31 march - 2 april 1998


 The Play












Hässelby Slott - Hasselby Castle- serves as a Nordic Center for Culture. But now it will receive cultural guests from the whole world.

The UNESCO report "Our Creative Diversity" has inspired the Swedish Minister of Culture, Marita Ulvskog, and the Swedish Government to invite all Ministers of Culture in the world to a follow up conference in Stockholm 30 March - 2 April 1998. The conference has been prepared by a working group in the Ministry of Culture in Stockholm in close cooperation with UNESCO officials in Paris. About 1000 participants and guests are expected to attend the conference. Also a large number of NGOs (Non govermental Organizations) will arrange seminars and meetings at a conference centre nearby the meeting place of the Ministers. Read also the European Council of Artists' (ECA) comments to items on the agenda of the UNESCO conference in Stockholm on Cultural Policies for Development.

KLYS - Swedish Joint Committee for Literary and Artistic Professionals - has been provided with resources from the Swedish Government, the European Cultural Capital Stockholm-98, the Nordic Council of Ministers and the Swedish Institute to organize a parallell world conference with colleagues from all over the world. Since our Ministers are meeting to discuss issues of great concern for us all we find it appropriate to strengthen the cooperation in our field of culture. It is also a unique opportunity to bring up questions of mutual interest with the Ministers. We may also invite some of them to our conference for discussions.

The conference hosted by KLYS will take place att Hässelby Slott - an old castle i the neighbourhood of Stockholm. It operates as a Nordic Centre for Culture and KLYS has also invited its sister organizations in the Nordic countries to join Sweden in the preparation of the conference. Also ECA - European Council of Artists - will contribute to the arrangements of this world conference that will host about 100 participants.

There will be three main items on the agenda:

  1. The role of Culture in areas of conflict.
  2. The impact of new technology on the development of culture.
  3. The economical status of the Artist.

It is obvious that within the field of culture it has been possible to establish relations and cooperation over political bounderies. The literary and artistic community can not be divided into nations and short term of thinking. No artist is "owned" by his state. The world of culture is a world of its own. In our conference several speeches will be delivered from delegations from countries in conflict. Papers will be presented by Izzat Ghazzawi - President of the Palestinian Writers Union - as well by Sami Michael, an outstanding Israeli writer. The Mexican poet and President of Pen International, Homero Aridjis, will be among the key note speakers. There are also delegations invited from India and Pakistan, from Greece and Turkey and from other areas of conflict.

The role of culture in areas of conflict - Izzat Ghazawi, president of the Palestinian Writers union and Sami Michael, wellknown Israeli writer, will both address the participants of the conference.

Also when it comes to the second point on the agenda, "The impact of new technology on the development of Culture" there will be speeches delivered from many countries. Innovations like Internet and "Print-On-Demand" may have revolutionary effects for all of us. In just seconds new unknown manuscripts can be distributed and printed across the world, freedom of speech may be safeguarded in a fantastic new way. To demonstrate the power of the new technology the whole conference will be broadcast on Internet simultaneously every 30 minutes to give our abscent friends opportunity to follow what is being said and by e-mail given a chance to intervene in our discussions.

Even if the world is very different and very "unjust" when it comes to the point "The economical status of the Artist" you will immediately notice the same sort of smile where ever you ask any person that has devoted his life to art, may it be in Sweden, Malaysia or Africa. At the same time as we discuss this and similar items in our conference the Ministers are discussing the same issues just some half hour away. But if you compare their economical conditions with our world you must share the astonishment expressed by the Norwegian famous classic poet Sigbjörn Obstfelder (1866-1900):

I must have put my feet on wrong globe:
Here everything is so strange!

During the conference there will be a TV-link between the Ministers in The "People´s House" in the city of Stockholm and the Castle of Hässelby. Minibusses will also bring interested delegates to and from the city.

KLYS - Swedish Joint Committee for Literary and Artistic Professionals - that serves as an umbrella organization for 19 cultural unions, is happy to be able to invite colleagues from the whole world to Stockholm. We promise to do our best to make their stay as valuable as possible and hope that we all together may join forces in order to strengthen the cultural values that we share as intellectuals of this world.

Peter Curman
President of Swedish Joint Committee for Literary and Artistic Professionals (KLYS)

A message from the Stone Age welcomes the guests of Hässelby. Not e-mail but stone-mail. Unbeatable as backup memory (from the 11th century)!

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