Last April, the Public and Cultural Diplomacy Forum at AU hosted an event on "Gastrodiplomacy", featuring an impressive panel of speakers on this intriguing subject. I was live-tweeting the event, when I started getting responses from some Armenian tweeps suggesting that I write something about the culinary question of the South Caucasus -- the dolma. Soon after, a friend pointed out that USC's Public Diplomacy Magazine is planning a special issue on the topic of gastrodiplomacy. That's when I decided to dive in.
The long-awaited Winter 2014 issue is now out, and you can get the electronic copy of the entire issue here. My paper, titled "From Gastronationalism to Gastrodiplomacy: Reversing the Securitization of the Dolma in the South Caucasus", deals with the culinary controversy surrounding the origins of dolma that has been keeping quite a few people and organizations very busy over the past few years (in both Armenia and Azerbaijan). I tried to provide a short, yet a more-or-less comprehensive perspective on what the issue entails, and how, instead of fueling the conflict between the two countries further, dolma can become a tool for public diplomacy -- gastrodiplomacy -- to bring the nations closer and begin a process of conflict resolution and reconciliation.
I won't give more of it away. Also, white you're reading that, don't forget to look at the rest of the articles and interviews, as well. There's a lot of interesting and exciting stuff in there!
Special thanks to the editors of the Public Diplomacy Magazine for all their feedback and help!