This one’s from James Early about the goings on of the Intercultural Network for Cultural Diversity (INCD). INCD is an international organization based in Toronto (Canada). It’s mission is to counter the adverse affects of globalization on world cultures. In other words, “one world” does not mean one dominant culture or artistic expression. The INCD organizes its work around the UNESCO Convention for Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions known as the UNESCO Cultural Diversity Convention with legally-binding protocols. UNESCO is part of the United Nations. James Early is Director of Cultural Policy at the Smithsonian Institution.

Artists and cultural workers take note of INCD’s “Calls for a Renewed Commitment.”



There are many challenges in our world: economic inequality and poverty; environmental degradation; cultural misunderstandings that lead to conflict; threats to human rights. As the world emerges from an economic recession that has battered economies of the north and south, rich and poor, there is a leadership vacuum in the global arts and cultural community. The voice of arts and culture is largely absent from the significant discussions of our times.

But there is also a tremendous opportunity for our community to contribute to a new global dialogue and to make our world a better and safer place.

INCD invites and challenges key governments, civil society organizations, international cultural institutions, and citizens to join together to fill this vacuum and to realize this potential.

What we need are actions that will:

· Invigorate arts and cultural production in every society, to bring about the next renaissance of storytelling, music, visual arts and dance, in every form and in every medium.

· Permit artists, cultural producers and our works to flow freely around the world, to entertain, inform, challenge and enlighten people everywhere.

· Ensure the voice of arts and culture is present and strong.

We must utilize the UNESCO Convention and go beyond it.

The UNESCO cultural diversity convention is only one small step towards the institutionalization of an effective cultural diversity policy framework. It is merely a tool that must be wielded by civil society and governments.

Future work on raising awareness and promoting the ratification of the Convention must be directed at bringing it to life.

We challenge UNESCO and the member states of the Convention to work together to make it effective.

We must work together to achieve broad objectives

In this new approach to promoting global cultural diversity, there are many other things that need to be done, including to:

Encourage cultural policies nationally, regionally and internationally, including implementation and resources to make them effective.

Integrate cultural development into sustainable development strategies and Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers.

Ensure that the International Fund for Cultural Diversity has substantial resources and a mandate to support concrete projects.

Promote south-south cultural exchanges.
Launch a global dialogue about culture and the human security agenda.
Implement preferential treatment for artists, cultural producers and their works from developing countries and preferential access to developed countries.

As trade negotiations are renewed in the coming months, ensure that the agreements respect the principles of the Convention.

Work to preserve threatened languages and cultures, including those of indigenous peoples.

Implement Fair Trade campaign for cultural goods.

New global arts and culture leadership

We need to rebuild a dynamic cultural diversity movement with broad objectives.

INCD will work with the International Federation of Coalitions for Cultural Diversity and other NGOs to develop a new and contemporary agenda.
Civil society will look to engage with a revitalized network of culture ministers. Such a network should be led by countries of the south, have an agenda to expand global cultural rights, and be a forum through which culture ministers can participate in the emerging global debates.
Civil society calls on IFACCA, UNESCO, UNCTAD and others to embrace and to encourage this movement as essential to achieving their objectives.

INCD invites comments about this paper and welcomes all suggestions about how to move forward.


This one’s from Ariana. I’m always up for bringing beauty to the world. Ariana Austin has launched her blog and portfolio highlighting people, places, ideas, and anything that contributes to global beauty. She’s been around the globe in search of it. Visit

Last night I saw Patricia Smith Melton, founder of Peace x Peace, an organization whose mission is to connect women around the world using social networking to build peace across cultures. I was at the first meeting of minds Patricia organized towards this effort shortly after 9-11. We met through our playwriting group.

Patricia gave opening comments at Meridian International Center for the launch of the new Global Perspectives Film Series co-presented with ITVS International (I was there for ITVS). She published a book in 2008 featuring 30 Israeli and 30 Palestinian women titled Sixty Years, Sixty Voices . Their testimonials are printed in Arabic, Hebrew and English. The photographs are by Patricia.

Peace x Peace will hold its first Power and Peace Awards Wednesday, November 11 at 6 PM at the Carnegie Institution (1530 P Street, NW, Washington, DC). Honorees include filmmaker/artist Abigail Disney; philanthropist Mario Morino; Afghan Red Crescent (the Afghan Red Cross) president Fatima Gailani; and Afghan women’s rights activist Suraya Pakzad.

For more information about the Power and Peace Awards visit, or call Joan Woods, Director of Development at 202-684-3550