Fatemeh Kamali-Chirani: Cultural Diplomacy & ICD

Guest PostsCultural Diplomacy, Intercultural Dialogue, and Sustainable Development: A View of the Cultural Diplomacy Potential of the City of Islamabad. Guest post by Fatemeh Kamali-Chirani.

Cultural diplomacy based on intercultural dialogue creates trust by assuring the equality of all partners engaging in communication.

After concluding my PhD on intercultural dialogue between Muslim and Western countries (with a focus on the foreign cultural policies of Iran and Germany), I experienced one of the most attractive career opportunities of my life. Specifically, I started to work as a researcher (at the Sustainable Development Policy Institute) and a teacher (at the School of Politics and International Relations, Qauid-i-Azam University) in the fields of development and international relations in Pakistan.

Development as a discipline brought new light to my understanding about culture. I learned about the significance of “sustainable” development and its 17 goals (SDGs). In terms of a definition, I learned that it means development that “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987, often called the Brundtland Report). Sustainable development thus requires change through culture. That piqued my curiosity as to why despite all attempts of the UN state members and international organizations like the World Bank still culture, which must be taken as a driving engine of integration of nations to serious change, is neglected and has not yet gotten the attention it deserves. Culture, even rhetorically, is just not a part of the SDGs’ list. Yet it needs to be.

Download the complete essay as a PDF.

Fatemeh Kamali-Chirani Interview

“Interviews”Dr. Fatemeh Kamali-Chirani was interviewed about international relations, intercultural dialogue, and refugee work on February 4, 2021, by Rehana Paul, CID intern.

Dr. Kamali-Chirani answers the following questions:

  • What is the role of intercultural dialogue in International Relations?
  • How does refugee work require an understanding of dialogue between cultures?

For a comparison of international communication with intercultural, intracultural, and cross-cultural communication, see CID Posters, #4: Types of cultural communication.

Cultural Diplomacy in the Times of COVID-19 (Pakistan)

EventsCultural Diplomacy in the Times of COVID-19, as part of 23rd Sustainable Development Conference, Islamabad, Pakistan, 14-17 December, 2020.

The Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) is pleased to announce its Twenty-third Sustainable Development Conference (SDC) from 14 – 17 December 2020 in Islamabad, Pakistan. The overarching theme of this year’s Conference is Sustainable Development in the Times of COVID-19. This year, keeping the COVID-19 pandemic in mind, organizers are looking at a conference where some speakers will be able to attend in person taking care of the social distancing and other precautionary measures, while the rest will participate through a web-based platform meant for virtual conference.

Cultural Diplomacy in the Times of COVID-19

Culture is one of the main topics of this conference. The panel “Cultural Diplomacy in the Times of COVID-19” is scheduled on 16th December, 1.45-3.15 pm (Pakistan Standard Time). The panel is supported by both SDPI and the German foundation, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, Pakistan, and will be chaired by Dr. Fatemeh Kamali- Chirani, who is affiliated with CID.

Kamali-Chirani: Does Intercultural Dialogue Matter?

“BookKamali-Chirani, Fatemeh. (2019).  Does intercultural dialogue matter? The role of intercultural dialogue in the foreign cultural policy of Iran and Germany. Berlin: Lit Verlag.

Fatemeh Kamali-Chirani examines intercultural dialogue as part of the foreign relations between Germany and Iran. She asks: “What role has intercultural dialogue played with regard to the foreign cultural policy of Iran and Germany towards each other, and why?” (p. 18).

Perhaps the most important quote from the book is this, from page 158, because it applies to all contexts, not just Iran-Germany exchanges:

It is necessary but not sufficient to offer dialogue; it is also necessary that the other side accepts to join the dialogue.

Kamali-Chirani first describes the foreign cultural policy of each country, and then presents details of a series of specific organizations and projects intended to further intercultural dialogue. In Iran, the most typical terms are “interfaith dialogue” and “dialogue among civilizations,” whereas Germany often uses “European-Islamic cultural dialogue.” This section is arranged by organization attempting dialogue, populated with quotes from the main actors. She gained remarkable access, up to and including the separate forewords by Mohammad Khatami (former President of Iran, known for promoting dialogue among civilizations as a goal) and Kurt-Jurgen Maas (former Secretary General, Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations).

In the end, Kamali-Chirani concludes that “Intercultural dialogue was an instrument of political goals, not a goal by itself” (p. 198). Her final thought: “participants mostly agree that it was worth the effort, and that they should continue. This author, after spending five years of research on the topic, tends to agree.”

