3.4.2 Public actors and cultural diplomacy
The cultural division of the Department of Foreign Affairs works primarily through Irish embassies abroad and in co-operation with government departments, state bodies and individuals. It promotes international educational exchanges, supports Irish studies in Universities abroad and works with the Fulbright Commission to develop high-level academic exchanges with the USA. It developed the Centre Culturel Irlandais in Paris, organised the "International Joyce" exhibition in 2004, and was involved in the Beckett Centenary Festival in 2006.
Culture Ireland's purpose (see also chapter 3.4.1) is to ensure that diverse contemporary Irish cultural practice is understood and valued internationally, to build relationships that aerate Irish cultural practice through exposure to international debates, and to advise the Minister and government on international cultural issues and relations. Since Culture Ireland was established in 2005, the agency has promoted and supported over 1 200 Irish cultural initiatives and events in over 60 countries worldwide, most recently (2011) the high profile Imagine Ireland event in the USA.
The British Council, the Goethe Institute and the Alliance Francaise have long been involved in supporting cultural activity in Ireland. In 2012, the British Council enabled a production of Hijabi Monologues, Innovative Cultural Relations in Action and a Cultural Connections event as part of the Dublin Writers' Festival while the Goethe Institute presents an ongoing programme of exhibitions, films and concerts.
Funding cuts have made a significant impact on the provision of international arts, the new Director of the National Gallery declaring recently that the costs of international exhibitions will mean that he will work more with the national art collection to present a varied programme at the Gallery. Cultural agreements / Memorandums of Understanding have been signed between Ireland and a number of other countries. The Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht participates at EU (under Article 151) and Council of Europe levels on matters related to culture, including film and TV production.