Tunis, October 17-22, 2009


How UNESCO, governments and music organisations are implementing (or obstructing) the UNESCO Convention for the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions


Convenor and chairperson of this session: Richard Letts


The UNESCO Convention for the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions has come into force with ratifications, at the time of writing, from 100 countries. Considering its uncertain gestation, the near-unanimous vote at the UNESCO General Conference and the subsequent rapid adoption by national governments is very gratifying. The initial motivation was to create an international instrument to protect the rights of national governments to support cultural activities without constraints enforced by international free trade agreements. However, now the Convention is in force, attention is turning much more to its other objectives to support cultural diversity within national borders, cultural development especially in developing countries, and international cultural exchanges.

In this session we will hear about UNESCO initiatives to implement the Convention, from the experience of Jukka Liedes from the Finnish Ministry of Culture and Education, who has had an insider's view, from Garry Neil who as Director of the International Network for Cultural Diversity is an outside observer and activist, and from IMC Secretary-General Silja Fischer, who will briefly summarise IMC's official interventions.

Timothy Maloney and Mohamed Zinelabidine will tell us about long-standing policies of multiculturalism and encouragement of diversity in their respective countries, Canada and Tunisia. Ole Reitov of Freemuse will describe how ineffective visa systems of some EU countries contravene the Convention.

In music, one of the great concerns is the survival and revitalisation of traditional musics. The IMC has entered into a partnership to discover and describe projects across the world that have been successful in returning traditional musics to everyday life. The project plays an important role in the International Music Council's Music Sector Development Program. The IMC is the senior non-academic partner in this five-year project, led by the Queensland Conservatorium Research Centre, Brisbane, with seven universities on five continents, the Music Council of Australia, and funding from the Australian Research Council.  Myfany Turpin is here to describe this project.

Finally, we hear from three IMC member organisations about projects that promote the objectives of the UNESCO Convention: Adépo Yapo, from the Ivory Coast, about a three-nation collaboration to support the instrument, the balophon; Valentina Frenot-Diaz from Paraguay, about a collaborative project of IMC national music councils to provide multicultural music resources to Latin-American children; and Wouter Turkenburg about the processes by which the Netherlands government has come to grips with the Convention.


Richard Letts





Dr Richard Letts (paper)



The UNESCO convention implementation processes (1) 

Jukka Liedes (paper), Director, Division for Cultural Policy, Ministry of Education and Culture. Finland

The UNESCO convention implementation processes (2) 

Garry Neil (paper), Director of the International Network for Cultural Diversity, an NGO with a deep involvement in the gestation, adoption and subsequent progress of the Convention. Canada.

IMC's advocacy of the Convention  

Silja Fischer (paper), Secretary General of the International Music Council.  France

Questions and discussion 



The Canadian government's policy of support to multiculturalism 

Dr Timothy Maloney (paper - PPT presentation), has had a long civil sector involvement in Canadian cultural life. He is currently Music Librarian at the University of Minnesota.  Canada

Official policies concerning multiculturalism in Tunisia and the Arab world 

Dr Mohamed Zinelabidine, Director, City of Culture, Tunis.   Tunisia

Breaching the Convention: how European countries are denying visas to touring musicians from the developing world  

Ole Reitov (paper), Programme Manager, Freemuse, Denmark

Questions and discussion 



Sustainable Futures: templates for the revitalization of traditional musics

Dr Myfany Turpin (paper) is the Research Officer for this multinational project. Australia.

Questions and discussion



International festival and competition for the balophon

Players come from Cote d'Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Senegal and Mali to Sikasso, Mali to perform on the traditional instrument, the balophon

Adépo Yapo is Director for Cooperation and Research of the Regional Cultural Action Centre in Lomé (Togo)   Côte d'Ivoire

Teaching diverse music to Latin American school children 

A multinational collaborative project providing teaching materials on Latin American musics to Latin American children

Valentina Diaz Frenot (paper) is President of the Paraguay Music Council and member of the IMC Executive Board.  Paraguay

The Netherlands government finds its response to the Convention  

Wouter Turkenburg (paper) is Executive Director of the International Association of Schools of Jazz and Past Chairman of the European Music Council. Netherlands


Questions and discussion covering the entire session

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