KC14 Dialogue Translated into German

Key Concepts in ICDContinuing translations of Key Concepts in Intercultural Dialogue, today I am posting KC#14: Dialogue, which John Stewart wrote for publication in English in 2014, and which Fatemeh Kamali-Chirani has now translated into German.

As always, all Key Concepts are available as free PDFs; just click on the thumbnail to download. Lists of Key Concepts organized chronologically by publication date and number, alphabetically by concept, and by languages into which they have been translated, are available, as is a page of acknowledgments with the names of all authors, translators, and reviewers.

KC14 Dialogue_GermanStewart, J. (2018). Dialogue [German]. (F. Kamali-Chirani, trans). Key Concepts in Intercultural Dialogue, 14. Available from:
https://centerforinterculturaldialogue.files.wordpress.com/2018/12/kc14-dialogue_german.pdf

If you are interested in translating one of the Key Concepts, please contact me for approval first because dozens are currently in process. As always, if there is a concept you think should be written up as one of the Key Concepts, whether in English or any other language, propose it. If you are new to CID, please provide a brief resume. This opportunity is open to masters students and above, on the assumption that some familiarity with academic conventions generally, and discussion of intercultural dialogue specifically, are useful.

Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz, Director
Center for Intercultural Dialogue


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Cultural Civil War

Resources in ICD“ width=Hippler, J., & Kamali-Chirani, F. (2018). Cultural civil war. In European Union National Institutes for Culture, Culture Report: EUNIC Yearbook 2017/2018 (pp. 36-41). Stuttgart, Germany:  European Union National Institutes for Culture.

Brief overview provided by the authors:

For a long time, Europe and the United States have presented themselves through “Western values” such as liberalism, liberty, and democracy; nevertheless, currently they are in a state of what can be described as cultural civil war. On one hand stands US President, Donald Trump, who proudly applies the “America first” policy. On the other hand stands Brexit, which demonstrates the rise of populism and Euroscepticism in the UK. At the same time, governments in Poland and Hungary are cultivating extreme nationalist discourses, again with strong xenophobic elements and anti-Muslim hysteria. Remarkably, there has also been a weakening of the independence of the courts, restricting freedom of expression, and aiming for a kind of democracy controlled from above. In France, the Netherlands, Austria, Germany, and Italy there has been a rise of right-wing populist movements doing well at the polls. Such trends are not specific to the West alone. Putin, Erdoğan, and Duterte are part of the right-wing populism that has emerged on every continent. We have to accept that today we are going through a cultural civil war. Jochen Hippler and Fatemeh Kamali-Chirani argue in their article that this war is not being fought with weapons but in people’s minds at the grassroots of society, online, on radio and TV, and in print media. They also present solutions for how to win this war by dealing with the causes of the breakdown of the political culture in the West, and by going on the offensive culturally, in order to re-conquer the hill of cultural hegemony.

Fatemeh Kamali-Chirani Profile

ProfilesFatemeh Kamali-Chirani (PhD) is Visiting Research Fellow for the Sustainable Development Policy Institute in Islamabad, Pakistan. She completed her PhD at the University of Augsburg, Germany, with a Scholarship from Brot für die Welt (a German Protestant development organization).

Fatemeh Kamali-Chirani

Born in Rasht, Iran, Fatemeh completed a BA in Journalism, and an MA in North American (Cultural) Studies, both at the University of Teheran. She worked in Iran as a freelance journalist and NGO activist as well as an academic researcher. In Germany, while completing her PhD, she participated in international seminars and conferences. In some of them she played a role as an executive member, photographer or journalist. In 2014 she won a prize as the best journalist of the BIMUN, a UN Model Conference, in Bonn.

The role of culture in international relations has been always of interest to her. This led Fatemeh to connect her knowledge about Iranian society to her new awareness about German society. The focus of her dissertation (“Intercultural Dialogue between Muslim and Western Countries: An Analysis of Foreign Cultural Policy of Iran and Germany from 1998 to 2013”) was on cultural activities implemented under the different discourses of intercultural dialogue, including “European-Islamic cultural dialogue” (on the German side) and “interfaith dialogue,” and “dialogue among civilizations” (on the Iranian side).

Between March 2016 and August 2019 Fatemeh volunteered with the Flüchtlingshilfe Neudorf (a refugee aid association), assisting especially Iranian and Afghan refugees as an integration- and social-mediator. Since 2018 she has been a member of the team of Integration and Language Mediators of the Kommunal Integrationszentrum (a local integration center) in Duisburg. She worked in a Migration and Social Policy Research Group, of Institute for Work, Skills and Training (IAQ), University of Duisburg-Essen, as advisor. The study focused on the governance, shaping, and use of (local) social policy with reference to refugee migration.

