On 9 November 2017, Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO and Sabrina Ho, a rising young cultural entrepreneur and philanthropist based in Macau and Hong Kong, signed a strategic partnership agreement to empower young women and men by investing in their creative potential.
The Director-General described the agreement as an important step forward, saying, “The cultural and creative industries employ more young people than any other sector. Supporting young artists and cultural entrepreneurs is one of the best investments we can make, for our societies and for our future.”
As UNESCO’s youngest strategic partner, Ms Ho said, “I firmly believe partnership is the new leadership and will, to the best of my abilities, mobilize others to invest in our future by taking on innovative educational approaches to introduce sustainable opportunities for young creative entrepreneurs.”
The partnership will support UNESCO’s International Fund for Cultural Diversity (IFCD), which, since 2010, has provided nearly $7 million in funding to projects that support the emergence of dynamic cultural industries in developing countries. In line with both parties’ shared commitment to the advancement and empowerment of youth, the partnership will sponsor IFCD projects that build the entrepreneurial skills of young creators and entrepreneurs through innovative training and education initiatives, support and nurture new creative start-ups and businesses, and foster access to markets for young entrepreneurs in the cultural sector.
As a young cultural entrepreneur herself, Ms Ho’s partnership with UNESCO is the natural outgrowth of years of advocacy for the arts, especially on behalf of Macau’s emerging cultural sector and her involvement with museums around the world.
In 2015, Ms Ho launched Chiu Yeng Culture Limited to promote artistic and cultural developments of Macau, to fortify synergies in the local community and create a sustainable employment environment for young local artists and creative entrepreneurs. Youth are equally fundamental to UNESCO’s programmes and activities, including those at the nexus of culture and sustainable development. With more than 73 million young people currently facing unemployment, UNESCO and Ms Ho are united of the belief that expanding access to the cultural industries and supporting young cultural entrepreneurs is more vital than ever.