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Cablegate: Reinvigorating Public Diplomacy Cultural and Sports

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

221306Z Dec 05

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ANKARA 007519

SIPDIS

STATE FOR ECA - ASSISTANT SECRETARY DINA POWELL

E.O 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPAO OEXC SCUL TU
SUBJECT: REINVIGORATING PUBLIC DIPLOMACY CULTURAL AND SPORTS
PROGRAMS

REF: SECSTATE 222516

1. CULTURAL AND SPORTS PROGRAMS HAVE A SPECIAL PLACE IN
PUBLIC DIPLOMACY OUTREACH. IN ADDITION TO THEIR INTRINSIC
VALUE, THEY GENERATE MANY OPPORTUNITIES FOR POST TO PARTNER
WITH A VARIETY OF ORGANIZATIONS AND ENGAGE BROAD AND NON-
TRADITIONAL AUDIENCES. SUCH PROGRAMMING ADDRESSES POST'S MPP
OBJECTIVES BY OPENING COMMUNICATION AND EXCHANGE ACROSS A
BROAD SPECTRUM OF TURKISH SOCIETY. CULTURAL AND SPORTS
PROGRAMS MAKE IT POSSIBLE FOR AUDIENCES TO INTERACT WITH
AMERICANS IN NEUTRAL SETTINGS WHERE THE FOCUS IS ON PEOPLE-
TO-PEOPLE CONTACT. THEY PUT A FACE ON AMERICA AND BUILD
TRUST ON A PERSONAL BASIS. POST WELCOMES THE PROSPECT OF
REINVIGORATED PROGRAMMING IN THESE AREAS.

2. RESPONSES TO QUESTIONS:

A. ALL MISSION OBJECTIVES CAN DERIVE BENEFIT FROM CULTURAL
AND SPORTS PROGRAMMING. FOR EXAMPLE, DESPITE NEGATIVE
TURKISH PUBLIC OPINION OF U.S. POLICIES IN IRAQ AND THE
REGION IN SUMMER OF 2004, TWO ECA CULTURE CONNECT BASKETBALL
ENVOYS CREATED A SENSATION IN SOUTHEASTERN AND CENTRAL
ANATOLIA WITH A PROGRAM THAT RAN THE GAMUT IN ENGAGING THE
ENTIRE COMMUNITY. THE GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY BASKETBALL
PLAYERS' PROGRAM IN GAZIANTEP AND KAYSERI WAS ORGANIZED
THROUGH THE TURKISH SPORTS DIRECTORATE'S NATIONAL "TWELVE
GIANT MEN" SUMMER BASKETBALL CAMP PROGRAM WITH THE SUPPORT
OF LOCAL CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY AND
MUNICIPALITIES. NOT ONLY DID THE ENVOYS WORK WITH HUNDREDS
OF CHILDREN AND SCORES OF COACHES AND COACHES-IN-TRAINING,
NOTABLES IN BOTH CITIES WERE EAGER TO BE IN THE PICTURE,
LITERALLY. THE ENVOYS WERE HOSTED BY MAYORS, GOVERNORS,
LOCAL COUNCIL MEMBERS, AND BUSINESS LEADERS AND LIONIZED BY
THE LOCAL PRESS, WHICH FOLLOWED THEM EVERYWHERE AND GAVE
THEM EXTENSIVE AND EXUBERANTLY POSITIVE COVERAGE IN ALL
MEDIA. THEIR MESSAGE, "BASKETBALL IS AN INTERNATIONAL
LANGUAGE," PROVED TO BE ENTIRELY ACCURATE. FOR POST, THE
PROGRAM PROVIDED ACCESS AT ALL LEVELS IN THESE IMPORTANT
COMMERCIAL CITIES THROUGH THE EXTENSION OF A WELCOMING HAND
BY KEY PLAYERS IN POLITICAL, ECONOMIC, COMMERCIAL, AND
ACADEMIC CIRCLES THAT HELPED BUILD A FOUNDATION FOR LONG-
TERM FUTURE CONTACT.

B. POST HAS ORGANIZED A VARIETY OF CULTURAL PROGRAMS -- IN
FILM AND VIDEO, VISUAL ARTS (PAINTING AND PHOTO EXHIBITIONS
AND INSTALLATIONS), AND PERFORMING ARTS (MUSIC, DANCE). WE
HAVE FOUND THAT THE EFFICACY AND APPEAL OF A PROGRAM IN ANY
MEDIUM IS TIED TO ITS QUALITY, EFFECTIVENESS OF LOCAL CO-
SPONSORS, TIMING OF THE EVENT, AND THE EXTENT TO WHICH
AUDIENCES ARE ALSO PARTICIPANTS. A RECENT CULTURAL EVENT
THAT STILL RESONATES WITH AUDIENCES IN ANKARA WAS THE
APPEARANCE OF THE BOYS CHOIR OF HARLEM IN THE ANNUAL ANKARA
INTERNATIONAL MUSIC FESTIVAL IN APRIL 2005. THIS PROGRAM
HAD APPEAL ON EVERY LEVEL: THE EXCEPTIONAL QUALITY OF THE
MUSIC, THE INSPIRING PERSONAL STORIES OF THE CHOIR MEMBERS,
AND THE FAMILY-ORIENTED CHARACTER OF THE EVENT, WHICH IS A
STRONG DRAW IN TURKEY. FOR TURKISH AUDIENCES IT WAS A
HEARTWARMING OCCASION, EVIDENT IN THE HUGE OUTPOURING FROM
THE PRESS THAT DESCRIBED THE PERFORMANCES IN SUPERLATIVES.

