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Mission to Mexico – Québec’s Minister of Culture, Communications and the Status of Women visits Monterrey to encourage cultural exchange between Québec and Mexico

From September 19 to 22, 2007, Québec’s Minister of Culture, Communications and the Status of Women, Christine St-Pierre was in Mexico for a mission. “This mission to Mexico will help strengthen the institutional ties between our two nations in the fields of arts and culture. It will also highlight the increasingly close links Québec and Mexico have developed,” declared Ms. St-Pierre before leaving for her trip.

During this mission, the minister met with Sergio Vela, head of CONACULTA (Mexico’s national committee of arts and culture), and Roméo Flores Caballero, Secretary of Culture for Nuevo León. She also attended, along with Minister of International Relations Monique Gagnon-Tremblay, the opening of the 2007 Monterrey Forum celebrating international culture.

During her discussion with Mr. Vela, Ms. St-Pierre praised Mexico’s organization of the Forum. Mr. Vela, for his part, mentioned Québec’s significant contribution to the international event.

Discussions between Ms. St-Pierre and Mr. Vela dealt with setting priorities for the cultural component of Mexico-Québec relations. They agreed to hold professional meetings on the theme of cultural industries in order to encourage exchanges and develop cooperative projects illustrating the wealth of the cultural diversity of both societies. Planned for the first quarter of 2008, these meetings will bring together stakeholders from the recording, publishing, film, and television industries.

Ms. St-Pierre and Mr. Vela also discussed the possibility of holding the first meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee of the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions in Ottawa next December. Mexico and Canada were both elected to the committee, whose role is in large part to prepare the guidelines required for implementing the convention. Québec will attend this meeting as part of the Canadian delegation.

Ms. St-Pierre and Mr. Vela signaled their willingness to pursue the excellent cooperation in matters of artist residency exchanges between Québec’s Conseil des arts et des lettres and Mexico’s Fondo nacional para la cultura y las artes and to prioritize exchanges in the fields of cultural tourism, heritage, museology, and architecture.

They also announced that Québec has been named guest of honor at the 2009 Cervantino International Festival, a multidisciplinary festival held yearly in Guanajuato.

“I invited Mr. Vela to visit Québec for a mission in the near future. The reciprocity of cultural exchanges between Québec and Mexico is very important to me,” concluded Ms. St-Pierre.

During her mission to Mexico, Ms. St-Pierre also inaugurated or attended several Monterrey Forum cultural events featuring Québec in artistic disciplines ranging from circus and visual arts to theater and music.

The Monterrey Forum was expected to draw over two million visitors to the various shows, exhibitions, and round table discussions put on by some forty countries and states. Visitors were treated to works and performances by Québec artists in several fields (circus arts, visual arts, theater, music).

Québec rounded out its presence at the Forum with active participation in debates on themes of global interest. Three experts from Québec took part in the Dialogues, a series of roundtable discussion bringing together citizens, experts, and academics. These three experts were Louise Julie Bertrand, head of exhibitions for the Montréal Science Center and professors Édith Deleury and Jorge Niosi.

The contemporary Québec studies and research chair at UNAL (Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon) also presented a symposium entitled “Law, cultures, and religion: one heritage, many identities.” Organized by Sherbrooke University’s society, law, and religion research group in collaboration with UNAL, the symposium brought together specialists from Québec, Mexico, and France to discuss interactions between state norms and cultural and religious norms.

“Our artists and intellectuals are first-rate ambassadors,” stated Ms. St-Pierre. “They promote appreciation for Québec culture around the world. I am extremely pleased to see them center stage at the Monterrey Forum,” she added.

During her trip to Mexico, Ms. St-Pierre also met with UNESCO Director General Koïchiro Matsuura. “We discussed the importance of the Convention on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions and the necessity of getting more countries to sign it,” declared Ms. St-Pierre in an interview with Le Journal de Montréal.

For more information on Québec’s presence at the Monterrey Forum, visit the Ministère de la Culture, des Communications et de la Condition féminine website.

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