"There is a global awakening about the power of culture for security and development," says UNESCO Director-General in Abu Dhabi Culture Summit
UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, took part in the Abu Dhabi Culture Summit 2017, a high-level international forum, bringing together culture professionals and artists to address the role of culture for peace, mutual understanding and sustainable development.
"It is highly significant that a publication specialized in world affairs and security issues holds such an event on the role of culture for social cohesion and resilience," said the Director-General. "We stand at a crossroads, where more and more people and leaders realize the role culture plays in societies. With the recent adoption of a historic resolution adopted by the UN Security Council on heritage protection and peace building, and the first ever G7 meeting of culture ministers last week in Florence, culture offers responses to many of today's challenges and UNESCO has been working to leverage its potential since it was founded," she continued. "We must unite and work together to educate young people and teach about the value of heritage and the need to protect it."
Emirati Minister of Culture Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak insisted on the importance of culture as indispensable to lead a dignified life. Several speakers commented on positive effects of cultural initiatives, theatre and artistic activities in refugee camps or in emergency situations to bring back hope, dignity and a sense of normalcy.
"When people have been living in camps for the last 20 years, you can no longer speak of a crisis. It is a long-term challenge that requires long term solutions to equip a whole generation with skills, dignity and jobs as well - and culture plays a vital role here," said the musical artist and UNHCR Ambassador Octopizzo, as Irina Bokova highlighted some of UNESCO projects to advance education, skills and culture in Jordan, Iraq and Mali.
Irina Bokova urged for enhanced coordination and international efforts to measure the impact of culture and the creative economy for job creation and sustainable growth. "Recent UNESCO reports on creative economy, on cultural policies, and on urban culture, have demonstrated that culture is a major driver for sustainable development, and we need more robust data, stronger policies, better planning to make the most of it."
The event was hosted by the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority and presented in conjunction with the Foreign Policy Group, and TCP Ventures.
The summit, held under the theme “The Creative Mind of the Connected World: Culture as a Change Agent in the Digital World”, brought together representatives from over 80 countries to address challenges ranging from the preservation of cultural heritage to understanding the disruptions likely to be associated with emerging technologies, from bringing arts education to the young to finding new ways to finance the arts, from preventing threats like violent extremism to developing public policies that promote creativity and social development.
While in the United Arab Emirates, the Director-General met with HRH Princess Dana Firas, President of Petra National Trust and HE Ohood bint Khalfan Minister of Happiness.
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