Chile/ 3.4 International cultural co-operation  

3.4.2 Public actors and cultural diplomacy

In addition to the work undertaken by the National Council for Culture and the Arts operating through the Unit for International Affairs in coordination with the Committee of Libraries, Archives and Museums, and the Council for National Monuments, there are a series of public institutions dedicated to the task of diplomacy and the internationalisation of Chilean and culture. Among these is the National Committee for Cultural Relations in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (DIRAC), the Committee for the Promotion of Exportations (PROCHILE), the Foundation for the Image of Chile dependent on or related to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the National Tourist Board (SERNATUR), dependent on the Ministry of Economy, Development and Tourism.

The primary characteristics of these organisations are as follows:

National Committee for Cultural Relations in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (DIRAC)

National Committee for Cultural Relations in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (DIRAC) was formed by the Law No. 161 in 1978. The legal text mentioned indicates that DIRAC is responsible for “collaborating in the formulation of a foreign policy for Chile in cultural matters, for coordinating and executing this policy and collaborating to ensure that the activities undertaken by other countries in Chile in these matters are appropriately used”. Additionally, DIRAC is responsible for informing diplomatic missions and consular representatives about events happening in the country and to support the diffusion abroad of the Chilean reality.

DIRAC has as its objective:

-       the dissemination of Chilean culture through all the creative disciplines, through reflection, folklore, heritage and indigenous peoples.

-       the dissemination  of the work of artists, curators, critics and thinkers with the aim of creating ties to other nations in harmony with Chilean foreign policy.

-        to reflect through culture a profound identifying factor in the image of the country.

DIRAC has at its disposal a network of embassies, consulates and missions of Chile abroad, to develop and promote activities in collaboration with other public and private institutions.

For more information concerning the Ministry of Cultural Affairs and Information, please see:

Committee for the Promotion of Exportations (PROCHILE)

The Committee for the Promotion of Exportations (PROCHILE), was formed in 1974 through Law No. 740, and was called the Institute for the Promotion of Chilean Exports. It was an autonomous body, a public entity with its own assets, which had the aim of developing, encouraging, diversifying and stimulating non-traditional Chilean exports. It is worth noting that these did not surpass 1.5% of the total volume of exports (Chilean National Congress, 1974). Later the institution, through law No. 53 in 1979 (Chilean National Congress, 1974b) became part of the General Ministry of International Economic Relations in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, of which it is still a part today.

Currently PROCHILE is the institution responsible for promoting the export of products and services from the country, contributing to the stimulation of foreign investment and the development of tourism. PROCHILE has more than fifty commercial offices and regional offices around the world and throughout the country, and their objectives are the following:

a.         To provide service support to national exporters.

b.         To contribute to the distribution and reduction of the risks inherent in the internationalisation process for the diversification and expansion into world markets of national companies, with a particular emphasis on those who export to only one or two countries.

c.         To strengthen the internationalisation of innovation through programmes and training that support the exporter, contributing to the development of an exportable commodity that stands out for its innovation.

For more information concerning PROCHILE, please

Foundation for the Image of Chile 

The Foundation for the Image of Chile is a non-profit private institution created in 2009 with the aim of ensuring the promotion of Chile, bringing together diverse visions and transcending political circumstances. The Foundation seeks to incorporate the contribution to civil society and bring together the regions as repositories of the nation’s diversity.

In accordance with its status, the objective of the Foundation for the Image of Chile is to stimulate, develop, sponsor, finance, coordinate, promote and execute the dissemination of the image of Chile abroad, contributing to the competitivity of that image through a close coordination with the private and public sectors (Foundation for the Image of Chile, 2009). Among its functions are:

-       To elaborate plans and programmes that aim to achieve its basic objectives.

-       To develop actions, programmes, projects, seminars, classes, studies and campaigns to promote the image of Chile globally.

-       To propose plans and programmes to other organisations from the private or public sector directly or indirectly related to its institutional mission.

-       To integrate functions with other private or public organisations with similar objectives, through treaties, agreements or other forms of collaboration.

-       To seek and obtain economic contribution for the accomplishment of its activities, from national, international or foreign individuals or organisations.

