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Cultural and scientific diplomacy

In the implementation of Spain's foreign policy, cultural policies play a strategic role, aided by Spain’s cultural and artistic wealth and by Spanish, which is the second most widely spoken mother thonge in the word.  ​

Spain is the third country in the world with the highest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It combines a wealth of heritage with a diverse and innovative culture that has shaped its image in international society.

Her Majesty, Queen Letizia, together with the Director of the Cervantes Institute, Luis García Montero, and the State Secretary for Ibero-America and the Caribbean, and for Spanish around the World, Juan Fernández Trigo, during the inauguration of the new Cervantes Institute in Dakar (Senegal). Photo: Royal Household

In this context, cultural diplomacy constitutes one of the essential elements of Spain's image and various public institutions and bodies have been established for its promotion abroad. These include the Directorate of Cultural and Scientific Relations of the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) as the coordinating body for international cultural relations, the network of Representation and Cultural Centres attached to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation and the AECID, the Instituto Cervantes, tasked with the dissemination of the Spanish language and culture, the Directorate- General for Cultural Policy and Industries of the Secretariat of State for Culture, the Spanish State Society for Cultural Action (AC/E - Spanish acronym), which has an extensive programme of activities and initiatives that promote the mobility of professionals and creators, the Fundación Carolina, which focuses on the educational and scientific fields, and the ICEX, whose participation in cultural action abroad is carried out through the Division of Cultural Industries.​

Minister José Manuel Albares and Santiago Muñoz Machado, Director of the Spanish Royal Academy (RAE), visit the headquarters of the institution minutes before signing a partnership agreement between AECID and ASALE. January 2021. Photo: NOLSOM-MAUC 

In recent years, Spanish science diplomacy has developed significantly. Science, technology and innovation have become real engines of social and economic progress, participating in the reconfiguration of the future world. Their growing influence in all social spheres and, especially, in international relations, gives science, technology and innovation diplomacy an increasing importance that contributes to strengthening a country's international presence and image in the world.

Science diplomacy focuses on four areas set by the General State Administration: research, business and the foundations and analysis centres that support research and innovation. These areas are focused on the international context that determines the importance of scientific, technological and information diplomacy, on the analysis of the responses that the main countries close to Spain have given up to now and on the recommendations of actions to contribute to the search for solutions to global challenges and to encourage and support the innovative leadership of Spanish firms. In this sense, Spain intends to improve coordination within the Public Administration, strengthening training in scientific, technological and innovation diplomacy of the State's human resources and, finally, to promote Spain's research strengths and image through communication and dissemination.

Related documentation

Directorate of Cultural a​nd Scientific Relations (AECID)It opens in new window

Cervantes InstituteIt opens in new window

AC/EIt opens in new window

Carolina FoundationIt opens in new window

ICE​XIt opens in new window

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