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Culturelink review, no.25/August 1998 - contents - imprint - archive

World Decade for Cultural Development

The Power of Culture

The Intergovernmental Conference on Cultural Policies for Development
Report from Stockholm

UNESCO's Intergovernmental Conference on Cultural Policies for Development, held in Stockholm, 30 March - 2 April 1998, brought together ministers of culture, representatives of civil society and the media, scholars and artists from all parts of the world.

The Conference met in Plenary (during which the ministers voiced their opinions about the Action Plan project) and parallel Forum and Agora sessions. In these parallel sessions, experts discussed a wide range of issues, such as cultural pluralism and globalization, cultural rights, cultural heritage, cultural creativity, cultural policies and international cooperation, culture and new media technologies, archives in the service of culture and democracy, language and identity, intercultural dialogue in theory and practice, the role of foundations in cultural policies.

The main document for the Conference was the report Our Creative Diversity by the World Commission on Culture and Development. The chapter entitled "Rethinking Cultural Policies" affirms that any development policy must take into account the totality of the cultural factors that characterize a given society. Culture is at the foundation of all development. Thus, the concept of cultural policy is also changed and considerably broadened, moving from the traditional instrument for the definition and implementation of a policy towards its developmental significance.

New challenges for cultural policies were in the focus of the debates in Stockholm, especially in the light of globalization, which was viewed as a process which increasingly links cultures and strengthens interactions, but at the same time raises the spectre of uniformization. The importance of culture is increasingly appreciated in all countries, but it is nevertheless often "sacrificed" in favour of other priorities (as demonstrated by the amount of funding that culture receives and the position of bodies responsible for culture in the government structures). Cultural policies cannot be restricted to art and heritage; rather, they must be linked with other domains of life (social policy, education, cultural industries, etc.) and conceived of as a trans-sectorial developmental activity.

Two major themes of the Conference were the challenges of cultural diversity and the challenges of recasting cultural policies. Cultural diversity is the greatest wealth and the most valuable cultural legacy of mankind. However, the question is how - given the various tensions in which we live - societies can be pluralistic and at the same time share a sense of belonging to the same state, how different cultural groups establish mutual communication and communication with the state. Most societies today face a dual task: they must learn to reconcile unity and diversity, and they must do this in concrete situations of everyday life. The Conference stressed the importance of cultural policy elaboration based on a multicultural approach, which - in contrast to fragmentation and conflicts - contributes to cultural (as well as political and economic) integration and the spirit of "interculturalism" which goes well with the world in constant movement, contacts and exchanges. As part of this general theme, the Conference discussed also the respect for cultural rights, cultural heritage for development, creativity and cultural industries, and culture, children and young people.

The second major theme - devoted to a new approach to cultural policies - examined the ways of improving research and international cooperation for cultural policy. The stress was in the first place on research that would contribute to the effectiveness of cultural policies, in the sense of facilitating the involvement of different communities in international communication, their access to cultural goods, their participation in cultural life, and the preservation and development of their cultural identities. An important role in all this will be played by new information and communication technologies (for instance, networks), without which international cooperation would be all but impossible. The Conference called for comparative analyses of cultural policies at the international level.

The parallel meetings of a large number of forum and agora sessions devoted to different topics (over forty of them altogether) made it difficult for one to choose which session to attend, and the rather short time allocated for each topic did not allow for an in-depth examination of particular questions. This perhaps explains why the most coherent and exhaustive agora was that dealing with a vision of African cultural cooperation and development, which continued to meet for the whole duration of the Conference. It began with an overview of the relation between culture and development and an analysis of the concept of "Ubuntu", an African strategy of cultural development and cooperation adopted at the Pan African Consultative Meeting in Lomé, in February 1998, in which new information and communication technologies occupy an important place. (See pp. 25-28 in this issue.) This was followed by papers and discussions dealing with different fields of culture: publishing and development (problems and prospects, international markets), film and television (production and distribution), visual arts, the role of museums in society, theatre, music. Particular attention was paid to research and African languages and processes of privatization in culture (decentralization of cultural capital, entrepreneurship, new trends in the funding of culture). A new approach to African problems characterized the entire agora, showing that Africa was changing and that important developmental processes were at work there based on "cultural connectivity" (as defined by Anicet Bongo of Gabon), that is, networking and cooperation.

