Cultural diversity

News Releases / Speeches / Declarations

" Défendre la diversité culturelle " dans le monde

M. Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres, ministre français de la Culture et de la Communication, le 27 septembre 2004 - 2004/09/27

Kicking off the 3rd edition of “Foreign Culture Week” with his Brazilian counterpart Gilberto Gil and Robert Desbiens of Canada, Chair of Forum des instituts culturels étrangers à Paris, Mr. de Vabres said he was prepared to “support foreign cultures in France and defend cultural diversity in the international arena.” Evoking the chosen theme, “Stranger in the City,” he stated that “faced with a communitarist temptation to withdraw into individual identities, we must reaffirm the rich contribution of the different components of our society [...] France views tolerance and the recognition of cultural diversity as basic values.” The minister noted that Foreign Culture Week “quite symbolically follows the week in which government experts met within UNESCO to discuss the preliminary draft convention on the protection of the diversity of cultural contents and artistic expressions». Mr. de Vabres also paid homage to Canada, recalling the initiating role played by the Canadian Cultural Center in Paris: “It’s no coincidence that Canada is always by our side to discuss the diversity of cultures […] This initiative illustrates yet again the importance this great country places on the values and principles of intercultural dialogue and cultural diversity. Canada is an example of tolerance and openness to others. In this country where over 200 ethnic groups live respectfully together and are mindful of each other’s identity, cultural diversity really means something.” Mr. Robert Desbiens enthusiastically acknowledged France’s recognition and the presence of Gilberto Gil, “a symbol of resistance to the ‘one culture fits all’ mindset.” Forum des instituts culturels étrangers à Paris (FICEP), which Mr. Desbiens also chairs, includes 35 foreign cultural centers representing over 50 cultural identities. FICEP has published a manifesto in support of a “ multilateral zone for culture marked by neither market forces nor politics .”