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Workshop Ahead of the Curve

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"Cultural diversity, flourishing within a framework of democracy, tolerance, social justice and mutual respect between peoples and cultures, is indispensable for peace and security at the local, national and international levels."
(Preamble of the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expression)

Join us in exploring the relevance of the 2005 UNESCO Convention for our contemporary world.

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In 2005, the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, agreed on the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.

The Convention acknowledges that cultural diversity is a defining characteristic of humanity and that it creates a rich and varied world, which increases the range of choices and nurtures human capacities and values.

It focuses on the creation of the conditions for cultures to flourish and to freely interact and on the importance of the link between culture and development for all countries, particularly for developing countries.

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Since the Convention came into being in 2005, the world has changed. Today we are confronted with a world in turmoil. We are facing increasing fragmentation within and between societies.

In this light, the Robert Bosch Academy in cooperation with the German Commission for UNESCO invited thinkers, activists and representatives of key civil society organizations from around the globe to come together for a workshop in Berlin to evaluate and reinvigorate the contemporary meaning and relevance of the 2005 UNESCO Convention to give answers to this changing world.

Mike van Graan, Richard von Weizsäcker Fellow at the Robert Bosch Academy and a member of UNESCO’s Expert Facility on the 2005 Convention, assisted in devising the program along with another member of the Expert Facility and representative of the German Commission for UNESCO, Christine M. Merkel

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During the workshop and beyond, experts of the arts and culture sectors from many countries, especially from the Global South, brought in their perspectives.

They exchanged their experiences of how global developments are reflected in their respective countries and developed visions and strategies for the arts and culture sector to help tackle these challenges.

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"The rise of populist leaders, the refugee crisis and the displacement of millions of people around the world, the way that some countries closing their borders and reorienting their policies inward, is very dangerous for cultural expression."

Phloeun Prim, Executive Director, Cambodian Living Arts (Cambodia)

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"The rising tide of cultural nativism in many parts of the world including the North Atlantic is a fundamental threat to cultural diversity. As such, the issue of promoting diversity in cultures is increasingly politicized in the contemporary context due to concerns about terrorism and the xenophobia on issues of migration."

Keith Nurse, Senior Fellow, Sir Arthur Lewis Institute for Social and Economic Studies (Trinidad and Tobago)

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"The importance of the arts and culture sector is, most of all, to help enhance people’s abilities to experience the world.

In my country, specifically, it is fundamental that the sector works as a counter-narrative, in the sense that it should help provoke people to critically think and debate the main agenda, which is, most of the time, implemented by dominant sectors of the society and of those who are in power."

Fernando Resende, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Media and Cultural Studies, Universidade Federal Fluminense (Brazil)

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"The arts and culture sectors, in Europe and also in Africa, are already responding to several key challenges. Everywhere they are the guarantors of freedom of expression. Now they need more political and economical supporters to level up their responses and actions and to impact more deeply the other sectors."

Ayoko Mensah, Bozar Africa Desk, Advisor, Centre for Fine Arts (Togo and France)

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"Arts and culture in the Arab region comes as one of the few possibilities to help individuals reconceiling with their past – to think about the future, exit the state of considering themselves as victims and face suppression, dictatorships and extremist ideas."

Abdullah AlKafri, Executive Manager, Ettijahat- Independent CultureChallenges (Syria)

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"The culture sector in turn is tended of overestimating its role and weight due to the current jargon on creative economy, its spillover effect on Sustainable Development Goals.

We have to be aware that the share of culture in the national budgets is shrinking, private sector investments are decreasing and a scarcity of resources destined to be used for culture is becoming a general trend."

Serhan Ada, Board Member and Head of the Committee on Cultural Diversity, Turkish National Commission for UNESCO (Turkey)

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"From my perspective, the key challenges facing the arts and culture sector revolve around sustainability of the sector and include the lack of accurate data that can depict the contribution of arts and culture to the national GDP of Tanzania.

Further, the lack of public support and dwindling donor support to the arts and culture sector lead to a few commercial creative products dominating the arts and cultural space."