The Conference was geared towards specific results, new principles and strategies. Cultural policies will have an exceptionally important role and task in the future. The final document of the Action Plan defines cultural policy as a major component of an endogenous and sustainable policy of development. It is a key component of any development strategy and the factor that will be able to respond effectively to the new needs of the coming century and thus contribute to greater creativity, cultural pluralism and dialogue between cultures, improved social integration of all members of society, respect for equality between the sexes. The Conference recommended to the UNESCO member states to adopt the following five policy objectives:

  1. To make cultural policy one of the key components of development strategy (especially in view of the processes of globalization, urbanization and accelerated technological change).
  2. To promote creativity and participation in cultural life (in the sense of recognizing and understanding cultural diversity).
  3. To reinforce policy and practice to safeguard and enhance cultural heritage (with an emphasis on cultural tourism).
  4. To promote cultural and linguistic diversity in and for the information society (stressing the importance of new media technologies).
  5. To make more human and financial resources available for cultural development (inviting the governments to provide for tax reliefs in culture and greater investment in culture by businesses and financial institutions).

The recommendations to the Director General of UNESCO include the preparation of specific measures to facilitate the realization of the five objectives in the member countries, organization of a world summit conference on culture and development, and presentation of the Action Plan to the bodies of the United Nations, including in particular the General Assembly.

The importance of the Stockholm Conference is undoubted: it took stock of the changes now taking place on the global level and highlighted the strategic lines that cultural policies must follow to become truly cultural policies for development. And we would add: not only for development but also for the culture of peace, bearing in mind the not very distant year 2000, which the U.N. General Assembly has proclaimed the International Year of the Culture of Peace.

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The Follow-up to the WCCD Report
Our Creative Diversity

UNESCO's World Commission on Culture and Development (WCCD) report Our Creative Diversity has in the years following its publication in 1995 (See Culturelink no. 21/April 1997, p. 39 and no. 18/April 1996, pp. 35-37.) provoked a world-wide debate with many meetings and conferences exploring its issues. We have already presented the book In From the Margins (See Culturelink no. 24/April 1998, pp. 56-57 and no.22/August 1997, pp. 44-47.), the response of the Council of Europe. In this issue of Culturelink, we present several other responses to the UNESCO report, its findings, and its basic philosophy.

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Culture: Roots and Wings

Contribution of Flanders to the Report of the World Commission on Culture and Development
Ministry of Flanders, Brussel, 1998, 48 pp.

The Flemish report, representing Belgium, concentrates on four topics: government policy, cultural rights, youth, and cultural heritage. Each was prepared by an expert in the field, and they also chose the Chinese proverb for the title of the report, as best describing the attention to the roots of culture and the need for a sense of innovation and exploration of new horizons in cultural policy. Three key questions are posed by the chapter on policy and government: who shall define cultural needs and priorities in society, how can the cultural sector be made amenable to policy, and how can policy be realized in a dialogue with the sector experts and the target public?

The cultural rights of established cultural groups are well taken care of in Belgium, and the main point of the report is the need for a critical analysis of the legal protection of new minority cultures in Belgium, which would increase the chances of success of the multicultural society. Active involvement of children and youth is advocated as the main task for science and education.

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Austrian Comments on Our Creative Diversity

Edited by Sperl-Schiefer-Brezovszky, Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Österreichische Aussenpolitische Dokumentation, Special Issue, 1998, 167 pp.

The Austrian contribution to the debate includes texts by experts in the academia and policy from several rounds of discussions, round tables and panels, held in July 1996 and September 1997, as well as from high government officials in the field of culture and foreign affairs. The Austrian contribution provides a rich compendium of views which stress different aspects of the report.

The overall concern was summarized in the Foreword by Benita Ferrero-Waldner, State Secretary for Foreign Affairs, and that is the need to balance the dangers of globalization with the opportunities it provides, in which the role of cultural creativity is central in successful processes of social transformation.

