Culture, albeit hard to describe is an essential concept in international affairs and is easily understood. Moreover, international relations itself, in its broadest sense is the outcome of the interaction between diverse cultures.

At a basic level culture can be explained as the man-made part of the environment and is communicable, providing patterns, knowledge, and meanings of social activity as well as with respect to the world.

Culture plays an important role in influencing the structure of humans as well as state relationships, values, and world views.

In this vein, to strengthen their positions in the international system, states formulate ties based on political, economic, humanitarian, strategic, and cultural aspects.

Likewise, good relations with other states in the system are very important for prosperity. Every nation has weak and strong points which make them form alliances that are mutually beneficial.

The same is the case with the ties between Azerbaijan and Pakistan. Although the two states enjoy cordial relations because of the similarities, there is a need to further enhance the ties and for that culture can serve to be an important tool.

Such cooperation amongst states is an effective tool to fortify, share and hasten development within the states and across the region. This article aims to analyze culture as a key feature to enhance ties between Pakistan and Azerbaijan.

Cultural Diplomacy: A tool to strengthen ties

Today’s world is an increasingly globalized and interdependent one where technology has ensured access to everything and everyone more than ever.

To strengthen ties between two states, culture plays an important role, and therein comes the significant phenomenon of cultural diplomacy.

In international relations, cultural diplomacy according to the Institute of Cultural Diplomacy can be defined as “a course of actions that stems from the exchange of ideas, traditions, values and other aspects of identity or culture.”

It can be employed to enhance relations, reinforce socio-cultural collaboration and promote national interests.

Cultural diplomacy can establish peace and stability around the world and has the potential to influence global opinion along with the ideology of individuals, communities, and nations.

It has existed for centuries and has been practiced by nations throughout history, although the term “cultural diplomacy” is a fairly new one.

Travelers, teachers, explorers, traders, and artists are all examples of informal ambassadors of cultural diplomacy. As per the definition of cultural diplomacy, any individual who works alongside diverse cultures opens the door for a type of cultural exchange.

This can take place in the domains of sports, music, arts, literature, science, and beyond. The earliest possible example of cultural diplomacy can be the establishment of trade routes.

Such routes enable a recurrent exchange of information and gifts representing culture along with the interaction between traders and government personnel.

Consequently, as is evident from the study of history that such interactions consistently and vastly enhanced relations between diverse groups of people.

The rise of cultural diplomacy became prominent during the Cold War era and since then has become a norm in the international system as a vital tool of foreign policy.

Cultural diplomacy, a soft power, occurs between nations and states in the form of the cultural exchange of art, language, and education.

Many countries have been using culture as a tool to spread their ideals of human rights, democracy, religion, and even concepts like freedom of speech with the help of government-sponsored agencies that work solely for such purposes.

In this regard, professional, educational and cultural exchange programs play a huge role by establishing people-to-people ties between the states.

There have been ongoing projects in such capacity to supplement the relationship between Pakistan and Azerbaijan. 

Pakistan- Azerbaijan Cultural Ties

Pakistan and Azerbaijan would benefit immensely from having strong cultural ties. Both countries have established reciprocally advantageous and harmonious cooperation in numerous spheres, opting to act jointly against common security and political threats.

Most importantly, the two support each other’s stance on the issue of the Nagorno-Karabakh and Kashmir conflict by using every opportunity.

Attributable to such relations, both states lent support to each other in the prevalent pandemic situation with the intention of addressing socio-economic challenges with each other’s help.

Pakistan and Azerbaijan share a mutual vision to engender economic development through diverse regional connectivity schemes.

In recent years the two states have increased bilateral trade and regardless of the fact that they have not been strong trade partners in the past, they intend to increase the trade volume.

Resultantly there have been an increased number of business forums with a focus on tourism, cultural exchange, & energy fields, hosted between the two allies. Pakistan & Azerbaijan are determined to have strong ties based on strong historical & cultural bonds.

As far as the cultural ties are concerned, the people-to-people contact between the two states is also flourishing as is evident from the influx of tourists in recent years.

The two governments are cognizant of the fact that cultural exchange propagates a sense of trust and understanding serving to pave the way toward a strong relationship.

Many states practice their culture so as to correspond to and transmit social, cultural, economic, and political values as culture creates a fertile ground for traditional diplomacy.

What’s more, the two governments are working on various projects to further reinforce the ties with initiatives like the announcement of direct flights from Baku to Karachi and Lahore in the near future.

Likewise, many delegates from various backgrounds like arts, education, and business from Azerbaijan and Pakistan are working in collaboration with one another to enhance ties via arranging exhibitions, business forums, and humanitarian forums.


Even though Pakistan and Azerbaijan enjoy strong ties, there is a need to further enhance the relations between the staunch allies.

Therefore, both countries need to strategize by formulating a cultural bloc. The following recommendations are suggested in that regard, to be incorporated into the policies of both states.

Firstly, exchange programs should be adopted by studying successful models. This can be done by offering student scholarships to aspiring candidates.

Such programs have the ability to develop cultural understanding between citizens of different countries and will undoubtedly expand the relations between the two states.

Secondly, the promotion of tourism is an important facet of using culture as a tool to enhance bilateral ties. Both countries should work in collaboration for easy visas, direct flights, discount packages, and lucrative tours to promote bilateral tourism.

Thirdly, there can be an exchange between the artists of both countries. Also, native music, dramas, and arts can be promoted through exchange programs.

A joint venture based on history can be also worked out to create awareness amongst the native population of the countries.

Last but not the least, technology houses can be established by collaboration between the concerned authorities of the two countries to encourage an exchange of ideas, knowledge, and experience. 

Also read: Artists from Pakistan & Azerbaijan organize an art exhibition