Edinburgh International Culture Summit takes place this week in World's leading festival city

Tuesday 23rd August 2016


 Over 40 Ministerial and Cultural Policy delegations attend the Edinburgh International Culture Summit including those from the US, Spain, Singapore, Rwanda, New Zealand, Italy, Bangladesh, Slovenia and the Ukraine.

 Over 60 speakers from countries including Syria, Nigeria, Mexico, India, South Africa, Australia and the US

 First ever Youth Programme gives young people a prominent voice at the Summit. 40 young artists and artistic entrepreneurs (aged 16-30) from four UK home nations and the European Youth Forum will take part in the programme.

 Main Summit sessions open to public to be addressed by speakers including Youssou N’Dour, Grammy-award winning songwriter and Former Minister of Culture for Senegal, Professor Maamoun Abdulkarim, Director-General Antiquities and Museums in Syria and David Leventhal, Programme Director and founding teacher of Mark Morris Dance Group’s Dance for PD programme, New York.

 Edinburgh International Culture Summit runs 24 – 26 August

The Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh this week hosts world leaders from the cultural sector at the third Edinburgh International Culture Summit, from Wednesday 24 to Friday 26 August 2016, during one of the world’s greatest cultural events, Edinburgh’s Festivals.

Ministers and Cultural Policy delegations from 42 countries are expected to attend the Summit this week from the UK, Europe, Asia, Australasia and the Americas.

The theme of Summit 2016, Culture: Building Resilient Communities, reflects the Summit’s strong belief in the vital role that culture plays in the life of successful communities. The programme has three distinct, interlinking discussion strands: Culture and Heritage, Culture and Economics and Culture and Participation.

An impressive line-up of over 60 speakers from countries including Syria, Nigeria, Mexico, India, South Africa, Australia and the US will contribute to the plenary sessions, policy discussions and workshops including Francesco Bandarin, Assistant Director-General for Culture, UNESCO; Prince Amyn Aga Khan of the Aga Khan Development Network; Professor Dr Maamoun Abdulkarim, Director-General Antiquities and Museums in Syria; Susan Fayad, Coordinator Heritage Strategy, City of Ballarat; Li Xin, Deputy Director, WHITRAP; Adam Wilkinson, Director of Edinburgh World Heritage; Jude Kelly, Artistic Director of Southbank Centre; Youssou N’Dour Former Minister of Culture for Senegal; Mike Power, Professor of Accounting London School of Economics; Suhair Khan Head of UK Partnerships at Google Cultural Institute London; Michael Orlove, Director of International Activities National Endowment for the Arts; Sarah Whitley, Head of Japan, Baillie Gifford; David Leventhal, Programme Director and founding teacher, Mark Morris Dance Group’s Dance for PD programme; Matthew Peacock Artistic Director of Streetwise Opera; and Jay Wang, Director of Centre on Public Diplomacy, University of Southern California.

Joining the Summit for the first time will be a group of 40 young artists and artistic entrepreneurs (aged 16-30) from the four UK home nations of England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. The Edinburgh International Culture Summit’s Youth Programme gives these delegates the opportunity to engage directly with Culture Ministers in policy discussions, particularly focusing on the subjects of education, skills development and employment.

On Friday the 26th of August, all the Youth Programme delegates will then meet in a Forum which will give them the opportunity to reflect on what they have learnt over the Summit and feed back to Ministers and cultural leaders.

Summit 2016 will give Ministers and senior policy-makers the opportunity to share global best-practice in these areas of cultural heritage, economics and participation, in order to develop relevant, effective policies, designed to achieve lasting impact. Participation in high-level bilateral and multilateral meetings will enable them to identify areas for future collaboration and delivery in their home countries.

The Edinburgh International Culture Summit is a collaboration between the British Council, Edinburgh International Festival, Scottish Parliament, Scottish Government and UK Government, delivered on behalf of the partners by the Edinburgh International Culture Summit Foundation.

