For the past two and a half weeks I have been travelling. To be precise: I accepted the invitation of my roommate from Lester B. Pearson College to celebrate our fiftieth birthdays by FINALLY visiting her in Brazil. When I got there I wondered why I hadn't been sooner (simple: money, family obligations, money), and I knew I would like to go back. I'll just post a few photographs from the trip just to whet people's appetite. I'll be blogging about the trip in more detail over the next few weeks, as I learned a lot from the trip (as well as enjoying myself, I gook the opportunity to try and find out why Brazil is the B-letter in the up-and-coming BRIC countries (the next superpowers: Brazil, Russia (not wholly convinced), India, China). The centre of the world is shifting from Europe and North America and I wanted to have some idea why. Brazil's the closest upcoming superpower to us, and I'm convinced we in the Caribbean could—and should— be learning from our South American neighbours and learning not to always look north for inspiration and models of development. But more on that later. For now, some photographs.
“Today, all countries face a profound crisis: financial, economic, and social. In addition, particularly for developing countries, there are climate, energy, food, and human security crises. Current policies on development cooperation do not respond adequately to the challenges of sustainable development. We must, therefore, rethink our approach to development. And, without wishing to overstate the power of culture, we are convinced that, as already stated by Léopold Sédar Senghor, ‘culture is at the beginning and the end of development.’“Many surveys and studies show us that culture and art is one of the most dynamic economic sectors in terms of employment, economic growth, and wealth creation. It also promotes social cohesion and democratic participation in public life. Finally, unlike mineral resources, social and cultural capital is a renewable resource. Regarding North-South cooperation, it can not succeed without the improvement of human rights, democracy, and governance. By stimulating individual and collective imagination and creating links between communities, culture and artistic creation contribute to the establishment and development of democracy.“Because culture contributes to economic development, well-being, and social cohesion and impacts other sectors of development, we, artists, professionals, and culture entrepreneurs are making three key requests:
- First, that culture be the subject of public structural policies at national, regional, and international levels
- Second, that the cultural dimension be taken into account by other sectoral policies and defined in a integrated approach to development
- Finally, that artists and creators be fully recognized as actors in development and have a professional and social status adapted to their own context
Download the PDF here.