1. Firstly, the signatories urge for a concerted effort by as many regions (1) as possible to mobilise a call on governments (2) for a massive and rapid ratification of the International Convention (3) on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions by Unesco Member States (4).
2. They urge all governments and their executives to strengthen their support of interregional cultural events (5), especially those aiming at: a) acknowledging and enhancing communal artistic heritage, especially popular cultures; b) thoroughly exploring and debating questions of cultural identity and diversity; c) encouraging transnational, transcultural and transdisciplinary dialogue in order to improve mutual understanding between cultures and religions; d) promoting the foundations for an authentic culture of peace to be shared by all, and representing its essentiality through art; e) lastly, the signatories summon the governments and their executives to perpetuate such initiatives (6).
3. They urge all concerned governments and executives to take action on the proposal approved by the European Parliament (7) for a European University of Culture (EUC) (8) that is conceived as a tool necessary to the construction of the European Union at its present phase; this is all the more so since, as the French Secretary for Research Mr. Schwartzenberg rightly noted, there is a necessity "to humanize the future and to civilize our civilization" by giving the cultural education of European citizens as much attention as was given to the creation of the European Union. At the same time, they wish for similar university projects to come into being in other regions of the world with the support of the appropriate authorities (9).
4. Finally, they call for the interregional application (10) of a programme like Erasmus Mundus (11) that would be especially conceived for young European and non-European artists, with the goal of encouraging their mobility, mutual exchange and creativity, as well as improving their artistic and linguistic skills; they also urge the European Commission to conduct negotiations for future complementary funding to this programme.
Declaration made in Lyons' "Cité-Centre de Congrès", on September 29th, 2006, and approved by the following signatories:
Louise Beaudoin (Quebec)
Sérgio Mamberti (Brazil)
Cheikh Oumar Sissoko (Mali)
Abdoulaye Elimane Kane (Senegal)
Torcuato Di Tella (Argentina)
Biserka Cvjeticanin (Croatia)
Najat Vallaud-Belkacem (Rhone-Alps / France)
Béla Bokor (Hungary)
Catherine Lalumière (France)
Jack Ralite (France)
Alain Hayot (Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur / France)
Christine Merkel (Germany)
Edgar Montiel (Peru)
Marie Chouinard (Quebec)
Jérôme Clément (France)
Geneviève Fraisse (France)
Tanella Boni (Ivory Coast)
Madeline Caviness (United States of America)
Bernard Latarjet (France)
Jean Digne (France)
Christoph Wulf (Germany)
Jacques Poulain (France)
Heinz Wismann (France / Germany)
Michele Brondino (Italy)
Ranabir Samaddar (India)
Sanjay Chaturvedi (India)
Rada Ivekovic (Croatia)
Eliane Chiron (France)
Carla Bodo (Italy)
Mary-Ann De Vlieg (Belgium)
Chérif Khaznadar (France)
Yvonne Fracassetti-Brondino (Italy)
Wolfgang Kaempfer (Germany)
Mohamed Zinelabidine (Tunisia)
Dorval Brunelle (Quebec)
Khal Torabully (France / Mauritius)
Lluis Bonet (Cataluna)
Esther Allen (United States of America)
Roger Tropéano (France)
Reyes Mate (Spain)
Paolo Fabbri (Italy)
Anne-Marie Autissier (France)
Jean-Claude Berutti (France)
David Grosclaude (Occitany / France)
Rudy Vigier (Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur / France)
Jocelyne Lacouture (France)
Jean-François Chougnet (France)
Bartomeu Mélia (Spain / Paraguay)
Raquel Chaves (Paraguay)
Aldo Ferrer (Argentina)
Mark Tamthaï (Thailand)
Ioanna Kuçuradi (Turkey)
Mauricio Langon (Uruguay)
In-Suk Cha (South Korea)
Antonio Sidekum (Brazil)
Babacar Sall (Senegal)
Claude Castro-Gimenez (France)
Rachid El Houdaïgui (Morocco)
Giselle Dupin (Brazil)
Jean-François Normand (Quebec)
Ivaylo Ditchev (Bulgarie)
Hamid Meniaï (Rhone-Alps / France)
Mustapha Laarissa (Morocco)
Claude Coulbaut (France)
André Nicolas (France)
François de Bernard (France)
(1) « Region » as in its different senses: local authorities, autonomous regions, Länder, Euroregions, regional blocs such as the EU, Mercosur or ASEAN, trans-border cooperative zones, linguistic blocs such as Francophone, Spanish-speaking, or Portuguese-speaking areas.
