On September 20, 2012, Société des relations internationales du Québec (SORIQ) bestowed its 30th prix d’honneur on Ivan Bernier*, emeritus professor at Université Laval’s Faculty of Law (Québec City) and co-founder of the International Network of Lawyers for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (Réseau international de juristes pour la diversité des expressions culturelles-RIJDEC).
In remarks prepared for the occasion, Professor Bernier— hailed as a founding father of the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions—clarified the status of the UNESCO convention.
He began by touching briefly on the genesis and content of the Convention, then outlined its major implementation phases at the institutional level (within Convention bodies) and the Member States level. He also addressed the following topics which have to do with Convention implementation: the International Fund for Cultural Diversity (IFCD); the program for technical assistance missions in cultural governance, launched by the European Union; the pilot program to strengthen African financing capabilities, funded by the UNESCO Emergency Fund; the quadrennial periodic reports of Parties to the Convention; the integration of Convention principles and objectives within Member States’ programs, laws, regulations, and diplomatic practices; and the relationship between culture and commerce.
Professor Bernier’s speech, entitled "Where are we with the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions?" ("Qu’est-il advenu de la Convention sur la protection et la promotion de la diversité des expressions culturelles de 2005?"), can be found on the RIJDEC website (in French only).
*Professor Bernier has written, co-authored, and edited myriad articles and works exploring the relationship between culture and commerce. He has served as an expert advisor for the Department of Canadian Heritage, Québec’s Ministère de la Culture et des Communications, the cultural diversity and globalization working group of the International Network of Cultural Policy, and the Groupe franco-québécois sur la diversité culturelle. He was also one of the independent experts tasked with developing a preliminary draft of the International Convention on the Protection of the Diversity of Cultural Contents and Artistic Expressions.
RIJDEC is an international network of lawyers interested in protecting and promoting the diversity of cultural expression and implementing the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.
SORIQ serves as a forum where all aspects of international relations are addressed and analyzed via exposés, discussions, debates, and publications. Since 1981, SORIQ has awarded its annual Prix d’honneur to an individual who has distinguished him or herself in the field of international relations; recipients are generally natives of the Québec City area or have worked there.