On 14 November 2017, six young ambassadors took the stage during the Plenary of UNESCO’s 39th General Conference, to appeal to the need to strengthen efforts to promote culture, not only as a cultural emergency, but also as a security and humanitarian imperative.
On behalf of future generations, they read the appeal entitled “Protecting culture and promoting cultural pluralism: The key to lasting peace” in the six official UN languages. Following the presentation of the Culture Commission’s Oral Report, Fernanda Baroni, Anas Dallal, Yuxuan Li, Théodore Dulom, Suzanne Thiam and Nicholas Bradbury joined Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, H.E. Ms Zohour Alaoui, President of the 39th session of the General Conference of UNESCO and H.E. Ms Vincenza Lomonaco, Chairperson of UNESCO’s Culture Commission on stage.
Through this appeal, adopted as an annex to the Strategy for the Reinforcement of UNESCO’s Action for the Protection of Culture and the Promotion of Cultural Pluralism in the Event of Armed Conflict by the Culture Commission, the youth invited the Director-General, as well as Member States, to pursue efforts to foster the role of UNESCO as a means to encourage dialogue and peace among nations.
As the Chairperson of the Culture Commission declared, “Indifference is the dead weight of history, wrote the Italian philosopher and politician, Antonio Gramsci. It is precisely because we do not want to let our hopes fade into indifference that this Commission wished to launch the Appeal on ‘The Protection of Culture and the Promotion of Cultural Pluralism: The Key to Sustainable Peace’ and for it to be read by those who best convey our hope, children.”
The Culture Programme adopted at the 39th Session of UNESCO’s General Conference for the next four years, has placed youth at its core, recognizing their role as key actors in the achievement of sustainable development and peace.
It is in this spirit that the Culture Commission concluded today - with a strong unifying message to protect our heritage and promote diversity and pluralism - transmitted by the generation who will have the responsibility of reshaping our futures.