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The Power of Culture

Conference Report, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Development Cooperation Information Department, The Hague, 1998, 128 pp., ISBN 90 5328 124 X

'Can we together define a global ethics? What will be the shape of the global media environment in the twenty-first century? Can we learn to manage and maximize our cultural plurality, going from multiculturalism to true intercultural dialogue?' These three questions summarize the concerns and main topics of the discussions held in the Netherlands in November 1996 based on the issues broached by the UNESCO report Our Creative Diversity. These discussions included also non-European views and participants, which gives this report a more international slant. The book includes the main introductory papers for the topics, as well as a summary of discussions.

The discussion continues on the Internet, at the address http://www.kit.nl/kvc

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Cultural Diversity and Citizenship

Report of a Joint UNESCO/University of Birmingham Seminar, Compiled by Susan Wright

UNESCO, University of Birmingham, 1998, 48 pp., ISBN 07044 1919 X

'Culture is not a "thing" of fixed definition; culture is a political process or contest over the meaning of key organizing terms in society, including the meaning of culture itself.' This definition guided the whole concept of the seminar, as well as the research agenda proposed in this report, while advocating the vision of culture as participatory, and as a political and artistic site of creativity. The seminar identified four main topics for potential collaborative research in advancing the work of the report Our Creative Diversity: culture and governance, citizenship and 'transversal politics', cultural representation in the media, and creative use of cultural heritage.

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Culture and Human Development

Report on a Conference on Culture, Cultural Research and Cultural Policy

Compiled and edited by Karl Eric Knutsson, The Royal Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities Stockholm, 1998, 52 pp., ISBN 91 7402 2768

The Report is divided into four sections. The first deals with issues related to culture defined in its broadest sense as a dimension of human reality, identifying some of the major new contexts: globalization, sustainable human development, ethnicity, new and changing identities, etc. The second part presents problems, views and proposals for cultural research identified within the more specific domain of culture represented by the arts, the media, and the major cultural institutions. The third section poses questions linked to cultural and human rights, discussing the historical perspectives on gender and culture, children and young people and their cultural participation. The report concludes with a Statement of Commitment, adopted by the participants in support of cultural diversity, the strengthening of cultural creativity and cultural rights, the protection of cultural heritage, and the need to recast cultural policies.

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Fifth International Conference on Adult Education / Cinquième Conférence Internationale sur l'Education des Adultes

Final Report / Rapport Final

Literacy and Adult Education Section, UNESCO, Paris/UNESCO Institute for Education, Hamburg, 1998, 72 pp., ED/MD/101

The Final Report of the Fifth International Conference on Adult Education (CONFINTEA V), held in July 1997 in Hamburg, Germany, is a joint publication of the Literacy and Adult Education Section - UNESCO, Paris, and the UNESCO Institute for Education, Hamburg.

The Report gives an overview of the conference's goals and topics in the section Summary of the Plenary Discussions, and it also presents the documents issued during CONFINTEA V. A full list of the Thematic Working Groups is presented, including the three round tables held during the conference: Learning gender sensitivity - practicing gender justice, Cities of learning, and Consequences of literacy: adult literacy and human-centered development.

The section devoted to the documents issued by the conference presents a report given by the Rapporteur-General, the Hamburg Declaration on Adult Learning, and the Agenda for the Future. While the Rapporteur-General's oral report given at the conference provides a general overview of the conference's outcomes and conclusions, the Hamburg Declaration on Adult Learning, as well as the Agenda for the Future, could serve as a tool for acting in the domain that is the concern of people in all regions of the world - adult education: 'Education becomes more than a right; it is a key to the twenty-first century (...) and a condition for full participation in society (...) and for building a world in which violent conflict is replaced by dialogue and a culture of peace based on justice' (Hamburg Declaration, paragraph 2). The recommendations and thematic headings for future activities include a number of subjects, such as Adult learning and democracy - the challenges of the twenty-first century, Ensuring the universal right to literacy and basic education, Adult learning and the changing world of work, Adult learning in relation to the environment, health and population, and Adult learning, culture, media and new information technologies.

