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Clockwise from top left: Linda Zachrison, Aviva Rosenthal, Rachel Cooper, and Dana Al-Marashi

Clockwise from top left: Linda Zachrison, Aviva Rosenthal, Rachel Cooper, and Dana Al-Marashi. Photos courtesy of the participants.

  • Story Circle: Cultural Diplomacy for a Post-COVID World

    Join us for the Smithsonian Folklife Festival’s next Story Circle exploring the power cultural diplomacy can have in a post-COVID world, streaming live on the Smithsonian Folklife Facebook page on Thursday, May 21, at noon EDT. RSVP on the event page to get a notification when it begins.

    Rachel Cooper, Director of Cultural Diplomacy, Asia Society New York
    Dana Al Marashi, Head of Cultural Diplomacy, Embassy of the United Arab Emirates—Washington, D.C.
    Aviva Rosenthal, Director, Smithsonian Office of International Relations
    Linda Zachrison, Cultural Counselor, Embassy of Sweden—Washington, D.C.

    “One thing that the pandemic has shown us very clearly is that there’s no separating any of us. We are all deeply, intrinsically connected.”

    From the jazz ambassadors in the 1950s to a new generation of Sámi filmmakers, culture-bearers have been at the forefront of efforts to foster global dialogue and connection. The Smithsonian Folklife Festival, too, can be seen as an act of cultural diplomacy. From research to programming, its work is grounded in the deceptively simple notion that culture and creativity have the power to foster mutual understanding. With COVID-19, we, like so many others, are compelled to radically rethink how we achieve this.

    Join us for a timely conversation with four women whose work demonstrates that cultural power is not now, nor has ever been, “soft.” Its strength is drawn from a profound attention to relationships and diverse ways of knowing and being. Cultural diplomacy is uniquely positioned to nurture a quality of exchange leading to empathy and respect—just the tools needed to build a post-COVID future.

    This event is presented in collaboration with the Smithsonian Office of International Relations.


    Real-time captioning will be available for this presentation, available at this link: We recommend opening it in a separate browser window or on a separate device.

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