rn: International Network for Cultural Diversity


Jan Slakov

Dear RN,

I recieved this DECLARATION from the newly formed Nova Scotia Cultural Network.

I think it is something all of us could heartily support and might want to
pass on to people active in local arts communities.

all the best, Jan
The Canadian Conference of the Arts (CCA) is acting as the Secretariat of
the International Network for Cultural Diversity. The CCA is Canada's
largest and oldest arts advocacy organization. The membership, which
represents the interests of over 200,000 individuals, is composed of artists
and cultural workers, arts organizations, labour groups, arts educators,
cultural industry organizations and concerned citizens from all across Canada.
Help us Build an International Network for Cultural Diversity
* Culture is a fundamental part of human society.
* Human society is diverse.
* Cultural diversity strengthens us all.
* Market forces cannot ensure the creation and sustainability of cultural
* Trade rules developed for goods and services are not appropriate for culture.
* The adoption of policies and programs which support cultural diversity is
fundamental to the existence of individuals and organizations involved in
all aspects of creative cultural expression, including conservation,
creation, production, presentation and dissemination.

Current trade agreements both directly and indirectly affect cultural
expression. Our network will share information on measures to sustain
cultural diversity within international trade agreements, and advocate such
measures nationally and internationally.
International cultural organizations which participated in the development
of the Action Plan at the UNESCO- sponsored conference, The Power of Culture
(Stockholm, Sweden, April 1998), and At Home in the World: An International
Forum on Culture and Cooperation (organized by the Canadian Conference of
the Arts, Ottawa, Canada, June 1998), recognized the importance of
establishing a global network.
The founding conference of the network will take place parallel to the
International Ministers of Culture meeting in September 2000 in Greece.

Yes! I want to help build an international network for cultural diversity.

name and title:






web site:

Please send your completed form to:
Network c/o Canadian Conference of the Arts
804 - 130 Albert Street, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada   K1P 5G4
tel (613) 238 3561; fax (613) 238 4849; •••@••.•••
Note: this is a working document open to modification. February, 2000.
From: "Nova Scotia Cultural Network (ADT)" <•••@••.•••>
Date: Tue, 22 Feb 2000 18:52:16 -0400

Andrew David Terris
Executive Director
Nova Scotia Cultural Network
1657 Barrington Street, Suite 511
Halifax, NS  B3J 2A1

Phone:         (902) 423-4456
Fax:              (902) 423-4248
Email:           •••@••.•••
Web:            www.culture.ns.ca

"All great truths begin as blasphemies." 
George Bernard Shaw

Newsletter of the International Network for Cultural Diversity

First, thank you for joining our network.  Organizations from 18 countries
on every continent have signed the declaration recognizing the need to
promote cultural diversity and maintain the ability of sovereign nations to
support their cultures in the face of globalization.  Many of you have told
important stories about the growing homogenization of cultural expression
and the difficulties we face in trying to stem this tide.
Although you have all signed our declaration of principles, we are resending
it to you in handy digital form at the end of this message (and as an
attachment, for those who can open it). Please feel free to distribute these
materials and invite others to join the International Network for Cultural
Diversity, a non-partisan network open to all groups which adhere to its
We invite you to participate
The Canadian Conference of the Arts (CCA), acting as the secretariat of the
network, will soon create an e-mail list of all the members, which will
allow us all to communicate with one another. By the end of February, we
will also launch a web site in English, French and Spanish.  For these
purposes, we have registered the following domain names:

