08 March 2012 - 10 March 2012

Cultural Diplomacy: does it work?

Chair: Sir Vernon Ellis

A diverse group had assembled, with the co-sponsorship of the John Brademas Center for the Study of Congress, to analyse what cultural diplomacy could offer in today’s world, the balance between promotion of national interest and increasing international understanding, and whether it could really work in helping to foster mutual engagement between different peoples. Firm and expert chairmanship helped us avoid too much theorising about the role of culture, although there was a need to examine the underpinnings of cultural diplomacy, and to focus on what could and should be done. Some disliked the term ‘cultural diplomacy’ altogether because it implied too close a relationship to national government objectives, but others believed we could not escape the role of governments, because of dependence on their funding. All agreed that the nature of cultural diplomacy was changing fundamentally, in a digital, interconnected, multipolar world. Pushing any kind of exclusive national culture was giving way to help interaction and collaboration at every level. Meanwhile the relatively small part played by officially sponsored cultural activity, compared to commercially driven culture of different kinds, and informal, individual activity, had to be fully recognised.

Governments and national parliaments were slow and reluctant to accept this new paradigm, which added to the difficulty of persuading them to go on providing funding, despite their increased general interest in soft power and public diplomacy. Finding a new and more convincing rationale for cultural diplomacy, and new ways of expressing the impact it could have, was therefore the most urgent task facing the sector. At present it was a dangerous dialogue of the deaf.

We tried to look at what worked and what didn’t work, with limited success, and at how far different countries had different objectives in their cultural diplomacy activities. The biggest difference we found was not between, say, democratic and other countries in the amount of direct propaganda they were pushing, but between large countries with already known and dominant cultures, who could take a more sophisticated attitude to their aims, and smaller ones who were struggling to exist culturally and still using traditional methods of packaging performances for overseas audiences to try to do so.

The conference was infused by a sense of frustration, even angst, at the gulf between participants’ deep belief that cultural interaction was more desperately needed than ever to prevent increasing misunderstanding, parochialism and xenophobia in a dangerous world; and the scepticism of many about the value of investing in culture and cultural diplomacy. This drove our determination not simply to leave the exchanges at Ditchley behind us, and carry on business as usual, but to build on the discussions to find new ways forward.
Definitions, aims and actors
Before we could focus on the aims of cultural diplomacy, and whether it worked, we needed to define our terms. Culture itself was clearly about much more than the arts. Cultural diplomacy was certainly not just about running arts projects or educational exchanges. It could be defined as the facilitation of the exchange of ideas, values, traditions, and other aspects of culture or identity, or more simply as encouraging interaction with ‘the other’. It fell under the broad heading of soft power, and was also part of public diplomacy. But it was not the same as either. Providing a space where the powerful and the weak could engage, bringing out hidden voices, and challenging stereotypes were other descriptions mentioned. We were often talking about a very wide variety of activities under the cultural diplomacy label, which could lead to much misunderstanding. It was suggested that there was a need for a clearer and more explicit typology, though we had no opportunity to take this forward ourselves.

Some around the table profoundly disliked the term ‘cultural diplomacy’. The diplomatic framing implied that culture was just another tool for the promotion of national interest overseas. They preferred cultural relations, or cultural engagement. Other ideas along the same lines included knowledge diplomacy, international cultural exchange, and cultural collaboration. ‘Creative diplomacy’ also attracted significant support, not least on the basis that diplomats themselves now had to be far more than narrow promoters of the national interest. Others pointed out that, if governments were financing activities, the national interest had to be part of the deal. It was naïve to suppose otherwise. But of course national interest could be very broadly defined.

