Cultural diversity

News Releases / Speeches / Declarations

The Draft Convention on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions within UNESCO : " It is up to our generation today to inscribe in international law that works of art and the mind cannot be treated as mere goods "

Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres, ministre de la Culture et de la Communication de France, Paris, 4 octobre 2005 – 2005/10/04

In a speech at UNESCO’s 33rd General Conference last October 4 in Paris, French culture minister Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres stated that “one of the fundamental responses to the challenge of modern terrorism and violence resides in culture and in the preservation of cultural identities. What is at stake with the draft convention submitted for your approval is our ability to enjoy pacific and confident relations with others, that is to say, the recognition of alternate voices, the awareness of the profound equality of dignity among cultures, and faith in the freedom of artists and designers, and of peoples and societies, to express the essence of their being and their vision of the world.”

Explaining the significance of the convention that France wishes to see adopted, Minister de Vabres noted that “It is up to our generation today to inscribe in international law that works of art and the mind cannot be treated as mere goods. It is up to our generation to decide that in our age of all-encompassing trade, where anything can be bought and sold, we must reserve a special place for culture, one in keeping with the dignity of human beings (…) This is not a message of withdrawal, it is not a surrender to close-mindedness and idiosyncrasies that would justify acts of violence or fanaticism (…) UNESCO was created to serve the world, and must now save the diversity of the world.” He went on to add, “Today, we have a responsibility to take another step forward together, to make this heritage our own. In adopting the Convention on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, let us write together this new page of the history of human spirit. Recognition of diversity is not simply a cultural undertaking. It is a political ambition, the very foundation of peace in the world today.”