The German Federal Foreign Office has just published the 22nd Annual Report on its foreign cultural and educational policy, the “AKBP”. Germany has a unique history in having had a strong and continuing commitment to cultural relations as the “third pillar” of its foreign policy for many years. The policy stresses the roles of many “arms length” or intermediary actors, reflecting the federal and devolved structure of German governance and civil society. There are lessons to be learned from the German approach for other countries, particularly the way the strategy explicitly address foreign policy goals of peace promotion through free exchange between civil society actors.
Our new article (Chapter 3 in the book) looks at the extent to which culture really is ‘part and parcel’ of the EU’s foreign policy, as claimed by High Representative Mogherini. Is culture really strategically embedded into the EU’s external relations? What are the prospects for the strategic approach to international cultural relations? Will cultural relations really become a ‘third pillar’ of the EU’s Global Strategy, and if so, what will that mean at a time of rising nationalism and populism in Europe. As the article says, the jury is still out on all of these questions, but we believe there are some grounds for optimism. Time will tell…
Stuart MacDonald’s report for British Council Pakistan, looking at how higher education in Europe and South Asia compare in their approach to the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The report was launched at the British Council’s Going Global 2019 conference in Berlin on 14 May.
The Brexit process is today at a crucial stage. In the UK, it is polarising opinion and creating divisions across a number of fault lines in British society between generations, geographies of inequality, cosmopolitan liberals and more rural conservatives, communities divided by historical conflicts of religion or nationality. In the European Union, similar tensions are everywhere – at the time of writing in France, above all, with the gilets jaunes, in Andalusia with the reappearance of far‐right politics in Spain, not to mention in Hungary with the Central European University forced out of Budapest.