Both groups tended to agree that, whatever term was chosen to describe it, cultural diplomacy had moved on a long way from the days of simple promotion of the best of what a particular country had to offer. This might have worked well in some contexts in the past. But the world had changed radically, with for example the shift of power from west to east, increasingly broad democracy in many places, the rise of terrorism and religious fundamentalism, the increasing power of corporations and NGOs, and increasing diversity within as well as across nations. Old methods were less and less likely to be effective. In the digital age there had to be the creation of genuine partnerships. Even two-way exchanges which did not involve any meeting of minds were of limited value. Listening was as important as talking, as was understanding of local contexts and needs. Indeed, these days, the more the country concerned was clearly trying to push itself and its culture, the less receptive the target audience was likely to be. Any national objectives had to be pursued obliquely. Communication of elite to elite was also no longer enough, or acceptable. There had to be a broader popular engagement wherever possible.

Any kind of overt propaganda would certainly not wash with today’s global audiences, who needed to feel that they were being told the truth. Artists who were expressing criticism of aspects of the life of their own country on overseas visits could have a bigger positive effect on that country’s image: they were embodying the values of honesty and tolerance. Good ‘cultural ambassadors’ needed to be edgy. However national governments and parliaments would not always be easy to persuade of that. Moreover any hope that the damage done by the exercise of hard power in a particular region could be significantly mitigated through the soft power efforts of cultural diplomacy was doomed to disappointment. The underlying problem needed to be fixed first. Thus Japan’s efforts to soften its aggressive military image in the Asia-Pacific before the Second World War had failed, whereas the post-war attempt to show that Japan had changed had succeeded over time.

This led us on to what cultural diplomacy was for. Was the primary aim indeed promoting the national interest, however obliquely and however broadly defined, or was it a wider objective of spreading culture for its own sake, broadening international understanding in the process, and thereby helping to reduce or solve international problems? Some favoured the former, while suggesting that the aim now was not promotion of a national identity as such. Rather the idea was to use national assets to increase the attraction of a country and its values, thereby also increasing the trust others could place in it. Others rejected any notion of culture and cultural actors being instrumentalised in the service of a particular, arbitrarily defined nation state, as unworthy and ineffective. They wanted maximum distance maintained between governments and cultural actors and institutions. A third group took the view that there could be complementarity between the two aims, since increasing international understanding and promoting dialogue between people and peoples through the medium of culture could and should also serve enlightened national interest.

It was pointed out at the same time that, while more sophisticated definitions of cultural diplomacy might be appropriate for big countries, or countries with already well-known national and cultural identities, many smaller countries were simply trying to assert their existence and identity (and protect the latter) through efforts to be visible. ‘Old-fashioned’ forms of cultural diplomacy might be the only way of making the voice of their cultural actors heard.

There was a recognition in all this that government-promoted efforts were an increasingly small part of international cultural interaction. The vast majority was spontaneous in one way or another, and well beyond the control of any government. Tourism was a hugely important way for people to get to know other people’s cultures. Commercial culture could be extremely powerful. Sport was also too often ignored, despite the power of its global attraction, and ability to get through to people. Did this mean that governments and cultural institutions were wasting their time and money trying to be heard? Participants did not accept that. Not everyone’s needs could be catered for in the internet maelstrom. Moreover, again, the situation was very different for, say, the US or UK, whose culture was more or less known everywhere, for better or for worse, and smaller, little-known countries for whose culture there was no natural demand and whose governments therefore needed to create that demand by offering something.

We were also prompted to look a little more closely at the range of actors involved in cultural diplomacy, their motives, and their advantages/disadvantages:

  • states (accountable through the democratic process; can be effective actors, unless too inclined to control the content; motivated by politics and national interest)

  • major cultural and educational institutions (indirectly accountable to the public through government regulation and oversight, and through boards of trustees; semi-independent; in many ways the most effective players; motivated by a belief in the inherent value of the arts and education)

  • nongovernmental organisations (some indirect accountability; advantage of independence from governments; mixed effectiveness; motivated by creativity and artistic values)

  • businesses, both as sponsors and as producers of cultural content eg Disney (not accountable to the public; independent of governments; major advantage of money; sometimes effective; mostly motivated by profit)

  • individual artists (engage on their own; not accountable to the public; completely independent; effectiveness and motivations mixed and messy; but many good people out there.

