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Article

Glocal diplomacy of Louvre Abu Dhabi: museum diplomacy on the cross-roads of local, national and global ambitions

Museum Management and Curatorship. 2020. Vol. 35. No. 1. P. 89-105.
Grincheva N.

Cultural diplomacy has traditionally been a strategic instrument of national governments to achieve foreign policy objectives. Nation states have supported the international missions of museums to promote national cultural ideas and values abroad to pursue strategic geopolitical interests. However, in the twenty-first century the complex process of neoliberal globalisation and political decentralisation have transformed traditional cultural diplomacy based on exclusively national projections. There are new forms, channels and narratives of cultural diplomacy that emerge with the appearance of new types of cultural institutions, such as franchise museums, like Guggenheim Bilbao, Hermitage Amsterdam or Louvre Abu Dhabi. This article explores the case of Louvre Abu Dhabi to exemplify the phenomenon of ‘glocal’ museum diplomacy that rests on global ambitions of the local Abu Dhabi government and at the same time draws on national aspirations of France to strengthen its geopolitical presence and influence in the Middle East. The article identifies multiple museum narratives that transform museum diplomacy from a bilateral, state-initiated strategic activity into a multilateral and multidirectional endeavour engaging stakeholders and audiences on local, national and global levels.