On August 27, the Second Online «Round table» of the Civil BRICS 2020 «International Cultural Cooperation for Strengthening BRICS Unity» Working Group was held with the participation of international group Members.
Representatives of well-known international public organizations, scientists, writers, historians, journalists and students from all BRICS countries took part in the discussion.
Within the Meeting framework, international Participants of the Working Group presented Recommendations and Initiatives in the following areas: «Institutionalization of cultural ties», «Involvement of youth in the BRICS countries culture», «Development of cultural exchange through literature and art», «Protection of cultural heritage as a basis for international cooperation», «Tourism, projects and events in the cultural track».
The most relevant Proposals will be presented at the Civil BRICS Forum 2020 in Moscow on September 23-25 and transmitted to the Heads of State of the «five» at the BRICS Summit.
International Speakers offered valuable initiatives to deepen mutual understanding, unite non-governmental structures of the «five» and share knowledge to strengthen the BRICS unity in the cultural track.
The discussion was started by the Moderator of the Meeting - Lyudmila Sekacheva, Co-Chair of the Working Group, President of the «BRICS. The World of Traditions» (hereinafter - the Organization) with the words: «We are the public diplomacy, the mouthpiece of the Civil Society, and the activities of BRICS non-governmental organizations is the practical platform, where the initiatives of each citizen and the entire BRICS Civil bloc are implemented».
Alena Peryshkina, Co-Chair of the BRICS Civil Forum, Co-Chair of BRICS&G20 SCOs Working Group, Director of the AIDS Infoshare Foundation, greeted the participants, emphasizing that «cooperation in the field of culture, sports, arts, youth, tourism has long been a priority of BRICS. By developing and strengthening cultural ties between the nations, we are building a language of communication on the basis of mutual understanding respect and support. I believe in future this language will be successfully used in all other areas of collaboration: from science to technology, from business to healthcare, from social projects to innovative programmes».
Elena Marinina, Deputy Director of the Roscongress Foundation, Director of the Roscongress Foundation Social Platform - Innosocium Foundation, Co-Chair of the Working Group, representing main organizers of the upcoming Civil BRICS Forum, noted that «our work is aimed at creating a space of trust and settle dialogue between civil societies and cultural industries to find better understanding, to provide trade and cultural links to promote Russian culture to the world. In this respect, BRICS communication is extremely important as we are traditionally connected through the Silk Road and many trade and cultural relations. So now our goal is to systemize and combine all the efforts, which have already been through two thousand years before us».
The Moderator of the Meeting, Lyudmila Sekacheva, presented Recommendations on the establishment of the BRICS Non-Governmental Organizations Union, which received support from a number of Russian Members of the Working Group during the First Online Discussion on August 19.
According to the Speaker, «the newly created Association will act in order to deepen and expand the five-sided interaction of NGOs in the Alliance countries, find new, creative points of convergence in the cultural and other spheres, clearly organize and coordinate joint activities of NGOs on the implementation of five-sided projects, create a unified base of BRICS NGO, which does not exist today».
She also specified that «the Association will become a permanent practical platform for establishing horizontal ties between the cultural institutions of the «five» with its representative office in Russia, as the initiator-country».
The Discussion was continued by the International Co-Chair of the Working Group from South Africa, Ms. Jane Mufamadi, Executive Officer of the Freedom Park Memorial Museum Complex in Pretoria, an object of memory of those who died in the struggle against apartheid and in other wars; a unique and extensive exposition, an eternal flame, a huge wall on which the names of all the heroes are carved.
Focusing on culture as the BRICS countries` soft power factor, Ms. Jane Mufamadi noted «the importance of international cultural and educational exchange, youth development programs, professional and leadership programs, women empowerment, as well as the role of museums and cultural institutions, including the Memorial in honor of those who died for the freedom of South Africa».
According to the Speaker, Freedom Park acts as a symbol of international solidarity and support for various forms of the liberation struggle and can serve as the epicenter for intercultural exchange amongst the BRICS countries, which also have their own national resources to unite the «five».
Brazilian Speaker Mr. Leonardo Valente, Director of the Institute of international relations and defense of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, member of the BRICS Network University, presenting his recommendations, drew attention to the fact that «literature is one of the most important and effective artistic means for getting to know culture, peoples and their country. It is literature that reaches the country's elite, public opinion leaders and can influence politics and other types of arts».
Discussing the need to integrate our countries through culture and literature as a means of artistic expression for effective action, Mr. Leonardo Valente proposed a project to translate literary works published in the BRICS respective countries so that they would be published in all countries of the Alliance. Brazilian Proposals contained the creation of the BRICS Literature Fair, annually held in one of the BRICS countries with a wide cultural program and business space, creation of BRICS Literature Prize, stimulating knowledge of relevant books and writers in all BRICS countries.
Speaker from China, Mr. An Thing, the Vice President of Beijing People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, the well-known Chinese association that implements large-scale activities for the establishment and development of external relations with China, proposed Recommendation to «deepen exchanges and cooperation with opera and ballet of Russia, Bollywood of India, rich traditional culture of Brazil and South Africa. We wish BRICS NGOs to institutionalize their cultural exchanges in various fields so that talented peoples in the cultural circus would contribute to the colorful and peaceful world».
