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The Strength of Culture for Development

Why Culture Matters in International Cooperation


Edited By Pascaline Gaborit

On the global scale, the challenges surrounding development are massive and complex, as inequalities in living conditions between the richest and poorest countries become greater. Development is a global challenge on a par with the financial crisis and environmental concerns. The participation of local communities and towns in development programmes may result from a desire for influence at an international level, rather than the idea that they can bring some measure of stability, like the large NGOs.
In this context, culture remains an omnipresent factor. Indeed, culture takes on a multifaceted front for it is not solely limited to the organisation of cultural activities or the protection of heritage, but also about the values, significance, and everyday actions of human communities. It contributes to the well-being of local populations. Using culture as a transversal tool to solve the development issues means tackling those issues from a different angle: bringing solutions to some multicultural questions that exist in rich countries.
This book brings together a selection of articles by researchers and experts in this area from a wide variety of backgrounds, disciplines and countries.
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On the global scale, the challenges surrounding development are massive as they are manifold. Living condition inequalities are worsening for inhabitants in both the richest and poorest countries, but institutions and civil society are not yet truly alarmed by the situation. Whilst general attention is permanently diverted to the danger posed by the global economic crisis or those linked to the environment or global warming, some other pressing matters linked to development, like the Millennium Development Goals,1 are relegated to the background. There is no global mobilization for issues regarding life expectancy in the poorest countries, access to healthcare, clean water, education, housing; on top of the recurring civil conflicts that are blindly decimating populations, in South Sudan for example, or more recently in the Central African Republic.

Faced with this global crisis and the subsequent destabilising financial and economic factors, countries put aside the issues concerning international development on the back burner. Corroborating the words of Pierre Hassner who called it: “The dialectic between the bourgeois and the barbarian”; citizens of rich countries assist dumbstruck by the reality of conflicts, scenarios and atrocities scrolling down in front of their very eyes from the different corners of the globe…2

Development aid, both state-funded or via multilateral sponsorship, is generally being reduced, whether through direct aid channels, the NGOs, or in decentralised cooperation programmes, with even its existence now brought into question…

Development is a global issue, on a par with...

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