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Press Release


  November 12, 2009

The Assistant Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Albert Ramdin, today urged governments of the hemisphere to make use of cultural entrepreneurship as an engine for growth, development and economic opportunity and as a means to address unemployment in the Americas.

Assistant Secretary Ramdin spoke during the Fourth Regular Meeting of the Inter-American Committee on Culture (CIC), a two-day event that began today in Washington, D.C.

Recognizing the opportunities brought by the creative economy for acquiring skills, creating decent jobs and engaging youth into new ways of development and improvement, Ambassador Ramdin pointed out that “there are approximately 150 million young people between the ages of 15 and 24 in the region, representing roughly 20 percent of the total population of the region. This group has an unemployment rate of 16 percent. I believe that cultural entrepreneurship represents an important and growing area of opportunity for our youth.”

In his opening remarks, Ambassador Ramdin highlighted the importance of the arts, culture, and related activities in two areas: “the political function of facilitating peace in society among diverse groups, contributing to fostering important social values, good citizenship, social cohesion and inclusion; and the economic function of how diversity can be constructively utilized to enhance economies by creating cultural industries, especially in regions with a high dependency on tourism.”

Ramdin also encouraged government representatives in the area of culture to “create new scenarios that allow culture to gain the space it is clamoring for, recognizing the importance it has demonstrated to bring alternative solutions for fighting violence, poverty and other social ills.”

During its 39 Regular Session, the OAS General Assembly in June 2009 agreed to declare 2011 the “Inter-American Year of Culture”. This decision was underscored by Ramdin as an acknowledgement that culture “is what makes us unique while bringing us together as a community, a region, and a hemisphere.”

Finally, Ambassador Ramdin noted that “culture and diversity should be considered as enriching our social environment and used in a constructive way to unite people”, and invited CIC participants to share policies and programs and to design joint activities that can strengthen the ability of each member state to face its challenges.

The Inter-American Committee on Culture is a body for discussion at the technical-policy level, comprised of representatives of the Ministries of Culture and highest appropriate authorities of the Hemisphere. Its function is to follow the implementation of the mandates of the Declarations and Plans of Action of the Ministerial Meetings on Culture, as well as of those that originate in the Summits of the Americas.

Reference: E-380/09