We struggled to agree on what might constitute good cultural diplomacy. It was often easier to point to what had not worked than identify what had, although some participants argued that the sector was in fact bad at facing up to its failures, and needed to do so more explicitly in order to learn from them. The Fulbright scholarships were identified as a particularly effective long term campaign. Student and academic exchanges in general were seen as good investments from every point of view. Success could also come from unexpected directions. The Chinese pandas recently installed in Edinburgh’s zoo had arguably done more for China’s image in Scotland than any number of cultural exchanges or performances. Ethnic restaurants could be hugely effective in breaking down basic prejudices. It was also argued strongly that cultural diplomacy needed to focus more on what people really wanted and needed, for example in the key practical areas of health, education and jobs, and in more intangible ones such as rights, justice and an end to corruption.

The role of governments
We looked at this central question in some detail. On balance, it was thought that governments still had a vital role to play. In some areas only states could create the spaces and environments where good things could happen. This was not just about money. Getting other policies right – and joined up – was also vital to enable individuals and civil society to engage in cultural diplomacy: visa regimes, intellectual property rights, tax policies, insurance programmes etc. Only governments could have the overall vision to frame cultural diplomacy in the right way. Part of the necessary leadership had to come from there, even if leadership from the bottom up was also increasingly important.

It was good that many governments were once again showing interest in the value of cultural diplomacy, following a post-cold-war lull. This reflected the increasingly common view that soft power, or smart power, was as important as hard power, whether military or economic, even if it could not substitute for either. But it was imperative that governments kept their distance and maintained the lightest possible footprint. Otherwise they could too easily undermine what they were so anxious to promote. In some ways the best model was that of institutions like the BBC, which had money voted to them by parliament but also maintained a strict and visible independence from government.

The fact that governments were once again interested in soft power and public diplomacy, and in cultural diplomacy as one facet of that, did not mean they had yet caught up with the more sophisticated ideas of cultural diplomacy outlined above. Might such activities have to be ‘smuggled’ in, even more than in the past, under the cover of more conventional-looking cultural diplomacy projects? In any case, many governments were unwilling to increase, or even maintain, their cultural diplomacy budgets, particularly at a time of austerity. Ministers and parliamentarians were very inclined to question the relative value of spending on cultural diplomacy compared, for example, to another local hospital or school. (More apposite comparisons might be with military spending – how much cultural diplomacy could you get for just one modern tank, for example?). They wanted guaranteed bang for their buck, and no reason for the press to say they were squandering money on useless initiatives. Many tended to think culture itself was an expendable luxury, which naturally coloured their attitude to cultural diplomacy.

In many ways this was odd. Cultural activity was a fundamental part of the human condition, and an indispensable medium of dialogue and understanding with others, within or between countries. Education did not have to justify its existence in the same way, so why should culture? One practitioner put it this way: “If a government thinks that cultural diplomacy is expensive, it should try the real cost of ignorance”. Another recalled the response of a physicist, asked by a parliamentary committee about the value of his pure physics project: ‘It may not help the defence of the country, but it will certainly make it more worth defending.’

Government willingness to fund cultural diplomacy was, unfortunately, closely linked to the fraught issue of measuring its impact. Many participants thought this was a vain exercise. Cultural diplomacy was inherently a messy business, with uncertain outcomes. Reliable numbers could not be put on such intangibles, and the effort was doomed to fail. If those concerned accepted to play on this ground, favoured by finance ministries the world over, they would always lose. Even when using public opinion surveys, with a baseline established before a particular event or campaign, it was impossible to be sure of causal links, given the myriad of influences which operated on people. Qualitative assessment and analysis was the best that could be hoped for, for all the weaknesses of such essentially subjective judgments.

