Cultural diversity

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Proposals to implement the UNESCO Convention for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions in Switzerland

La diversité culturelle, plus qu’un slogan, a report, was published on October 16 in Bern by the Swiss Commission for UNESCO and the Swiss Coalition for Cultural Diversity. The press release for the occasion notes:

“In La diversité culturelle, plus qu’un slogan, a report, some sixty specialists recommend greater awareness of cultural life in our country and better positioning for culture in Switzerland’s general policies. The report comes one year to the day after Switzerland’s full accession to the UNESCO Convention on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, which affirms that culture is not a commodity.

“On October 16, 2008, the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions came into effect in our country. Switzerland joined the 100-plus states to have ratified the international agreement adopted by UNESCO in 2005.

“In order to ensure that cultural diversity was much more than simply an empty slogan in our country, the Swiss Commission for UNESCO and the Swiss Coalition for Cultural Diversity invited some sixty actors from civil society to take stock and make proposals for the future. Their findings and recommendations are brought together in the report.

“The report covers eight areas: music, cinema, the visual arts and heritage protection, literature, theater and dance, education, the media, and international cooperation. It notes that Switzerland still boasts a varied cultural scene. However, changes to society and globalization-related technology advances are requiring a shift toward a single cultural policy that is structured and anchored in the Confederation, on the one hand and, on the other, greater awareness of cultural diversity in our country’s general policies.

“The country’s citizens and political circles must become more aware of culture’s role in our society in order to foresee and stave off any depletion of cultural diversity. ‘Investing in the riches of cultural life means helping reinforce social coherence, which is at the heart of society’s problems today,’ believes Daniel Fueter, rapporteur general and author of the report’s preface.”

The report is available in French and German, while the eight sectoral reports are available in French, German, and Italian on the Swiss Coalition for Cultural Diversity website.

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