Cultural diplomacy and international economic relations. The influence of french linguistic and cultural policy in higher education in Romania

Term Paper, 2014

51 Pages, Grade: 78% i.e First class


Table of Content

Table of Abbreviations

1.1.Research question

2.Cultural Diplomacy
2.1.Education and educational exchanges as a mean of Cultural Diplomacy

3.Franco-Romanian relations in the 20 th and early 21 st century

4.French Cultural Diplomacy in Romania
4.1.French Cultural Diplomacy in Romania’s education system

5.The impact of French Cultural Diplomacy on language

6.The impact of French Cultural Diplomacy on student mobility
6.1.Analysis of the outbound student body

7.The economic impact of student exchanges
7.1.Scientific co llaboration and its impact on economy
7.2.The Impact of Cultural Diplomacy on Foreign Direct Investment
7.2.1.Analysis of the nature of Foreign Direct Investment in Romania

8.The impact of Cultural Diplomacy on Trade Volume
8.1.Analysis of the volatility of Trade Volume



Reference list

List of illustrations

Table of Abbreviations

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( … ) Car, à c ô tédes belles et nobles choses que le passévous a léguées, j'ai vu quels progrès modernes vous ê tes en train d'accomplir, dans l'industrie, l'agriculture, l'enseignement, la technique. J'ai vu de vos usines en plein rendement, de vos champs très bien cultivés, de vos jeunes gens remplis d'ardeur, de vos professeurs, ingénieurs, spécialistes, débordant de capacités.( … ). Aucun pays du monde ne pourrait s'en réjouir plus que la France qui, depuis toujours et surtout aujourd'hui, aime et estime la Roumanie; la France qui souhaite ardemment la voir forte et prospère; la France qui compte la trouver à ses c ô tés afin d'aider notre Europe à respirer enfin librement, grâce à l'indépendance de chaque nation, à la fin des blocs opposés, à la franche coopérationétablie d'un bout à l'autre pour la paix et pour le progrès.

Charles De Gaulle


1. Introduction

Cultural Diplomacy has played a vital part in the history of France’s international relations. In a report to the Chamber of Deputies on the functioning of the newly established educational and cultural institutes in East Europe in 1900, the French deputy Manuel Boucher set the rhetorical question, "What political operation or armed invasion was ever able, with less expenditure, to produce such important results?" (cited in Haigh 1974, p.22). France’s foreign policy in Central and Eastern Europe focused primarily on Poland and Romania. Political and cultural relations to Romania date back until the 18th century and still today Romania remains to be perceived as a strategic partner for France in Eastern Europe. One reason for this is the fact that Romania remains the most francophone

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European country whose official language is not French (fig. 2.) (OIF, 2010a).

Nearly a quarter of its population (22.44%) is estimated to be francophone and over half of its pupils at primary and lower secondary level study French. This represents the highest quota in a European country in which French has not the status of an official language (Eurostat 2013).

Moreover, Romania has a strong affinity towards French culture and very good, long- standing political relations. According to the current Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta, it are these sound cultural and political relations which foster bilateral economic relations (Baragan, 2013). This allusion to the correlation of culture and economic collaboration represents the premise of this dissertation. The purpose of this research is to attempt an assessment of the long-term impact of France’s educational and cultural policies in Romania under the concept of Cultural Diplomacy for its economic relations with Romania in the late 20th and early 21st century.

1.1. Research question

Has French Cultural Diplomacy encouraged bilateral economic relations between France and Romania?

1.2. Methodology

This study is based on primary source material collected from official statistics institutions such as the French INSEE the Romanian INS, Eurostat, OECD statistics, UNESCO, the World bank, the European Commission and publications of the OIF, IFR and the Franco- Romanian Chamber of Commerce. Since most of the sources had not published figures for 2013, the time frame for the analysis is set from the start of post socialist Romania in 19 91 until 2012. Where primary data was not available (especially for the period from 1989 until 2000), Meta data from prior research papers has been used. Other secondary sources include academic articles and research papers on Cultural Diplomacy, the use of language in international affairs and Franco-Romanian relations. To allow a better evaluation of the findings, comparative statistics of other CEE countries were used. Bulgaria served as main country of comparison since it has a similar history as well as culture and became a member of the OIF, NATO and the EU in the same year as Romania.

The purpose of this research is not to establish a clear causal link between individual actions taken under the concept of Cultural Diplomacy, but rather to provide an educated evaluation of the possible correlation of French influence in Higher Education in Romania and the bilateral economic relation to Romania.

1.3. Findings

The analysis has shown that French Cultural Diplomacy in the education system in Romania has significantly impacted the country’s higher education. This resulted in a higher importance being accorded to the French language and a much higher number of French speakers than in other non- francophone EU countries. Initiatives taken by French institutions in Romania and the French Government have had a significant impact on Romanian student mobility to France, which in turn established a closer network between French and Romanian intellectuals. This encouraged scientific collaboration as well as Foreign Direct Investment and therefore intensified bilateral economic relations. Concerning trade volume, only an indirect relation could be observed.