Others took the view that measurement was impossible to avoid, and the tools had to be improved. Some serious new work was needed on this, including on how to establish what might have happened in particular situations if no cultural diplomacy efforts had been made, despite the difficulties of proving a counterfactual. Meanwhile it was important to get expectations in the right place. Cultural diplomacy was unlikely to prevent a war on its own, or counteract deeply unpopular aspects of a country’s foreign policy, and we should not pretend that it could.

We recognised at the same time that, while large chunks of the cultural diplomacy world still basically depended on income from national taxation, and would continue to do so, new funding models held promise. Long-term public-private partnerships, for example between the British Council and Microsoft, could be especially rewarding. Could cultural diplomacy also tap into overseas aid budgets more effectively, since there could be said to be shared aims? The general response was cautious, since not only were there problems of how to ensure poverty reduction was incorporated, but aid budgets also suffered from the same scepticism and problems of demonstrating impact as cultural diplomacy itself. They were also much less nimble and flexible than cultural diplomacy budgets.

Many thought there was a fundamental lack of effective communication between organisations involved in the practice of cultural diplomacy, and the policymakers and funders. A better case to present to government was desperately needed. This was partly a question of language. The cultural community had its own internal language and mutual understanding which it was simply not communicating to those outside the magic circle. There was an urgent requirement to start speaking and writing the language of policy if governments were to be convinced. This would be all the more difficult in the context of convincing governments that the old ‘promotion of national interest and national identity’ model of cultural diplomacy was outdated, together perhaps with some of its institutions, and that a new, broader and more interactive approach now needed.

In any case, a clear, transparent, and convincing rationale for cultural diplomacy was required – by whom, for whom, to what end, and with what resources? Part of this had to be about a long-term view of cultural diplomacy as a means of exploring and ultimately reducing hostility deriving from difference. Short-term results were virtually impossible.  But the most influential argument might be about the need to ensure that a country’s own citizens were globally aware and literate. Companies for example needed employees with experience of, and ability to adapt to, other cultures. Closed, exclusive societies were particularly unlikely to be the most successful in the future. Reaching out to and including other cultures, and encouraging collaboration, was a very effective way of making the necessary connections. Indeed arguably governments should spend money bringing in other cultures rather than exporting their own, since the benefits would be greater.

International comparisons
Interestingly, most participants thought that the aims of different governments in engaging in cultural diplomacy were very similar, even if the means chosen to pursue that aim might look very different. The British Council, the Goethe Institute and China’s Confucius Institutes were different models, but were still pursuing comparable ends, despite suspicions of China’s authoritarian government in this context. Nevertheless, for some countries, there was also an important internal dimension to cultural diplomacy, in the sense of identity formation or preservation, for example vis a vis a large and dominant neighbour (Canada was mentioned).

Several participants pointed out that we were in danger of ignoring the role of religion in cultural diplomacy. Religion had effectively been culture for most of human history. The early Christian missionaries had often been cultural diplomats as much as religious proselytisers. The Saudi export of Wahhabi Islam was perhaps the most successful modern example of cultural diplomacy in the world, however little we might dislike the results. There was a general lack of recognition in the West of how religion infused social life in the Islamic world, which made any distinction between religion and culture hard to draw. The Haj could be seen as the greatest single example of global cultural diplomacy.

There seemed to be an appetite for much more information about, and understanding of, practices and expressions of cultural diplomacy in different parts of the world. Meanwhile was there such a thing as a shared international cultural heritage? Most thought so, while having difficulty defining what this might be, beyond the UNESCO awards. Did the international community have a responsibility to preserve the Bamian Buddha statues, for example, and if so how could and should that be expressed and implemented? Different countries and regions viewed their own cultures in different ways. We should not assume that the western vision of the importance of individual artists was shared by all. The idea of the artist as a rebel was certainly not universal, and a relatively recent phenomenon even in the west.

