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Cyprus/ 3.4 International cultural co-operation  

3.4.2 Public actors and cultural diplomacy

The main responsibility for the promotion of contemporary Cypriot culture is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Education and Culture, through its Cultural Services.  Nevertheless, a number of other public actors are involved in one way or another in cultural diplomacy, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Department of Antiquities as well as a number of other bodies and cultural institutions (i.e. Theatre Cyprus Organisation, Cyprus Tourist Organisation, Cyprus Symphony Orchestra).

In particular, the Ministry of Education and Culture apart from its overall activity (see chapter 3.4.1) operates three Cultural Centres in Athens, London and Berlin respectively.

The House of Cyprus in Athens is a cultural and educational institution with a significant contribution in the field of cultural diplomacy since 1987. In implementing government's policy, the House co-operates with a number of other actors such as the Local and Regional Authorities in Greece, as well as cultural organisations in order to promote Cypriot culture. The Office of the Cultural Counsellor in the High Commission of the Republic of Cyprus has both a cultural and educational role. The Office of the Cultural Attaché at the Embassy of the Cyprus Republic in Berlin has as its main responsibility the organisation of events with the aim of promoting the culture and contemporary artistic creation of Cyprus in Germany.  The Office co-operates with German Institutions as well.

A number of other initiatives are in place for promoting initiatives related to cultural diplomacy. More specifically, bilateral cultural agreements promote the networking between artists, and public and private institutions in the fields of arts and culture. Co-operation is also promoted through European and international organisations, such as the European Union, UNESCO and the Council of Europe. Additionally through cultural co-operation with the embassies of Cyprus abroad cultural activities either of art from Cyprus or even co-productions from artists from Cyprus and artists from abroad are supported.  Also, artists from Cyprus are provided with financial support (travel grants) for their participation in cultural events abroad.

In this context the Ministry supports the operation of institutions like the Music Information Centre of Cyprus which was founded in July 2008 following a decision of the Council of Ministers.  The Centre aims at showcasing the diverse musical achievements of contemporary scene in Cyprus and promoting networking amongst musicians living in Cyprus to musicians from abroad.  Moreover, for the promotion of Contemporary Cypriot Art abroad the Ministry participates in such events as is the Venice Biennale, the Biennale of Young Artists from Europe and the Mediterranean.  Additionally, the Cultural Services organise festivals such as is the European Dance Festival, the "Cinema Days of Cyprus" and the International Festival "KYPRIA".

Other important actors include some national organisations under the umbrella of the Ministry of Education and culture (i.e. Cyprus Symphony Orchestra, THOC, etc.) or non-governmental organisations, through which the majority of international cultural projects are implemented. These activities with the exception of THOC that operates its own budget usually receive funding either from the Ministry of Education and Culture or from European funds.

In addition to the above, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs promotes cultural activities abroad through its diplomatic missions and in close co-operation with the Ministry of Education and Culture.

In 2008, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs started a series of informational lectures and events in order for foreign diplomats in Cyprus to get acquainted with the arts and culture of Cyprus.  Furthermore, cultural diplomacy is part of the training programme of the newly appointed diplomats.

The Bilateral Affairs Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has (amongst other areas) the responsibility for promoting cultural relations through bilateral agreements or through the protocols of cultural co-operation.   Specific programmes of bilateral agreements in the field of Education, Science and Culture have been developed (and carried out by the Ministry of Education and Culture) with a number of EU as well as non-EU countries.

The Agreements and the Programmes provide the necessary statutory framework in which Cyprus' cultural and educational exchanges are implemented with other countries. The Cultural Services are responsible for the shaping and implementation of the Programmes' provisions concerning the cultural collaboration and exchanges of Cyprus with the respective countries (with the exception of the provision regarding collaboration in the field of Cultural Heritage). Bilateral co-operation in the field of cultural heritage is promoted from the Department of Antiquities which operates in the structures of the Ministry of Communication and Public Works (see chapter 3.2).

Furthermore, the Cyprus Tourist Organisation (C.T.O is also involved in promotional activities for Cypriot culture abroad.  According to the strategic plan of the Organisation for the period 2011-2015, cultural tourism is amongst its strategic objectives. The C.T.O. operates offices in 15 cities worldwide (London, Frankfurt, Berlin, Paris, Stockholm, Athens, Milan, Zurich, Amsterdam, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kiev, Tel Aviv, Warsaw and Dubai).

Chapter published: 05-10-2015

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