Culture: a Bridge to Development is UNESCO’s new global initiative proposed by the Director-General to promote innovative and creative approaches enhancing culture as a bridge to sustainable social, economic and human development. It fosters creativity, cultural industries and cultural heritage in all its forms as powerful and unique tools conducive to job-creation, social cohesion and mutual understanding, with an aim to create an ideal framework for improved regional and international cooperation and peace-building, through relevant regional projects.
The project “Heritage and Dialogue” has been initiated to learn from the past with a view to promoting dialogue for reconciliation and intercultural understanding in South East Europe and beyond. Involving 12 countries; Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Slovenia, and Turkey, this pilot-project is a first ever regional attempt for building the basis for peace and reconciliation through cultural heritage. Relevant initiatives are put forward in this context, including the following:
- Summit of Head of States of South East Europe: Enhancing cultural diplomacy
- Youth and Heritage, which aims at developing capacity-building modules and training courses for students and young professionals working in the field of management of cultural resources, museums and management of World Heritage sites in the region;
- Learning history, building shared memories on the Holocaust which aims at establishing a permanent regional exhibit space within a renovated pavilion in the State Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau for 6 Ex-Yugoslav countries (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia); and
- Developing appropriate resources for empowering museums as relevant tools for promoting intercultural dialogue through setting up of a regional travelling exhibit, entitled “Imagining the Balkans Identities and Memory in the long 19th century”.
Cameras of Diversity for a Culture of Peace
The Cameras of Diversity project promotes the production, access and enjoyment of local audio-visual materials in the Latin America and the Caribbean Region. It aims at strengthening capacities of Member States in meeting their obligations and benefitting from the opportunities and mechanisms of international cooperation created under the UNESCO conventions, in particular the 2005 Convention for the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, namely through a workshop in Port of Spain (Trinidad & Tobago) in cooperation with the Travelling Caribbean Film Showcase, which is a main platform in the Caribbean to allow the networking and public debates illustrating exchanges and transfers between cultures in the form of presenting the annual showcase in film festivals of the region and beyond.