The Organization of American States (OAS) today ended a three-day inter-American workshop on “the role of the arts and communications media in the education of a democratic citizenry” that took place in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, at the Global Foundation for Democracy and Development (FUNGLODE / GFDD).
The event boasted 86 professionals from the education and culture sectors of 26 Member States of the OAS, including the Dominican Republic’s Minister of Culture, José Rafael Lantigua, and Vice Minister of Education, Adalberto Martínez; the Minister of Culture of Antigua and Barbuda, Eleston Adams; the Minister of Education and Culture of Saint Lucia, Gaspard Charlemagne; and the OAS representative to the Dominican Republic, Ambassador Aníbal Enrique Quiñónez Abarca, among other government officials, researchers, scholars, and cultural entrepreneurs.
Throughout the workshop, participants shared their experiences with new and effective methods of encouraging the development of knowledge, skills and creativity in students through the incorporation of art and culture in the academic curriculum. They also discussed the role of art and media in creating and promoting a democratic citizenry.
“The experiences presented in the workshop prove beyond a doubt that through involvement in the arts we can reach some of the most vulnerable young people in communities throughout the Americas and give them opportunities to be recognized, gain skills, and give back to their communities. These programs deserve greater support as important investments in community development, violence reduction and social inclusion in all our Member States,” said Lenore García, Director of Education and Culture at the Department of the OAS Executive Secretariat for Integral Development (SEDI).
In the workshop, Argentinean researcher Guillermina Laguzzi emphasized the importance of an “audiovisual literacy” for today’s youth to be able to analyze and evaluate the messages they receive from the media.
The results of the workshop showed there is a need to emphasize and encourage collaboration between the sectors of education and culture, which in turn leads to better preparation for tomorrow’s professionals and increased social acceptance.
Due to the key role instructors play in teaching ethics, aesthetics and citizenship, asserted Costa Rica’s Luis Ricardo Montoya, it is necessary to pay particular attention to their training: “First we must learn to learn, so later we can learn to teach”.
Changing behavior and the way culture is conceptualized was one of the proposals highlighted by Celia Toppin, a representative of the government of Barbados. The Permanent Undersecretary stressed that youth, in brief, must be nourished in a way that helps them become creators and producers and not just consumers.
For more information, please visit the OAS Website at www.oas.org