Cultural diplomacy


Theme: ‘‘Achievingthe African Cultural-Renaissance; through Cultural-Diplomacy and Arts-Advocacy’’

1-7 February 2021 Addis Ababa-Ethiopia


The African Union Agenda 2063 is a strategic framework for the socio-economic transformation of the continent over the next fifty (50) years. It builds on, and seeks to accelerate the implementation of past and existing continental initiatives for growth and sustainable development. The guiding vision of the African Union and that of the AU Agenda 2063 is that of “An integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the international arena.’’

Aspiration (5) of Agenda 2063 envisions an Africa with a strong cultural identity, common heritage, shared values and ethics. This calls for an “African Cultural Renaissance” which is pre-eminent and that inculcates the spirit of Pan-Africanism; tapping Africa’s rich heritage and culture to ensure that the creative arts are major contributors to Africa’s growth and transformation; and restoring and preserving Africa’s cultural heritage, including its languages. It designates culture as a contributing factor in bringing together what politics has separated as well as to the hastening and consolidation of the restructuring and development process in the economic field. Much as the African Union is one and seeks integration and a common cultural identity, yet it consists of fifty five (55) sovereign Member States with varied expressions of culture and national identities; this cultural diversity is part of the richness of the African culture, where it promotes mutual respect and collaboration, encouraged by Africa’s common geography and shared history of colonial struggle amongst other.

It is in this context that the African Union adopted the Charter for African Cultural Renaissance of 2006 and the AU Plan of Action on Cultural and Creative Industries, which advocate for the development of creativity and cultural expressions to ensure that identity, positive values and traditions are transmitted from generation to generation. The Pan-African Cultural Congress was established as a platform for Pan-African Cultural Institutions and Civil Society Organizations working on the arts, culture and heritage field to provide their contribution to the policy making process of the African Union. The Congress provides opportunity to share the progress made in implementation of the continental and global instruments to harness Africa’s cultural diversity towards the cultural renaissance, deepened African cultural identity, socio-economic development and shared prosperity called for by the AU Agenda 2063.

African Culture can be introduced to the world without colouring their perceptions with conflicts old and new; research indicates that peoples’ attitudes towards others cultures are more positive when similarities are stressed rather than differences. Arts and Culture have always been a bridge between education and entertainment. From the earliest time, theatre, music, folklores and films have been used to spread news, share history, or educate people about events outside of their communities. Cultural Diplomacy engage people, focusing their attention and actively involving them in an experience. Active involvement means that their emotions, not just intellectual or cognitive skills, are affected. It is this ability to touch emotions that allows arts and culture to influence attitudes in ways that traditional instructions cannot. 

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