Cultural diversity

Newsletter
The Diversity of Cultural Expressions

Vol. 7, no 20, Monday, June 18, 2007

Work begins on implementation of the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity

IN THIS ISSUE :

Convention Update

Press Releases, Speeches, and Declarations

Recent Publications

Cultural Policies and Measures – Best Practices

Other News of Interest



Convention Update

The Convention on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions has come into effect!

UNESCO’s Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions came into effect on Sunday, March 18, 2007. At press time, 62 states had ratified the treaty. More than ever, the mobilization campaign to encourage Member States who haven’t already done so to ratify the treaty must continue with commitment and conviction. The Convention’s legitimacy will be directly proportional to the number of countries from all parts of the world that ratify, accept, approve, or join the treaty.

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Press Releases, Speeches, and Declarations

UNESCO Media Advisory on the First session of the Conference of Parties to the Convention on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions – 2007/06/14

Staring today and until June 20, 2007, the first session of the Conference of Parties to the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions will be taking place at UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France.

On June 14, 2007, in a media advisory regarding the meeting, UNESCO stated that “The Convention aims to reinforce the links between culture and sustainable development and establishes an innovative approach to international cooperation. It reaffirms respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, equal dignity of cultures, equitable access, and openness of cultures to the world.”

The UNESCO advisory states that the Convention recognizes the distinctive nature of cultural goods and services as vehicles of identity, values, and meaning. UNESCO also adds that the Convention “therefore recognizes the sovereign right of States to elaborate cultural policies to promote the diversity of cultural expressions within their territories and to encourage equitable access to all cultural expressions in the world. Parties to the Convention are committed to facilitating cultural exchange within their borders as well as with other countries.”

Furthermore, UNESCO declares that “the Conference of Parties, the Convention’s supreme body, will notably adopt its rules of procedure and elect the 24 members of the Intergovernmental Committee that will operate under its supervision.”

As promised in our May 22, 2007 Bulletin, you can consult the working papers and information documents from the first Conference of Parties on the UNESCO website by clicking here.

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Press release from France on the first Conference of Parties to the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions – 2007/06/13

In a press release issued on June 13, 2007, France’s minister of foreign and European affairs discussed the upcoming first Conference of Parties to the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. The press release states that “fifty-six states, including France, which was instrumental in elaborating and adopting this text, will decide on the guidelines for implementing the convention.”

France ’s Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs adds that an international fund for voluntary contributions aimed at promoting cultural diversity will be created at the conference. The press release indicates that “in an effort to make this fund an effective tool for cooperation, France will contribute the equivalent of 1% of its 2008 contribution to UNESCO’s regular budget, for a total of €150,000.”

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On the eve of the first Conference of Parties, the secretary general of the International Organization of the Francophonie (OIF), Mr. Abdou Diouf, calls for full implementation of the Convention on cultural diversity – 2007/06/15

In a press release issued on the eve of the first Conference of Parties to the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, Mr. Abdou Diouf—the secretary general of the International Organization of the Francophonie (OIF)—called for the full and effective implementation of the international legal instrument.

“Experience has taught us that while it is often difficult to reach a consensus on a text, it is at least as difficult to reach an agreement on a course of action,” stated Mr. Diouf. “We must simultaneously operate on a level of national policies and measures while allowing international cooperation to flourish. Cultural industries hold tremendous potential for economic and social development for all countries, and for developing countries in particular,” he added.

The press release mentions that during the official lunch organized by the French-speaking UNESCO group on June 12, 2007, Mr. Diouf had the opportunity to discuss the Convention with UNESCO Director General Koïchiro Matsuura. The meeting was also an opportunity for the two leaders to take stock of cooperation between their organizations, particularly in the fields of education and training.

The press release also states that “faced with a constantly growing and evolving digital world, UNESCO and the OIF’s Institut de la Francophonie numérique have always worked together to foster cultural diversity and linguistic plurality on the Internet. To promote the introduction of digital culture in developing countries, the two organizations carry out joint initiatives to support the digitization of written cultural heritage in order to encourage global governance of the Internet that respects geographic diversity and the needs of all stakeholders as well as integrate technology into education and training.”