To obtain the Final Report, please contact: Section for Literacy and Non-Formal Education, UNESCO, 7 place de Fontenoy, 75352 Paris 07 SP, France.

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Study Abroad

Trilingual: English/French/Spanish
30th edition, 1,248 pp., Paris, UNESCO, ISBN: 92-3-003401-0
Paperback: 120 French francs (+ 30FF postage)
CD-ROM: 120FF (postage included)
Special offer - paperback + CD-ROM: 180FF (+ 30FF postage)

A complete international guide on all academic and professional disciplines in post-secondary education covering 2,098 opportunities in 120 countries;

  • where to obtain scholarships and financial support;
  • study offers by universities, specialized colleges and international organizations.

Further information from: UNESCO Publishing, 1, rue Miollis, 75732 Paris Cedex 15, France; Tel.: (33) 1 45 68 43 00; Fax: (33) 1 45 68 57 41; Internet: http://www.unesco.org/publishing

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World Congress on the Status of the Artist

The Artist and Society - Conclusions

The Conclusions of the meeting The Artist and Society, held in June 1997 within the framework of the World Congress on the Status of the Artist and issued by UNESCO (CLT-97/CONF.206/CLD.11), contains conclusive thematic discussions from the opening meeting, through the round tables and commissions, to the closing meeting.

Within the framework of the major theme of the artist and society, funding of the arts, art education, artistic creation, cultural policies, professional organizations, artistic activities, new technologies, training of artists, property rights, and other topics were discussed.

The main demands formulated at the Congress by artists and their respective organisations are contained in the Final Declaration of the World Congress on the Status of the Artist, which is included as an Annex to the Conclusions.

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World Heritage and Town Development

The Example of Potsdam
German Commission for UNESCO, Bonn, 1997, 83 pp., ISBN 3-927907-64-2

The German Commission for UNESCO has published the proceedings of the symposium The Role of Modern City Development in Historical Landscapes, entitled World Heritage and Town Development: The Example of Potsdam. This contribution to the World Decade project on the Protection of Monuments in the New Europe, organized by the City of Potsdam and the German Commission for UNESCO and held in Potsdam, October 1996, discussed the problems concerning the development and protection of a sensitive UNESCO World Heritage site, the Palaces and Gardens of Potsdam-Sanssouci and Berlin, endangered through planning proposals including the extension of federal waterways, urban development projects and other plans. Numerous decision-makers, representatives from the field of politics, local authorities, the field of science and culture, as well as interested citizens discussed all aspects and effects of the currently planned urban development and transport projects on Potsdam's cultural landscape. Further topics of discussion covered the extension of the World Heritage site and the possibility of reconstructing Potsdam's City Palace. The debate highlighted both the need for economic development and the preservation efforts relating to the unique UNESCO cultural heritage and its environment. In its final declaration at the Potsdam Symposium, the German Commission for UNESCO called on all parties involved to continue their discussions or risk the inclusion of Potsdam's World Heritage site in the World Heritage in Danger list (the so-called 'Red List').

To obtain the Proceedings, please contact: German Commission for UNESCO, Colmantstr. 15, 53115 Bonn, Germany.

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The City: A User's Guide

Compilation of Innovative Practices, 1996-1997
UNESCO Mayors for Peace Prize, UNESCO, 1997, 92 pp.

This document is an interesting way of showing how an international prize, in this case the UNESCO Mayors for Peace Prize introduced by Federico Mayor in 1996, can produce creative interest as well as results beyond its actual purpose. The interest created by this prize and the several hundred applications which were received by UNESCO for the prize were analyzed by a team led by Professor Yves Winkin (University of LiŠge), to produce this thesaurus of innovative initiatives in the area of ecology, urban planning, education and urban environment in general. This report is structured around several topics on which different practices have been found to have commonalties: The road to solidarity (on combatting exclusion), Developing a sense of citizenship, Education at the heart of the city, Reshaping the urban landscape, Towards a town that breathes, From classical culture to urban culture, Telepolis: towns and cities as a network. The index of cities and mayors (including not only the page numbers but also contact numbers and addresses) and the index of innovative practices make this guide a very useful tool for further cooperation.

