Cultural Diplomacy Forum on India

The Republic of India, one of the world’s largest and most-celebrated democracies, has much in common with the United States. Both nations play an instrumental role in geopolitics and the advancement of the global economy. The United States and India are also extremely diverse, with citizens from an assortment of ethnic and cultural backgrounds who are free and proud to celebrate their heritage and practice their sundry of faiths. As policymakers and business leaders in both countries grow more interested in deeper, more substantive bilateral relations, now is an opportune time for Americans to discover and explore India’s rich history, societies, traditions, and art forms. Seizing this auspicious opportunity, Meridian is proud to engage a cross-section of leaders in constructive dialogue and celebrate the profound impact that Indian language, religion, dance, music, architecture, and cuisine has had on the United States and the world.

Meridian International Center’s annual Cultural Diplomacy Forum brings together government and cultural leaders with economic experts and the business community to examine the role of soft power in international relations. This year the Forum will explore Indian cultures and how they can pave the way for increased engagement and economic opportunities between the United States and India. Featured speakers and a series of panel discussions address the state of bilateral relations; examine the convergence of innovation, expanding workforces and opportunity; analyze the allure and spread of Indian cultures across the world; and, illustrate the impact of cultural and educational exchanges in forging closer ties between India and the U.S.

Forum Partners

Smita Shah

Judy Bishop

Travel Provided by:

Forum Agenda

Welcome remarks

Fireside chat: The state of bilateral relations Watch Now

Panel: The impact of cultural and educational exchanges in forging closer ties between India and the U.S. Watch Now

  • Mandar Apte, Producer/Director, From India with Love
  • Dr. Mahasveta Barua, Adjunct Professor of English, University of Delaware  
  • David Mees, State Department Liaison to the Smithsonian Institution
  • Moderated by Michelle Bekkering, Director, Global Initiatives and Senior Gender Advisor, International Republican Institute  

Featured speaker on the allure of India

Panel: The convergence of innovation, expanding workforces and opportunity Watch Now

  • Sahra English, Global Trade Policy Vice President, MasterCard
  • Diane Farrell, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Asia, U.S. Department of Commerce
  • Kathryn Karol, Vice President for Global Government and Corporate Affairs, Caterpillar
  • Vivek Kumar, Founder and CEO, Qlicket Inc.  
  • Moderated by Puru Trivedi, Director of Corporate Relations, Meridian International Center 

Panel: Global expansion and influence of Indian cultures Watch Now

Featured speaker on the pursuit of soft power Watch Now

  • Dr. Shashi Tharoor, Member and Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on External Affairs, Parliament of India

Closing remarks

Forum Speakers

Project Timeline

Project summary

Cultural Diplomacy Forum on India | June 2017
Number of Attendees: 166
Regions: South and Central Asia
Countries: India
Impact Areas: Cultural Diplomacy
Program Areas: Diplomatic Engagement, Culture
Partners: Private Sector, Public Sector, Diplomatic Corps