This issue opens with an extensive presentation of the Culturelink
World Wide Web Project, which aims to strengthen cultural
policy and development research and capacities by sharing the available
data more equitably worldwide and forging innovative approaches
on the international level. This is done in the spirit of the conclusions
of, and as a follow-up to, the intergovernmental Conference
on Cultural Policies for Development, held in Stockholm in
March 1998. The current status of the Culturelink Web presence and
its planned improvement are discussed by Aleksandra Imogen Ivir,
Culturelink WWW Editor, who uses this opportunity also to invite
all Culturelink members to contribute to the project in view of
the importance of the Internet for modern culture.
An invitation to cooperate comes also from the Kennedy Center for International Studies at Brigham Young University, USA, as part of an effort to build bridges of understanding in the global community, especially through its Culturgrams Project (p. 23). Culturgrams are a series of educational guides designed to introduce the readers to the basic living patterns and daily culture of other nations. This is yet another example of the importance of networks for cooperation. Cooperation with Culturelink, for instance, has already resulted in several country profiles, which have been praised for their quality.
Indeed, cultural networks, their contribution and benefits,
have been recognized in a number of documents and at numerous ministerial
meetings on the international level. Thus, the Forum
of European Cultural Networks stressed last year that 'it
is the flexibility, the approach, the process, the mentality of
a network which creates its special value'. At the same time, the
Forum adopted a manifesto which, in view of its importance, we reproduce
in full in the present issue (pp. 45-46).
I would like to draw your attention to some other research, programmes, documents, and journals, such as an excellent issue of the cultural policy journal ARSIS, devoted this time to Focus on the Baltic (p. 69).
As usual, I wish to highlight also the Culturelink Dossier, which has met with a considerable approval among our members. The Dossier in the present issue is devoted to an international meeting on cultural policy - Putting Culture on the World Stage. This is an important first step in a broader process of building awareness and support for cultural diversity in an era of globalization and technological change. Thanks to the Canadian Heritage and the Canadian Conference of the Arts, we can now show how the meeting proceeded, what conclusions it reached and what recommendations it made.