Wed, Jun 02 | The Open University of Israel, Ra'anana

Reconceptualizing EU’s Soft Diplomacy in light of New Diplomacies Discussion

Focusing on the European space/sphere of influence, this panel will address the growing field of inquiry that attempts to expand on the new concept of diplomacy. Often treated as trivial, these new diplomatic realities have hardly been theorized and addressed in contemporary writings.
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Reconceptualizing EU’s Soft Diplomacy in light of New Diplomacies Discussion

Time & Location

Jun 02, 10:00 AM
The Open University of Israel, Ra'anana, Derekh ha-Universita 1, Ra'anana, 4353701, Israel

About the Event

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the entire globe, stimulating new or evolving tools to connect and interact with the public globally. However, the global pandemic simply mirrors the larger, more long-term processes of Globalization. As it is re-shaping the politics, economy, and communication of the international sphere, diplomacy is correspondingly experiencing massive changes in the way it is being constructed as a means of promoting interests around the globe. The new diplomacies discussion refers to the transition in diplomacy from state actors' sole engagement to the engagement of multiple actors to build trust and enhance communication, dialogue-based, with foreign publics (Melissen, 2005). Notably, the diplomatic sphere is now shaped by diplomats, NGOs, institutions, and private actors. This transition contains new opportunities in developing tools and channels of communication directly or with digital mediation with the foreign public. As such, it includes a potential response to the crucial needs of 1) Gaining access to the foreign public, especially in times of crisis, 2) Developing credibility among foreign publics, considering the frequency of misinformation, 3) Building solid relationships. The importance of these elements rising in today's global context, a worldwide pandemic that brings to the fore the need to address shared global challenges. Under this capacity, the evolving types of diplomacy associated with public and cultural diplomacy offering a complex and varied discourse. That is no longer examined solely as the practice of conducting negotiations between representatives of states but through a wider arsenal of approaches that targets political structures, communication, language, education, culture, culinary, festivals, and power relations as means of conducting vague, transitional and elusive international politics. Despite all these types of 'diplomacies' as self-organized, independent, and have minor or no official ties to the state, there is a lack of examination of the aspects of diplomacy that steers away from diplomats and the potential embedded in this common essential element. This proposed panel seeks to address this substantial gap.

Focusing on the European space/sphere of influence, this panel will address the growing field of inquiry that attempts to expand on the new concept of diplomacy. Often treated as trivial, these new diplomatic realities have hardly been theorized and addressed in contemporary writings. Examining under-researched scopes of actors' foreign relations and international relations can open a window onto new and challenging aspects of diplomatic inquiry, mostly questioning the state's control on its own global actions. While relying on the main theoretical pillars of European studies and international relations, this panel will discuss new diplomacies practices and policies and will present current political phenomena that demonstrate the EU's (and other neighboring actors') attempts to promote its/their interest/s in the global sphere.

Therefore, the developments in this field will be discussed by addressing the following topics.

“Europe Day, a View from Outside – Conceptualizing New European Soft Power in Georgia and Ukraine”

Mr. Tal Hasdai-Rippa, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. rippat@post.bgu.ac.il

An interesting political phenomenon takes place in Georgia and Ukraine in the past couple of years – a public celebration of Europe Day in a country that is not part of the EU. Those large-scale celebrations often showcase tens of thousands of local citizens, publicly demonstrating their European affiliation. Not being European citizens, this state-like political ritual being celebrated outside its original political borders was not theoretically addressed until now. 'Europe Day' marks the anniversary of the Schuman Declaration which established the coal and steel community on May 9th, 1950, and in 2004 became an official symbol of the European Union (EU). As rituals had always been a reflection of society's values and thoughts, Europe Day, as a secular political ritual, is yet to be seriously categorized in the relevant academic literature. Thus, through the prism of soft power and public diplomacy, this research aims at deepening the discourse on 'Europe Day' as part of the process of promoting the EU’s interests in the eastern front. This research will analyze the political aspect, as mentioned above, of the public celebration of Europe Day in Georgia and Ukraine and aims at unbundling this sui generis and unintuitive phenomena of a secular political ritual being celebrated outside its original political borders. Linking the public celebrations of Europe Day in Georgia and Ukraine to the European efforts in establishing a normative border with Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries will hopefully shed light on an overlooked aspect of the EU as a global actor.

“Gastrodiplomacy – A Theoretical Inquiry: The Case of Israeli Chefs in the EU”

Mr. Ido Rosenblum, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. idorose@post.bgu.ac.il

Gastrodiplomacy is defined as the use of cuisine as an instrument to create cross-cultural understanding in the hopes of improving interactions and cooperation between international and local agents/actors. Its theory has so far examined agents in national aspects only, with the actor permanently affiliated to the state. This paper focuses on whether Israeli immigrant chefs have become independent agents engaged in establishing Gastrodiplomacy among themselves and within the field in which they operate? Examining if agents/actors are no longer solely linked to the state, will allow my research to point out the representations and language that chefs choose to use as a diplomatic tool for conveying messages and ideas that sometimes are contrary to national interests. This study will focus on Israeli immigrant chefs' role as agents/actors in the EU, a diverse field of action based on the EU and Israel's convoluted relations, especially when considering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Doing so aims to expand the Gastrodiplomacy theory by introducing cuisine as an instrument for chefs as significant global agents/actors to promote political ideas and interests. With critical discourse analysis, my research will attempt to deconstruct frequent political narratives, using the term “Gastrodiplomacy” for narrow political interests. Thereby, this research will contribute to theorizing Gastrodiplomacy while using broader Diplomacy and International Relations theories.

Reconceptualize cultural diplomacy - The case study of the EU in Israel 2014-2019”. Ms. Sabina Gendler, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. sabinage@post.bgu.ac.il

Technological and political transformations in the last decades changed the ways in which states are able to define themselves in the international arena and subsequently resulted in the evolution of the concept of diplomacy. As new conceptualizations and practices were developed, cultural diplomacy emerged as a primary form of a “New Diplomacy”, in both theory and practice. It aims to facilitate fruitful dialogue between foreign public through cultural means and products, enabling states to directly communicate with foreign public. In this context, the EU emerged as an essential actor focusing on cultural diplomacy in its external relations, illuminating both theory and practice. As a non-state actor, it relies on a twofold cultural diplomacy strategy; firstly, it utilizes cultural diplomacy to define its relations with the public of its member states. Secondly, it utilizes it to define its relations vis-à-vis third countries. This paper aims to elaborate on the conceptualizations and utilizations of cultural diplomacy by the EU, through the examination of its operations, primarily through cultural agents, in Israel between 2014-2019, including "Europe White Night" in Tel Aviv. This, in turn, will shed light on the EU’s approach to cultural diplomacy, and on the overall workings of cultural diplomacy.

“Is there opportunity to change a national image? Israel hosting the Eurovision in 2019”. Ms. Yasmin Kremer, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. yasminkr@post.bgu.ac.il

This research examines how Israel is using channels of cultural diplomacy to deal with its negative image in the world. The Eurovision Song Contest, which was held this year in Tel Aviv serves as a case study for the research. The study will investigate Israel’s use of cultural diplomacy to create a positive image in hosting the Eurovision in 2019. The research will examine cultural diplomacy alongside “Artwashing”, a term used by BDS activists in their struggle to boycott the annual competition in Israel, claiming that Israel is pursuing a strategy that seeks to show the beautiful face of Israel in order to divert attention from conflict with the Palestinians.

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