Summit 2016, in conjunction with the Edinburgh International Culture Summit Foundation acknowledges the significant support of its five founding partners; its knowledge partners Aga Khan Trust for Culture Music Initative, Edinburgh World Heritage, USC Center on Public Diplomacy, UNESCO and WHITRAP (The World Heritage Institute of Training and Research for the Asia and the Pacifc Region under the auspices of UNESCO); its Philanthropic Supporters Dunard Fund, The Morton Charitable Trust and Binks Trust; Corporate Supporters Aberdeen Asset Management, Dundas Global, Edinburgh Partners and Baillie Gifford Investment Managers; Individual Supporters Sir Ewan and Lady Brown and Sir Angus and Lady Grossart; and Public Funders Creative Scotland, City of Edinburgh Council, European Youth Forum, Scottish Graduate School for Arts & Humanities and The Festival Academy.

Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop MSP said: “The third Edinburgh International Culture Summit will provide a platform for more than 60 key representatives, from 42 countries, to come together to engage in constructive debate. As the world’s eyes are firmly fixed on Scotland’s capital, the city provides the perfect backdrop for three days of exciting and engaging discussion. This year’s event offers a diverse range of speakers, from Youssou N’Dour to Professor Maamoun Abdulkarim.

“For the first time ever, young people will also be given a prominent voice in the culture summit as part of the Youth Programme. The Scottish Government’s ambition is for Scotland to be the best place to grow up, with every child being given the best chance to succeed. We can all learn from our young people and I look forward to hearing their contributions.”

Matt Hancock, Minister of State for Digital and Culture, said: “Arts and culture are not confined to individual nations - they transcend international borders. With more countries attending than ever before, the 2016 Culture Summit is a unique opportunity for us to celebrate and collaborate on world cultural issues.

“The UK is an open, outward-looking nation that looks to the whole world for inspiration. This summit highlights that we have an important role to play as a cultural leader and a globally-minded country.”

Sir Ciarán Devane, Chief Executive of British Council said: “With delegations from 43 countries in attendance, this is arguably the most significant Edinburgh International Culture Summit to date; and the British Council is delighted to partner once again with the Scottish Government, UK Government, Edinburgh International Festival and the Scottish Parliament on forging this opportunity for cultural exchange and debate. The need to engage with issues surrounding cultural heritage, cultural participation and the resilience of communities is greater than ever - issues which affect us all. It is fitting that this year’s EICS will provide a truly global perspective on how best to reflect and respect the diversity of identities and cultures that co-exist in our world.

Fergus Linehan, Director of the Edinburgh International Festival said: “Here in Edinburgh at the International Festival, and at all our sister festivals, we have welcomed the World to our city and to the an unparalleled celebration of culture and collaboration. It is fitting that at the centre of this celebration a forum exists to consider issues and share experiences relating to cultural policy including the preservation of heritage, economic development and the promotion of our creative industries.  International relations have been at the heart of the International Festival since its inception almost 70 years ago and are as crucial to our communities, cultures and societies now as they were then.”

Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament, Ken Macintosh MSP said: “It is a privilege to welcome so many prominent artists, thinkers and cultural leaders from around the world to the iconic Debating Chamber of our Parliament.  Culture is so important to our health, wellbeing and prosperity yet it does not always receive the political attention it deserves.

“I see the role of the Scottish Parliament as a vital one in supporting culture and through this summit we are at the heart of and providing a platform for international debate.”

Sir Jonathan Mills, Director of the Edinburgh International Culture Summit Foundation said “The theme of Summit 2016, Culture: Building Resilient Communities, reflects the Summit’s strong belief in the vital role that culture plays in the life of any successful community. It also acknowledges that how one defines that success is a matter of cultural, linguistic and environmental difference. I hope that the Summit will emphasise the importance of artistic exchange in a world that is increasingly complex and multi-lateral.”

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About the 2018 Culture Summit

The Edinburgh International Culture Summit brings together Culture Ministers, artists, thinkers and art leaders from around the world to share ideas, expertise and best practice to inspire positive change in cultural policy and investment. Set against the incomparable backdrop of one of the world's greatest cultural events, the Edinburgh Festivals, the Summit is ideally placed to facilitate conversations between practioners and policy-makers.  


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