Cultural diversity

Newsletter
The Diversity of Cultural Expressions

Vol. 8, no 33, Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Efforts to implement the Convention on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions are underway!

IN THIS ISSUE :

Convention Update

Press Releases, Speeches, and Declarations

Cultural Policies and Measures – Best Practices

Other News of Interest



Convention Update

Efforts to implement the Convention on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions are underway!

At the first Conference of Parties to the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, the Intergovernmental Committee was tasked with developing operational directives for Convention implementation. The Committee held a regular meeting in Ottawa, Canada from December 10 to 13, 2007, and an extraordinary session in Paris, France from June 24 to 27, 2008. Other meetings will be held before the next Conference of Parties, slated for June 2009 in Paris.

At press time, 90 states had ratified the treaty. Efforts to implement the treaty are well underway, but 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

Signing of a Memorandum of Understanding for a Strategic Partnership between UNESCO and the Inter-American Development Bank

On October 6, 2008, UNESCO announced that Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura and Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) President Luis Alberto Moreno had signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a Strategic Partnership “to expand existing cooperation between the two organizations.”

According to the press release, this memorandum brings up to date the cooperation agreement concluded by UNESCO and the IDB in 1967. “Reflecting the strategic interests of the two organizations and their new priorities, it provides a framework for cooperation between the two partners in education, science, culture, and communication.”

Mr. Matsuura welcomed the agreement, saying it will “reinforce the cooperation between UNESCO and the IDB and make their joint activities all the more effective.” As for Mr. Moreno, he stressed “the IDB’s wish to promote quality education and better access to educational services. Together, we will make faster progress towards the Millennium Goals in these domains.”

The release also states that the agreement allows UNESCO and the IDB to undertake joint activities in Latin America and the Caribbean in a certain number of areas affecting culture, including the protection and promotion of biological and cultural diversity (i.e., the promotion of multilingualism), the protection and safeguarding of natural and cultural heritage (i.e., intangible cultural heritage), and the development of cultural industries. For more information on this agreement and all common areas of activity it covers, please consult the UNESCO press release.

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New organizational formula for the Sommet de la Francophonie

The twelfth conference of heads and states of governments of countries having the French language in common, generally known as the Sommet de la Francophonie, will bring together the 55 member states of International Organization of La Francophonie (OIF) and 13 observer states in Québec City, Canada from October 17 to 19. It will be preceded by the 24th session of the Ministerial Conference of La Francophonie.

Canada—which will be chairing the summit—and Québec are the two host governments of the twelfth Sommet de la Francophonie. In a recent press release, the OIF announced that “in an effort to lend these meetings added vibrancy that will encourage interaction and deeper debate, the organizational formula of the twelfth summit has been revamped.” According to the press release, the four issues on the agenda will first be addressed during thematic sessions and round table discussions. Those themes are democracy and the state of law, governance and economic solidarity, the environment, and the French language.

According to the OIF, the official opening ceremony will take place in the afternoon of October 17, followed by the summit on October 18 and 19, which will close with the adoption of the Declaration of Québec. The release also mentions that the heads of states and governments will review the activity report by La Francophonie Secretary General Abdou Diouf and respond to requests for membership (on the part of Latvia and Thailand) and status change (Armenia). They will also choose the country to host the thirteenth summit in 2010.

Some of the proceedings from the summit and the Ministerial Conference of La Francophonie will be made available online on the twelfth Sommet de la Francophonie website and onsite at the Québec City Convention Centre, where the summit is being held.

“During the summit, announcements will be made by the Secretary General of La Francophonie and public and private partners regarding major activities aimed at bolstering actions taken by La Francophonie and encouraging the spread of the French language around the world.”

The summit coincides with the 400th anniversary of Québec City, the cradle of La Francophonie in North America. The news release ends by mentioning that 2008 has been filled with events that have drawn hundreds of thousands of francophones from around the world to Québec City.

The press kit, membership procedures, and all news on the summit are available at www.francophonie.org and www.francophoniequebec2008.qc.ca

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Cultural Policies and Measures – Best Practices

The Québec government is a proud partner of Coup de cœur francophone

On October 7, 2008, Québec Minister of Culture, Communications, and the Status of Women Christine St-Pierre, Deputy Premier and Minister of Municipal Affairs and Regions Nathalie Normandeau, and Minister of Tourism and Minister of Economic Development Innovation and Export Trade Raymond Bachand announced that the Government of Québec would provide $132,000 in funding to host and promote the 22nd edition of Coup de cœur francophone, to be held November 6 to 16 in Montréal and throughout the month of November across Canada.

