Malta and UNESCO: Cultural diplomacy is a tool that can be used by other nations to promote peace and tolerance

Reference Number:  , Press Release Issue Date: Nov 04, 2019

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Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion Carmelo Abela and UNESCO’s Ambassador Artist for Peace and Special Envoy for Cultural Diplomacy Madame Hedva Ser stated that cultural diplomacy can be utilised as an innovative tool by other countries to promote tolerance and understanding across nations. This was remarked during a press conference held at the Ministry responsible for Foreign Affairs, where Hedva Ser together with a group of 20 artists coming from countries across the EU, North Africa, and the Middle-East visited Minister Abela and spoke to him about the third edition of project Art Camp Malta. 


Throughout a 10-day camp at the Ġgantija World Heritage site in Gozo, these artists will be producing works of art revolving around the theme of peace. This project is being conducted together with the Maltese UNESCO National Commission, and acts as a bilateral exercise of cultural diplomacy between Malta and Andorra, with the success of the camp measured by the interaction between the multi-cultural artists, apart from the painting production process. 


Minister Abela noted with pleasure the hard work conducted by the UNESCO in mobilising agents from different fields and regions to promote dialogue and understanding among cultures, even though this Art Camp project entitled ‘colours for peace’. “Malta acknowledged that one of the most important challenges for UNESCO is reinforcing the role for culture as an essential tool in sustainable education and the promotion of peace”, stated Carmelo Abela. 


The minister also stated that with the destruction of cultural heritage still a reality in today’s world, most notably in conflict zones, we need more cross-sectoral understanding and partnership, and of a more strategic approach. This is the time when we need to activate critical thinking in this regard.


Minister Abela referred to Malta’s cultural diplomacy fund which offers an opportunity to Malta’s overseas missions to support events and projects that will showcase the islands cultural wealth. The aim is to foster Maltese creative and artistic awareness abroad. He stated that the ministry’s cultural initiatives are based on three pillars; bringing culture closer to the people, increasing professionalism in the sector and making culture a contributor towards economic growth. 


Minister Abela said that to date, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs has continued with this commitment by assisting in the promotion of art and culture abroad through direct initiatives by Maltese embassies, high commissions, and general consults. Among these organised initiatives there were art exhibitions, literary recitals, projections of short Maltese film productions, and the participation of Maltese musicians in foreign festivals. 


Minister Abela concluded by thanking Madame Hedva Ser, Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of Malta to UNESCO Joseph Vella-Gauci, Ambassador to the Principality of Andorra Gino Tanti, the Maltese National Commission for UNESCO and the Office for Education, Science and Culture in Gozo for hosting the third edition of Art Camp Malta in Gozo.