The EU Centre in Singapore hosted a one-day workshop on 21 March 2014 (Friday) on “The role of EU Centres in the Public Diplomacy of the EU”.
The EU Centre initiative was conceived in the late 1990s as part of the EU’s public diplomacy strategy to promote awareness and understanding of the EU beyond its border. Following the launch of the EU Centre initiative in the US and Canada in 1998 also as a way to forge closer transatlantic partnership, the initiative has been widened to cover the industrialised countries in the Asia-Pacific. By 2013 there were in total 37 EU Centres (10 in US, 5 in Canada, 6 in Russia, 4 in Japan, 4 in Korea, 3 in Australia, 1 each in New Zealand, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau).
By the EU’s own account, the objectives of the EU Centres are threefold (http://eeas.europa.eu/eu-centres/index_en.htm):
- · To promote greater understanding of the EU, its institutions and its policies;
- · To disseminate information and EU views on issues of interest within regional communities; and
- · To increase awareness about the political, economic and cultural importance of the relationship between the EU and the specific country
The objective of this workshop is to bring together the heads or senior representatives of the various EU Centres in the Asia-Pacific to discuss what they understood by public diplomacy and how they translate their understanding to the activities that the Centres / Institutes carried out. The workshop will also discuss some of the challenges faced in the respective environment that each Centre/Institute operates under, and how the EU Centre / Institute can realistically contribute to the public diplomacy of the EU.
More specifically, at the end of the workshop, we hope to produce a book that will capture the various ways public diplomacy is conceived and exercised, and the role of the EU Centre / Institute in EU public diplomacy. The book will also contain a section highlighting the concerted efforts of the various EU Centres / Institutes to fulfill the objectives of the grant agreement and play a role in the public diplomacy of the EU.
In addition, we also hope that this workshop can be used to explore a joint research proposal for either Horizon 2020 or Jean Monnet funding on a broader theme to examine and evaluate the conduct of diplomacy and assess the effectiveness of public diplomacy of the EU in various Asia-Pacific countries.