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7, Place de Fontenoy
75352 PARIS 07 SP, France


Nurturing the democratic debate.  
31-08-2004 11:40 pm UNESCO will host a 3-day conference - New Ignorances, New Literacies - learning to live together in a globalizing world (September 6 to 8) - at the Universal Forum of Cultures - Barcelona 2004*. The award ceremony of the UNESCO Cities for Peace Prize will also be held during the conference.

While globalization has brought peoples closer together, it has also been accompanied by the emergence, or re-emergence, of disturbing forms of ignorance. The Conference will focus on four of them: ignorance of cultural diversity, ignorance of the Other, ignorance of ethics and ignorance of the future. It will seek to define the knowledge, values and competencies, as well as the skills needed to overcome these forms of ignorance and to favour learning about each other, developing the free exchange of ideas and knowledge, increasing communication between peoples, and fostering shared values.

More than 40 personalities from different fields - political leaders, academics, NGO activists and representatives of the private sector - will take part in nine sessions. The Conference will open with an introductory High-Level Segment on September 6 (9 a.m. to 12 p.m.) with the participation of Heads of State and Government. The following personalities have confirmed their attendance at the High-Level Segment to date: HRH Infanta Elena of Spain; Valdas Adamkus, President of the Republic of Lithuania; Abdoulaye Wade, President of the Republic of Senegal; Joan Clos, Mayor of Barcelona; and Ko´chiro Matsuura, Director-General, UNESCO. This session will be followed by a challenging dialogue entitled “Clash of civilizations or clash of ignorances?”

During the debates of September 7, participants will discuss globalization and memory; learning to live together through arts and languages; human rights literacy for the 21st century; fighting stereotyping, particularly in textbooks and the internet.

Sessions on September 8 will tackle the following issues: education for sustainable development; media, new technologies and the challenges of pluralism and cultural diversity; ethics of science; conflict prevention, resolution and reconciliation.

UNESCO’s Cities for Peace Prize award ceremony will be held as a companion event of the Conference (September 6). The Prize, awarded every two years, recognizes the initiatives of municipalities, which have succeeded in strengthening social cohesion, improving living conditions in disadvantaged neighborhoods and developing genuine urban harmony and diversity. It considers cities as laboratories where new forms of urban citizenship and unprejudiced ways of living together can be nurtured and developed.

As in previous years, the submitted projects for 2002-2003 will be entered in the database established by UNESCO to promote the sharing of experiences and good practices among the steadily expanding “Cities for Peace Network” (www.unesco.org/culture/citiesforpeace_en).

The 2002-2003 laureates municipalities of Harar (Ethiopia) and Ouagadougou (Burkina-Faso) for Africa; Dushanbe (Tajikistan) for Asia-Pacific; Ras-El-Matn (Lebanon) for the Arab States; Gernika-Lumo (Spain) for Europe; and Bogota (Colombia) for Latin America and Caribbean. Honourable Mentions will be awarded to the cities of Yala (Thailand), Aswan (Egypt), Stuttgart (Germany), and Porto Alegre (Brasil).

The ceremony will feature a musical performance offered by the renowned pianist and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Miguel Angel Estrella.

Among several other companion events to take place during the Conference, will be a screening of the documentary “Shadows”, about women's rights in Afghanistan, in the evening of September 7.

For more information about the Barcelona Forum and UNESCO’s events, including on-line registration: www.barcelona2004.org/eng/eventos/dialogos/

*The Universal Forum of Cultures – Barcelona 2004 (May 9 to September 26) is an international gathering featuring major performances, exhibitions, conferences and congresses, as well as other events, devoted to the themes of cultural diversity, sustainable development and peace. It is organized by the Barcelona City Council, the Autonomous Government of Catalonia, and the Government of Spain with the support of UNESCO.

Source Media Advisory N░2004-58


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