Cultural performances from various countries and a gala dinner Sunday marked the welcome to the first World Culture Forum (WCF). The forum aims to discuss ideas to include culture in the goals for the post-2015 UN Sustainable Development Agenda. Hundreds of foreign dignitaries and culture observers attended the opening ceremony, held at the Garuda Wisnu Kencana cultural park in Jimbaran, Badung. The conference and discussions, themed “The Power of Culture in Sustainable Development”, will run from Nov. 25 to 26 at the Bali International Convention Center (BICC) in Nusa Dua.
Around 1,000 participants from 30 countries, and 17 culture ministries from across the globe, are expected to attend the two-day conference, including from China, Russia, Poland, Malaysia and Bangladesh. Indonesian Education and Culture Minister Muhammad Nuh said in his welcome speech that globalization had caused world cultures to be more exposed and clashes of civilizations could occur. “If we don’t take action, two possibilities could happen: the domination of a certain culture and clash of civilizations, or convergence in which people understand each other’s cultures,” Nuh said.
“Therefore, we need to involve all stakeholders to discuss the matter,” he added. Nuh said that the event was based on President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s idea in 2005 to include culture to empower sustainable development. Yudhoyono and first lady Ani Yudhoyono were present during the opening ceremony, as were several of his ministers. In line with the forum’s objectives, various traditional delicacies from countries around the world — including Indonesian garang asem (sour chicken soup) and tumpeng (cone-shaped rice) — were served by locals clad in Balinese attire.
Among those who performed at the WCF opening were Indonesian gospel singer and winner of televised singing competition Indonesian Idol, Joy Tobing, who presented “Bersatu dan Maju” (Together We Can Rise), a song composed by Yudhoyono and popularized by Joy. Around 400 students of the Denpasar Indonesian Arts Institute (ISI) showcased a theatrical dance and music performance “Swarming Intelligence”, composed by, among others, noted jazz musician Dwiki Dharmawan. WCF was initiated after a debate in the UN General Assembly in New York in June on the significance of the role of culture in development.
Yudhoyono said in the debate that “the significance of the nexus between culture and development for the post-2015 agenda is not yet fully grasped.” The implementation of the outcomes of the WCF Bali Forum 2013 is expected to internally foster the safeguarding of regional cultural and linguistic diversity and to further ethical investment and business practices for creative and cultural industries. Local cultural communities and civil societies are expected to display the rich diversity of Indonesian culture to a global audience through the forum. Besides Yudhoyono, invited keynote speakers expected to attend the conference are Indian Nobel Laureate for Economic Sciences Amartya Sen, UNESCO director general Irina Bokova and noted journalist and writer Fareed Rafiq Zakaria. Yudhoyono is scheduled to officially open the forum Monday.
source : bali daily