In an age of liberal democracy, freedom of expression is a linchpin within society. The concept of a democracy indicates the ability to formulate ideas, make decisions and participate openly within the political, social and economic sphere. Since 1689 and the English Bill of Rights, freedom of expression has been considered an important issue and is often regarded as a natural right for all human beings. Included in the 1949 United Declaration of Human Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights Article 10, freedom of expression should be a prominent issue within all societies and yet in 2011 alone the world has experienced several uprisings as a consequence of oppression and censorship.
The Institute for Cultural Diplomacy recognises the importance of alleviating these issues worldwide and seeks to promote greater freedom of speech across the globe. Within the Institute itself, we promote free speech often inviting speakers oppressed in their own countries to participate in conferences and events. We aim to set an example to the rest of the world and promote freedom of expression within the International System.
The ICD recognises that freedom of expression is not considered to be a natural right in certain forms of government, states and cultures and wishes to provide to a greater audience a greater understanding of these differences in order to promote awareness of problems and facilitate key changes. With such a variety of issues and cultural differences encapsulated within the topic of ‘freedom of expression’, The Institute for Cultural Diplomacy has the unique ability to use Cultural Diplomacy as a soft power vehicle to address the issue both broadly and specifically.
With our understanding and experience engaging different traditions, religions, backgrounds and governments, and through our activity of conducting research, organizing conferences and programs, creating dialogue between the key stakeholders and through the publishing of official recommendations, the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy’s Initiative on Freedom of Expression aims to enhance and expand upon global policies and international attempts to address the problem of censorship and oppression where other institutes and governments cannot.
The Hon. Frank La Rue