Cultural Diplomacy is different from Public Diplomacy, in that it often is not as strategy oriented as it aims relationship building and fostering mutual trust and understanding by exchanging ideas, art and information – as defined by Milton C. Cummings (In Schneider, 2009).
One of the main arguments opposing forms of public diplomacy deal with the propagandistic perception associated to it, however cultural diplomacy tackles exactly that issue. According to Schneider’s article, MIT, Harvard the New School and other institutions have studied brain processes in determining attitudes towards people, societies, organizations etc., and have come to the conclusion that these attitudes are more likely dependent on emotional stimuli and perception than rational information digestion. These findings point towards the importance of cultural diplomacy as a bridge between different people and nations.
Schneider mentions the great success cultural diplomacy has had during the cold war period, when African-American Jazz artists were sent to play around the world (especially the Socialist countries), where they were deeply admired for their music, and the expression of Jazz, as well as their dissident attitudes towards the United States in the segregation era. This unusual diplomatic task has had very positive effects in signaling the level of freedom of expression as a cultural value of America. After the Cold War these initiatives have been reduced, and shortsightedly seen as unnecessary. Schneider gives many current examples where cultural diplomacy is being an effective diplomatic tool, and areas in which it should be used more, such as the divide between Western and Eastern (Muslim) viewpoints.
According to Rugh, education exchanges, along with American spaces and culture exchanges have similar positive impact on relationship building between the US and foreign publics. While cultural diplomacy might lack in the diplomatic strategy component, these means offer the ethos of emotional bonding to strategic diplomacy for smaller more targeted audiences.
I believe the most effective cultural diplomacy policy includes a good coordinated mixture of all of these components within the public diplomacy realm, which would offer an efficient policy program where each element compliments the others.