Diversity, Dialogue, Development
This editorial will not start with the usual overview of the issue's main topics, but rather with an event of exceptional international significance - the official inauguration ceremony for the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, held in October 2002 under the motto 'From Papyrus to Digitalization'. When the Aswan Declaration was proclaimed in 1990, it was envisaged, as stated in the Declaration itself, that the Bibliotheca Alexandrina 'will bear witness to an original undertaking that, in embracing the totality and diversity of human experience, became the matrix for a new spirit of critical inquiry, for a heightened perception of knowledge as a collaborative process'. Today, this great undertaking of the human genius bears a new meaning. As the world is exposed to unrest, violence and terror in this age some experts have already named the 'age of ruins', we are witnessing a strong proof of human solidarity and need for peace, tolerance and dialogue among cultures. The Library represents a cultural beacon at a coupling point of research, technological innovation and intercultural dialogue. And herein lies the strongest mission of the Alexandrina, reborn 1600 years after having perished - to become a true meeting place of different civilizations and cultures. Already the Library offers partnership activities to numerous scientific and cultural institutions worldwide, ranging from exchanging exhibitions and research results to realizing common projects.
As ever, this issue of Culturelink again disseminates news of networking in progress and research and programmes. Networks such as Globosaurus, the Ecopeace Network, the European Textile Network or Art Works represent a rich resource for cultural workers encouraging cooperation and collaborative projects on international, national and regional levels. At the center of a large number of research projects lies the issue of cultural diversity. In an era of globalisation, cultural diversity is a fact of life, as are multicultural societies. States, civil societies and international organisations play equally important roles in the multicultural and intercultural dialogue. Now that cultural identity has become so pronounced, it is very important to move away from cultural conflicts and towards negotiation and an intercultural dialogue. You may find more about this issue under the UNESCO and The Council of Europe chapters in the articles 'Intangible Cultural Heritage: A Mirror of Cultural Diversity' and 'Cultural Policy and Cultural Diversity', as well as in two reports from conferences entitled 'Living in a Multicultural Society' and 'Fostering Cultural Diversity and Development'. It is hardly necessary to add that a number of periodicals and books have also been devoted to the same issues.
Finally, the Dossier in this issue carries the title International Conversations Through Art, and the articles included in it stress the importance of international dialogue through art and art education.
The papers published were presented at the InSEA Congress held in New York in August 2002. We thank all authors for their contributions. Our special thanks go to Ms Vera Turković, President of the Croatian Council of InSEA, for her effort in the preparation of the Dossier.