Download the 2009 Aspen Cultural Diplomacy Forum Program Book, featuring presenter bios and program information.

The Forum featured a combination of keynote addresses, plenary panels, and in-depth open discussions in small groups. These sessions provided actionable information about key players, networks, models of exchanges, and case studies, and explored solutions for selected cultural diplomacy concerns. The Forum also recognized excellence and innovation in cultural diplomacy by presenting the 2009 Aspen Cultural Diplomacy Award. The theme of Culture and Security framed the Aviles dialogue around two sub-themes.

I. Cultural Dimensions of Human and global Security
Under this sub-theme, the Forum focused on the culture of peace and addressed the mainstreaming of culture as a political priority for sustainable security. Participants discussed not only the general failure to recognize the important part culture can play in ensuring human security for stability on all levels, but also revisited the myths and realities of culture wars and modern taboos as they related to political, ideological, religious, generational, and socioeconomic tensions that fuel a wide range of conflicts - including armed ones - within and across societies.

II. Security of Arts and Culture
This sub-theme focusd on the protection and promotion of cultural assets for sustainable livelihoods and on peace building. Participants tackled a set of urgent issues, including the relationship between culture and economy, which would be illustrated by looking at the role of cultural and social entrepreneurs, the state of arts markets and their impact on income generation and financial security. A further emphasis was on how cultural property continued to be threatened with destruction in arenas of armed conflict or fell prey to looting and illicit traffic, and how technological prowess and globalization both accentuated these threats and simultaneously built global awareness and a shared determination to combat them.

The agenda of the Forum included the following sessions and activities:

Monday, September 14
19:00: Premiere Screening “A Cry For Peace”: Pablo Casals, a new film by Academy Award winner Robert Snyder

Tuesday, September 15

10:00 – 17:00


12:30 – 13:30

Cultural Diplomacy Fellows Meeting

14:00 – 15:45

Roundtable: Diplomacy of Dance

16:00 – 17:45

Roundtable: Cultural Diplomacy Resources

18:00 – 18:30

Opening Remarks

18:30 - 19:30

Opening plenary session: Culture of Peace: Economic Crisis, Modern Taboos, and Emotional Tensions

19:30 – 20:30

Cocktail Dînatoire

21:00:  22:00

Public Cultural Event:  “Dance for All”

 Wednesday, September 16

9:30 – 11:00

Plenary session: Culture as a Political Priority: Sustainable Security
Culture and the Shaping of National/Regional Security Policies

11:00 – 11:15


11:15 – 12:15

Plenary session: Countering Human Trafficking: Socio-Cultural Barriers

12:30 – 14:00

Concurrent discussion sessions

  • In the Name of Security: Human Rights and Civil Liberties Under Attack
  • In the Name of Culture: Environmental and Health Security Risks

14:00 - 15:30

Working Lunch:  Engaging Difference and Battling Extremism: Living with Diversity

16:00 – 17:30

Concurrent Sessions

  • Culture of Violence: Child Soldiers and Street Gangs
  • Culture of Security: Cyberspace and Underground Battlegrounds

17:30 – 18:30

Plenary Session:  Strengthening Global Security: Smart Power and Military Might

19:00 – 20:00

Diplomacy of Arts and Culture: Conversation with Youssou N’Dour

20:30 – 21:30

Cocktail Dînatoire


Cultural Diplomacy Award Ceremony
Public Concert: Youssou NDOUR & Le Super Etoile de Dakar

Thursday, September 17

10:00 – 11:30

Plenary Session: Cultural and Social Entrepreneurship: Poverty Alleviation and Cultural Security

11:30 – 11:45


11:45 – 12:30

Plenary Session:  Protection of Cultural Property: War, Looting, and Criminal Acts

12:45 – 14:00

Concurrent discussion sessions

  • Restitution of Stolen Art
  • Intellectual Property Rights and Protection of Artists


Working Lunch:  Financial Security: Global Economy and Arts Markets

15:45 – 17:15

Closing plenary session: Pursuit of Happiness: Cultural Security and World Peace on a Balance Beam

17:15 – 18:00

Cultural Diplomacy Network Reception

18:30 – 20:30

Meeting of the International Advisory Council of the Global Initiative on Culture and Society