“Thanks to many participants, Coup de cœur francophone makes a major contribution to spreading the popularity of French-language music. In addition to promoting up-and-coming artists, it features unique performances by major artists. Sentimental music fans are sure to love the homage to Pauline Julien, who passed away ten years ago. It will celebrate the great moments that have marked our musical heritage,” stated St-Pierre.

“With its well-established national and international networks, Coup de cœur francophone attracts many artists and professionals from Québec, across Canada, and Europe, as well as an ever-growing audience. Every year in November, the event arrives on the cultural scene on the heels of the high season for city festivals. It provides significant exposure for Montréal, making the city even more attractive,” stated Normandeau.

“This music festival offers a trip into the heart of French-language song through its many expressions. It is a meeting full of heart, where an attentive, curious, and open public can hear daring and relevant work by artists from here and abroad. This unique event crosses borders, propels ‘our voice’ in a thousand ways, and helps promote Québec within francophone communities,” added Bachand.

The Government of Québec press release indicates that government funding will be divided as follows: $72,000 will come from Société de développement des entreprises culturelles’ Aide à la diffusion en variétés assistance program, $50,000 from Ministère des Affaires municipales et des Régions’ Fonds de développement de la métropole fund, and $10,000 from the festivals and events funding branch of Ministère du Tourisme’s tourism development and promotion program.

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112 candidates for registration on the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

By the deadline of September 30, 2008, UNESCO had received a total of 112 applications from 35 States for the first ever registration on the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

According to UNESCO, after in depth examination of all the application files, the 24 elected members of the Intangible Cultural Heritage Committee will decide on their possible registration, which should be carried out in late 2009.

The press release indicates that the third session of the Committee, scheduled to take place in Istanbul (Turkey) in November, will incorporate the 90 Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity proclaimed by UNESCO in 2001, 2003, and 2005 into the Representative List. These masterpieces include, for example, the Carnival of Oruro (Bolivia), the Kutiyattam Sanskrit Theatre (India), and the Oral Heritage of Gelede (Benin, Nigeria, and Togo).

UNESCO Director General Koïchiro Matsuura welcomed the high number of applications as “proof of the great interest of the international community in the safeguarding of living heritage. It is my conviction that the Representative List, designed to give more visibility to the intangible cultural heritage, will contribute to raising awareness of its importance and give the communities that are custodians of intangible cultural heritage a feeling of pride and belonging. Not only will it contribute in this way to the continued existence of this rich and diverse heritage for the benefit of future generation, it will also, without a doubt, be a means to favor dialogue that is respectful of cultural diversity.”

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Egyptian Professor Gaber Asfour and Portuguese author Adalberto Alves to receive 2008 Sharjah Prize for Arab Culture

UNESCO Director General Koïchiro Matsuura has awarded the 2008 Sharjah Prize for Arab Culture to Professor Gaber Asfour of Egypt and Portuguese writer Adalberto Alves, on the recommendation of an international jury that examined 33 candidates presented by 20 UNESCO Member States.

The Director General will present the Prize to the laureates in a ceremony at Organization Headquarters on November 17 (Room II, 6.30 p.m.).

UNESCO indicates that Dr. Gaber Asfour, a professor at several Arab, European, and American universities, is a former President of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Culture. Currently at the head of the National Translation Foundation in Cairo, “he plays a major role in the dissemination of Arab culture worldwide. His highly original literary criticism has gained international recognition. A champion of intercultural dialogue, he has promoted values such as women’s rights, respect for others, creative diversity, and tolerance.”

The writer, poet, and oriental scholar Adalberto Alves—born José Adalberto Coelho Alves—heads the Centro de Estudos Luso-Arabes of Silves (Portugal). “His work has inspired many Portuguese and Spanish writers and has contributed to the dissemination of the history of Arab culture of Portugal’s Moslem era (the Gharb al-Andalus),” states UNESCO. He is now working on a dictionary of Portuguese words of Arab origin. He headed the committee that lay the groundwork for the creation of the Fundação da Memória Arabe (Foundation of Arab Memory), was vice president of the Portuguese-Arab Cooperation Institute, and a member of the Board of Directors of the Portuguese Foundation of Arab-Islamic Heritage.

