Nordic Ministers of Culture and representatives of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden, as well as Greenland, the Faroe Islands, and Åland met with Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Tara Sonenshine on February 20 at the U.S. Department of State to mark the opening of the Nordic Cool 2013 festival. Presented by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Nordic Cool 2013 highlights the culture and heritage of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Greenland, Faroe Islands, and the Åland Islands. The international celebration, which runs from February 19 through March 17, features traditional and contemporary expressions of theater, dance, music, visual arts, literature, design, film, and cuisine.
During their meeting, Under Secretary Sonenshine and the Nordic Ministers of Culture discussed the importance of cultural diplomacy as a vehicle for building mutual understanding in an increasingly interconnected world. Recent programs sponsored by U.S. Embassies in the Nordics have focused on engaging U.S. and Nordic Somali diaspora communities as well advancing scientific research in the Arctic.
All meeting participants emphasized the importance and value of cultural exchange, in particular the ability of artists to be able to continue to engage in cultural exchanges and collaborations on both sides of the Atlantic. The group also discussed joint ambitions to analyze the best ways of facilitating such exchanges in order to increase cultural exchanges between the United States and the Nordic Countries.
More information on the Nordic Cool 2013 festival can be found at http://www.kennedy-center.org/programs/festivals/12-13/nordic/.