Art And Culture

UNESCO Chief Calls for New Forms of Cultural Literacy

UNESCO Chief Calls for  New Forms of Cultural LiteracyUNESCO Chief Calls for  New Forms of Cultural Literacy

The third World Forum on Inter-cultural Dialogue was held over two days (May 18-19) in Azerbaijan. Finding solutions to conflicts and problems, discussing relationships between different cultures and religions was the idea behind the gathering of opinion formers and religious leaders in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan.

Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, addressing the large audience of eminent personalities, government representatives, leaders of international and regional organizations, religious and civil society institutions, artists and wide range of scholars and experts from over 100 countries, said: “Our vision of the world – the vision of the Baku Process – has never been more important. We recognize the deepening interdependence of the world – our responsibility is to make this a source of strength… This is why UNESCO is working to include culture in the post-2015 development agenda.”

Referring to the need for new forms of cultural literacy, between and within societies, she underlined that protection of cultural heritage has today become “an imperative for security and peace,” reports

Cultural diversity “is another way to say human dignity and human rights.”

Bokova launched a book ‘Agree to Differ,’ published by UNESCO and Tudor Rose on the International Decade for the Rapprochement of Cultures, for which UNESCO is lead agency.

“Agreeing to differ – or agreeing to disagree – does not imply a passive form of tolerance for the views of others – it means active engagement… on the basis of respect, equal dignity and compassion,” said Bokova presenting the book in the presence of Mehriban Aliyeva, first lady of Azerbaijan.

The forum is a biennial event organized in partnership with UNESCO. The theme this year was “Culture and sustainable development in the post 2015 development agenda,” to mark the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development on May 21.

  Global Concerns

 The global situation is indeed worrying. “We are seeing more conflicts and they are changing and we become more intolerant. I think we have not paid enough attention to culture – our cultural heritage and cultural diversity.”

More attention for education programs is needed. “I think we have to change the content of school text books. We have to know our own culture and that of other countries,” Bokova added.

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev opened the forum also known as the ‘Baku Process.’

“Today we have representatives here from over 100 countries. It is really very important that these people have come to Azerbaijan to share their opinion because there are a lot of conflicts in the world. Blood is being shed in these conflicts, battles are taking place in Europe and also in our region. In this case Azerbaijan is like a stable island in the region,” Aliyev said, reported euronews.

“For a better future we need a better education. We have to have common values, but values which have to be really practiced,” he said.