On September 28-30, 2022, forty years after the first conference on cultural policy, hospitable Mexico City welcomed about 150 delegations of UNESCO member states, the representatives of its associate members, as well as non-profit and intergovernmental organizations, including those in the UN. They all came to Mexico to participate in the World Conference on Cultural Policy and Sustainable Development “Mondiacult-2022” held by UNESCO in collaboration with the Government of this Latin American country. A representative delegation of the Russian Federation, headed by the First Deputy Minister of Culture of Russia Sergey Obryvalin, took part in the Conference.
First Lady of Mexico Beatriz Gutiérrez Müller, UNESCO Director-General, Audrey Azoulay, and Minister of Culture of Mexico Alejandra Frausto Guerrero delivered a welcoming speech at the solemn opening ceremony of the Conference.
The Conference was convened to facilitate the countries’ discussion of the cultural policy in modern conditions as well as the role of culture in international relations and the economy, including its role in achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. Special attention was paid to the issues dealing with the assessment of existing regulatory instruments in the field of cultural policy, as well as the design of new approaches to the development of creative industries. The busy agenda of Mondiacult included a plenary session, four thematic sessions (Renewed and Strengthened Cultural Policies, Heritage and Cultural Diversity in Crisis, Culture for Sustainable Development, and the Future of Creative Economy), as well as round tables, concerts, and exhibitions.
The head of the Russian delegation spoke at the thematic session “Renewed and Strengthened Cultural Policies”. His report was devoted to Russia’s cultural policy and presented the priorities of the country in international humanitarian cooperation. Sergey Obryvalin highlighted Russia’s contribution to the restoration of cultural heritage sites abroad (in Serbia, Cuba, and Syria), spoke about the experience of implementing large-scale events in different countries such as the “Russian Seasons” and thematic “Cross Years”. He emphasized Russia’s openness to constructive dialogue and interaction and pointed out that it is unacceptable to cancel the unique Russian culture and Russian language.
At another session of “Heritage and Cultural Diversity in Crisis”, Director of Russian Heritage Institute Vladimir Aristarkhov noted that the position of some countries seeking to politicize the humanitarian sphere hinders the development of multilateral intercultural dialogue and threatens cultural heritage.
Unfortunately, there were some insinuations against the Russian Federation, which is conducting a special military operation in Ukraine. The members of the Russian delegation gave adequate answers to anti-Russian statements about the alleged destruction of Ukrainian cultural heritage, pointing out to the unacceptability of unfounded accusations and the inadmissibility of discrediting the Russian Federation.
In general, the discussions at the Mondiacult-2022 were held in a professional and non-confrontational tone. Experts exchanged views on topical issues of cultural policy development and international cooperation aimed at countering climate change, illegal trade in art objects, and the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. They also discussed the importance of preserving the heritage of indigenous peoples and the development of information and telecommunication technologies for the preservation and promotion of cultural heritage.
This dialogue was productive and relevant, which was confirmed by the decision to convene a permanent Global Forum on Cultural Policy. It is to be held on a regular basis (every four years) starting in 2025. The outcomes of Mondiacult-2022 were stated in a declaration adopted by consensus.
The rich diversity of the national cultures of UNESCO member states was displayed at an exhibition of traditional costumes and objects of arts and crafts, organized along with the Conference. Russia presented the national Karachay mountain women’s festive costume with a headdress and decorations that had been handed over by the Head of the Karachay-Cherkess Republic. The Russian exhibit became a bright addition to the exhibition and aroused genuine interest among the guests and participants of the Conference.