Ten Years of OCPA
Twenty years after the UNESCO World Conference on Cultural Policies, held in Mexico (26 July-8 August 1982), the Observatory of Cultural Policies in Africa was born. In these twenty years (1982-2002) important political, economic, and cultural changes have taken place in the world. In the cultural arena, the changes reflected in the new relationship between culture and development, in the redefined intercultural communication and dialogue, the promotion of cultural diversity, the strengthening of regional development, and in the creation of new approaches to cultural policy.
During the Stockholm Intergovernmental Conference on Cultural Policies for Development (1998), the Agora consecrated to Africa examined the theme of cultural policies for the development of Africa. With the Stockholm Conference and several meetings in 2000 and 2001, these activities culminated in May 2002 in a regional conference held in Maputo, Mozambique approving the establishment of an Observatory of Cultural Policies in Africa.
In the course of the past ten years, OCPA focused on the study of the relationship between culture and development, the safeguarding and promotion of heritage, support for creativity, cultural indicators of development, diversity, and the dialogue of civilizations as basic components of cultural policy. OCPA published a Compendium of Reference Documents for Cultural Policies in Africa (1969-2006) and other studies concerning different sectors of cultural policy (for example, music). The Observatory regularly publishes a newsletter – OCPA News, around 300 issues appeared so far (you may subscribe here), and established its Database of Cultural Specialists and Institutions. It also organizes training seminars for administrators, managers and cultural entrepreneurs in Africa, meetings, round tables and panel discussions across the continent. OCPA concluded a number of framework agreements of cooperation with international organizations and networks in the field of culture around the world.
From the very beginnings Culturelink has supported OCPA's activities. As Mr. Lupwishi Mbuyamba, Executive Director of OCPA, put it at the Third World Culturelink Conference held in Zagreb in 2009, "Culturelink avait, dès avant l'aube de notre création, décidé de nous accompagner dans cette aventure de la constitution et de l'animation de réseaux culturels. Culturelink nous garde son amitié et poursuit avec nous sur la voie de la recherche de nouvelles pistes d'une coopération prometteuse et symbole de l'amitié entre les peuples, que seule la culture peut garantir". (Networks: The Evolving Aspects of Culture in the 21st Century, Culturelink Joint Publications Series, Zagreb, 2011, p. 174)
The Culturelink Team congratulates OCPA for its efforts in promoting contemporary African culture and wishes the OCPA team a successful continuation of its activities and wonderful results!