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VN counts globalisation impact on cultural diversity (May 23, 2003)

HA NOI— Viet Nam marked Wednesday’s UNESCO cultural diversity day with a meeting about the impact of globablisation on the country’s many ethnicities.

UNESCO proclaimed May 21 the day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development to promote the value of cultural diversity around the world.

Head of the Ha Noi UNESCO office, Chu Shiu-Kee, said the UN appreciated Viet Nam’s willingness to take part in the event in its first year.

He delivered a message to the Ha Noi meeting from the Director General of UNESCO, Koichiro Matsuura.

"Cultures today are threatened by factors which are very diverse: in one place, the unwarranted defence of a national identity is endangering the culture of minority groups; in another, it is in the name of religion that cultural practices are being put to the test.

"Nearly everywhere, under the influence of rampant globalisation, languages are falling into disuse, traditions are being forgotten and vulnerable cultures are being marginalised, if not wiped out.

"The risk of a dramatic reduction in the spectrum of cultural diversity is high. The earth’s rainbow cannot be reduced to one or another of its colours without compromising the heritage of future generations and the survival of the human species."

Deputy Foreign Minister Chu Tuan Cap said Viet Nam has successfully preserved and promoted cultural diversity among its 54 ethnic groups.

"Viet Nam has devised policies and measures suited to maintaining cultural diversity, this has not only positively contributed to the country’s community development but to building a peaceful environment for the development of global sustainability."

Keynote speaker, professor Vu Khieu, said Viet Nam had managed to preserve its traditional cultures as well as incorporate positive outside influences.

"The diversity of Vietnamese culture is not only the crystallisation of internal factors, but also inheritance of cultural elites from foreign countries.

"It is lucky that Viet Nam is a nation that has an interaction of many cultures, the Eastern Asia culture and that of Southeast Asia, then the Indian, Chinese, Asian and European cultures."

Khieu said the UNESCO declaration had attracted special interest from Vietnamese cultural circles.

"For Viet Nam, culture plays an important role in the people’s lives. Culture is a condition to exist and develop, an endless strength to help them overcome all difficulties and hardship."

The meeting also heard from the Asia-Pacific representative from the Francophone Inter-government Agency and Professor To Ngoc Thanh.

Representatives from several embassies and local and international organisations participated in the meeting. — VNS

Reprinted with permission from Vietnam News Agency


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