On November 16, the Ministers of Culture of Russia, Italy and Qatar podium discussion “Common Cultural Space: Myth or Reality?” took place at the General Staff Building of the State Hermitage Museum.
The discussion was attended by Vladimir Medinsky, the Minister of Culture of the Russian Federation,Alberto Bonisoli,the Minister of Cultural Heritage and Cultural Activities of the Italian Republic, and Salah ben Ghanem Ali, His Excellency the Minister of Culture and Sports of the State of Qatar.
“It is very symbolic that in the discussion on the common cultural space, you see together representatives from not just different countries, but from different ancient civilizations. These are the Arabian civilization, the European civilization and the Russian civilization, which represents more than 100 peoples inhabiting our country. We work together, understand each other, speak the same language. Yesterday we attended a fantastic concert of the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra, which included representatives from 28 countries. When the orchestra performed an original composition in which the anthems of Qatar and Russia are combined, none of those who were present in the hall had any doubts that culture was the platform for mutual understanding.
Russia is making efforts to promote its culture in the global space and within the country. This year in Italy the project "Russian Seasons" is held. Our events in 70 cities of Italy have already visited 5 million spectators. We hope that in 2019 the “Russian Seasons” in Germany will also be held with the same success.
A separate area of our work is interaction with UNESCO. We have a huge list of outstanding natural and cultural monuments that are waiting to be included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. We consciously and on our own initiative take upon ourselves all the limitations associated with preservation of the unique cultural heritage, and work effectively with UNESCO to expand this list, ” told Vladimir Medinsky.
“Culture provides identity to people and communities — we define ourselves and present ourselves to others through our cultural baggage, personal, family and national. Culture languages are formed under the nationality influence. Painting by Raphael, of course, is part of the cultural heritage of Italy, but at the same time it can also be a part of another culture, for example, thanks to the exhibition or a modern look at it.
Culture languages are universal and can sound in different contexts. Hence the question about the global foundations of culture, about whether there are elements in it that every nation and every person has? I think that different peoples and cultures can really find a common point of intersection.
In international relations, there are situations when we come to confrontation. We must remember that culture is a communication channel that is not affected by conflict. For people, society, political elite, culture is a way to continue communication, ”noted Alberto Bonisoli.
“Creating a common cultural space is a topic that is very important and which is especially relevant in our anxious time.
The Qatar’s population is 80% made up of foreigners who come from more than 180 countries and represent diverse cultures. Next to them live the Qatar’s citizens, who make up the remaining 20%. 180 cultures and nations are united by one goal - the revival of Qatar.
Cultural diversity of our society does not threaten identity of Qatar. Qatar culture is open to all other cultures, and this openness is a symbol of strength, not a symbol of fear.
We thank the organizers of the VII Saint Petersburg International Cultural Forum. The forum opens up opportunities for further communication between our peoples and cultures, ”emphasized His Excellency Salah ben Ghanem Ali.
In 2018, the Republic of Italy and the State of Qatar were awarded the honorary status of the Guest Country of the VII Saint Petersburg International Cultural Forum. Representatives of the state authorities and business circles of two countries, leading cultural figures and leaders of the expert community participate in work of many sections of the Forum. Italy and Qatar also prepared special programs for the Forum, including discussion and cultural events, as well as tours of creative groups and performers.