The Unique Role of Networks in International Cooperation
When the term 'age of networks' was coined in the nineties, it was due to the fact that a large number of networks suddenly appeared, especially in the field of culture. In the meantime, as a flexible communication tool, many of those networks have ceased to exist, only to be replaced by an ever growing number of new networks, which aim to introduce new contents and new ways of interconnecting. This is clearly reflected in Culturelink's Networking in Progress section, which not only gives an overview of the activities of numerous networks founded in the last decade, but also regularly draws attention to newly established networks. The current issue thus presents networks such as On The Move, whose official launch is scheduled for December 2003 and which is to be dedicated to the international mobility for performing arts and music professionals; the Asia-Europe Museum Network, launched in 2001 to facilitate co-operative projects between museums in Asia and Europe; the really new e-Policy Resource Network for Africa, which will be partly dedicated to education and culture; the Cultural Commons, designed to serve all those interested in art, culture, and public policy; the Network for Arts and Culture South Africa, launched in June 2003; and many more networks from all continents, mirroring the need of the world community for better mutual links and for growing possibilities of communicating one's own identities and values.
Here, also the article by Peter Musa, Director of the Musa Heritage Gallery in Cameroon, should be mentioned, who discusses how to use arts, culture and music information as a good medium to promote cultural diversity. Taking a 'small' art gallery as an example, Musa shows what can be done 'for co-existence and tolerance, which ties in with cultural diversity'. Do read this article, it is well worth your attention!
This year is marked by a number of significant global and international meetings, including the 32nd Session of the UNESCO General Conference (Paris, September/October 2003), and the conferences of the International Network for Cultural Diversity and of the International Network of Cultural Policy, both to be held in Opatija, Croatia, in October 2003 and to be reviewed in the upcoming November issue of Culturelink. The current issue publishes the New Delhi Declaration which was adopted at the International Ministerial Conference on Dialogue among Civilizations - Quest for New Perspectives, organized by UNESCO and the Government of India, and which is 'set to become a landmark document, one which marks a turning-point in the conduct of inter-cultural dialogue within and among civilizations and cultures at all levels'.
In its regular sections, Culturelink carries a wealth of useful information, with an especially rich Publications section including detailed reviews of valuable books such as the "Madre Tierra - Pour une Renaissance amrindienne" or "Culture et Citoyennet".
This issue's Dossier is devoted to international co-operation for cultural policy motivated research. The author is Professor Carl-Johan Kleberg, former Deputy Director of the Swedish National Council for Cultural Affairs. Professor Kleberg - whom I have known since the founding of the Culturelink Network in 1989, and who at that time, as well as throughout the years, offered invaluable support to Culturelink - has always been active in international cultural policy research. In this study, Professor Kleberg presents some reports and international tendencies in the field of cultural policy motivated research from a critical standpoint. Professor Kleberg is dedicated to the World Cultures Report project, the implementation of which should provoke the mobilisation of researchers around the vital problems of culture. The Culturelink Network of Networks certainly plans to get involved in the production of this report.