Ayeta Wangusa, Executive Director, Culture and Development East Africa (CDEA) (Tanzania)

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"The fact of seeing and knowing how many countries, all over, face problems such as low investments in cultural sectors from the part of governments make us aware of how tough it is to fight against a system that very much corroborates the neoliberal agenda, which places economy as its top issue, and does not comprehend how much culture is nevertheless intrinsic of all forms of life.

I guess this is a key issue for us all. From my point of view, part of the insight I get comes from this point: the need to fight, in all possible ways, is more urgent than ever."

Fernando Resende, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Media and Cultural Studies, Universidade Federal Fluminense (Brazil)

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"In spite of the cultural systems structured around the Global North and Global South perspective, or regional geopolitics that determine the scope of cultural programmes, there is potential for global south organizations to build alliances through arts and cultural programmes."

Ayeta Wangusa, Executive Director, Culture and Development East Africa (CDEA) (Tanzania)

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"Collaboration with the southern world level is important as it enables us to think of new governance methods, to reconsider methods and strategies the Convention already works with, and finally to re-evaluate how governments can help to re-enforce the effectiveness of the work of the independent civilian sector."

Abdullah AlKafri, Executive Manager, Ettijahat- Independent CultureChallenges (Syria)

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"Those of us, who value cultural diversity must redouble our efforts at institutional capacity building and implement creative and entrepreneurial ways of promoting diversity."

Keith Nurse, Senior Fellow, Sir Arthur Lewis Institute for Social and Economic Studies (Trinidad and Tobago)

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"Thanks to the outstanding quality of the contributions of the participations, with this workshop, the German Commission for UNESCO and the Robert Bosch Academy have been able to empower the current and next generation of cultural leaders in the Global South. We shall see the launch of the much needed new types of multi-stakeholder regional and global networks on arts and culture very soon.

The results have been fed already into UNESCO’s civil society forum on the 2005-Convention as well as into the Conference of Parties of June 2017 which adopted a landmark strategic framework on public cultural and media policies in response to digital inequality challenges. With the bold decisions on the EU level of 23 May and 5th July 2017, to further reinforce the strategic partnership with UNESCO on the basis of the 2005-Convention and the Agenda 2030, the workshop results will have direct impact on designing the new EU strategy for international cultural relations."

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About the Robert Bosch Academy

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The Robert Bosch Academy was founded in 2014 as an institution of the Robert Bosch Stiftung. Located in the Berlin Representative Office of the foundation, the Academy offers a space for a multilateral dialogue and interdisciplinary cooperation focused on finding solutions for the main challenges of our time. By bringing together diverse perspectives and a multitude of voices, the Academy enriches the public discourse in the capital and beyond.

The Academy on Tour is part of a comprehensive community program for all Richard von Weizsäcker Fellows. By engaging with the Fellows, German experts and decision makers gain new perspectives on major social and political issues; in turn, Fellows expand their networks and enrich their expertise with insights in German and European policy debates and decision-making processes.

www.robertboschacademy.com
@BoschAcademy
www.bosch-stiftung.com

We thank the German Commission for UNESCO for co-organizing and co-financing the workshop

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Overview

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Chapter 1 Intro

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Chapter 2 Today's challenges

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Chapter 3 Role of arts and culture

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Chapter 4 Obstacles for arts and culture

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Chapter 5 Strategies of arts and culture

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Chapter 6 Results

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Chapter 7 Credits

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  • Multimedia report about the workshop AHEAD OF THE CURVE
    Publisher:
    Robert Bosch Stiftung GmbH, Heidehofstraße 31, 70184 Stuttgart
    Chief Executive Officers:
    Uta-Micaela Dürig, Prof. Dr. Joachim Rogall
    Verantwortlich: Sandra Breka, Senior Vice President of Robert Bosch Stiftung an Head of Robert Bosch Academy
    Editorial Team: Jannik Rust, Korbinian Bauer, Celia Soltek

    Credits: Robert Bosch Academy, Robert Bosch Academy/ Back, Robert Bosch Academy/ Big Stock/ liyavihola

    Impressum Robert Bosch Stiftung Datenschutz