-       To administer the image, symbols, slogans, publicity loglines, internet sites and other intellectual property dealing with the global image of Chile.

-       In general, to undertake all action that lead to the execution of the Foundation’s aims and goals.

The Foundation is financed with public money and is managed by a committee made of up nineteen members among whom is the Minister of Foreign Affairs, who also presides over the Committee, the Minister of Economy, Development and Tourism, the Minister of the National Council for Culture and Arts, and sixteen individuals designated every three years by the Minister for Foreign Affairs. The participation of the ministries of state mentioned above is ensured through Law No. 20.511, of 2011 (Chilean National Congress, 2011).

Among the main thrust of the Foundation’s work is:

-       To study and understand the image that our country projects abroad, recognising the nuances that characterise that image in the areas in which it plays a relevant role.

-       To conceptualise the best way in which the Chilean reality can be presented abroad, maintaining a strategic design for the promotion of Chilean interests abroad, in particular in terms of the economy.

-       To support the “builders of the country’s image” with advice, material support, studies and information relevant to communicational expertise abroad, so that this is consistent with the common strategic design.

-       To coordinate and thereby optimise the communicational component of the work agendas of the primary national actors who have a presence abroad.

-       To generate one-off activities such as publicity campaigns, digital actions, cultural, artistic and others, in order to make use of strategic opportunities to increase the visibility and reputation of Chile abroad.

-       To promote the dissemination of high value commodities and content which support and endorse the strategic international positioning. 

For more information concerning the Foundation for the Image of Chile, please see:

National Tourist Board (SERNATUR)

In terms of public agencies linked to international relations, the state of Chile has developed an important promotional tool in tourism on the national territory. Already in 1960 a Tourism Committee was established, depending on the Ministry of Economy, and brought into being through Law No. 355 (Chilean National Congress, 1960). This public distribution of responsibilities is later complemented at a territorial level with the creation of the Regional Tourism Council in 1969 through Law No. 17.169 (Chilean National Congress, 1969). 

In 1975, considering among other things the importance of archaeological, folk craft and cultural expressions as a strong tourist attraction, the National Tourist Board (SERNATUR) was formed, through Law No. 1.224 (Chilean National Congress, 1975).

SERNATUR promotes and disseminates the development of Chilean tourist activities, and has a National Committee and Regional Tourism Committees throughout the country, as well as local offices in areas of particular tourist interest.

The mission of SERNATUR is to execute the National Tourism Policy,  through the implementation of plans and programmes that incentives the competitivity and participation of the private sector, developing the tourism offer, promoting and disseminating information about tourist destinations that practice sustainable development, benefitting the tourists, those who offer the services, the communities and the country as a whole. SERNATUR has the following strategic objectives:

-       To coordinate public and private agencies to participate in, associate with and strengthen the activities of promotion and dissemination of products and destinations with the aim of generating growth in the tourist industry.

-       To promote the competitivity of the sector through the incorporation and certification of standards in order to ensure quality and safety within the offers of tourist services.

-       To generate high-quality, appropriate and accessible information that facilitates the definition of strategies and the decision-making process within the sector, in order to strengthen the tourism offer.

-       To strengthen internal tourist programmes  in order to reduce the seasonality of the industry, and to promote the development of the regions, decentralising the industry.

-       To encourage and ensure an integral development of the territories so as to contribute to the sustainability of the tourist destinations and tourist products.

-       To design and implement the strategy of development of internal management within the framework of the implementation of the Tourism Law.

Based on an understanding of the growing importance of tourism as a brute product within the country, in 2005 work was begun on a National Tourism Policy. Additionally, in 2010, Law No. 20.423 was passed that brought up to date the regulatory framework concerning the development and promotion of tourism activities, considering it a strategically important field for the country, and imbuing it with a series of new institutional instruments such as the Committee of Ministers, the Advisory Board for the Promotion of Tourism, the Classification, Quality and security System for the Providers of Tourist Services, among other initiatives. (Chilean National Congress, 2010).

For more information concerning the National Tourist Board, please see

Chapter published: 28-12-2013