Gastrodiplomacy: The role of food in the context of foreign policy

March 13, 2023

The concept of gastrodiplomacy, culinary heritage and its association with food politics and conflict resolution were approached in the context of the course: Foreign Policy in the 21st century (BSc in International Relations and Security).

To this end, Dr. Chrystalleni Lazarou, was invited to deliver a lecture on the role and significance of intangible cultural heritage, as well as on the preservation of dietary habits and local food products. Dr. Lazarou is the founding President of the Administrative Board of the Cyprus Food and Nutrition Museum, the first digital museum of its kind in Europe, which aims, inter alia, at recording and disseminating cultural heritage of Cypriot traditional foods.

Through an interactive, participatory event on ‘edible nation branding’, students acted as cultural diplomats of their respective countries by preparing dishes of their national cuisine, which they found closer to their cultural identity and by sharing them with their classmates. This role-playing pedagogical technique motivated them to engage in explaining the historical roots, the essence of each local product and its symbolic meaning. By learning about Gastrodiplomacy in theory and in practice, students were able to comprehend how countries could make use of the national food heritage as a tool of public diplomacy practices, as well as an instrument which enhances cross-cultural understanding.

The event was organized by Dr. Mersilia Anastasiadou, Lecturer in Diplomacy and International Relations, along with Dr. Eleni Gavriil, Lecturer in International Economic Law and Human Rights.