What Is Gastrodiplomacy And Why Is It Significant?

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In a world where diplomacy between countries typically unfolds at a conference table at different bureaucracies, there is a whole new world of diplomacy we can explore. This form of diplomacy harnesses the power of food and different cuisines to foster cross-cultural understanding and respect among different nationalities to promote peace on a global level around the world.   


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At its core, gastrodiplomacy is the celebration of different cultures and their traditions through their traditional cuisines. By showcasing their typical and unique flavors, ingredients, and cooking techniques, people use the universal language of food to build a bridge of peace among cultures. One of the main principles of gastrodiplomacy is the idea that sharing a meal (regardless of where in the world it is from) can foster a sense of community and belonging. By inviting foreign diplomats, ambassadors, and other members of government to dine together with traditional foods, it allows the host countries to showcase their own cuisine and culture to create strong impressions that will leave a lasting morning. 


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In past years, there have been many successful examples of gastrodiplomacy. One such example is that of the Thai government. It is known as the Kitchen Diplomacy program that was initiated by the Thai government in 2002. This was created to promote Thai cuisine as a tool for culture diplomacy through cooking demonstrations, culinary workshops, and international food festivals all over major cities of the world. Through these methods, Thailand has been able to effectively showcase their rich culinary heritage and allowed them to strengthen their cultural ties with other countries.


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Similarly, Japan has also leveraged gastrodiplomacy in a way like the Thai government. They have used their renowned cuisine to enhance the country as a soft power and to further promote a positive image of Japan in countries abroad. One such food that has been heavily promoted is sushi, where Japanese chefs prepare traditional sushi for foreign dignitaries. Another form is the promotion of washoku (what traditional Japanese culture is called) as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage.


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Overall, the success of gastrodiplomacy initiatives depends on the sincerity of the interactions and the willingness of participants who are willing to engage in a productive and meaningful dialogue regarding traditional foods from different countries. Gastrodiplomacy fosters a sense of respect and genuine interest in learning about other cultures through food. As the saying goes, “The way to a person’s heart is through their stomach,” and this proves true through the practices of gastrodiplomacy, hopefully allowing us to find a way to a more harmonious world.

author avatar
Sharon Joseph
Hello! I am currently a second-year business management student at the University of Georgia. I have a passion for dance, trying new recipes, and traveling to new cities!
Sharon Joseph
Sharon Josephhttps://www.linkedin.com/in/sharon-joseph-547586246
Hello! I am currently a second-year business management student at the University of Georgia. I have a passion for dance, trying new recipes, and traveling to new cities!

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