Mr. An Thing kindly recalled that in 2018 Beijing NGO sent the Delegation to participate in the Civil BRICS Forum in Johannesburg and established the partnership ties with Ms. Lyudmila and the «BRICS. World of traditions» that managed to be revived during this Meeting.
Ms. Purnima Anand, President of BRICS International Forum, Honorary President of the International Federation of Indian-Russian Youth Clubs in New Delhi, having highlighted the successful «Great Teachers of BRICS» Project implemented by the Organization, proposed «to preserve our contribution to the ancient history of Great Teachers and their legacies in a digital form to be accessed and used by institutions for academic and business perspectives».
In addition, Ms. Purnima proposed an idea to set up a forum of young academicians, young industry people, youth artists of the BRICS major cities to further communicate on matters of art, literature, culture and business and form a nexus to work on diverse fields to promote the vision of BRICS, sincerely supporting the Recommendation by the Organization to establish the Union of BRICS NGOs.
In the frameworks of the 75th Anniversary of the Great Victory in the Second World War, Ms. Purnima supported the initiative on the «Libraries - Witnesses of Victory» Project on the basis of materials from National Libraries and Archives to understand the legacy and the life losses during the Second World War, which will fill the minds of the BRICS young peoples with patriotism.
During the Discussions on the presented Recommendations, Mikhail Gorbatov, Head of the Department for Information Support and Interaction with the Entities of the Russian Federation of the Federal Agency for the Commonwealth of Independent States, Compatriots Living Abroad and International Humanitarian Cooperation, expressed his sincere support to the BRICS Union of NGOs, saying that this future Organization is important to exist not just virtually but have its permanent office and administrative possibilities, «because government efforts are not enough to extract maximum advantage from the conception of BRICS and I want to greet all NGOs of BRICS countries for promoting this people-to-people ties and important initiatives».
Mikhail Gorbatov added that previously «Rossotrudnichestvo» supported the «Great Teachers of BRICS» Project implemented by the «BRICS. World of Traditions».
Brazilian Participant, Partner of the «BRICS. World of Traditions», Alessandra Scangarelli, Chief Editor of «Revista Intertelas» magazine, shared ideas on the joint BRICS literature and film content production in the future as well as its access to general public.
Notably, that the jubilee project in honor of the 75th Anniversary of the Great Victory inspired Alessandra and Edem Pereira da Silva Lopez, participant of the Meeting, to become coauthors of the book «The Great Patriotic War of the Soviet People», which affirms the leading role of the Soviet Union in this war. Alessandra also showed her support to the Recommendation on the establishment of the BRICS NGOs Union, «which would intend to foster public diplomacy and cooperation between non-governmental organizations within the BRICS countries».
Matthew Alfred John Wannenburgh, the Youth Climate Junior Researcher at the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) and the BRICS International School alumnus expressed his solidarity on Ms. Jane`s Mufamadi opinion on the soft power of museums and initiatives of Mr. Leonardo Valente to promote the cultural cooperation. As a Member of the Working Group, Matthew also presented a brief review on his Recommendations noticing that «in this vein of multilateral cultural exchange, there is a great potential in creating partial or
full-rotation mobility internships or scholarship programmes that may enable the youth and emerging labor forces of BRICS to adopt and engage with academic views and situational idiosyncrasies from the unique perspectives of the «five».
Indian Member of the Working Group, Deepanshu Gupta, noted in his Recommendations the existing differences between the BRICS countries in cultural, social and economic terms. Mr. Gupta supported the idea of creating the Union of BRICS NGOs as «a platform for integrating the intercultural values within the Alliance through cultural projects and events aimed at deepening and expanding the interaction of public diplomacy in the humanitarian and cultural spheres, development and strengthening the relations between peoples based on moral values and mutual respect; development of parliamentary ties, expansion of interaction in the field of culture, education and civic issues, activation of youth networks and ensuring youth participation in civic projects, narrowing the gap between foreign political issues and civic opinion and, of course, achieving sustainable development goals in line with the slogan of the BRICS Civil Forum 2020».
President of ALBRICS Youth Parliament in Yemen, Dr. h.c. Fouad Ali Alghaffari, on behalf of his Organization expressed valuable wishes to the Members of the Working Group concerning the need to follow the culture of beauty as a part of the BRICS development culture. According to the initiative on the BRICS School of Languages, the Speaker expressed his hope that Arabic language will be included in the program, as well as used on the Official Website of the Forum.
Distinguished Victoria Panova, the Managing Director of the National Committee on BRICS Research, Scientific Supervisor of the BRICS Russia Expert Council, Vice-President for International Relations of the Far Eastern Federal University, joined the discussion at the end of the online Meeting, having invited all international participants at the online Civil BRICS Forum on September 23-25.
Ms. Anita Dkhar, the Member of the Working group, PhD student of the RUDN University, provided significant assistance in translating the Moderator`s speech during the whole Meeting.
The International Members` Working Group Meeting was held in a friendly trusting atmosphere and resulted as a productive, full of bright speeches and useful initiatives discussion, demostrating the participants` desire to work together in the BRICS multilateral cultural space! Most importantly, the Participants perceived themselves as members of the big BRICS family possessing many plans ahead.
The end of the Meeting was filled with friendly wishes in all languages of the peoples of the Alliance: До свидания, Goodbye, 再见, नमस्ते, Até logo!
Record of the Working Group Meeting is available on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fHFKurgxLD4