Cultural diplomacy & the reproduction of identity and memory: the centenaries of Estonia, Finland, Latvia, and Lithuania



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Tartu Ülikool


In 2017 and 2018, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, and Lithuania celebrated the hundredth anniversary of their independence. Considering these countries have limited international visibility due to their limited resources, population density and territory size, such milestones represent an extraordinary opportunity to resolve the situation. The practice of cultural diplomacy within the realm of diplomacy continues to be underestimated. Since most of its understanding is still stained by the Cold War period and its research focus too USA-centric, the practice of cultural diplomacy continues to be misleading. Therefore, the thesis seeks to demonstrate the benefits of cultural diplomacy by applying its methods on concrete examples that have had considerable domestic and international reach. It also seeks to demonstrate its usefulness in situations where conflicts or tense relations are absent. Consequently, the cases of the centenaries of Estonia, Finland, Latvia, and Finland have been chosen to highlight the potential of cultural diplomacy for small countries, who have yet to grow on the international stage. As a result, the research has found that the practice of cultural diplomacy was noticeable in the planning, organization, and celebration of the Estonian, Finnish, Latvian, and Lithuanian centenaries, and that its impacts, along with identity and collective memory, on small countries were consequential.