In May 2019 Fatemeh published her first book, a short version of her PhD, Does Intercultural Dialogue matter? The Role of Intercultural Dialogue in the Foreign Cultural Policy of Iran and Germany.

Since September 2019 Fatemeh has lived in Islamabad, Pakistan, as an expat partner. She is currently searching for new challenges (career? field study? job?) in Pakistan, to develop her career, specifically in the fields of intercultural dialogue, civil society, women, migration and refugees.

For further details, see her LinkedIn profile.

Selected publications:

In English

Kamali-Chirani, F. (2019). Review of Afiya S. Zia’s  Faith and feminism in Pakistan: Religious agency or secular autonomy? Digest of Middle East Studies, pp. 1-4. https://doi.org/10.1111/dome.12192

Kamali-Chirani, F. (2019). Does intercultural dialogue matter? The role of intercultural dialogue in the foreign cultural policy of Iran and Germany. Münster, Germany: Lit Verlag.

Kamali-Chirani, F. (2019). Review of Mohammad Zaman’s Islam in Pakistan: A history. Digest of Middle East Studies, 28(1),  1-5.

Hippler, J., & Kamali-Chirani, F. (2018). Cultural civil war. In European Union National Institutes for Culture, Culture Report: EUNIC Yearbook 2017/2018 (pp. 36-41). Stuttgart, Germany:  European Union National Institutes for Culture.

Kamali Chirani, F. (2018). Review of Baumgartner and Towner’s The Internet and the 2016 presidential campaign. International Journal of Communication, 12, 2940–2943.

Kamali Chirani, F. (2018). Review of Miriam Müller’s A spectre is haunting Arabia: How the Germans brought their communism to Yemen. Middle East Media and Reviews, 6(3).

Kamali Chirani, F. (2018) Review of Yadullah Shahibzadeh’s The Iranian political language: From the late nineteenth century to the present. Digest of Middle East Studies, 27(1), 157-160.

Kamali Chirani, F. (2017). Incapability of institutional structures as an obstacle for the intercultural dialogue between Iran and Germany. In O. Ernst (Ed.), Iran-Reader 2017 (pp. 109-111). Sankt Augustin/Berlin: Konrad-Adenauer Stiftung.

In German

Kamali Chirani, F. (2013). Dialog unter staatlicher Aufsicht [Dialogue under state supervision]. Welt-Sichten Journal, 6, 46-47.

In Farsi

Kamali Chirani, F. (2018). Potānsielhāy-e Goftoguy-e Farhangi dar Jāme’ey-e Ālmān [Potentials of intercultural dialogue in German society] Dialog Center of the Imam Musa Sadr Institut.

Shokrkhah, Y., &Shokrkhah, Y.Kamali Chirani, F. (2009). Ruznāmenegāri Hamrāh va Pušeš-e Xabari Jang-e Iraq: Motāle’āt-e Muredi-ye Foxnews [Embedded journalism and coverage of the 2003 Iraq war: Case study by Foxnews]. Iranian Journal of Cultural Research, 2(5), 156-171.


Work for CID:

Fatemeh Kamali-Chirani has written a guest post, Cultural diplomacy, intercultural dialogue, and sustainable development: A view of the cultural diplomacy potential of the city of Islamabad; translated KC14: Dialogue into German, and then KC14: Dialogue into Persian; and was interviewed about international relations and its connection to intercultural dialogue.

KC14 Dialogue Translated into Persian

Key Concepts in ICDContinuing translations of Key Concepts in Intercultural Dialogue, today I am posting KC#14: Dialogue, which John Stewart wrote for publication in English in 2014, and which Fatemeh Kamali-Chirani has now translated into Persian.

As always, all Key Concepts are available as free PDFs; just click on the thumbnail to download. Lists of Key Concepts organized chronologically by publication date and number, alphabetically by concept, and by languages into which they have been translated, are available, as is a page of acknowledgments with the names of all authors, translators, and reviewers.

KC14 Dialogue_PersianStewart, J. (2018). Dialogue [Persian]. (F. Kamali-Chirani, trans). Key Concepts in Intercultural Dialogue, 14. Available from:
https://centerforinterculturaldialogue.files.wordpress.com/2018/08/kc14-dialogue_persian.pdf

If you are interested in translating one of the Key Concepts, please contact me for approval first because dozens are currently in process. As always, if there is a concept you think should be written up as one of the Key Concepts, whether in English or any other language, propose it. If you are new to CID, please provide a brief resume. This opportunity is open to masters students and above, on the assumption that some familiarity with academic conventions generally, and discussion of intercultural dialogue specifically, are useful.

Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz, Director
Center for Intercultural Dialogue


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.