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Québec will take part in the Conference of Parties to the UNESCO Convention on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions – 2007/06/17

On June 17, 2007 in Québec, Ms. Monique Gagnon-Tremblay, Minister of International Relations and Minister responsible for La Francophonie; Mr. Raymond Bachand, Minister of Economic Development, Innovation, and Export Trade and Minister of Tourism; and Ms. Christine St-Pierre, Minister of Culture, Communications, and the Status of Women, announced that the Government of Québec would take part in the first regular session of the Conference of Parties to the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.

A press release issued for the occasion states that Québec will take part in the Conference as indicated in the Agreement between the Government of Canada and the Government of Québec concerning the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Michel Audet, the Government of Québec representative on Canada’s permanent delegation to UNESCO, is heading the Québec delegation and will voice Québec’s position.

“The Government of Québec is joining Canada in its efforts to get Canada elected to the Intergovernmental Committee. I am also very pleased that UNESCO has invited the International Liaison Committee of Coalitions for Cultural Diversity to this important meeting,” declared Ms. Gagnon-Tremblay.

“The Conference marks the implementation and launch of institutional mechanisms that Québec hopes will be strong, active, and dynamic in order to help the Convention fully achieve the goal of recognizing the right of states to implement policies favorable to their cultural development,” explained Mr. Bachand.

“It is essential that the mandate given to the Intergovernmental Committee reflect the importance of the tasks that have yet to be completed in order to ensure the implementation of the Convention. It is my hope that work will progress as quickly as it did during the adoption and ratification process for the convention,” stated Ms. St-Pierre.

The press release also mentions that “during this Conference of Parties, Québec intends to pay particular attention to the criteria recommended for determining the Intergovernmental Committee’s mandate. It also intends to ensure that civil organizations like the Coalition for Cultural Diversity, which played a major role in the process leading to the adoption of the Convention, can enjoy observer status within the governing bodies overseeing the Convention’s implementation.”

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The Canadian Coalition celebrates cultural diversity – 2007/06/08

In Montréal, Canada, on June 8, 2007, a number of cultural diversity actors came together to celebrate the coming into effect of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. The event was organized by the Coalition for Cultural Diversity, which brings together professional associations and organizations from cultural communities across Québec and Canada. The group played a major role in efforts leading to the adoption of the Convention on Cultural Diversity.

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Interview with Mr. Jean Musitelli on the goals and issues of the UNESCO Convention on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions – 2007/06/14

During the first Conference of Parties to the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, the UNESCO Office of Public Information discussed the treaty’s goals and issues with Mr. Jean Musitelli. Mr. Musitelli, who is currently a Conseiller d’État in France, was part of the group of experts who took part in creating the Convention.

In this interview, entitled “The Convention’s success depends on the will of States,” Mr. Musitelli begins by giving his definition of the concept of “diversity of cultural expressions” before discussing the purpose of the Convention. He then offers his point of view on the benefits that artists will draw from implementation of this treaty. The interview also addresses the question of the role that this text can play in developing countries. In closing, Mr. Musitelli answers the question, “When countries ratify the Convention, what is their commitment?”

Click here for a transcript of this noteworthy interview.

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Recent Publications

Compendium of Reference Documents for Cultural Policies in Africa – 2006

This book was created and published by OCPA in cooperation with UNESCO, the International Organization of the Francophonie, and the Swiss Commission for UNESCO. In a single volume, it provides a collection of reference texts, resolutions, recommendations, and declarations concerning culture, particularly from OAU/AU, UNESCO, and the International Organization of the Francophonie (OIF), as well as the role of these texts in Africa’s development since the 1960s.

The Compendium also contains an introductory “Overview of Objectives and Priorities of Cultural Policies in Africa—from the Pan-African Manifesto (1969) to the Charter for the Cultural Renaissance of Africa (2006),” as well as a bibliography of some 600 documents and publications concerning cultural policies and cultural development in Africa from the UNESCO and OCPA databases.

Click here for more information.

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Cultural Policies and Measures – Best Practices

Learn French with TV5MONDE

The TV5MONDE website features a new multimedia educational, instructional, and entertainment section called Apprendre le français including two subheadings: Apprendre.TV and Enseigner.TV.

