With its track record and ability in implementing diplomacy, Qatar has become the cultural and economic capital, Katara - the Cultural Village general manager Dr Khaled bin Ibrahim al-Sulaiti has said.

The chairman of the Global Public Diplomatic Network (GPDNet) was addressing the sixth General Assembly of the network on its opening day at Katara on Monday.

“Qatar has succeeded in implementing diplomacy and the youth here is capable to deal with the challenges,” al-Sulaiti said.

The opening session was attended by HE Dr Ahmed bin Hassan al-Hammadi, secretary general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA); Darwish Ahmed al-Shaibani, secretary general of GPDNet; Dr Khaled Aba al-Zemat, assistant secretary general of GPDNet; and heads of delegations from Turkey, South Korea, Hungary, Taiwan, Nigeria, Singapore, Mexico, Mozambique and the Philippines along with representatives from universities and educational institutions and academics, information technology experts and social media specialists.

Dr al-Sulaiti said that cultural diplomacy has established a new approach in international relations by serving political and economic relations. “It relies on the soft power of culture, arts and literature, and thus has become a gateway for cooperation and exchange of knowledge, a bridge for dialogue and a platform for making friendship between nations and promoting understanding,” he said.

The general manager, who explained that Katara plays a pivotal role in enhancing cultural relationship by supporting art and culture, said it wanted to develop cultural relations and co-operation by joining the network. “By chairing the General Assembly Katara wants to develop cultural relations and cooperation by opening new horizons in exchanging information, technical proficiency, and strategic experiences. Thus, we could identify the available capabilities for establishing joint cultural projects and achieve the targeted goals of the network,” he said.

The assembly hosted by Qatar for the first time is organised by Katara in co-operation with Qatar University and conclude on January 22.

HE Dr al-Hammadi said that public international diplomacy is advancing today and becoming a bridge for communication between nations. “It’s an instrument for change towards the best in mutual relations", he said noting that Qatar has a distinguished and leading experience in adopting public international diplomacy, as the country has succeeded in enhancing its position and active presence in public international diplomacy by achieving a set of projects in the fields of culture, sports, education, economics and media that are considered as soft power sources,” he said.

Dr Ibrahim al- Kaabi, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences in Qatar University, said that holding the first conference of the Global Public Diplomacy Network assumes significance as it bridges the gap between countries and peoples of the world through soft power based on culture, sports and literature. He pointed out that Qatar plays a positive role, at the regional and international levels, in spreading the culture of peace.

The first day witnessed paper presentation by experts from member states. Bisra Turkovic, ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina, spoke about ‘Locally-embedded civil society organisations and cultural diplomacy,’ during which she selected the case study of ‘mothers of Srebrenica” and there advocacy roles in promoting culture of remembrance’. Professor Tuan Kim's working paper also spoke about the ‘actors of public diplomacy and the conditions for success’, while Dr Saleh bin Rajab reviewed ‘public diplomatic organisations, the concept of soft power and it's application and communication, sport and it's effective role in public diplomacy, the role of the media in public diplomacy."

Today, a workshop on social media will be held and it will be attended by specialists, heads of companies and international experts in information technology and modern media sector.

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