CULTURAL PROGRAMMING CAN AND SHOULD BE PARTICIPATORY
WHENEVER POSSIBLE. THE ISTANBUL CONSULATE SPONSORED A U.S.
GLASS ARTIST WHO WORKED WITH LOCAL FOUNDATIONS IN ISTANBUL
THAT PROMOTE ART FOR CHILDREN TO CREATE A LARGE MURAL AT A
BUSY ISTANBUL METRO EXIT WITH THE ACTIVE PARTICIPATION OF A
GROUP OF UNDERPRIVILEGED SCHOOLCHILDREN. ECA SUPPORT TO THE
NINTH ISTANBUL BIENNIAL IN SEPTEMBER 2005 SPECIFICALLY
INCLUDED PUBLIC EDUCATION AND OUTREACH ACTIVITIES FOR YOUNG
PEOPLE IN THE EASTERN ANATOLIAN CITY OF DIYARBAKIR. MASTER
CLASSES AND CLINICS FOR STUDENTS ARE AN ESSENTIAL PART OF
ANY PERFORMING ARTS PROGRAM. THE 2004 JAZZ AMBASSADORS,
INVITED BACK TO TURKEY FOR THE 2005 ANKARA INTERNATIONAL
JAZZ FESTIVAL IN NOVEMBER, GAVE MASTERCLASSES FOR
ENTHUSIASTIC STUDENTS IN CLASSICAL CONSERVATORIES IN THREE
CITIES, AS WELL AS ONSTAGE CLINICS FOR YOUNG MUSICIANS.
THESE WERE LIFE-CHANGING SESSIONS. ONE YOUNG DRUMMER EVEN
BROUGHT HIS FATHER TO THE MASTER CLASS.

POST HAS HOSTED EXHIBITIONS AS DIFFERENT AS "CITY:
PHOTOGRAPHS FROM CHICAGO" TO ONE ON RELIGIOUS DIVERSITY IN
TURKEY. A POPULAR POST-DEVELOPED PHOTO EXHIBITION ON TURKISH-
AMERICAN FRIENDSHIP HAS BEEN TOURING THE COUNTRY SINCE APRIL
2005. MORE THAN 5,000 VIEWED IT IN BEYPAZARI, A MARKET TOWN
NEAR ANKARA WHOSE MAYOR WAS A PARTICIPANT IN THE
INTERNATIONAL VISITOR LEADERSHIP PROGRAM. A LARGE PART OF
ITS APPEAL IS THE WELL-KNOWN PEOPLE AND EVENTS SHOWN IN THE
PHOTOGRAPHS. FILM AND VIDEO HAVE BEEN EFFECTIVELY
PROGRAMMED IN ANNUAL FILM FESTIVALS AND ALSO IN SCREENINGS
AT THE RESIDENCE.

C. IN TURKEY, TIMING IS ALWAYS AN IMPORTANT CONSIDERATION
IN SUCCESSFUL CULTURAL AND SPORTS PROGRAMMING. SENSITIVITY
TO THE CYCLES OF TURKISH SOCIETY IS CRITICAL, AS PROGRAMMING
OPPORTUNITIES CAN BE LIMITED DURING NATIONAL, SCHOOL AND
RELIGIOUS HOLIDAYS WHEN TARGETED AUDIENCES MAY NOT BE
AVAILABLE. LOCAL SPONSORSHIP IS ANOTHER IMPORTANT ELEMENT
BECAUSE IT FOSTERS RELATIONSHIPS AND PARTNERSHIPS BETWEEN
U.S. ARTISTS AND TURKISH ENTITIES, SUCH AS UNIVERSITIES AND
CONSERVATORIES OR NOT-FOR-PROFIT FOUNDATIONS OR CULTURAL
ORGANIZATIONS. THE ANKARA JAZZ SOCIETY, FOR EXAMPLE,
DONATED THE PROCEEDS OF THE 2005 ANKARA JAZZ FESTIVAL U.S.
JAZZ AMBASSADORS CONCERT TO THE PRESERVATION HALL NEW
ORLEANS MUSICIANS HURRICANE RELIEF FUND BECAUSE THEY FELT A
STRONG BOND WITH AMERICAN JAZZ MUSICIANS AND WANTED TO HELP
DURING A TIME OF CRISIS.