Initially, most of the material posted from Canada will be in English, some
of it will be in French, and a small amount will be in Spanish. As more
organizations become active, we will be able to post more information in
French and Spanish. We invite you to submit relevant materials in any of
these languages.
If we are to succeed in convincing governments of our alternative approaches
and have them act together, we will need to keep each other advised of
developments.  This is why we have established these electronic
communications tools.  Please use them.
New York Times writer Thomas L. Friedman, writing from the Davos conference
in Switzerland, observed that there appear to be 3 perspectives to global
trade surfacing: the one afraid of the future, the one demanding a slice of
the future, and the one building a future. Our network aims to be one of the
Culture and Seattle
Like many civil society groups, we see some advantages in the collapse of
the talks in Seattle. The differences within the WTO give us time, and new
opportunities not obvious before. We hope that the information-sharing
arrangements we are creating will help us seize these opportunities as talks
continue in Geneva and elsewhere. 
We may even be able to appropriate some of the work done within the official
WTO meetings. The draft statement of the Ministers, which fell by the
wayside when the talks collapsed, included the following statement in its
"In a rapidly changing world, we owe it to all our citizens that the system
should allow them to pursue their opportunities and realize their
aspirations, including those pertaining to cultural identity and diversity,
and to adapt to the challenges of globalization and new technologies."
Although this language is weak, it could provide a starting point for
raising concerns about developments in the working sessions that will take
place in Geneva. 
But the most exciting aspect of Seattle was the solidarity between "civil
society" groups. Several groups concerned about the cultural dimensions of
trade spoke out during the WTO "official" NGO Day, and the next day we
joined them in calling a press conference to raise the issues publicly.  As
those of you who joined us in Seattle know, there were excellent networking
opportunities with other NGOs, cultural organizations and related groups,
and our network grew as a result.
Despite these gains, the problems of the cultural community are far from
over.  The existing WTO agreements have already been used to roll back
certain cultural protections and restrict others.  At present, the
moratorium on challenges under TRIPS has expired, leaving certain copyright
polices open to challenge. Furthermore, the so-called "built-in" agenda of
matters agreed before the Ministers converged on Seattle included an
understanding to continue important discussions on the General Agreement on
Trade in Services (GATS) and Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property
(TRIPS).  Both of these could have enormous consequences for cultural policy.  
We will monitor these developments closely over the coming months. Along
with our own analysis, we have that of a researcher we have hired as part of
a consortium of Canadian groups concerned about trade developments. He has
already written an in-depth analysis of the events in Seattle, which we will
make available on our web site and can provide to our members on request. We
were also sent an analysis from professor Arun Kumar at Nehru University,
which we are happy to share.  

Building the Network
We have a big job ahead of us.  The acquisition of Time Warner by America
On-Line, and the subsequent takeover of one of the four largest music
producers, EMI, by Time Warner is stark evidence of the enormous corporate
weight pushing to use the trade agreements and the WTO to eliminate cultural
support measures around the world.
We invite you to take the following steps to help us build the network. 
First Step:
Sign the declaration, as you have done.
Second Step:
Help expand the contact list.  Send the material to others in your country
and elsewhere.  Give us contacts wherever you have them.  Encourage people
to log onto the web site when it gets up and running at the end of February.
Third Step:
Share information, and help us plan for the founding conference in Greece.
We plan to have substantive discussions before the conference, involve more
of our partners in the International Advisory Committee, and locate more
partners in Greece to help us host the conference. 
Fourth Step:
Plan to join us for the founding meeting of the international network for
cultural diversity.
International Network for Cultural Diversity
Founding Meeting
Athens, Greece
September 2000

Our meeting is scheduled to coincide with the annual meeting of the
International Network for Cultural Policy (INCP), which brought culture
ministers from more than 30 countries together in Mexico in September 1999.
The governmental network has aims similar to our own: to draw attention to
the important role of cultural diversity in the development of societies; to
raise the profile of culture in global relations; and to ensure that
international trade rules do not narrow cultural policy options.  We will
meet as a network of NGOs and hope to organize a joint session with the
Ministers.  The dates of the activities will be available shortly, but begin
to plan now so that you can attend this critical gathering.
Please let us know if you would rather receive news from us in French rather
than English, or French as well as English (this newsletter is available in
both languages). If you have received this e-mail in error, or otherwise do
not want to be on this list, which will form the basis of our e-mail
list-serve, please let us know as well. If you reply, please do not resend
this message. 
We look forward to working with you!
Mireille Gagné
Maxine Heppner
CCA International Committee
Board Members, Canadian Conference of the Arts (CCA)
The International Advisory Committee
The International Advisory Committee, put in place by the CCA's Board of
Governors and co-chaired by two board members, guides the work of the CCA on
the International Network for Cultural Diversity. As more members join the
network, we intend to expand the International Advisory Committee to truly
represent the international arena and the complex concerns and realities
inherent in our culturally diverse world.
The Secretariat
The Canadian Conference of the Arts (CCA) is acting as the Secretariat of
the International Network for Cultural Diversity. The CCA is Canada's
largest and oldest arts advocacy organization. The membership, which
represents the interests of over 200,000 individuals, is composed of artists
and cultural workers, arts organizations, labour groups, arts educators,
cultural industry organizations and concerned citizens from all across Canada.