2. Cultural Diplomacy

Globalisation and the presence of Information Technologies have obscured the perception of geographical distances. The growing transparency of governments and an increased awareness of international affairs among the public, has driven the need for a more ‘public-aware’ approach to international relations. Cultural Diplomacy is a type of Public Diplomacy which responds to this development. In contrast to traditional diplomacy which takes an external, sometimes coercive approach to specific policy matters, Cultural Diplomacy builds on the goodwill of the population from within and is grown over the long- term. Such goodwill derives from a positive view of the country's people, culture and policies and roots in mutual understanding, steadily established through arts and education but also through religion, the media, and popular culture. Arndt (2006) has shown that ”Cultural Diplomacy helps to create a foundation of trust with other people, which can induce greater cooperation between the two nations, aids in changing the policies or political environment of the target nation and prevents, manages and mitigates conflict with the target nation.” The American political scientist Joseph S. Nye, termed this strategy ‘soft power’ when describing how many nations, namely the USA and the Soviet Union successfully used art, literature and music as a political tool in their effort for supremacy after the Second World War (1991).

However, particularly in the case of France, the influence of Cultural Diplomacy is primarily associated with political and cultural rather than economic foreign policy ( Bonfatto 2012, Figueira 2013, Schneider 2004, Waller 2009). The Nation Brands Index (NBI) by Simon Anholt (2005) in fig. 2. establishes a link between Cultural Diplomacy and economy, as it realizes the importance of public perception on bilateral economic relations.1

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An adapted version of the ‘Investment and Immigration’ dimension of the NBI has served as a framework for the analysis in this dissertation, since it draws the connection between educational and cultural exchanges and international economic transactions.

2.1. Education and educational exchanges as a mean of Cultural Diplomacy

Cultural Diplomacy can be described as the "exchange of ideas, information, art and other aspects of culture among nations and their peoples in order to foster mutual understanding.”(Waller, 2009, p.74). The same definition could be given for the concept of educational exchanges. Educational cooperation has long been utilised by governments as a tool to gain political, economic and cultural influence in countries of strategic importance. During the Cold War, America also successfully implemented Cultural Diplomacy via educational exchange (Liping, 1999). France applied this strategy in the 40s to ensure the dominance of French culture and language against the rise of English in Greece when the French Institute in Athens organised large-scale human shipments of talented Greeks between Greece and France (Paschalidis, 2009). The purpose of encouraging foreign students to study in France was to assimilate them to the French cultural space and to train them as future representatives of French culture in their home country.

In order to investigate the effect of France’s linguistic and cultural policy in Higher education in Romania, it is necessary to establish a basis for discussion by briefly outlining the history of Franco-Romanian relations and the underpinnings of French Cultural Diplomacy in Romania.

3. Franco-Romanian relations in the 20th and early 21st century

The cultural and political relations between France and Romania were maintained dur- ing Romania’s communist era thanks to Charles De Gaulle’s foreign policy strategy in the Eastern bloc. The fact that he was the only European Head of State to visit Romania during this period was an important event which strengthened relation between him and Nicolae Ceausescu, the first president of the Socialist Republic Romania (1974 - 1989)(De Gaulle 1968). This favourable rapport was seen as the reason for the delay of the call for an em - bargo on Romanian foods imports to France until only a few months before the Romanian revolution despite the country’s deteriorating situation (Demouveaux, 2009).

After the Soviet era, both cultural and political relations were reinforced through France's involvement in the democratisation of Romania. In June 1990 the first Alliance Française in the Romanian city of Pitesti was inaugurated with the objective of spreading « la langue française, de favoriser une meilleure connaissance mutuelle entre la Roumanie et la France, en développant les échanges linguistiques et culturels. » (IFR, 2010). This linguistic and cultural collaboration undoubtedly influenced Romania when it began to reshape its national education system in 1993.

By supporting Romania’s application for EU membership, France also played an important role for Romania’s EU adhesion in 2007. In 1993 Romania also became a full member of the International Organisation of La Francophonie which represents the shared values all francophone countries in the world. The dedication to act as an ambassador of the humanist values promoted by the French language was demonstrated when Romania hosted the first Summit of the OIF in Europe in 2007.

4. French Cultural Diplomacy in Romania

France has been described as the pioneer who has « led the world in introducing the techniques of Cultural Diplomacy » (Haigh, 1974, p.28). Together with Germany it was also the first state whose Ministries of Foreign Affairs allocated monetary resources to cultural activities in foreign countries. Between 1945 and 1946 approximately 35% of the budget of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was spent on Cultural Diplomacy from which Central and East Europe has always been the major investment destination (Guenard, 2002). In 2013 the amount given by the French embassy in Romania for cultural, scientific and technological cooperation amounted to €2.16 million (MAEDI, 2014a).2 Although no hard evidence to prove the efficiency of France’s foreign cultural and educational activities is available, the fact that the French government continues to allocate a substantial amount of funds to reinforce those actions suggests that such investments have been justified.

