— as OAS Culture Ministers’ meeting concludes in Haiti
With a focus on cultural inter-dependence in the context of globalization, the VI Inter-American meeting of Ministers of Culture and Highest Appropriate Authorities concluded in Port-au-Prince last week Wednesday.
The auspicious ceremony which was attended by Guyana’s Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, Dr. Frank Anthony, featured the participation of the Minister of Culture of Haiti, Monique Rocourt and the Executive Secretary for Integral Development of the Organization of American States (OAS), Sherry Tross.
The meeting, which saw the election of a new Inter-American Committee on Culture (CIC), also saw Haiti being elected to serve as Chair and Guyana, Paraguay, Argentina and Barbados as Vice Chairs.
At the meeting too, Barbados offered to host the Seventh Inter-American Meeting of Ministers of Culture and Highest Appropriate Authorities in 2016 and Paraguay, the Eighth Meeting in 2018.
The conclusion of the meeting saw the participants adopting the Declaration of Port au Prince on Cultural Interdependence in the Context of Globalization. The Declaration describes culture as “an essential component of development that favours social inclusion, the fight against poverty, cooperation, exchange and local development through enhancement, protection and promotion of the traditions, values, and identity of the peoples of the Americas.”
In the Declaration, the cultural authorities committed to working with partner ministries, the OAS and other concerned institutions to establish the Citadelle Cultural Cooperation Programme, which will “offer training opportunities and cultural exchanges for young entrepreneurs working in the area of development of cultural products and services.”
They also committed to “exchange experiences and support public policies that encourage cultural entrepreneurship, the development of systems related to improving the capture of data and measurement of the contribution of culture to the economy, and the design of cultural programmes that contribute to the development of local communities with social inclusion and innovation.”
In her closing statement, the Haitian Minister of Culture said, that “at this meeting, we discussed several topics that are of concern to us all, which will enable us to design a roadmap for permanent exchanges in the future. We are certain that the ideas expressed during this meeting will serve as the foundation for numerous cultural projects and cooperation agreements among the different nations of the Americas represented here.”
For her part, Executive Secretary Tross said that “The Declaration of Port-au-Prince which the Ministers of Culture and Highest Appropriate Authorities have approved, reflects the importance that countries in the Hemisphere attach to preserving and promoting intercultural dialogue, respect for diversity of cultural expressions, and culture’s role in supporting sustainable development in our communities.” She also noted that “culture is also a big contributor to local development, to economic growth and to social inclusion.”
Ministers and senior officials with responsibility for Culture from 23 OAS member countries took part in the two-day meeting, as well as representatives of the private sector, academia, civil society and high-level experts, who emphasized the intrinsic value of culture as a distinctive, unique and inseparable feature of communities and its role as a common denominator for the integral development of the peoples of the Americas.
Attendees discussed various issues such as cultural entrepreneurship as a tool for innovation and social inclusion, how culture impacts local development, and culture and its inter-sectoral linkages, particularly, the linkages between the culture and tourism sectors.
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