Ministers Petříček, Zaorálek team up to promote Czech culture abroad

Lubomír Zaorálek, photo: ČTK/Luděk Peřina

Culture is often said to be the Czech Republic’s first ambassador, which plays a key if at times intangible role in bolstering the country’s reputation. With that in mind, Minister of Foreign Affairs Tomáš Petříček and Minister of Culture Lubomír Zaorálek have just signed a memorandum on how to best develop a vibrant “cultural diplomacy”.

On the occasion of the signing of the Memorandum on Cooperation, Minister Petříček said he firmly believes the initiative will lead to even better coordination and greater efficiency in the presentation of both Czech culture and the country as a whole.

“There can be no doubt that Czech culture is one of our best export items. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, through its network of embassies and in cooperation with the contributory organization Czech Centers, strives to make the best possible use of its possibilities in promoting national interests, to which the creation of a good image of the Czech Republic undoubtedly belongs.”

For his part, Minister of Culture Lubomír Zaorálek – who from 2014 to 2017 was himself the country’s foreign minister – said that he had always thought that presentation of culture abroad was a natural aspect of a sound Czech foreign policy.

“So I am glad that by signing this memorandum, both ministries clearly declare this interest. True, the current situation caused by Covid-19 pandemic has made cultural exchanges nearly impossible for us. However, it is necessary to set parameters for such future presentation abroad so that as soon as the pandemic subsides, we can to return to normal.”

Tomáš Petříček,  photo: Michaela Danelová / Czech Radio

The Memorandum, signed on Wednesday, sets out specific areas of cooperation, especially within the cultural and creative industries, which are already contributing to the development of the economy and are expected to become increasingly important in the future.

Ministers Petříček and Zaorálek have therefore agreed, among other things, to promote the Czech Republic as a “film friendly” destination and to support the translation of Czech literature. Their ministries will also support the presentation of Czech artists at major international fairs, as well as promote traditional arts and crafts.

The newly declared cooperation also includes support for cultural activities of expatriate associations abroad and the implementation of Projects of Economic Diplomacy, or PROPED. As part of these projects, Czech embassies will host more cultural presentations and sectoral presentations of domestic entrepreneurs in creative industries and many other fields.