This document is also available in French (La Ville, Modes d'emploi) and Spanish (La Ciudad: Usos y prácticas) and the data base in an electronic version at http://www.unesco.org/clt

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Culture - A Way to Fight Extreme Poverty

ONG/UNESCO, Paris, 1997, 101 pp, CLT-97/WS/8

As a result of a contribution of a group of NGOs to the World Decade for Cultural Development and to the First United Nations Decade for the Eradiction of Poverty (1997-2006), UNESCO has published the study Culture - A Way to Fight Extreme Poverty. The document produced by the Culture and Development Working Group of the UNESCO Standing Committee of NGOs, discusses ten practical experiments in escaping from situations of exclusion, conducted in rural and urban areas of Guatemala, India, Madagascar, Senegal, South Africa, France and Italy.

The World Summit for Social Development held in Copenhagen declared the eradiction of poverty 'an ethical, ... political and economic imperative of humankind', while UNESCO for its part has made a commitment in its Medium-Term Strategy for 1996-2001 to make an active contribution to this major objective in its fields of competence.

UNESCO will aim to:

  • ensure access of all, including the poorest, to basic and lifelong education;
  • strengthen the endogenous capacities for social development in civil society; and
  • favour the active, voluntary participation of excluded groups.

A number of pilot projects have been launched in the least developed countries to stimulate remunerative activities by striving to promote partnerships between local communities and the authorities.

Highlighting the relationship between culture and development, the document's conclusions take a look at the cultural obstacles to the participation of the very poor, the cultural factors favouring their participation, and the importance of the cultural dimension of development in the fight against extreme poverty.

Contact: ONG/UNESCO, Standing Committee of NGOs, 1 rue Miollis, 75732 Paris Cedex 15, France, tel.: 33-1- 45 68 32 68; fax: 33-1- 45 66 03 37.

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Etudes des opportunités de renforcement de l'intégration économique de l'Afrique de l'Ouest par les industries culturelles

UNESCO, CLT/CIC/CRM/98/01, 1997, 35 pp.

As part of the Dakar Action Plan on Cultural Industries for the Development of Africa, UNESCO's Unit of Cultural Research and Management has published the Final Report of its pilot project Etudes des opportunités de renforcement de l'intégration économique de l'Afrique de l'Ouest par les industries culturelles/Study of opportunities to strengthen the economic integration of West Africa by cultural industries.

This inventory of the audiovisual potential of West African countries includes the methodology, results and recommendations, as well as the questionnaire validation report of the project. Aiming to evaluate the potential of the countries in this region in the field of cultural industrialization, with a common cultural market in mind, this project intended to:

  • determine the degree of operability of existing enterprises, the types of their cultural products and the range of their diffusion;
  • invest into the equipment necessary to reorganize certain enterprises aiming to raise their productivity;
  • widen the existing cultural goods markets and open up new ones;
  • assess the base for regional and inter-regional informational and training cooperation;
  • work on the sensibilization of cultural decision-makers to the profits that cultural industries bring to development.

The data deriving from this questionnaire will be gathered in a database of cultural industries and resources in the West African subregion.

Contact: UNESCO, CLT/CIC/CRM, 1 rue Miollis, 75732 Paris Cedex 15, France, tel.: 33-1- 45 68 43 30 / 31; fax.: 33-1- 45 68 55 93.

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World Communication Report

The Media and the Challenge of the New Technologies
UNESCO Reference Books Series, 1998, 280 pp.,250 FF, ISBN 92-3-103428-6

The digital revolution combined with converging technologies has contributed to transforming the economics of information and accelerating the globalization of the media and its contents. This report (See also Culturelink no. 24/April 1998, p. 52.) draws a worldwide picture of these changes by describing the impact of the new information technologies on the workplace, the media (print and audiovisual), culture, and intellectual property. It also examines the relationships between power, information and democracy, providing a better understanding of the new challenges facing communications.

