After two and a half days (May 13-15, 2012) of strategizing, discussions and networking, 170 participants from around the Arab world united on the importance of investing in the creative industry, a promising sector that is rather under developed in the region.
Gathered under the flagship of the European Union National Institutes of Culture (EUNIC), the “Euromed forum for creative industries and society, 2012” is a pioneering initiative funded by the European Union and organized by the EUNIC cluster in Jordan.
A new interactive technique called the “open space” was put to the test: participants chose the topics of discussions, time and place – it is a genuine open invitation for participants to freely choose to enroll in the session that compels them the most and can leave whenever they want to. Moreover, during this Forum the participants were asked to define the outlines of a future EUNIC MENA long-term project dedicated to support the arts and the creative industries.
Lebanon was represented by a delegation led by the President of EUNIC in Lebanon Dr. Dan Stoenescu, First Secretary of the Romanian Embassy and Representative of the Romanian Cultural Institute, included delegates of the British Council and the Institut Français du Liban, as well as representatives of civil society and cultural actors such as Maqamat Dance Theatre, Dar Onboz Publishing House, The Visual and Performing Arts Association (VAPA), Youth & Culture Center (YCC) Zouk Mikaël, Safadi Cultural Centre/German Dialogpunkt in Tripoli, Zoukak Theatre Company and Cultural Association, Lebanon Development Union (LDU), Berytech, Agenda Culturel magazine and Metropolis.
The participants issued a series of recommendations aiming to regulate and promote creative industries such as pushing for clearer and more transparent cultural governmental policies. They noted that there is a great need for management skills in all sectors of cultural art, as well as for human and material resources. They highlighted the role of cultural entrepreneurs in re-defining cultural policies and engaging the private sector and decision-makers in the Arab world. Furthermore, the participants called on culture ministries in the MENA region to give more attention to this sector and for relevant authorities to support creative producers based on the quality of their work.