The cultural diplomacy program focuses on enhancing public opinion and cross-cultural understanding of Australia and India, through policy-oriented research and analysis on important bilateral issues including diaspora communities, people to people links, arts and culture, youth and innovation, international education, research collaboration, sports diplomacy and gender equality.
The Australia-India relationship is one built on people-to-people links, identified in the India Economic Strategy to 2035 as “the most significant asset of all”. The Australia India Institute recognises that both countries seek to project their power and influence through people, society and culture. Celebrating the efforts of Indian Australians, engaging the community, raising Australia’s “India literacy” and enhancing “Australia literacy” among the Indian diaspora are key focuses under the cultural diplomacy program. Former Australian diplomat and AII Distinguished Fellow John McCarthy recognises cultural diplomacy, or ‘soft power’, as a key policy tool within regional institutions also, such as the QUAD.
Through engagement with policy-makers, leading experts, analysts and researchers, the cultural diplomacy program aims to develop shared understandings of soft power assets as diplomatic tools in the Australia-India relationship. This includes cooperation in governance, tourism, education, student mobility, research collaboration, sports diplomacy, gender equality, youth and innovation, arts and culture, and diaspora engagement.
The cultural diplomacy program aims to make an important contribution to public debate and policy development in Australia and India.