Apprendre.TV is an interactive feature designed for kids, students, and adults. With 8 groups of exercises, Apprendre.TV helps Web surfers understand short television reports, test and improve their grammar, and learn new vocabulary. The exercises cover the themes of news, art, crafts, cuisine and gastronomy, discovering the world, and cultural habits. Apprendre.TV provides complementary tools like a multipurpose dictionary and translation software, an interactive language column by linguist Bernard Cerquiglini entitled “Merci professeur,” and quizzes and games to help users enrich their vocabulary and review grammar points.

Enseigner.TV is aimed at teachers and tutors of French as a foreign language. The site offers a wide variety of activity ideas and themes to help users prepare, learn, and be creative in promoting concrete, living, and timely immersion. The “J’enseigne avec la télévision” section offers ideas for using the channel’s programs and site contents (like news and songs) in the classroom. The “J’enseigne avec tv5.org” section gives teachers and tutors access to educational forums on the site as well as activities through online videos.

To access these tools that promote the richness and diversity of francophone cultures, we invite you to visit the TV5MONDE website and click on the Apprendre.TV and Enseigner.TV headings.

Contact: French language teaching and promotion services - 00 33 1 44 18 48 20 - enseigner@tv5.org

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Other News of Interest

Information session on the Communication on a European Agenda for Culture in a Globalizing World

As mentioned in the last edition of our Bulletin (Vol. 7, No. 15), the European Commission adopted a Communication on a European Agenda for Culture in a Globalizing World on May 10, 2007. It suggests the first-ever European strategy for culture. Civil society organizations will have a major opportunity to discuss this communication during the forum organized by the future EU Portuguese Presidency on September 26–27 in Lisbon.

Having received many questions on the document, its proposals, and its follow-up, the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Education and Culture decided to quickly organize an information session for civil society organizations before the summer. The European Commission states that the objective is certainly not to gather views and pre-empt future debates, particularly with respect to the Lisbon Forum. The objective is simply to respond to questions on the Communication itself and its follow-up.

The information session will be held in Brussels on June 26 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (exact location to be announced soon). You can confirm your attendance via email to maria-anna.butera@ec.europa.eu .

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YEFF! France 2007 – Young European Film Forum for Cultural Diversity – June 29 to July 10, 2007

Kyrnéa International is hosting the new Young European Film Forum for Cultural Diversity (YEFF!) meeting for youths. This year, YEFF! will take place in France and will bring together young people from 11 European countries for 12 days from June 29 to July 10, 2007.

YEFF! is a network of 12 partners from 11 European countries working in the fields of cultural education, education with images, and the fight against discrimination. It also hosts the YEFF! Forum in a different European country every two years ( Germany in 2005, France in 2007, and Sweden in 2009). Young people from every country in Europe are asked to produce films on the theme of cultural diversity and to present their work during the forum. YEFF! supports youth expression regarding cultural diversity and promotes intercultural learning through audiovisual and film creation. YEFF! also endeavors to give the films produced by young people a wider audience composed of European youth and audiovisual and intercultural specialists.

The YEFF! network has four main objectives: 1) To teach young people the language and aesthetic principles of film and television images so that they may incorporate them into their own vision; 2) To get young people thinking about their experiences and perceptions of cultural diversity; 3) To support young people facing intercultural or migration experiences; and 4) To give young people the opportunity to meet other amateur filmmakers during a unique and specialized forum in order to strengthen the European network of future filmmakers and journalists.

The YEFF! France 2007 forum has two components: YEFF! in the regions (June 29 to July 4) will take place in seven French regions and will bring together a group of young French citizens with young people from other European countries. It will be a wonderful opportunity for both groups to meet and share ideas.

Later (July 5 to 10), YEFF! in Île de France will bring all participants together for the second part of their stay at INJEP (Institut national de la jeunesse et de l’éducation populaire) in Marly-le-Roi for screenings and introductory and advanced workshops on film techniques. Screenings will be open to the public and will be followed by analyses and debates on the realities of being a young person in Europe.

You can consult the 2007 forum program by clicking here.

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