Vol. 8, no 13, Monday, April 21, 2008
Efforts to implement the Convention on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions are underway!
IN THIS ISSUE :
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 first meeting in Ottawa, Canada, from December 10 to 13, 2007. Other meetings will be held before the next Conference of Parties, slated for June 2009 in Paris, France.
At press time, 80 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.
The Canadian Coalition for Cultural Diversity website notes that further to UNESCO’s adoption of the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity in November 2001, the General Assembly declared May 21 “World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development.”
The Canadian Coalition for Cultural Diversity indicates that this annual celebration “provides an opportunity to reflect on cultural diversity and learn better ways of living together. That’s why UNESCO is calling on member States and civil society to celebrate this day by bringing together as many actors and partners as possible.”
In a recent press release, Ministère des Relations internationales du Québec (MRI) states that some 300 representatives of inter-American institutions met in Washington in late March to mark International Francophonie Day at the headquarters of the Organization of American States (OAS). The meeting, co-sponsored by France, Canada, Québec, and Haiti, aimed to forge links between francophones and francophiles within the inter-American system. The press release adds that this was the first time that such an event was held at the OAS, which has French as one of its official languages.
The meeting was held in the OAS main building’s interior courtyard, which was decorated for the occasion with paintings by Haitian artists and materials promoting Québec City’s 400th anniversary celebrations. Most of the attendees were from inter-American institutions, such as the OAS, the Pan American Health Organization, and the Inter-American Development Bank. The press release also states that guests included the OAS Secretary General and OAS ambassadors from Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Costa Rica.
MRI adds that “the event served to foster cooperation between four francophone countries and regions (Canada, Québec, France, and Haiti) that play an active role in OAS initiatives and paves the way for an inter-American francophone network.” The OAS has a total of 34 member states.
The Daily (Statistics Canada's official release bulletin) has announced the publication of a study entitled “Creative input: The role of culture occupations in the economy during the 1990s,” carried out by Michael Schimpf. The study is part of a series entitled Culture, Tourism and the Centre for Education Statistics: Research Papers (81-595-MIE2008064). It is available in French and English in the “ Publications ” section of the Statistics Canada website.
This study analyzes the extent to which culture workers were employed outside of culture industries during the 1990s, for example in manufacturing industries or business services. Regarding the study’s main conclusions, Statistics Canada writes, “Culture workers and their knowledge, skills, and creativity are relevant for producing goods and services outside the culture sector (…).” The study demonstrates that almost half of all culture workers were employed in non-culture industries, particularly in four sectors: manufacturing, business services, educational services, and retail trade. Finally, Statistics Canada adds, “It is not surprising that many core culture workers are employed in typical culture industries, such as printing and publishing, broadcasting, and theater. Yet, what is striking is the number employed in industries that are not usually thought of as cultural in nature.”
According to Statistics Canada, the study focused on core culture workers, “that is, those in core creative and artistic production occupations as defined by the Canadian Framework for Culture Statistics.” The agency also states that the core culture occupations are those directly involved in producing creative work. Examples of core culture occupations include writers, architects, designers of various kinds, actors, musicians, and archivists.
A related question concerns whether the employment of culture workers outside culture industries increased during the 1990s. Results indicate that core culture employment in manufacturing increased by 55%, a rate far higher than overall employment growth in manufacturing during the 1990s. For business services, the evidence suggests that core culture employment almost doubled over the decade, an increase that was also larger than overall employment growth in business services. In this respect, Statistics Canada states, “This suggests that producing manufactured goods and business services relied to a greater degree on creative design work at the end of the decade than at the beginning.”
The study also examined where core culture workers tend to be employed. The results show that firms located in large cities hired culture workers to a much greater extent than those located in small cities and rural areas. “Hence,” states Statistics Canada, “culture-based skills, knowledge, and creativity were most likely to be used for producing non-culture goods and services in Canada’s largest cities.”
Readers are encouraged to read all the conclusions of this study.
In partnership with Conseil général de la Loire-Atlantique and Observatoire des politiques culturelles, Les Éditions de l’Attribut recently published Culture et Société - Un lien à recomposer. This collective work, edited by Jean-Pierre Saez, includes seventeen contributions.
The book explores the following questions: “What role does culture play in modern social life? How does cultural diversity affect the private and public spheres, both locally and internationally? What are the obstacles facing cultural diversity? In what way are cultural practices changing, and how can we understand these changes? What effect have cultural policies had from the 1960s to the present, both locally and on a global scale? What role do culture industries place? How can culture strengthen social ties? How can cultural and social issues as well as public policies best be expressed today?”
Les Éditions de l’Attribut describes the work as an extension of a series of lectures given in 2007 in Nantes at the behest of Conseil général de Loire-Atlantique, in partnership with Observatoire des politiques culturelles. Mr. Saez indicates that “philosophers, sociologists, economists, legal experts, and political scientists have all contributed to this debate,” adding, “Following on the heels of their lectures, these written contributions provide a follow-up on their analysis.”
La Casa de las Américas, through its Centre for Caribbean Studies, together with the UNESCO Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean, invites you to take part in the International Colloquium “Cultural Diversity in the Caribbean” to be held in Havana, Cuba, May 26 to 28, 2008.
According to the organizers, for this second edition, the event “proposes to reflect upon a variety of topics at conferences and discussion groups where prestigious specialists will be invited to tackle essential aspects of Caribbean cultural diversity in its multiplicity of islands, continental coastal regions, and diasporas. Some of the subjects with which this forum will deal include identity and cultural space, popular arts and crafts, literary and linguistic challenges, visibility of the indigenous races, and Caribbean public spaces and environments in the face of the new millennium’s transforming challenges.”
The Colloquium will have the services of simultaneous translation (Spanish, English, and French). Interested participants must send confirmation of their attendance before May 5, 2008. According to the invitation, a registration fee of 50.00 CUC must be “paid in cash, in person, at the Casa de las Américas headquarters.”
According to the UNESCO website, “since 1996, World Book and Copyright Day has been celebrated on 23 April to honor books, widely recognized as invaluable cornerstones of societies’ educational, cultural, and social systems. The present year, proclaimed “2008, International Year of Languages” by the United Nations General Assembly, provides an excellent opportunity to reflect upon the linguistic aspects of books, which constitute a means of expression nourished by and through language.”
On the UNESCO website, you’ll find a section specifically dedicated to World Book and Copyright Day. It features a message from UNESCO Director General Koïchiro Matsuura in honor of the event. You can also download a high resolution World Book and Copyright Day poster in PDF format.