Writers and Cultural Diplomacy: A Core Mission of the IWP

Cultural diplomacy, formal and informal, has been among the core missions of the IWP since the program's founding in 1967. The U.S Department of State has been a supporter of this mission alongside the University of Iowa and many private arts foundations, both state-side and overseas.

Cultural Diplomacy on the Ground

  • A systemic analysis can be found in the 2005 report Cultural Diplomacy: A Linchpin of Public Policy.
  • How should the U.S. government participate in international cultural exchanges--if at all? A note on Huffington Post.
  • "What role should the state have with respect to culture and the arts?" we ask a number of our alumni, under the rubric Periscope, along with a few other questions.
  • In this brief promo from 2012, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Ann Stock explains the interest of the U.S. Department of State in the IWP.
  • Collaborations can be an ideal forms of cultural diplomacy. In a work session with a group of young people in eastern Iowa, organized in the fall of 2012 by the Iowa Youth Writing Project, IWP writers both taught and learned from young writers as part of a project titled "Iowa: Face to Face." The project, funded by grant through the University of Iowa's Provost Office and the Office of the Vice President for Research, is highlighted in the following video, courtesy of the Creative Corridor.
  • In Iraq, two American poets teach, conduct workshops, share resources, and offer support as Baghdad prepares its candidacy to become the next UNESCO City of Literature.
  • Christopher Merrill gives a talk about cultural diplomacy at the 2015 Karachi Literature Festival:

Happening Now

  • Kristian Sendon CORDERO (IWP '17) co-edited a special issue of Words Without Borders on writing in the Philippines. Its range of poetry in the country's many languages includes Filipino work of Genevieve ASENJO (IWP '12).

  • Muhamed "Nabo" ABDELNABI (Egypt, IWP '13) has been awarded France's 2019 Prix de la littérature arabe for his 2016 novel, published last year in the UK as In the Spider's Room .

  • Over on  Asymptote, in English and Cantonese, the long poem " The Man Who Lost HIs Shadow,"  by Hong Kong poet and editor Stuart LAU (IWP '17).

  • On fish-paste English and cheddar-English: a long interview at LARB (Los Angeles Review of Books) about language, politics, and language politics with Burmese poet and worker KO KO THETT (IWP '16).

  • Behind the 2018+ 2019 Nobel Prizes for Literature given to novelists Peter Handke  and Olga Tokarczuk are translators--one key among them Jennifer CROFT, novelist as well as translator from the Polish, Ukrainian, and  Spanish. Congratulations!

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