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Report on the European Seminar on Promoting Independent and Pluralistic Media With Special Focus on Central and Eastern Europe

UN, UNESCO, Paris, 1997, 87 pp., CII-97/WS/10

The European Seminar on Promoting Independent and Pluralistic Media With Special Focus on Central and Eastern Europe, held in Sofia, Bulgaria, 10-13 September 1997, was organized by the UN Department of Public Information, UNESCO, and the Bulgarian Commission for UNESCO and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This seminar completes the cycle of similar seminars on media plurality and independence held previously in four major geographical regions. The first one was held in Windhoek (Namibia) in 1991 for Africa, the second in Almaty Kazakhstan in 1992 for Asia and the Pacific region; the Latin American seminar took place in Santiago, Chile, in 1994, and the seminar for the Arab countries was held in Sana'a, Yemen, in 1996. The seminars are part of the new UNESCO strategy for promoting independent and pluralistic media.

The Sofia seminar worked in six main panels. The first panel focused on the promotion of independent and pluralistic media, professional ethics and self-regulation, public service broadcasting, news agencies in transition, and the structural and economic framework for media independence and pluralism. The second panel discussed the legal and political framework and obstacles to media freedom, the third panel addressed violence against the media and safety of journalists. The fourth panel addressed media and tolerance, as well as hate speech and limits to freedom of expression. The fifth panel centered on the development of human resources, training, and gender issues. The sixth panel addressed the issue of new communication technologies in regard to pluralism, access and censorship.

The participants of the seminar adopted the Declaration of Sofia, in which - focusing especially on the situation in Central and Eastern Europe - support the independent and pluralistic media and call for their protection.

The report is also available in French.

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The Sub-Regional Workshop on Culture, Population and Poverty Eradication for Eastern and Southern Africa

Final Report (With Resolutions and Recommendations)
UNESCO, AICCD, WDCD, IDEP, Makerere University, 1998, 78 pp., CLT-98/WS/3

The Final Report of the Sub-Regional Workshop on Culture, Population and Poverty Eradication, held in Kampala, Uganda, in April 1997, presents a detailed overview of the workshop's agenda, activities and conclusions, including the resolutions and recommendations. The Kampala workshop provided a forum for policy makers, development planners, project managers, practitioners and experts to exchange and share experience and ideas on issues relating to the importance of the cultural dimension in the development process in Africa, to establish a framework for networking and information dissemination, and to create an awareness of the concept, institutional framework and planned activities of the African Itinerant College for Culture and Development.

The Report also includes the technical papers given at the workshop and the following discussions, a review of the country paper session held during the workshop (with reports from Tanzania, Rwanda, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Uganda), and reviews of the theatre presentations, case studies, and a group simulation exercise - all held in Kampala as part of the practical presentations that the workshop made possible.

In the resolutions and recommendations, the participants stressed their concern about the following issues: Integrating culture in development programmes, Looking for appropriate development models, Culture and gender, Theatre for development, Preservation of cultural identities, and Conflict resolution.

To obtain the Final Report, please contact: UNESCO, 7 place de Fontenoy, 75352 Paris 07 SP or 1, rue Miollis, 75732 Paris Cedex 15, France, tel.: +33 1 45 68 43 01; fax: +33 1 43 06 73 67.

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Culture, Gender and Development for Eastern and Southern African English Speaking Countries

Technical Report of the Sensitization Workshop
World Decade for Cultural Development
1998, 205 pp., CLT-98/WS/1

Jointly organized by the Ministry of Information and Culture of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the African Itinerant College for Culture and Development, the Sensitization Workshop on Culture, Gender and Development for Eastern and Southern African English Speaking Countries was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in April 1997. The workshop produced its Technical Report.

The Report has six parts. The first part contains the speeches and statements made during the opening ceremony, followed by the section presenting research papers given at the workshop, including the condensed versions of the discussions following each paper. Country papers make up the following section, presenting insights into the situation in Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The group discussions and simulation exercises are summarized in a section of their own. The last section reviews the closing ceremony, together with the recommendations of the workshop, while the Annex contains workshop materials, such as the workshop evaluation, list of participants, etc.

To obtain the Final Report, please contact: UNESCO, 7, place de Fontenoy, 75352 Paris 07 SP or 1, rue Miollis, 75732 Paris Cedex 15, France, tel.: +33 1 45 68 43 01; fax: +33 1 43 06 73 67.