The latest annual report of the Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, Alexandra Xanthaki, has been published. The report will be presented to UN General Assembly on 20 October, tentatively at 11:00 am, New York time (5 pm CET). All who wish to follow the interactive dialogue live can do so by accessing the webcast through this link: http://webtv.un.org/live/
The Special Rapporteur addresses in this report the role of culture in sustainable development, including the cultures of development, with a view to assessing how cultural diversity and cultural rights have been mainstreamed in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development so far and to highlighting areas where increased cultural awareness may contribute to reaching the Sustainable Development Goals during the second half of the implementation timeline of the 2030 Agenda.
For many countries in Europe, World Theater Day 2022, which celebrates the theater arts and their unifying power, is marked by the war in Ukraine. There, theatres are becoming shelters for the inhabitants of their cities, being shelled and reduced to rubble. Millions of civilians are fleeing Russia’s military, which has also unleashed terror against dissidents in its own country. As a social media campaign (#WorldTheatreDay2022) of ITI Germany and Deutscher Bühnenverein, association of German theatres and orchestras, the Ukrainian author Natalia Vorozhbyt gives her message to the World Theatre Day 2022 in front of the picture of the destroyed theatre of Mariupol, Ukraine. The Video will be played in all German theatres on March 27.
“Today, the 60th World Theatre Day, is marked by destruction and terror. With Russia’s war against Ukraine, we are experiencing an escalating spiral of violence with unforeseeable consequences for us all. Our solidarity is with the victims of the war and it is with all those who rebel against it” (Yvonne Büdenhölzer, President ITI Germany).
In their Statement for Peace and a Constructive Dialogue the President and the Secretary General of the ITI refer to the Preamble of the UNESCO Constitution of 1945: “Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed” and affirm that “Our purpose is to overcome divisions, and to keep the lines of communication wide open between all peoples of the world.”
The Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, Ms. Alexandra Xanthaki, newly appointed October 2021, has presented her first report to the 49th session of the Human Rights Council. The first version of the report, focusing on capturing the state of the art, was published via the OHCHR website and can be downloaded here. An important focus of the Special Rapporteur will be the realisation of substantive equality in the exercise of cultural right.
Following the UN General Assembly resolution of March 2nd the UNESCO reaffirms its commitment to the “sovereignty, independence, unity, and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders, and it demands that the Russian Federation immediately cease its use of force against Ukraine.” Consistent with its mandate, UNESCO demands the immediate cessation of attacks on civilian facilities, such as schools, universities, memorial sites, cultural and communication infrastructures, and deplores civilian casualties, including students, teachers, artists, scientists and journalists. These include women and children, girls especially, disproportionately impacted by the conflict and displacement. The UNESCO Executive Board will hold a Special Session on 15 March to examine the impact and consequences of the current situation in Ukraine in all aspects of UNESCO’s mandate.
The president of the ITI, Mohammed Saif Al-Afkham and Tobias Biancone, Director General, have published a Statement for Peace and Constructive Dialoge on March 4th. The statement refers to the Preamble to the UNESCO Constitution: “since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed. Since its inception, ITI has followed this tenet of UNESCO, and uses education and culture to inform, inspire and engage people everywhere to foster understanding and respect for each other…. ITI will never punish or exclude members based on the decisions of their government. Our purpose is to overcome divisions, and to keep the lines of communication wide open between all peoples of the world. We stand for peace and freedom!!!”
With new expectations for media, culture, and presence in a hyperconnected world, the civic stakes of the performing arts are shifting. In a series of convenings, futureStage, an international, interdisciplinary team of scholars and experts at MetaLab (Harvard University) have compared and analyzed best practices and key ideas across a variety of areas. Published October 2021, MetaLab’s futureStage Manifesto offers a condensed vision of performance as a human right, intimately entangled with all the stages on which contemporary life is performed, and offering global society new skills, sensibilities, and points of view.