Cultural diversity

News Releases / Speeches / Declarations

Adoption of the Convention on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions at UNESCO : French “ingenuity” questioned

Jean-Paul Mulot, editorialist with LeFigaro, Paris, October 22, 2005 – 2005/10/22

In an editorial in the October 22 edition of LeFigaro, Jean-Paul Mulot wrote, “We should be pleased. The adoption the UNESCO Convention on Cultural Diversity is a real victory for France. But let’s give credit where credit it due (…). Although we owe Thursday’s smashing victory to the talent of Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres, the French coach, it is first and foremost a team triumph. None of it would have been possible without francophone leadership and a European team. Imposing cultural exception—a cause tirelessly championed by Jacques Chirac—on Hollywood would never have worked if Canada hadn’t fallen in behind us, and if Europe—led by British—hadn’t lent a benevolent ear to our struggle. Despite our squabbles (…), the Paris/London camp won.”

Moreover, stressed Mr. Mulot, “American pressure had no effect on the Blair government. For once, the European Union spoke with a single voice. However, the American administration tried its damnedest to prevent the Convention’s adoption. Condoleezza Rice even wrote a text lecturing U.S. allies to multiply friendly pressure on “ small ” countries. To no avail! Remarking on its isolation, the State Department could only express (…) its “ disappointment. ” We just hope that this American failure will not turn into an opportunity for Washington to rethink its contributions—nearly one-quarter of the budget—to UNESCO.”

Mr. Mulot concluded that we cannot share the optimism of French president Jacques Chirac, who views this Convention “as major step forward in a world in need of protecting cultural diversity and requiring a dialog of cultures that is respect of all.”