Summary of the conference
"The Power of Culture is an excellent title, as it suggests the 'soul' we all need. It's no good leaving development to policy makers." With these words Lourdes Arizpe congratulated the Dutch organizers at the start of the two-day conference in Amsterdam on 8 and 9 November in the Berlage Bourse.
This section of the website contains the lectures and the summaries of the discussions that took place during those two days. The conference was held to accompany the publication of the report of the World Commission on Culture and Development, 'Our Creative Diversity'.
Adriaan van Dis chaired the subsequent panel discussion. On the panel were Lourdes Arizpe, Anil Ramdas, Raymond van den Boogard and Nasr Abu Zeid. The debate opened with a general review of the report and an outline of the topics for later discussions.
Ramdas commented that the ideas in the report had already been thoroughly analyzed by intellectuals and artists during the past thirty years. Van Dis feared they represented another set of Western liberal and democratic hobby-horses.
Arizpe warned against scepticism. 'We mustn't fall into the trap of relativism and we should be aware that there's a great need for absolute values. Our aim has been to compile all the various ideas in order to create a framework. This report is a start. The time has come for solutions.'