The Global Alliance for Cultural Diversity
Many years of fruitful cooperation between two networks, CIRCLE and CULTURELINK, will result in a joint conference next year on eCulture: The European Perspective, a topic of great importance at the time of rapid change. Cultural changes and prospects in the light of new developments in the information and communication technologies, the emerging information lag, and the impact of new technologies on cultural policy-related issues will be discussed from different perspectives having to do with the emergence and spread of eCulture. The topics is expected to attract many participants, CIRCLE and CULTURELINK members, who will give a new impetus to the ongoing debate on the relations between culture and new communication technologies.
Such relations are the subject of the Global Alliance for Cultural Diversity, UNESCO's partnership initiative (2002-2007), which is presented in this issue of Culturelink. It is noteworthy that though globalization and new technological developments offer societies unprecedented opportunities to expand their cultural industries, globalization does not benefit all people equally, as demonstrated by the growing digital divide. While creative diversity as expressed through cultural industries can be a strong contributor to sustainable development, the current trends, such as technological convergence and freer movement of goods, services and capital, often jeopardize potential growth, particularly in the developing countries and those in transition. The Global Alliance invites everybody to take part in partnership in a variety of ways. The above-mentioned conference, to be held in Zagreb next year, will help to strengthen the Alliance.
The present issue of the Culturelink Review carries a number of reviews of new journals and newsletters (not all of them electronic like those presented in the last issue, such as SACIS, ACORNS, ALERT, etc.), which we thought would merit your attention. Under the title of BookLinks, Book Aid International has launched a newsletter - a new networking forum for librarians, publishers and booksellers in Africa. DiŠlogo MediterrŠneo, established in 1995 for the Barcelona Conference, has decided to make the magazine a privileged forum representing the Euro-Mediterranean society. The Cultural Policy Center at the University of Chicago, USA, has launched the newsletter Compass. The introductory note to the first issue stresses the importance of cultural policy as an integral part of public policy research. For many years data gathering and research in the field of culture was neglected in the United States, but things have begun to improve in the last few years. Research centres on the role of culture have taken root, and the University of Chicago programme is part of this emerging network, which is beginning to put cultural policy research on a firmer footing. Instructions on how to establish a systematic method for evaluating cultural policies, as well as many other items, feature in the first issue of Compass.
The Culturelink Dossier is devoted to redefining cultural identities: cultural industries and technological convergence. This was the subject of the third in a series of postgraduate courses on Redefining Cultural Identities. The proceedings of the first two courses have been published in the Culturelink Joint Publications Series. These courses focused on multicultural contexts of the Central European and Mediterranean Regions, while the aim of the third course was to open discussion and research on the new influences that shape the contemporary cultural identities of the Southeast European region.
Looking back on the different regions, countries and cities that I have mentioned in this Editorial, with so many more in the rest of this issue, I feel that Culturelink fully deserves to be called the network of networks. For this, we owe a debt of gratitude to all of you for supplying us with valuable information and for taking part in other forms of interactive and dynamic communication and cooperation.