On 2 Dec 2010, Dr Vishaka Desai, the then President and CEO of Asia Society, was invited to launch the MA in Asian Art Histories Programme. She delivered a lecture in conjunction with the launch of the programme titled Arts and Foreign Policy in the Age of the New Asian Century.
In her lecture, Dr Desai articulated the rationale for greater use of arts in the foreign policy area of U.S.-relations. She discussed some of the ways that resurgent global players—China and India in particular—are using arts, culture, and public diplomacy in their foreign policy agendas. The dawn of the second decade of the twenty-first century has ushered in a unique phenomenon of millennial civilizations of Asia becoming center stage (again) in the global arena. Their histories suggest a distinct mix of cultural, economic and political trajectories, both in making of and teaching of contemporary arts. The complex and dynamic relationship among the three factors is a clear indication of centrality of arts and culture in the contemporary engagements with resurgent Asian giants.