Arts, Culture, Media and the Arab Spirit

Dr Cynthia Schneider
BOLDtalks 2012

Cynthia Schneider looks at new and old modes of diplomacy in the context of the Arab revolutions and the responses to them.

Ambassador Schneider will explore how the "voice of the people", evident in books, films, music, blogs" revealed the conditions that led to the Arab uprisings. But governments and policymakers usually pay little attention to these forms of expression, and so they were taken by surprise as waves of unrest spread across the Arab world.

Distinguished Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy, School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University; Senior Non-Resident Fellow, Brookings Institution; Co-Director, MOST Resource Center .

Cynthia P. Schneider teaches, publishes, and organizes initiatives in the field of cultural diplomacy, with a focus on relations with the Muslim world. For the Brookings Institution she leads the Arts and Culture Initiative within the Saban Center for Middle East Policy. The Initiative's activities include research, convening meetings in the U.S. and abroad and catalysing projects, such as the Muslims on Screen and Television Initiative (MOST), which Schneider co-directs, and which provides valuable resources and accurate information on Islam and Muslims for the U.S. entertainment community.

Prof. Schneider teaches courses in Diplomacy and Culture in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, where, from1984-2005, she was a member of the art history faculty, and published on Rembrandt and seventeenth century Dutch art. She also organized exhibitions at the National Gallery of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Dr. Schneider publishes and speaks frequently on topic related to arts, culture, and media and international affairs, particularly the Muslim world. Her writings range from blogs for the Huffington Post and CNN.comto policy papers for the Brookings Institution.

Currently she has a Research Fellowship from the USC Center on Public Diplomacy to write on The Impact of Arts, Culture, and Media in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

From 1998-2001 she served as U.S. Ambassador to the Netherlands, during which time she led initiatives in cultural diplomacy, biotechnology, cyber security, and education. In 2001 she was awarded the Office of the Secretary of Defence Exceptional Public Service Award, June 2001 (highest civilian award given by Pentagon, in recognition of support for the U.S. military during ambassadorship).

Dr. Schneider serves on the Board of Directors of Wesley Theological Seminary, Imagine Schools, and the Sandy Spring Museum, and the Advisory Boards of the Institute of Cultural Diplomacy, the Sustainable Preservation Initiative, and Singapore Technologies Telemedia (ST Telemedia) Eircom Advisory Board. Schneider received her B.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University.