On May 21, UNESCO Director General Koïchiro Matsuura concluded the round table discussions organized by UNESCO headquarters during the celebration of World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development.
A news report published by UNESCO states that the meeting entitled “Cultural diversity as seen by artists and creators” brought together RFO director of cultural affairs and regional cooperation Marijosée Alie, filmmaker Rachid Benhadj, UNESCO artist for peace and Gipsy Kings founder Chico Bouchikhi, poet, painter, and calligraphist Fan Zeng, geneticist Axel Kahn, writer Henri Lopes, actor and singer La Lupa, artist/painter Ricardo Mosner, fashion stylist Sakina M’sa, and photographer Patrick de Wilde. Discussions were presided over by Gora Patel, director of RFO radio broadcasts.
According to the report, Matsuura feels that the round table laid the groundwork for further exploration and reflection on ways of developing measures and policies to support artists and other creators. Matsuura stated that one of UNESCO’s basic missions is to “encourage the development of environments that foster creativity.” Adding that “integrating the values of cultural diversity into education programs is crucial in that regard. […] Those who are aware of the importance of creativity have a good chance of being creative themselves, as a sort of echo effect of what they have learned.”
He stressed the importance of the market for creative people. “One of the key factors of success as an artist is being able to enter the market without being consumed by its requirements.” He also mentioned the importance of protecting artist’s creative rights. “There is a lot of work left to be done in this area as well in order to consolidate and even guarantee those rights.”
Matsuura ended by saying, “Finally, I’m sure you won’t be surprised to hear me mention the strategic importance of international cooperation. UNESCO was founded on the principle of humanity’s intellectual and moral solidarity, as declared in its constitution. It is up to the international community, in the broadest sense of the term, to come together to preserve and celebrate cultural diversity. I hope this first meeting becomes a regular event. It is a sign of our openness to all types of partnerships.”