Arab Ministers of Culture Gather in EgyptOct 2018
On 14 and 15 October 2018, Cairo hosted the 21st Conference of Arab Ministers of Culture in collaboration with the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organisation (ALECSO). The main theme of the conference was “Arab Cultural Projects in the Face of Current Challenges”; the conference itself was titled “Jerusalem is Palestinian.”
The conference agenda included general discussions on a range of topics, including the cultural situation in the Arab world, preparations for the Arab Cultural Summit and the cultural heritage of Arab countries under current circumstances. Additionally, participants discussed the latest developments in Palestine and Jerusalem, mechanisms implementing the Arab Decade for Cultural Rights scheduled to take place between 2018 and 2027, a strategy for the Arabic language, and prospects for enhancing joint cultural work in light of changes and challenges across the Arab region.
The Standing Committee for Arab Culture held preparatory meetings for the Conference with the participation of representatives from Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Iraq, Kuwait, Yemen, Tunisia, the Comoros, Djibouti, Syria, Oman, Palestine, Lebanon and Libya, and a representative of ALECSO, and were chaired by representatives from Morocco and Egypt. Discussions touched on the executive positions of 20th conference, held in Tunisia in 2016, in addition to cultural conditions in the Arab world in general. Participants called for cultural programmes which would support member state cooperation and for the implementation of policies which could define Arab cultures and increase cultural programming in order to combat extremism and cultivate dialogue and tolerance.
As the conference drew to a close, the participants issued a statement they titled “the Cairo Declaration,” which stressed that Arab countries must make it a strategic objective of their cultural projects to correct negative stereotypes about Arab culture and promote communication, dialogue and cooperation.
The statement called on Arab countries work towards comprehensive cultural reform through which cultural production can be accurately assessed. The statement also called on Arab countries to promote the status of knowledge and associated creative industries to contribute towards greater participation in global production while preserving their own cultural identities.
The 20th Conference of Arab Ministers of Culture was held in Tunisia in 2016.