“We, artists, educators, students, activists, managers and donors from twenty-two countries – participants of the Forum on Living Arts in Post-Conflict Contexts 2016, believe that arts and culture are an essential element of vital, open, and sustainable society.
The example of Cambodia, where the revival of arts and culture has played an essential role in the country’s rebirth after the devastation of the genocide, holds important lessons for our world.
Today, the death toll from violent conflicts around the world has increased significantly, and 1.5 billion people are threatened by violence or insecurity. Even in societies considered to be at peace, there are violations of human dignity and self-worth by economic and political structures and cultural and social systems.
Arts and culture have a humanizing capacity and a unique ability to promote tolerance, diversity, and social cohesion. The arts and participating in the arts allow healing of individuals and communities.
We urge all who value peace; social justice, freedom of expression, economic opportunity and individual dignity, to:
- Advocate for cultural vitality as the fourth pillar of sustainable development
- Protect artists and arts spaces, especially in conflict and post-conflict contexts, and
- Improve access to arts throughout all societies, especially in conflict and post-conflict contexts.”