4.1. French Cultural Diplomacy in Romania’s education system

France's educational ties to Romania date back to the 18th century when the sons of Romanian aristocrat families were sent to Paris to study medicine, science or architecture. It was thanks to these elitist exchanges that Bucharest received its nickname ‘petit Paris des Balkans’. The importance of French was first diminished during Communism when language teaching was organised by state language quotas which gave preference to Russian. It can be seen as an attempt to strengthen the solidarity to the French language, when Charles De Gaulle chose the University of Bucharest for his final speech of his visit in 1968 during which he referred to the common Latin origins of French and Romanian as “sources (…) grâce auxquelles leurs âmes sont des soeurs”. (Discours au monde 1958-1969).

After the collapse of the Soviet Union the Romanian education system underwent a substantial transformation which brought a liberalisation of the language selection. The reformation of the Romanian education system was influenced by the insight in the French education system which both the first Prime Minister of the Romanian Republic, Petre Roman and the first Minister of Education, Mihai Sora gained during their studies in France (Slavu, 2008)3. French influence was further secured through merit-based scholarships awarded by the French Embassy in Romania since the 90s, with the aim to encourage the formation of highly qualified Francophone Romanian students.

The impact of the active part of French culture and language in Education in Romania can be seen by the fact that in 2012 there were over 55 bilingual secondary schools, of which 29 offered a ‘baccalauréat à mention francophone’, more than a hundred French university degree courses and 24 French/Romanian double degrees (see app. 1)(AUF, 2013). Moreover, Romania is the country to which France has the highest number of university partnerships in Eastern Europe since there were 35 to Bulgaria, 50 to Hungary, 72 to Poland 15 to Slovakia, 31 to the Czech Republic and 92 to Romania in 2000 (Senat, 2000). Within the last 12 years this collaboration has been further intensified and currently there are more than 600 university agreements between France and Romania (IFR, 2014a).

A report by the Executive Agency for Higher Education, Research, Development and Innovation Funding (UEFISCDI) showed that France was also the most active country in the development of teaching missions and/or staff training activities for university staff mobility in Romania in 2013 (fig.4). This again highlights the importance France allocates to continuous improvement of academic staff teaching French in Romania.

5. The impact of French Cultural Diplomacy on language

The repercussions of the active support of the French government and the intense collaboration between French and Romanian educational institutions are exhibited in the fact that over half of all Romanian pupils at primary and lower secondary level, studied French in 2011 (IFR, 2014b). The comparison with the EU28 average of 19% shows that this is the highest quota in a European country in which French has not the status as official language (Eurostat, 2013). Moreover, the Euro barometer survey in 2006 identified the relatively higher importance Romanians allocate to French in comparison to the EU25 average (see app.3) (European Commission, 2006).

Despite the fact that French is no longer the first foreign language learned in upper secondary education in Romania, statistics show the percentage of pupils learning French has actually grown between 2000 and 2011 by 1%. This indicates that an increasing number of Romanian pupils learn English in addition and not at the expense of French. In comparison with German, French holds a solid status as second foreign language (86% and 11.7% respectively in 2011) (fig. 5).

Comparative statistics of Bulgaria show that the number of Bulgarian pupils studying French in upper secondary education has de facto decreased by 8.1% from 22% in 2000 to its lowest at 11.4% in 2010. This represents a greater decline than that of German language teaching (-2.9%), making French only the fourth most taught language in Bulgaria, after Russian and German.

These findings suggest that French linguistic and cultural institutions in Romania have helped to sustain a consistently high percentage of pupils learning French despite the progressive rise of English in Europe. Since language teaching in primary and secondary education determines the share of francophone population, this is also reflected in the fact that 21% of Romanians spoke French in 2000 (French Senate, 2014), 28% in 2005 (OIF, 2007), and 23% in 2010 (OIF, 2010b).4 This represents a significantly higher share than in Bulgaria with 550 600 French speakers representing only 7.34% of the population in 2010 (OIF, 2010c).

6. The impact of French Cultural Diplomacy on student mobility

Numerous partnerships between French and Romanian higher educational institutions as well as the financial support of the French government in providing scholarships have led to a steadily increasing number of Romanian students in France (fig. 7)5.


1 Method of the NBI see app. 2.

2 Although Cultural Diplomacy itself is not directly related to governmental action, the fact that the French Department of Foreign Affairs allocates a certain annual budget on French Cultural Diplomacy and that scholarships awarded to foreign students depend on state funding makes a connection to government objectives ap - parent. Therefore the association of Cultural Diplomacy with cultural i mperialism and the promotion of national interest arise. However, since this controversy does not directly concern the research question, it shall only be acknowledged at this point, but not developed further.

3 Roman undertook his Doctoral studies and PhD at Fluids Mechanics Institute at the Paul Sabatier University in Toulouse from 1971 to 1974 and Sora studied in Paris and Grenoble on a fellowship granted by the French government from 1939 to 1948.

4 Since no centralized data was published, the definition of ‘Francophone population’ may vary.

5 Numbers of mobile foreign students only involve regular enrolment. Students under the ERASMUS programme are not considered.

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Cultural diplomacy and international economic relations. The influence of french linguistic and cultural policy in higher education in Romania
University of Birmingham
78% i.e First class
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Nora Praher (Author), 2014, Cultural diplomacy and international economic relations. The influence of french linguistic and cultural policy in higher education in Romania, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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