Cultural diversity

Publications and Studies

Address by mr koïchiro matsuura, director-general of the united nations educational, scientific and cultural organization (unesco) at the opening of the 167th session of the executive board

Paris, 15 September 2003 – 2003/09/15

Speaking on behalf of those promoting a UNESCO cultural diversity agreement, which is on the agenda for the next General Conference, Mr. Matsuura expressed concerns about the risk of an increasing standardization of cultural products to the detriment of the imagination and creativity of future generations, fears that valuable cultural expression will be marginalized through lack of adequate means to promote it, and their wish that the intrinsic value of cultural expression be recognized, even if it does not have a market value. Today’s youth share the same music, styles, and video games, and Mr. Matsuura emphasized that this is one of the most visible effects of globalization. “Rather than seeing it as a negative, we should consider it a tremendous opportunity to make the ideas, sounds, and images of each culture available around the world to enrich and diversify culture everywhere. We also have to create a means for each culture to express itself, share with others, and benefit from a dialog that is today more necessary than ever before.” He further noted that “we have to keep this in mind when examining the issue.” According to Mr. Matsuura, “all these subjects must be openly discussed, because they are the main challenges we’ll face in the future. And that is the real value that UNESCO brings to the table—open discussion. UNESCO allows each nation to express itself and its opinions, choices, and concerns freely. Because the subjects addressed are on a global scale, they can only be legitimately and effectively dealt with globally through cooperation, discussion, and agreement.” (Available in English and French only)