Vol. 9, no 1, Monday, January 19, 2009
Efforts to implement the Convention on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions are underway!
Happy New Year!
The Secrétariat gouvernemental à la diversité culturelle team offers its best wishes for 2009 to the loyal subscribers and readers of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions News Bulletin.
Thank you for sharing the past year with us!
Today it is our pleasure to publish the first issue of your Diversity of Cultural Expressions News Bulletin for 2009. We are delighted to welcome you back among our readers!
The Secrétariat gouvernemental à la diversité culturelle team
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 regular meeting in Ottawa, Canada, from December 10 to 13, 2007, and a special session in Paris, France, from June 24 to 27, 2008. The second ordinary session of the Intergovernmental Committee recently took place in Paris from December 8 to 12, 2008. Another Committee meeting will be held in March 2009, before the Conference of Parties, scheduled to occur in June in Paris.
At press time, 93 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 European Council announced that a final declaration for the promotion of intercultural dialog has been agreed upon by culture ministers from Europe and neighboring regions at the conference that ended on December 3, 2008, in Baku, Azerbaijan. The conference brought together the 49 signatory states of the European Cultural Convention and the ministers of certain member states of the Arab League Educational, Cultural, and Scientific Organization (ALECSO) and the Islamic Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (ISESCO).
The Baku Declaration sums up the insights gained during the event and underlines the power and potential of culture as an instrument for intercultural dialog, peace, and sustainable development.
Among other things, ministers who signed the declaration affirmed in their preamble that “cultural diversity between and within countries [was] a common heritage of humankind,” while stressing “the important role of cultural policies at national, regional, and local levels, and their contribution to promoting intercultural dialog.”
The appendix to the declaration says that ministers agreed to strengthen the cooperation process launched in Baku, with a view, notably, to encouraging the signing, ratification, and subsequent implementation of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.
The ministers also agreed to develop or further strengthen common practical initiatives in the wake of the conference, building on previously agreed transborder cooperation projects, such as increased support for or the development of intercultural competences to facilitate access to works of art and artistic expressions from different cultures.
At the 2009 Cérémonie des Vœux in Paris, France, on January 14, La Francophonie Secretary General Abdou Diouf wished that this year would be a year of “challenges and daring” for La Francophonie. “The challenges,” he continued, “were set by the heads of state and government in Québec City at the last Summit of La Francophonie.” On this occasion, the secretary general made the following declaration: “We have shown, by seizing the major international issues of the day, that we are capable of acting where needed. I am referring, of course, to the issue of cultural diversity.” Mr. Diouf went on to add that “serving La Francophonie is to serve the French language as well as cultural and linguistic diversity at a time when the principle of the protection and promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions must be applied.”
You can read the full version of Mr. Diouf’s address on the International Organization of La Francophonie website.
Québec’s Minister of Culture, Communications and the Status of Women, Christine St-Pierre, has returned home satisfied with her mission to New York City in support of some fifteen Québec agents and the artists they represent at the 52nd annual members conference of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP). The conference brought together over 4,000 performing arts professionals from 50 American states and 29 countries. It was held in New York City from January 9 to 13, 2009.
Accompanied by Québec’s delegate general in New York, Robert Keating, and members of the delegation’s culture department, the minister met with representatives from the performing arts in the United States, including the director of the New York State Council on the Arts, Heather Hitchens; the program director of the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, Adam Bernstein; and various concert organizers with whom she discussed the challenges currently facing the sector and noted the interest for artistic productions from Québec.
The minister also met with Québec agents manning booths of the APAP conference exhibition. According to the news release, these discussions and her meeting with CINARS (Commerce international des arts de la scène) CEO Alain Paré reaffirmed to the minister the importance of funding for international tours from all levels of government.
“In New York City, I saw first hand the vital role that export assistance programs play in complementing funding for tours in the American market. Without government support, it would be extremely difficult for groups of artists to go on the tours with which they earn a living, while serving as excellent ambassadors for the brands of Québec and Canada. Our finest representatives have a vital role to play with our leading trading partners,” concluded the minister.
According to the press release, the Québec government will invest over $12 million in the 2008–2009 fiscal year in support of culture abroad.
The second ordinary session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions was held in Paris from December 8 to 12. UNESCO has made available the following documents from the meeting: Decisions, List of Participants, and the Oral Report. The documents can be downloaded from the UNESCO website.
The eleventh issue of the Compendium of Cultural Policies and Trends in Europe Newsletter appeared in December 2008. It contains, among other things, a list of the latest information on all the countries in Europe published by the Compendium in 2008, divided into the following categories:
In order to encourage all forms of cultural and literary exchange between the Arabic and French-speaking worlds and with a view to promoting cultural and linguistic diversity, International Organization of La Francophonie (OIF) and the Arab League Educational, Cultural, and Scientific Organization (ALECSO) jointly organize the Ibn Khaldoun and Léopold Sédar Senghor Translation Award in the Humanities (French to Arabic and Arabic to French). The annual prize honors translations from or into one of the two languages in alternate years. The second edition will be devoted to French to Arabic translations.
The award was created as part of cooperative efforts developed since 2001 between La Francophonie and ALECSO in order to showcase the riches of each culture in their respective cultural spaces. Entries must be the first translations of original works and must not have been submitted for any other awards. The €7,000 ($10,000) prize will be awarded by a jury made up of six French and Arabic-speaking personalities. Entries must be submitted by March 31, 2009.
The German Commission for UNESCO has launched a call for contributions and participation in the U40 World Forum, which will run from June 12 to 14, 2009, in Paris, France. The forum is the high point of the U40 Capacity Building Program “Cultural Diversity 2030” (2008–2010) initiated by the German Commission for UNESCO. Held as a preconference, the U40 World Forum will run back to back with the Conference of Parties (June 15 to 18, 2009) of the 2005 UNESCO Convention on the Protection and the Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. The interdisciplinary Capacity Building Program “Cultural Diversity 2030” was initiated by the German Commission for UNESCO in 2007. The U40 process offers postgraduates, PhD students, young professionals, and similarly qualified experts under 40 the opportunity to take part in the international debate on cultural diversity and the implementation of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and the Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.
According to the press release, the U40 World Forum aims to include outstanding professionals, future decision-makers, and communicators from all around the world. The German Commission for UNESCO and the International Federation of Coalitions for Cultural Diversity (IFCCD) are therefore looking for up to forty young specialists from Africa, Asia, Latin America, North America, and the Arabic world.
Interested parties are invited to apply by sending a short paper (max. 800 words) and curriculum vitae no later than February 28, 2009, to Anna Steinkamp (firstname.lastname@example.org) with U40 in the subject heading. Candidates must report on the state of ratification and implementation of the Convention in their respective countries and answer the questions featured on the German Commission for UNESCO press release.