Sound diplomacy refers to the use of diplomatic strategies and approaches to promote and achieve international cooperation and peaceful relations between nations through the medium of music, arts, and culture. It involves the use of cultural exchanges, artistic performances, and other cultural activities as a means to build bridges and promote mutual understanding and respect among nations.
In the 16th century, sound diplomacy was used by the Mughal Emperor Akbar to create a sense of unity and harmony among the diverse religious and ethnic communities of India. He would have music played in his court which would bring together Hindu and Muslim musicians. He also combined Hindu and Muslim styles of music to create a new form of music known as the ‘Darbari’ style. Akbar believed that this combination of musical styles could help to bring people together and create a sense of unity and harmony. In this way, sound diplomacy was used to create a sense of unity and harmony among different religions and cultures.
Sound diplomacy recognises the power of music and the arts to transcend language barriers and cultural differences, and to connect people across national borders. It seeks to leverage this power to foster international collaboration and understanding, and to address global challenges such as poverty, conflict, and inequality.
Examples of sound diplomacy initiatives include international music festivals, cultural exchange programs, and artistic collaborations that bring together musicians and artists from different countries to promote cross-cultural understanding and collaboration. Sound diplomacy also encompasses the use of music and culture as a tool for public diplomacy, by promoting a nation’s cultural heritage and values to other countries.