(2) The governments referred to being those of the Unesco Member States.
(3) Approved by the 33rd General Conference of Unesco on October 20th 2005.
(4) The Convention ratification process is still at an early stage (on October 19th, 2006, 13 states had signed the Convention). The ratification is under process in many other countries. This is crucial, as it requires completion in at least 30 countries to come into force, and in a minimum of 100 countries to compel political recognition. Regions, which are not entitled to vote at Unesco, could play a major role in pursuing their rightful claim on this matter against national governments, in support of the actions carried out by international civil society, coalitions for cultural diversity and the INCP.
(5) Such as the Festival de las tres fronteras (Latin America), the Encontros sul-americanos de Culturas populares (Brazil), the Triangle du balafon (Sahelian Africa) and the Interregional Conference sponsored by GERM, Rhone-Alps Region and OPC.
(6) Cultural policies cannot and should not be limited to strictly national or regional areas any longer: they must become inter-regional. The consultations and experimental schemes carried out so far - in geographic and political areas as different as the « Cultural Mercosur », the Sahelian countries, the « Euroregions » or the « Four Motors for Europe » - show that interregional cultural cooperation is to be a decisive tool for designing and implementing all future strategies targeting sustainable development and regional integration.
(7) The European Parliament resolution on universities and higher education in the European learning area (2001/2174(INI)) « calls on the Commission and Member States to support the establishment of a European University of Culture, devoted to the teaching of artistic, literary and philosophical disciplines and communication technologies so as to contribute to the creation of a European research area for these subjects and meet the need for intercultural dialogue with other regions of the world ». Also see the Note regarding the proposal to create a European University of Culture : http://www.mondialisations.org/php/public/art.php?id=4539&lan=EN.
(8) Organised in four departments – Arts; Philosophy; Literature; Communication Sciences/Technologies – the EUC has now entered an operational phase, with the first courses scheduled for 2008 in several Universities in at least five European countries (France, Germany, Spain, Italy and Luxembourg). The Directorate-General for Education and Culture of the European Commission has confirmed that it will bring complementary funding to EUC activities via various existing European programmes.
(9) Especially in Latin America, in South-East and North-East Asia and in Africa.
(10) A programme that could be piloted in different regions of the world (e.g. Quebec/ Rhone-Alps Region/ Rabat Region in Morocco / Amazonas state in Brazil), as well as between regional blocs (e. g. EU / Mercosur / ASEAN / African Union).
(11) Today, 1.2 million students are part of the Erasmus programme (i.e. 6% of the European Union students, mostly MA students), and 2199 university institutions take part in its implementation. With a budget of 187,5 million Euros per year, Erasmus also co-finances faculty mobility (from one to six months), common curricula studies programmes (3 Universities), intensive research programmes, and the creation of thematic networks between universities. The Erasmus programme is now open to the participation of 31 countries: the 25 Member States of the European Union, the 3 European Economic Area countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway), and the 3 candidate countries (Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey, and soon Croatia). The simplicity of the idea accounts for the success of the Erasmus scheme: mobility of students and of faculty, European Credit Transfer System (ECTS), possibility of joint Masters and of intensive research projects. Erasmus has recently opened up to other continents through the Erasmus Mundus scheme, enabling three European universities to cooperate with Universities from around the world. Very efficient and not costly, Erasmus and Erasmus Mundus are unanimously praised, especially by students. It remains to accomplish the same for artists. For example, a first experimental programme could be launched between the existing world partners of the Rhone-Alps Region and the partners of the « Four Motors for Europe ».