The Art of Encounter

In different parts of the world and to different degrees, we currently experience a rapid increase in social tensions, which frequently leads to conflicts. This is where diplomats can act as bridge-builders who seek and promote dialogue in order to help create better mutual understanding and trust.

Every year, more than 6,000 projects are developed in the Austrian international cultural network across the globe. Many of these are dialogical in their approach, and focus on the value, creation, and improvement of relationships. They all aim to find ways to start a conversation with each other, to learn from each other, and to work together. This is part of the potential of cultural diplomacy.

One key project of the “Dialogue of Cultures” Task Force is the Intercultural Achievement Award (IAA). This international award for intercultural projects is organised annually since 2014 in cooperation with the Austrian Cultural Forums, embassies and consulates-general. Prizes are awarded to successful, innovative projects in the field of intercultural dialogue. One of the goals of this award is to raise awareness of dialogue methods, both in Austria and internationally, and to encourage civil society stakeholders to take up or maintain action in this area.

“The Art of Encounter”, which was published in 2019, covers many aspects of different fields of dialogue in Austrian foreign policy, presents a structured overview of the concept of dialogue as a method of communication in diplomatic contexts, and describes it specifically in terms of its close relationship with creative processes.

A “Dialogue Vademecum”, an internal guideline on dialogue as a field of Austrian foreign policy and international cultural policy, which supports the Austrian Cultural Forums, embassies and consulates-general in their activities to promote dialogue abroad, supplements this.