Lebanon is a country filled with meaningful art and culture. It is also a country that has seen war, pain and destruction. Yet through it all, the Lebanese have put their best foot forward through soft power.
On Wednesday 6th June, discussing this perspective, Lebanon's Ambassador to the UK, HE Rami Mortada shared his thoughts on Lebanon, Culture, Soft Power, and Politics. The talk covered the Ambassador's career, getting into politics, his views and thoughts on culture and how it affects the politics in Lebanon, the refugee crisis, memories of war and how culture, the arts can unite people of all faiths. We also discussed how politics and economy go hand in hand with culture and soft power and how a balance is needed, as well as if the creative industries can help with the economy of Lebanon. We asked the Ambassador about the State, and questions regarding the need for it to help Civil Society more with the arts. We touched upon the infrastructure of the city of Beirut, what that means to culture, if foreign entities through funding, have an influence on the arts and culture of the country and if the top down approach that there sometimes is, does too. The discussion centred around the politics of Lebanon, if the fusion of arts and politics can bring people together and mainly by discussing and going through the notions of art, culture and soft power, the hard politics can be leaned into, the politics of the country can be understood, and all perspectives listened to.
The event started with a wonderful introduction by Professor Stephen Hopgood who very kindly paved the way for the evening, a full house.
H.E Ambassador Rami Mortada and Nour Saleh-Art Breath founder
Professor Stephen Hopgood introducing the evening