Cultural diplomacy in the digital age
Discussions on the digital context in which we are all now operating produced a variety of comments and attitudes. Some underlined its democratising value, its creation of a more level playing field, and its extraordinary empowerment of the individual. The younger generations were wired differently. They gave and received information in very different ways from their predecessors, mainly through the new social media, and questioned the authority of governments at every level. Single national narratives were increasingly unrealistic and irrelevant. If those engaged in cultural diplomacy failed to take full account of all this, they would be losing most of their audience.

Traditional institutions also increasingly lacked credibility and legitimacy. This was why interactive and collaborative approaches were now the only ones which made sense. Talking with, not talking at, had to be the name of the game. The import/export model of cultural diplomacy had had its day. The conference should have had more young people, and representatives of video-game makers, as well as film-makers, since they did more to shape cultural attitudes than anyone else, for better or for worse.

Others saw state power still at work in traditional ways. Where states took the initiative and determined the themes and topics of exchange, they could still strongly influence patterns of dialogue. Moreover only institutions which had been around for some time, and had proved themselves and their intentions through their actions, could be credible and inspire the necessary trust. At the same time, democratisation should not mean ignoring talent, virtuosity, and sophistication, or devaluing the richness of artistic content. We should be careful not to throw out the baby with the bathwater.

The communication power of the digital age also led to unexpected phenomena, for example that cultural assimilation or even knowledge of their host culture was no longer a necessity for immigrant populations, since they could communicate instantly with their peers anywhere else in the world and maintain their cultural identity that way. How could we break into such communities, and introduce them to new experiences and ideas?

We all accepted that technology would become even more important, and dominant, in the future. But was digital communication always a good substitute for the ‘last three feet’ when it came to contact with and experience of different cultures and new artistic forms of expression? Did the internet assist in creating real empathy? For some the jury was still out, while others believed we were already in the midst of an irreversible seismic shift.

We were also warned several times against focussing too much on process and not enough on content. At the end of the day it was the content of the exchanges and interaction which mattered, not the means which might bring people together. Who was going to determine the content, and what role could or should governments play in this? This question was difficult but in the end could not be avoided. Exchanges without purposeful content would ultimately go nowhere.

There were comparatively few specific, practical recommendations. The sense was more that we were in the middle of a paradigm shift where everything would need to change in one way or another, and all the old models needed to be re-examined. But there were a few fundamental areas where new efforts were urgently needed:

  • above all, devising and agreeing a new rationale for cultural diplomacy which could convince governments and others that it was not only still worth supporting, but needed new resources, without at the same time increasing government control over what was being done

  • along with this, a new attempt to find ways of defining and expressing its impact, without falling into the trap of looking for simple numbers which purported to do this

  • more research was needed on what worked and what didn’t, and on comparative models of action and funding, building on what existed already

  • new ways of engaging and involving the corporate world were also needed, with public-private partnerships the preferred model

  • the possibility of joint international efforts at cultural diplomacy should be explored more thoroughly, where individual national promotion was not the point, but the conveying of ideas and values to a particular audience or region.

There was a strong sentiment throughout the conference that culture was a very powerful medium for international dialogue and understanding, and a hugely important means of influence. The global movement towards more individual freedom and democracy presented great new opportunities, while the scale of global problems and misunderstandings was such that cultural diplomacy was more needed than ever. It could reach people whom foreign ministries and military establishments never would or could. How else were fundamental issues like xenophobia, extremism, parochialism, and clash of civilisations to be tackled? The sense of frustration at the current inability to convince governments and other sceptics of the case, and at the difficulty of finding the evidence to back up the case, was therefore palpable. I hope this will provide the drive to ensure that the evident will to work together after the conference, on the best possible rationale for cultural diplomacy and new ways of measuring its impact, does not fade without result.

This Note reflects the Director’s personal impressions of the conference.  No participant is in any way committed to its content or expression.