UNESCO also indicates that the Sharjah Prize—US$30,000 for each laureate funded by the government of the Emirate of Sharjah—was created at the initiative of Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohamed Al Qassimi and approved by the Executive Board of UNESCO in 1998. Its purpose is to reward persons, groups, or institutions that have made a significant contribution to the development, dissemination, and promotion of Arab culture throughout the world and to the safeguarding and revitalization of the Arab intangible cultural heritage.

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Other News of Interest

Round table – Literature & Minority Languages: the Americas, Quebec, Canada

Agence universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF), in association with the magazine Riveneuve Continents and Centre de la francophonie des Amériques, is organizing a round table discussion entitled “Literature and Minority Languages: the Americas” on October 16, 2008. The event will be held at 10:00 a.m. at Théâtre Périscope in Québec City, Canada. Writers and specialists from across the Americas will meet in public to address issues relating to literature in minority languages in the modern world—their situation, role, meaning, and future.

The round table discussion is being organized as part of the twelfth Sommet de la Francophonie (October 17–19, 2008, in Québec City).
The round table discussion will be followed by two other literary activities. The first is entitled “Je thème, concours universitaire d’écriture sur une mélodie de Philippe B.” AUF describes the contest as “a musical competition in which artists from La Francophonie are invited to write lyrics to a melody composed by Quebecois artist Philippe B. describing their vision of the future.” The press release indicates that grand prize winner Farah Abdel Sater from Lebanon’s Université Saint-Joseph will be presented to the public and that a few winning texts will be performed by Bernard Sauvat to the music of Philippe B. The contest was organized by Agence universitaire de la Francophonie and Les Correspondances du Monde in partnership with the cultural network of France’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The “Le Printemps des poètes” organization (a poetry resource center with an international presence) will take root in Québec.

To close the event, a cocktail brunch will be provided to launch the sixth issue of the Riveneuve Continents magazine (entitled “Québecs2008”). The magazine is published by Éditions Riveneuve. Some thirty authors contributed to the issue, and many of them will be on hand for the event, some of whom will take part in the round table discussion.

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The “Etoiles et Toiles du cinéma européen festival” – 9th annual festival dedicated to Europe’s cinema heritage

The 9th annual Etoiles et Toiles du cinéma européen festival will take place from October 7 to 28, 2008, at Strasbourg’s Odyssée cinema. This festival, the fruit of close cooperation between the Odyssée and the Council of Europe’s Eurimages Fund, will see the projection of 12 feature films, including an animated film for children (see the complete program).

According to the European Council, a jury comprised of seven ambassadors (their countries’ Permanent Representatives to the Council of Europe) and two members of the Council of Europe Secretariat will be awarding two prizes sponsored jointly by the Odyssée and Council of Europe, one for “Artistic Creation” and the other for the best work in the “Human Rights” category. The prizes will be presented at a ceremony to be held at the Odyssée cinema, 3 rue des Francs Bourgeois, Strasbourg, at 8 p.m. on October 22, 2008.

For more information, consult the European Council press release.

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WOMEX 08 – The world music expo, Seville (Spain)

The Global Alliance for Cultural Diversity has announced that the 14th annual WOMEX Exposition, the largest international professional market of world music, will be held in Seville from October 29 to November 2, 2008. The program will include conferences, showcases, master classes, and a film market.

Once again, the Global Alliance will be present to meet many of its partners in the music sector and participate in the presentation of BEMA (Export Bureau of African Music).

WOMEX is also affiliated with the “Promoting African Music in Regional and International Markets” project, led by BEMA within the framework of the Global Alliance. According a Global Alliance press release, following training sessions in Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, and Burkina Faso aimed at improving the skills of music producers in artist careers management, marketing, and music export, ten professionals were selected to participate in WOMEX 2008. “An international expert will provide monitoring and specific training before, during, and after the event so they can fully benefit from the experience,” adds Global Alliance.

In addition, the main challenges BEMA faces in meeting its objectives and the means implemented to overcome these challenges will be presented as part of a “WOMEX conference” scheduled for Friday, October 31. According to Global Alliance, “The aim is to create new synergies between public operators, private and civil society around BEMA to promote, on the one hand, the emergence of a music sector structured in the region and, on the other, the circulation of Western African cultural goods and services on the international scene.”

For more details on WOMEX please visit www.womex.com

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