In a move said to be the first of its kind, Ethiopia has agreed with Indonesia to establish a junior school correspondence program with the goal of heightening cultural diplomacy.
With more emphasis given to economic and political diplomacy in recent years, researches in the field state that Ethiopia has done little to promote cultural diplomacy through the state structure.
The establishment of the latest program aims to revitalize cultural diplomacy to further develop and sustain relations with foreign states through culture, art and education.
Launched this week, the program has brought together about 30 junior school students from two nations, in a bid to recruit young cultural ambassadors in its initial initiative.
Through the move to establish student’s correspondence program, unlike the existing trends of ministerial and ambassadorial relations, thousands of students will take part in the joint periodical virtual exchange platform and experience tours for selected members.
“Indonesia-Ethiopia correspondence program will also help enable the exchange of schools and student’s best practices, knowledge transfer, and skills development,” said Molaligne Asfaw, director of the Asia and Pacific division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
According to Molalign, students from both nations will have a common social media platform to help them in the exchange of their views and opinions, ultimately building their understanding of global trends.
During the launching event, Indonesian Ambassador to Ethiopia, Albusra Basnur said “Nowadays, countries are using cultural diplomacy as an integral part of their diplomatic activities more than ever and it is being considered as an important aspect to create a mutual understanding, cooperate, build trust, and ultimately bring change in economic, social, and political aspects.”
The Ambassador further noted that diplomacy can no longer be considered only in terms of relations centered on governments or foreign ministries; it must incorporate a much wider and complicated set of relations.
Through its revised foreign policy, Ethiopia has accorded bigger roles for cultural and public diplomacy.