The World Cultural Forum 2013: “The Power of Culture in Sustainable Development”

Friday, 6 December 2013 | 961

President Soesilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia officially opened the World Cultural Forum on Monday, 25 November 2013, held at the Bali International Convention Center, Nusa Dua, Bali.

Bearing the theme"The Power of Culture in Sustainable Development", the international forum brings together world's prominent cultural figures and is ongoing from 24th to 27th November 2013.

WCF 2013 was Initiated after a debate in the UN General Assembly last June on the signficance of the role of culture in development. President Yudhoyono explained that during the debate it became clear that "the significance of the nexus between culture and development for the post-2015 agenda was not yet fully grasped".

More than 1,000 participants from 30 countries and 17 culture ministries from all across the globe are attending the Bali Forum, including delegations from the Middle East and Eastern Europe.

Aside from President Yudhoyono, keynote speakers at the Conference are Indian Nobel Laureate for Economic Sciences Amartya Sen, UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova and noted journalist and writer Fareed Rafiq Zakaria.

Leading international agencies and critical thinkers will engage participants in six themed symposia that will form the overarching framework of WCF 2013. These are: Holistic Approaches to Culture in Development, Civil Society and Cultural Democracy, Creativity and Cultural Economics, Culture in Environmental Sustainability, Sustainable Urban Development, and Inter-Faith Dialogue and Community Building. Series of roundtable programs of Cultural Ministers and intergovernmental summits will also highlight the Forum.

Indonesia's Education and Culture Minister Muhammad Nuh in his welcome speech said that globalization has caused world cultures to be more exposed and that clashes of civilizations could likely occur. "If we don't take action now, two possibilities could happen: there could be the domination of one particular  culture , thus triggering a clash of civilizations, or, on the other hand, a convergence in which people understand each other's cultures," stated Nuh as reported in Minister Nuh also expressed the hope that the World Cultural Forum will become a regular forum similar to other international forums such as the World Economic Forum (in Davos, Switzerland) and the World Environment Forum (in Rio de Jainero, Brazil)

The World Cultural Forum is expected to result in a joint agreement called the "Bali Promise". The agreement is expected to foster the safeguarding of regional cultural and linguistic diversity and bolster ethical investment and business practices for the creative and cultural industries.

Photo Cortesy JG Photo/Afriadi Hikmal