‘Landmarks from Pakistan’

ICD House of Arts & Culture; April 15th, 2024

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On the 15th of April 2024, the former Ambassador of Pakistan in Berlin, Shahid Kamal has granted a visit and an interview at the ICD (Institute for Cultural Diplomacy) in Berlin.

Ambassador Shahid Kamal currently serves as Advisor for Climate Change at the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Ministerial Committee for Scientific and Technological Cooperation (COMSTECH), headquartered in Islamabad, Pakistan.

Ambassador Kamal has served as Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, and Latvia, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of Pakistan in Washington D.C., and Embassy in Paris. Ambassador Kamal served as Additional Foreign Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The interview has been conducted by Mark Donfried, the Director General of the Institute, and joined by students and members of the Academy.

The first part of the speech was devoted to the presentation of the book titled ‘Landmarks of Pakistan’. The book consists of a collection of drawings by the German artist Ute Elpers, who started working on this project in 2005 and that, up until 2012, has also worked for a humanitarian organization. The former ambassador underlined how this book is the perfect example of how art could serve to promote humanitarian help. In fact, the drawings in the book represent monuments in Pakistan and were originally intended as a way to generate awareness and funding after the earthquake that devastated Pakistan in 2005.

The book has helped Pakistan and Germany to develop a new connection and strength the already existing one. It was developed as a joint book, with multiple organizations from both sides involved and partnering together to allow the publication to be produced. The book has also been released in two languages, both English and German.

Later in the discussion, the Ambassador reflected on a wider level about cultural diplomacy and collaborations. From his perspective, when people see someone else is trying to connect with them in a positive way, the response tends to be positive and every connection, even if minimal, opens the way to other ones, creating an escalating process. This is what we need in our current society. “In the world, more empathy is required”, said the Ambassador, “and the more understanding of other people's problem and see how we can contribute to make things easier. It could be through your learning. It could be through other ways. Teaching, coaching, mentoring or it could be even the support that you get from the business community.
Curiosity, ability to listen and to be open to connect with others, even in our everyday life, it’s the basis to improve cultural diplomacy in today’s world. And the ability not to stop connecting is what may keep this field alive.”