What is it about?

In recent years Culture in the EU External Relations has gained a lot of attention in Europe and beyond from various stakeholders – be it institutional, private, civil society, networks, non-state actors etc. to name only a few. The addition and inclusion of culture in the foreign action of the EU, notably by the adoption of a communication towards a strategy for international cultural relations in 2016, provides a policy framework for action. Nowadays, in an ever changing and challenging global context, cultural relations call for new narratives, new models of collaborations, as well as for more solidarity, equality, inclusiveness and sustainability. Particularly in such a context, the connection between culture and sustainable development should also play a crucial role as a guiding principle for rethinking cultural relations from the perspective of new forms of collaboration in the international arena

Why is it important?

There is a common understanding today that culture plays an important role in economic and human development, as well as in societal changes and democratic and even ecological transitions. It is recognized by the EU institutions and Member States, as well as in international fora, as an important component of foreign policy. This evidence has been reiterated as well in view of Mondiacult, the big international UNESCO event on cultural policies and sustainable development, to be held in Mexico in September 2022. This global engagement led by the UN, where the EU and the member states have a crucial role to play, puts cultural international relations at the core of the process, for mobilising culture in the implementation of Agenda2030 in all dimensions of the SDGs.

In March 2022:

Discussions during the online Brainstorming Sessions will focus on three main topics:

The role of European and partner countries’ civil society and non-state actors in strengthening a bottom-up approach to ICR

The COVID-19 Crisis and the new scenario of International Cultural Relations

Topics/areas of common interest and pressing needs in International Cultural Relations

Who is participating?

40 participants have been carefully selected by the European Commission, ensuring a fair and diverse representation of stakeholder organisations from around the world with relevant expertise on the topic.