PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti -- The sixth Inter-American meeting of ministers of culture and highest appropriate authorities, convened by the Organization of American States (OAS), opened on Tuesday morning in Port au Prince, Haiti, with a ceremony that featured the participation of the president of Haiti, Michel Martelly, and the assistant secretary general of the OAS, Albert Ramdin.
During the two-day meeting, ministers and senior officials responsible for culture from 22 OAS member countries, as well as representatives from regional and international agencies, the private sector, academia and civil society will debate the topic "Cultural Interdependence in the Context of Globalization," the central theme of the meeting.
In his remarks during the opening ceremony, Martelly spoke of the cultural traditions of his country, noting, "This wealth of heritage constitutes a shared asset of the Haitian nation and it enables us to embrace, with strength and intelligence, the diversity of our artistic expressions and movements. This heritage also represents a common foundation for exchanges and a fertile ground for promoting interculturality, since we are here at a regional cultural event."
Ramdin emphasized the cross-cutting nature of culture within the OAS, highlighting its role in the promotion of creative industries, as well as its links with improving competitiveness in SMEs, innovation, trade, and tourism. He also noted that although the production of cultural goods and services represent a significant and growing share in the economies of the OAS member states, more work is needed to fully capture the economic contribution of this important sector.
For her part, the minister of culture of Haiti, Monique Rocourt, stressed that the meeting taking place in Haiti, “is certain to further motivate us to pool our resources and talents for the development of cultural industries and thus to create wealth for the region. You are in a country where everyone is convinced that development and well-being will come from culture."
The meeting of ministers of culture is an opportunity for the highest authorities on the issue from the Americas to meet, which happens every three years; this meeting builds on the outcome of the previous meeting held in Washington, DC, in November 2011. It provides an opportunity for member states to exchange experiences, discuss public policies that encourage cultural entrepreneurship, exchange experiences on the development of systems related to improving the capture of data and measurement of the contribution of culture to the economy, and to discuss the design of cultural programs.
The event serves as an important platform for the exchange of experiences and best practices, the consideration of technical cooperation proposals, and the strengthening of communication between government agencies, the private sector, and civil society.
The meeting is part of the cultural initiatives promoted by the OAS, which aim to promote policy dialogue and consensus at the hemispheric level on priority topics of the public policy agenda in the field of culture, within the framework of the Inter-American Council for Integral Development of the Organization.