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Notice to the Press: Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright will host a working dinner tonight for an international group of cultural leaders, launching an effort to strengthen cultural diplomacy and make it more central to foreign policy development. The Secretary will solicit ideas from the group for initiatives that show America’s respect for diverse cultures and discuss the global impact of American culture with them. She and her senior staff also will listen to their ideas for establishing public and private partnerships that help the Department launch new cultural programs.

Attending the dinner will be Her Majesty Queen Noor al-Hussein of Jordan, His Highness the Aga Khan, and leaders of American cultural institutions, heads of major foundations and cultural scholars.

Secretary Albright will open the dinner with remarks about the increasing importance of culture to international issues, such as trade, ethnic conflict, biotechnology, and violence against women. She will highlight the need to respond to other countries’ fears that global economic expansion threatens their cultures and traditions.

The Secretary’s remarks, scheduled to begin at approximately 7:30 p.m., will be open for press coverage. This event will take place in the Thomas Jefferson Room, Eighth Floor, Department of State.