Chair: Sir Vernon Ellis  (UK)
Chair, The British Council (2010-); Member, External Advisory Panel, Price Waterhouse Coopers UK (2010-); Chairman, One Medicare (2009-); Chairman, English National Opera (2006-); Chairman, Martin Randall Travel Ltd (2006-); Chairman then President, Classical Opera Company (1999-).  Formerly: Trustee, Royal College of Music (2004-10); Chair, Accenture Foundations and Global Corporate Citizenship Council (2001-09); International Chairman, Accenture (2001-08).

Mr Jonathan Mills AO, FRSE 

Composer and Festival Director, Edinburgh International Festival (2006-).  Formerly: Vice Chancellor's Fellow, University of Melbourne (2006); Artistic Director, Melbourne Festival (2000-01); Artistic Adviser, Brisbane Biennial International Music Festival (1995-97); Visiting Professor, Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Edinburgh.

Mr Joseph Rotman OC

President, Roy-L Capital Corporation, Toronto; Chair, Canada Council for the Arts (2008-); Member, Board of Directors, Canada Gairdner International Awards (2005-); Founder and Member, Board of Directors, Medical and Related Sciences Discovery District (2000-); Chairman, Grand Challenges Canada in Global Health (2009-); Founder and Director, Clairvest Group Inc.  A Member of the Board of  Directors, The Canadian Ditchley Foundation.

Mrs Laurence Auer

Secretary General, Institut Français, Paris (2011-).  Formerly: Cultural Counsellor, Embassy of France, and Director, Institut Français of the United Kingdom, London (2006-10); Deputy Spokesperson for the French Presidency (2003-06); Adviser to the Minister of Foreign Affairs (Culture and Media) (2002-03); Deputy Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2000-02).

Professor Philippe Lane
Attache for Higher Education, French Institute, London; Visiting Professor, University of Cambridge (2009-).  Author, "Présence française dans le monde - L'action culturelle et scientifique" (2011); Co-Editor, "Franco-British Academic Partnerships - The Next Chapter" (Liverpool University Press), "French Studies in and for the 21st Century" (Liverpool University Press).

Dr Evelin Hust 

Senior Expert Overall Strategy, Goethe-Institut Headquarters, Munich (2011-).  Formerly: Director, Goethe-Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan, Bangalore (2005-11); Director, New Delhi Branch Office, South Asia Institute, University of Heidelberg (2001-04).

Dr Victoria Solomonidis 

Minister Counsellor (Cultural Affairs), Embassy of Greece to the United Kingdom (1995-); UK Representative of the Hellenic Foundation for Culture, London (1995-); Fellow, King's College London; Associate Researcher, Imperial College, London.

Dr Suresh Goel

Director General, Indian Council for Cultural Relations, New Delhi (2010-).  Formerly: Indian Diplomatic Service; Ambassador to Laos (2006-10).

Ms Mami Mizutori

Executive Director, Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Art and Cultures, Norwich.  Formerly: Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Director, Japan Information and Culture Centre, Embassy of Japan to the United Kingdom (2005-08).

Professor Dr Jan Melissen 

Director of Research, Netherlands Institute of International Relations (Clingendael); Professor of Diplomacy, University of Antwerp; Founding Co-Editor, The Hague Journal of Diplomacy.  Formerly: Director, Centre for the Study of Diplomacy, University of Leicester.

Ms Quirine van de Linde
Senior Policy Officer, International Cultural Policy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2008-). 

Mr Pawel Potoroczyn 

Diplomat, Culture Manager, Music Producer and Publisher; Director, Adam Mickiewicz Institute (2008-).  Formerly: Polish Diplomatic Service; Director, Polish Cultural Institute, London (2005-08); Founding Director, Polish Cultural Institute, New York (2000-05); Cultural Attaché, Consulate General of the Republic of Poland, Los Angeles (1995-2000); President, Polish Information Agency (1992).

His Excellency Mr Khalid Rashid Al-Mansouri KCVO 

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Qatar to the United Kingdom.

Dr Dorian Branea 

Minister Counsellor, Director, Romanian Cultural Institute, London (2010-).  Formerly: Founding Director, Romanian Cultural Institute, Warsaw (2006-10).

