16.04.2012 - ODG

UNESCO and the Hariri Foundation join forces to harness the power of culture in the Arab world

© UNESCO/Landry Rukingamubiri

On 16 April, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova and the President of the Hariri Foundation for Sustainable Human Development and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Bahia Hariri signed an agreement to cooperate on a joint organization of events and activities relating to culture in the Arab world.

The first event will be held in Beirut in 2012 and is the “International Arab Spring Festival”. This will provide a platform for cultural expression and intellectual debate stemming from the creativity, artistic expression and cultural diversity emerging from the Arab Spring across the Arab region. It will seek also to stimulate reflection on the role of arts and culture in building more inclusive societies and in fostering dialogue within and between states.

“Protecting and promoting the arts and culture is about living and sharing the diversity of cultural expressions,” said the Director-General. “At a time of uncertainty, we must strengthen the contribution of culture to promoting respect for human rights, freedom of expression, democracy and pluralism,” she continued, stating that this festival is a chance to “address the challenges the region faces and to highlight the solutions that exist and can be developed, through intellectual exchange and debate.”

“The Arab Spring peoples are trying to create a model for the freedom of expression, innovation and belief of modern and integrated cultural infrastructure,” said the President of the Hariri Foundation.

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