Edinburgh hosts the International Culture Summit, Monday July 30 2012
Edinburgh is to host more than 40 culture ministers from
around the world this August in an inaugural international culture
summit. Director of the Edinburgh
International Festival Jonathan Mills explains…
What is the Edinburgh
International Culture Summit?
The idea emerged from a conversation I had with Jeremy
Hunt, the culture secretary, several years ago in which I put
to him that we needed to be thinking about some additional
opportunities to showcase Scotland during an Olympic year. He liked
the idea and we've progressed it in collaboration with the Scottish Government, the UK Government and the
British Council. The
summit is a high-level meeting of cultural ministers taking
advantage of the great and diverse cultural context that is
Edinburgh in August. There will be three plenary sessions in the
Parliament's Debating Chamber that are open to the public
and nine private policy discussions.
Why is it important?
There are not that many meetings of cultural ministers in this
format, although they meet regularly through UNESCO. The Edinburgh
International Culture Summit is the first event of its kind and
provides a unique opportunity to discuss how the arts enrich the
lives of people around the world and contribute to the wellbeing of
nations. The theme is 'Culture as an International Dialogue'. The
concept is that culture promotes dialogue between nations,
irrespective of external events. In the
Year of Creative Scotland and the London 2012 Festival, the
summit will also celebrate and enhance Scotland and the UK's global
reputations for creativity, innovation and imagination.
Who'll be there?
We've issued invitations to 50 culture
ministers from around the world. The list was based on demographic
and geographical spread, which is very much in the spirit of
Festival over the last 65 years. Speakers will include
Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou, member of the European Commission
for Education, Multilingualism and Youth; Amir Nizar Zuabi, one of
the leading theatre directors in the Middle East, and Haris
Pašovic, artistic leader of the East West Centre in Sarajevo, who
continued to produce plays during the bloody siege of the city in
What do you hope to achieve?
I hope it will provide an opportunity to build greater
understanding between the people who are making decisions about
policy in a political arena and those practising it. It's about
building bridges in the midst of the busiest festival in the world,
which is also the most international and diverse in terms of its
audience and artists.
The Edinburgh International Culture Summit takes place
at the Scottish Parliament on August 13-14. Visit www.scottish.parliament.uk
or join in the debate on Twitter #CultureSummit