The Honourable Emil Constantinescu
President, Academy of Cultural Diplomacy, Berlin (2011-); Member of the Board of Trustees, World Academy of Art and Science; Member of the Board of Directors, World Justice Project.  Formerly: President of Romania (1996-2000); Rector, Bucharest University (1992-96).

Mr Juan José Herrera de la Muela 

Director General, Casa Asia, Spain (2011-).  Formerly: Ambassador at large, "Spain-Russia Year" (2009-11); Editor, Siglo XXI Publishers, Madrid (2006-10); Executive Director,  "Jeunesses Musicales World Orchestra" (2003-06); Deputy Director General for the Performing Arts, Ministry of Culture, Spain (1999-2000); Cultural Counsellor, Spanish Embassy to the Russian Federation and Central Asia (1995-99).

Mr Fidel López Álvarez 
Minister Counsellor for Cultural and Scientific Affairs, Embassy of Spain to the United Kingdom, London.  Formerly: Ambassador to Lithuania, to Nicaragua and to the International Organisations, the Global Fund and GAVI.

Mr Martin Davidson CMG 

The British Council (1984-); Chief Executive (2007-).  Formerly: Deputy Director General; Director, British Council China; Trustee, Leonard Cheshire Disability International; Executive Board Member, Great Britain China Centre.

The Rt Hon Baroness D'Souza CMG 
Life Peer (Crossbench); Lord Speaker (2011-).  Formerly: Convenor of the Independent Crossbench Peers, House of Lords (2007-11); Redress Trust: Director (2003-04), Consultant (2004-06); Executive Director, Article 19 (1989-98); Overseas Development Administration Research Fellow (1988-89); Independent Research Consultant: United Nations, Save the Children, Ford Foundation (1985-88).

Mr Francis Finlay 
Co-Chairman, EastWest Institute, New York, (2009-); Trustee, British Museum, (2005-); Chairman, James Martin 21st Century Foundation (2005-). Formerly: A Governor, London Business School (2003-2011); Chairman and CEO, Clay Finlay Inc (1982-2006); Morgan Guaranty Trust, New York (1980-82); Lazard Freres, Paris and New York (1970-79).  A Governor, Member of the Council of Management and Chairman, Finance and General Purposes Committee, The Ditchley Foundation; A Director, The American Ditchley Foundation.

Professor John Holden 
Visiting Professor, Centre for Cultural Policy and Management, City University, London; Associate, Demos    (2008-); Board Member, Clore Leadership Programme (2003-); Board Member, The Hepworth, Wakefield     (2011-); Advisory Board Member, Arts and Humanities Research Council (2008-).  Formerly: Head of Culture, Demos (2000-08).

Mr Neil MacGregor OM 
Director, The British Museum (2002-).

Dr Farhan Nizami CBE 
The Prince of Wales Fellow in the study of the Muslim World, Magdalen College, Oxford; Founder Director, Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies; Member, Faculty of History, Oxford University; Founder Editor, Journal of Islamic Studies (OUP, 1990-); Series Editor, Makers of Islamic Civilization (OUP, 2004-). 

Professor Dame Jessica Rawson DBE FBA 
Professor of Chinese Art and Archaeology, School of Archaeology, University of Oxford; Holder, Leverhulme Trust Research Grant, China and Inner Asia, 1000-221BC: Interactions that Changed China.  Formerly: Pro-Vice-Chancellor, University of Oxford (2005-10); Warden, Merton College, Oxford (1994-10); Keeper, Department of Oriental Antiquities, British Museum (1987-94).

Ms Yvette Vaughan Jones 
Chief Executive, Visiting Arts, Institute of Contemporary Arts, London (2005-); Member, Cultural Cities Network; UK Representative, EU working group on Cultural Mobility.  Formerly: Director, Cultural Programme for Cardiff (2005); Founder/Director, Wales Arts International; Cultural and Regional Policy Manager, Wales European Centre, Brussels.

