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Mldeanu Andreea Cristina American Studies German, 3rd year Response Paper

In this short analysis I will focus on cultural diplomacy and educational and cultural exchanges. I will try to demonstrate that the purpose of cultural diplomacy was to promote democracy and mutual understanding between countries mainly through educational and cultural contacts. I will also discuss how different foundations helped the United States to promote their foreign policy objectives in Europe during the Cold War. To begin with, cultural diplomacy is often the ground for establishing a trustful relationship between countries. In her article Integrating International Education and Public Diplomacy: Creative Partnerships or Ingenious Propaganda?, Beverly Lindsay defines diplomacy as a process of talking over differences, clarifying aims, and exploring alternatives. [Lindsay, p.425] Cultural relations can be seen as a way of demonstrating other countries that no matter what political issues may be between different nations, their government is willing to establish a connection, to offer the possibility of a new experience. An important means of establishing this connection between nations was the educational exchange. During the Cold War, [] educational exchange became an important instrument to project favorable images of the United States symbolized by its abundance of material wealth, consumer culture, technological know-how, individual freedom, and political democracy. [Bu, p.394] Cultural exchange programs represented the means through which the United States promoted democracy, made a positive image of American society, and also promoted world peace. The purpose of these exchange programs was for the foreign students to learn about American values and democratic ideals while Americans abroad were encouraged to spread American concepts and ways of life. [Bu, p.396] What is more, another purpose was to show other countries that the United States is not devoid of culture. [Bu, p.402] I think that these exchange programs were effective because they focused on people, their ideas and values, their understanding and attitudes, and their skill and knowledge. [Bu, p.397] On the other hand, Laurence Duggan, the director of the IIE (Institute of International Education) in the late 1946, believed that student exchange programs would be used for political propaganda purposes. [Bu, p.411] He also said that this was against IIEs traditional philosophy of promoting

international understanding through educational exchanges. [Bu, p.411] My opinion is that he only wanted to emphasize the fact that those exchanges of students are not propagandistic but they wanted to support cooperation between countries. As Bu said in his article, Duggan acknowledged that there was nothing wrong in hoping that foreign students might develop appreciation, sympathy and even active support for certain American foreign policy objectives. [Bu, p.411] I strongly believe that he was only trying to separate educational programs from political propaganda, but it seems that this attempt was not successful. This did not happen mainly because of the Cold War, a period of promoting ideologies on four fronts, military, economic, political and psychological. [Krige, p.359] An important foundation for scholar exchanges was the Ford Foundation. It defined five areas of interest such as world peace, the strengthening of democracy, the strengthening of the economy, education in a democratic society and improved scientific knowledge of individual behavior and human relations. [Krieg, p.337] Because of the Cold War, they were trying to promote democracy, to defend the American way of life, to unite people, co-operate with them, help them to gain and to keep freedom. [Krige, p.335] They saw a means of strengthening the free world and of promoting international understanding by encouraging the international exchange of persons and ideas. The Ford Foundation did not take interest in financing science per se but it promoted peaceful co-operation on atomic developments. [Krige, p.352] The Ford Foundation along with CERN and Niels Bohrs Institute [] saw international science as a vehicle to promote American values and interests in the post-war world. [Krige, p.335] In the context of the Cold War, scholarly exchange activities may be seen a means of propaganda, but is this what they really are? With time passing, diplomatic relations have enlarged their sphere of action with technical assistance, military assistance, information dissemination, and cultural exchanges. [Lindsay, p.425] I believe that cultural and educational exchanges helped nations to see each other and to cooperate because the way nations perceived each other depended on knowledge, information and human contact. [Lindsay, p.429] On the other hand, if propaganda is seen as a means of changing mentalities and believes about a nation, then I can say that educational and cultural programs may be aspects of propaganda. [Lindsay, p.433] To sum up, I think that I was able to show that even though the foundations which supported international student exchanges did not have a propagandistic purpose, this can be the

best propaganda. I believe that this international exchange was effective because it gave students the opportunity to see what the American way of life is about and change their view of perceiving America during the Cold War.