Haitian Minister of Culture Presented to the OAS Inter-American Council for Integral Development the Preparations for Next Meeting of Ministers of Culture
July 22, 2014
The Inter-American Council for Integral Development (CIDI) of the Organization of American States (OAS), chaired by the Permanent Representative of Trinidad and Tobago, Neil Parsan, today hosted the Minister of Culture of Haiti, Monique Rocourt, who made a presentation on the process of preparations for the Sixth Inter-American Meeting of Ministers and High Authorities of Culture, to be held in Port au Prince on August 12-13.
Minister Rocourt said her country would like for the Declaration of Port-au-Prince –which will be negotiated at the ministerial meeting- to be adopted by consensus and to reflect the commitment of the nations of the Hemisphere to the promotion of culture. "I anticipate that the statement should reflect the intrinsic value of culture as something unique and inseparable, and therefore should be a driving element of the process of economic development by strengthening identity as a factor in social inclusion and the fight against poverty through the creation of income," she said.
The senior Haitian official highlighted the desire of her government to have the Declaration include a recognition of the importance of the preservation of the historical and natural heritage of the region, and the identity of each country and the promotion of intercultural dialogue.
"The challenges we face today as countries are not only economic, environmental or social, but have to do with our ability to exercise solidarity towards each other," added Minister Rocourt, who said she understood solidarity as "a force that arises as a result of knowledge of our acceptance and our ability to learn from each other, and to discover and use our similarities and our differences, to enrich each other."
At another point in her speech, she said that the Western Hemisphere is endowed with material and immaterial wealth of unparalleled diversity, but she also noted the region has many very different levels of development. In this regard, she said it is up to the ministers and senior officials in the area of culture in the OAS member states to seek, within the framework of a real multilateral cooperation, dynamic and "appropriate and harmonious cultural policies likely to engage in development communities, as well as decreasing inequalities and cultural development of cultural and creative industries."
Minister Rocourt also talked about the idiosyncrasies of Haitian culture, and said they arise from the mixture of three continents, "through five centuries of ethnic and linguistic combinations and the mixture of traditions under conditions that are often ignored by the rest of the world." "The Haitian culture is known for its extraordinary diversity, and as the history of Haiti is incredible, it cannot be categorized or described," she said, adding that "sometimes is not understood even by our closest neighbors."
The representative of the Haitian government said that from this diversity, the country wants to face the challenges of the 21st century and said that "peace and progress are inseparable from freedom and human development, therefore the knowledge and preservation of our cultural identity are essential to allow people to truly open to the world. "
Regarding the organization of the event, Minister Rocourt recalled that Haiti recently held two summits of Heads of State of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) and several ministerial meetings. The minister added that a technical delegation from her country is in contact with the General Secretariat of the OAS to discuss issues related to logistics, security, and other details of the meeting.
During the meeting, the first which was led by the new Chair of the CIDI, Ambassador Parsan, the delegations of Belize, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Venezuela, Bolivia, the United States, Canada and The Bahamas took the floor.
A gallery of photos of the event is available here.