Mr Jon Williams 
World News Editor, BBC (2006-).  Formerly: Home News Editor; Deputy Editor, Six O'Clock News and Editor, BBC's live political programmes (2000-03).

Mr Derek Wyatt 
Chairman, Trinity Hospice, London; Author, Writer and Journalist (currently Financial Times and The Times).  Formerly: Member of Parliament (Labour) (1997-2010); Founder (2000), Oxford Internet Institute.

Dr Tiffany Jenkins 

Director, Arts and Society Programme, Institute of Ideas; Co-Editor, Culture Section, Sociology Compass; Author: Contesting Human Remains in Museum Collections (Routledge 2010); Keeping Their Marbles: How the Treasures of Antiquity Ended Up in Museums - And Why They Should Stay (OUP forthcoming 2013).  Formerly: Visiting Fellow, Department of Law, London School of Economics.

Dr Alberta Arthurs

Principal, Arthurs.us; Board Member: Tribeca Film Institute, League of American Orchestras, Exit Art; Advisory Board Member: New York University, PEN American Center, Rauschenberg Foundation.  Formerly: MEM Associates, New York; Director, program on culture and development, Council on Foreign Relations (1996-97); Director of Arts and Humanities, Rockefeller Foundation, New York; President, Chatham College (1977-82).

Dr Michael Auslin
Resident Scholar in Asian and Security Studies and Director of Japan Studies, American Enterprise Institute, Washington DC (2007-); Columnist, The Wall Street Journal.  Formerly: Associate Professor of History, Yale University (2000-07).  Author, Pacific Cosmopolitans: A Cultural History of US-Japan Relations (Harvard University Press, 2011).

Dr Judith Baroody
Senior Resident Fellow, German Marshall Fund of the United States; Senior Foreign Service Officer (Minister Counselor), US Department of State.  Formerly: Director of Public Affairs, US Embassy, Paris; Chairman, US-France Fulbright Board; Senior Advisor, Office of Rule of Law, US Embassy, Baghdad; Director of Public Diplomacy, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs.

Ms Rebecca Blunk
Executive Director, New England Foundation for the Arts.

Mr Ben Cameron
Program Director for the Arts, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, New York (2006-).  Formerly: Executive Director, Theatre Communications Group; Director of the Theater Program, National Endowment for the Arts.

Dr Vishakha Desai 
President, Asia Society, New York.

Mr Michael DiNiscia
Associate Director, John Brademas Center for the Study of Congress, New York University; Member of The Advisory Council, The American Ditchley Foundation.  Formerly: Special Assistant to the Chairman, National Endowment for Democracy; Council on Foreign Relations; Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs.

Ambassador J Adam Ereli 
Principal  Deputy Assistant  Secretary of  State for  Educational and Cultural  Affairs, US Department of State(2011-).  Formerly: Ambassador to the Kingdom of Bahrain (2007-11); Senior Advisor to the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy (2006-07); Deputy Spokesman of the State Department (2003-06); Deputy Chief of Mission, US Embassy, Qatar (2000-03).

Dr Emile Nakhleh 
National Intelligence Council Associate; Member, Council on Foreign Relations; Research Professor, University of New Mexico; Author: A Necessary Engagement: Reinventing America's Relations with the Muslim World (2009); Bahrain: Political Development in a Modernizing Society (1976, 2011).  Formerly: Senior Intelligence Service Officer; Founder and Director, Political Islam Strategic Analysis Program, Central Intelligence Agency.

Professor Philip Seib 
Professor of Journalism and Public Diplomacy, Professor of International Relations, and Director, Center on Public Diplomacy, University of Southern California, Los Angeles (2007 -).

Dr Wang Jian 

Fellow, Center on Public Diplomacy, and Associate Professor, School for Communication and Journalism, Annenberg School, University of Southern California, Los Angeles.  Formerly: Senior Communications Specialist, McKinsey & Company.