.

Q. what role has cultural diplomacy played in Colombia?

A.  I think CD has been particularly key and important in Colombia because Colombia unfortunately has had a negative image abroad for many years created by the fact that 10-25 years ago it was a violent country with drugdealers, gorillas and paramilitaries who created lots of problems. However, fortunately Colombia has changed a lot (improved) in recent years and the problems that do exist are no lljlonger as critical as before. Colombia has also made a lot of progress economically, politically and culturally so we need to tell our story to the world. The best way to tell our story is through artistic manifestation and cultural expressions that reflect very well the creativitiy of Colombia and the rejection of violence and the celebration of our history and our wonderful nature and shows the positive image of Colombia in a very compelling way.