TURKISH AUDIENCES ARE GENERALLY RESPONSIVE TO ALL FORMS OF
AMERICAN CULTURAL PROGRAMMING. THEY ARE USUALLY CULTURALLY
SOPHISTICATED, EVEN IN NON-URBAN AREAS, SO QUALITY IS OF THE
UTMOST IMPORTANCE. MUSIC, INCLUDING JAZZ, IS POPULAR ACROSS
THE AGE RANGE. SPORTS ARE ENJOYED BY ALL SEGMENTS OF
SOCIETY. AMERICAN BASKETBALL AND FOOTBALL ARE SO POPULAR
THAT NBA AND NFL TV PROGRAMMING IS AVAILABLE VIA CABLE.
THERE IS A TURKISH NATIONAL BASKETBALL LEAGUE (MEN'S AND
WOMEN'S BASKETBALL) AND A NATIONAL NETWORK OF SECONDARY
SCHOOLS AND UNIVERSITY BASKETBALL TEAMS. MANY UNIVERSITIES
FIELD AMERICAN FOOTBALL TEAMS. THE PRE-OLYMPIC UNIVERSITY
WORLD GAMES SPORTS COMPETITIONS WERE HELD IN IZMIR IN AUGUST
2005, AND TURKEY PARTICIPATES AVIDLY IN WORLDWIDE SPORTS
EVENTS.

FUNDING CAN BE A CONSTRAINT. FOR EXAMPLE, THE TOTAL COST OF
THE HARLEM BOYS CHOIR TWO-CONCERT APPEARANCE IN TURKEY
EXCEEDED $100,000. EVEN WHEN PERFORMANCE FEES ARE
REASONABLE AND NEGOTIABLE, THEY ARE A MAJOR CONSIDERATION.
INTERNAL STAFFING CAN ALSO BE A CONSTRAINT. THE BOYS CHOIR
COMPRISED FIFTY YOUNG PERFORMERS AND REQUIRED MONTHS OF
PREPARATION.

D. POST TRIES TO OVERCOME FUNDING AND STAFFING CONSTRAINTS
BY SEEKING TO PLACE LARGE-SCALE U.S. PERFORMING ARTS GROUPS
IN FESTIVALS, WHICH TAKE CARE OF VENUE, PUBLICITY, TECHNICAL
REQUIREMENTS AND MANY OF THE LOGISTICAL ARRANGEMENTS FOR A
PERFORMANCE. FESTIVALS PERMIT COST-SHARING AND COMBINATIONS
OF RESOURCES FROM DIFFERENT SOURCES. FUNDING FOR THE HARLEM
BOYS CHOIR, FOR EXAMPLE, CAME FROM POST FUNDS, BOEING,
TURKISH AIRLINES, AND THE SEVDA/CENAP AND MUSIC FOUNDATION.
POST ANTICIPATES A SIMILAR ARRANGEMENT FOR THE NATIVE
AMERICAN MUSIC AND DANCE ENSEMBLE THAT WILL PARTICIPATE IN
THE 2006 ANKARA INTERNATIONAL MUSIC FESTIVAL IN APRIL. WE
HAVE FOUND THAT FESTIVALS AS WELL AS LOCAL CO-SPONSORS SUCH
AS MUNICIPALITIES, CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE AND UNIVERSITIES
WELCOME AND EVEN SEEK CO-SPONSORSHIP OF CULTURAL PROGRAMS
WITH THE EMBASSY. POST HAS FOUR AMERICAN CORNERS, THREE IN
CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE/INDUSTRY AND ONE IN A UNIVERSITY, THAT
HELP MAXIMIZE LOCAL CO-SPONSORSHIP IN THEIR RESPECTIVE
CITIES. ONE CONCERT IN THE 2006 AMERICAN MUSIC ABROAD TOUR
WILL BE CO-SPONSORED BY THE NEW IZMIR AMERICAN CORNER.

WE ALSO STRETCH OUR CULTURAL PROGRAMMING BUDGET BY BECOMING
A CO-SPONSOR FOR INDEPENDENT PROGRAMS ARRANGED THROUGH A
UNIVERSITY OR AN NGO THAT FEATURE AN AMERICAN ARTIST OR AN
AMERICAN COMPONENT. FOR EXAMPLE, POST PROVIDES ASSISTANCE
OR FUNDING FOR AN ANNUAL WOMEN'S FILM FESTIVAL ORGANIZED BY
A WOMEN'S NGO UMBRELLA GROUP IN ANKARA. IN 2004, POST
HELPED LOCATE AND BRING THREE CLASSIC KATHARINE HEPBURN
FILMS FOR THE FESTIVAL TO COMMEMORATE HER RECENT PASSING.
THIS YEAR'S FESTIVAL WILL HONOR ANNE BANCROFT WITH A
SCREENING OF "THE GRADUATE."

3. CULTURAL AND SPORTS PROGRAMS SUSTAIN CONNECTIONS AND
COMMUNICATIONS OVER THE LONG-TERM. THEY OPEN A WINDOW ON
AMERICAN SOCIETY AND VALUES AND, MOST IMPORTANTLY, SHOW THE
WORLD WHO AMERICANS ARE AND WHAT WE CARE ABOUT. WE LOOK
FORWARD TO WORKING WITH ECA IN EXTENDING OUR CULTURAL
DIPLOMACY PROGRAMMING.
WILSON

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