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!!!”
Over 18.000 artists and cultural workers across Russia have signed an open letter for peace in Ukraine, published on February 25th. The war “…will take away our last opportunities to fully work, speak out, create projects, popularize and develop culture, and take away the future. Everything that has been done culturally over the past 30 years is now at risk.” “We, artists, curators, architects, critics, art critics, art managers, representatives of the culture and art of the Russian Federation, express our absolute solidarity with the people of Ukraine. We demand immediate peace talks.”
Because of an amendment to the law passed today (March 4th) by the Russian parliament that makes spreading false information about the Russian army subject to heavy fines and imprisonment of up to 15 years, the initiators decided to remove the original terms “war” and “invasion” from the text. Update: The open letter and the list of subscribers has since been depublished.
European artists and cultural organisations are urging world leaders to support civil society to continue active collaboration with Ukraine. Initiated by the European Theatre Convention, 27 signatories from performing arts and cultural networks are ready to receive and host artists, to stage performances, to organise events, to inform and facilitate access to resources, to advocate for a peaceful solution. “We stress that the European cultural sector is united and that you can count on us.”
ITI stands for the consolidation of peace, understanding and friendship between peoples. In a letter jointly initiated by Israel and Germany via the ITI Action Committee for Artists Rights (ACAR), 16 European ITI centers express solidarity with their colleagues in Ukraine and condemn the invasion by Russian forces.
Founded 2012, PACE.V4 / Performing Arts Central Europe – Visegrad Countries Focus is a cooperation network among cultural organisations in central and eastern European (Visegrad) countries. The platform condemns in a statement the violation of international law and sovereignty of Ukraine and declares: “The long-term goal of PACE is a mutual peaceful collaboration between countries of Central / Eastern Europe and Eastern Partnership countries, including Ukraine, which is seen as a valuable and irreplaceable member of our community. So is the Russian Federation, so is Belarus, and other countries.”