Public event

International cultural relations in the digital age: what’s next?

How successful are digital approaches to foreign cultural and education policy and why? How well do they mesh with traditional FCEP? Does the potentially greater reach of digital activities lead to better outcomes? Can everyone participate?

A panel discussion on the prospects and challenges in an increasingly connected but also fragmented world with Corneliu Bjola (Oxford Department of International Development), Nicholas J. Cull (University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication), Ojoma Ochai (The Creative Economy Practice at Co-Creation Hub Nigeria)  and Manouchehr Shamsrizi ( and RetroBrain R&D) moderated by Samir Nasr (filmmaker and publisher). This event also features Helmut Anheier (Hertie School) and is hosted in cooperation with ifa.

The External Cultural Policy Monitor is a new online system that was jointly developed by the Hertie School and ifa. It presents key information about the external cultural policy (ECP) of countries across the world in a systematic and concise way. Regularly updated, it offers quantitative data, context information and cross-country comparisons. On its inauguration, the panellists will discuss the state of international cultural relations in an increasingly connected but also fragmented world, focussing particularly on the challenges and opportunities practitioners and policymakers face as the digitalisation of ECP accelerates.


  • Opening input

    • Helmut Anheier is Professor of Sociology at the Hertie School. He served as President of the Hertie School from 2009 to 2018. He is also a member of the faculty at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Luskin School of Public Affairs and visiting professor at LSE Ideas, London School of Economics and Political Science. He held a Chair of Sociology at Heidelberg University´s Max Weber Institute and served as founding Academic Director of its Centre for Social Investment and Innovation. He was the Academic Co-Director of the Dahrendorf Forum, a joint initiative by the Hertie School and the London School of Economics and Political Science. He received his PhD from Yale University in 1986, was a senior researcher at the Johns Hopkins University’s Institute for Policy Studies, Professor of Public Policy and Social Welfare at UCLA among others.
    • Edward Knudsen is a Research Associate at the Hertie School. His focus lays on transatlantic politics and economics. Previously, he worked in the “US and the Americas Programme” at Chatham House on projects which explored the future of transatlantic economic and security relations. He also gained work experience researching economic history at the University of California, Berkeley and Humboldt University in Berlin. He holds a Master’s in International Political Economy from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
  • Panelists

    • Corneliu Bjola is Associate Professor in Diplomatic Studies at the University of Oxford and Head of the Oxford Digital Diplomacy Research Group. He also serves as a Faculty Fellow at the Center on Public Diplomacy at the University of Southern California and as a Professorial Lecturer at the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna. Nicholas J. Cull is professor of public diplomacy at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication. He is a well-known scholar of the history of the role of communication in foreign policy. He has worked with many diplomatic academies, cultural agencies and foreign ministries around the world including those of the US, UK, Canada, Netherlands, South Korea, Ukraine and India. He is originally from the UK.
    • Ojoma Ochai is Managing Partner of The Creative Economy Practice at CC Hub which has a mission to promote intra African and global trade and collaboration that will stimulate African Creative Economy growth. Her previous experience includes being Regional Director for British Council’s Sub-Saharan Africa Arts and Creative Economy Programme. She is also a member of the UNESCO Expert Panel on the 2005 Convention on Cultural Expressions. She has worked with other institutions like the Swedish Arts Council, World Bank and others over the last 15 years’ experience supporting the development of the global Creative Economy through contributions to various initiatives including Capacity Building, Research and Technical Assistance.
    • Manouchehr Shamsrizi is a co-founder of Humboldt University zu Berlin’s and a co-founder of the Yunus Centre for Social Business and Values at Leuphana Universität Lüneburg, a collaboration with Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Prof. Muhammad Yunus which he has initiated. Former Ariane de Rothschild Fellow of Innovative Social Entrepreneurship at the University of Cambridge and Global Justice Fellow at Yale University, a Fellow of the German Council on Foreign Relations, and was honoured as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a Leader of Tomorrow of the University of St. Gallen, and a Global Shaper of the World Economic Forum. Primarily background in political philosophy, holding a Master of Public Policy.
  • Moderator

    Samir Nasr is a film director, scriptwriter, editor and lecturer. A graduate from the Baden-Württemberg Film Academy with a focus on directing and scriptwriting, Samir Nasr received several awards for his documentary and fiction works. For more than 20 years he has conducted workshops and taught in Europe and the Arab World, recently at the University of Arts/Berlin, FH Dortmund and Film University Babelsberg, Potsdam. His latest movie SHARAF - a German, Tunisian, French production - will have its world premiere in December 2021 at the competition of the Red Sea Festival. He lives in Berlin and Cairo.

  • Recap and closing remarks

    Odila Triebel is Head of Section Dialogue and Research “Culture and Foreign” at ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen).


Hosted in cooperation with ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen)