Culture, a peaceful weapon

By Claire La Combe

A minute of silence. A tribute to the victims of the terrorist attacks, in the presence of Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium Didier Reynders, concluded the 8th International Meeting of the Forum d'Avignon. "Culture against barbarism" has been the background of discussions on 31 March and 1 April, while more than 60 speakers from the world of culture, business and politics met in Bordeaux to discuss "Undertake culture".


Men, businesses, works.

A symbol. Ouided Bouchamaoui, President of the Tunisian employers and Nobel Prize for peace in 2015 opened the meeting: "The economy and culture are essential components, antidotes against barbarism," she declared. Culture has men and works as a vector of growth, tourism, promotion of heritage... Enterprise has these men and projects as a catalyst. Throughout the Forum, creations at the crossroads of the "two worlds" were presented.

Afrostream is a good example of this new generation of "entrepreneur-creators." This streaming website exclusively presents "Afro" content was born from the ascertainment of the failure concerning the diffusion of Afro-American and African quality works by major European media. "I was inspired by the way my family was consuming movies," tells Tonje Bakang, founder of Afrostream. "Today the consumption of content is much more intimate."

Young people and rulers.

The model of culture does not go without digital. There are now new consumption patterns, new "cultures". "60% of the population is under 20 years in Africa, the mobile phone has become the most important medium of sharing". Tonjé Bakang words are supported by his sponsor Stéphane Richard, chief executive of Orange. The educational challenge is crucial for the future of creation.

"There has to be music workshops, sports ... For young people to show their skills." Ouided Bouchamaoui surrounded by a delegation of Tunisian women, professors and entrepreneurs, emphasized the cooperation with universities, governments, companies and associations. "The Internet is an environment that requires rethinking the social contract" warns Cynthia Fleury, teacher and researcher in philosophy and psychoanalyst.

The cultural growth challenge is multiple for governments. Accompany the younger generations, support businesses and partners of this movement. "Taxation can be an economic and territorial attractiveness weapon, we must develop a" cultural Nexus", a virtuous mechanics where public investment would bring money”, explains Jean-Pierre Lieb, Partner EY, author of the study" Culture and taxation in Europe."

Public and places.

The various ministers of Culture share the same conclusion: it lacks synergy of Culture. "We must develop a European public" emphasizes Bertel Haarder, Danish Minister. It requires a commitment of territories. "In 10-20 years there will be places to come and spend time together, to meet" promises Olivier Poivre-d'Arvor ambassador for cultural attractiveness of France. He uses the example of the social and cultural center Pompeia in Brazil, a wasteland of Sao Paulo entirely rebuilt. Reconciliation of men will have to go through the democratization of heritage.

Only 0.15% of the budget of the European Commission is dedicated to the Culture, Michel Magnier, director of the "Culture and Creativity," reminds that culture is not an EU competence and also insists that: "innovation is made at a city level (...). There should be more "creative hubs" to help share good practices". Artists, public authorities, companies, "hand in hand", this is the common spirit wanted by Jose Munoz, in charge of Euro Mediterranean Suez Environnement.


In fine, is the culture a model for the future? For two days, there were a lot of statistics, but few concrete examples of cultural practices of everyday life ... But there were meetings. The public probably regret the lack of interaction with stakeholders, but has not gone without content; people were fed with debates, relying on good documentation. There was a forum, and we should energize an agora. "Culture is our survival," recalled Günther Oettinger, European Commissioner for the Digital Single Market. "I'll do everything possible to convince the Member States (...). But it is for you to participate too”. And he concludes: "Calls are open, take your chances!"

April 6, 2016
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