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Serving Sri Lanka

This web log is a news and views blog. The primary aim is to provide an avenue for the expression and collection of ideas on sustainable, fair, and just, grassroot level development. Some of the topics that the blog will specifically address are: poverty reduction, rural development, educational issues, social empowerment, post-Tsunami relief and reconstruction, livelihood development, environmental conservation and bio-diversity. 

Saturday, March 18, 2006

National Conference on Information Security, Control, Audit and Governance

Daily Mirror: 07/03/2006"

The second National Conference and Expo on Information Security, Control, Audit and Governance of Information Technology will be held from March 23-24 in Colombo. It aims to provide a forum for sharing experiences, results of development activities, ideas, applications, and research results amongst practitioners, professionals, academics and others involved with security, control and governance. Papers will be presented by renowned speakers from various ISACA Chapters worldwide.

Day one includes a keynote address on Sarbanes-Oxley and the IS auditor by ISACA Mumbai Chapter President Prof. Venugopal R. Iyengar. It also includes presentations on computer forensics for CIO's by ISACA South Australian Chapter President Jo Stewart, information security - a CIO's perspective by John Keells Holdings Senior Vice President/Chief Information Officer Ramesh Shanmuganathan, cyber crimes and forensics audit by ISACA Cochin Chapter President K. P. Paulson, involving business challenges vs. data security by Sri Lanka, Bangladesh & Maldives Country Manager Clehan Pulle

The second day includes a keynote address on the ICT road map for Sri Lanka by Information and Communication Technology Agency CEO Manju Haththotuwa. Presentations on law applicable to ICT in Sri Lanka by ICTA Legal Advisor Jayantha Fernando, COBIT for organizational excellence by Stratergic Development and Alliance President A. Rafeq and IT Governance ISACA Montevideo, Uruguay Chapter Past President Rafeal Fabius are also lines up.

A technical presentation by Oracle APAC Business Development Security Director Collin Penman, managing risks of internet banking by Sampath Bank Systems Development Senior Executive Priam Kasturiratna and disaster recovery planning by Forbes Calamity Prevention Ltd Managing Director Nathaniel L. Forbes are also in line.

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Friday, March 17, 2006

No schooling for 30 per cent of children in poor areas

Weekend Standard: 04/03/2006"

Though Sri Lanka boasts of having a literacy rate of more than 90 percent and a free education system open to all, in low income areas of the country 30 percent of the children do not go to schools due to poverty.

Prof. Shanthi Mendis, Senior Advisor on Cardiovascular Diseases at the World Health Organisation speaking at the inauguration of the 28th Scientific sessions of the Kandy Society of Medicine recently revealed that a quarter of the population lives below the poverty line and in some districts, the poverty rate is above one third,.

She said that Sri Lanka's Human Development Index being 0.77 ranked 91 among 175 countries in the world. Only some poverty indicators such as life expectancy, adult literacy, school enrolment and GDP are taken into consideration in calculating the index, while many other indicators of poverty such as housing, water and sanitation which contribute to the quality of life are not taken into account when calculating the Human Development Index, the Professor pointed out.

"As you see here, although we are living in the 21st Century a substantial number of people in some provinces do not have access to basic amenities such as safe drinking water, hygienic toilet facilities and electricity".

"We have now completed a survey in ten countries including Sri Lanka to get more information on affordability of medicine," Prof. Mendis said adding that according to the survey results six days wages of an average Sri Lankan would be required to purchase some brands of insulin and even aspirin are very expensive when sold as branded products.

Prof. Mendis said that poverty being the human condition that impinges on one third of the world population causes at least 20,000 deaths a day worldwide.

It sprouted from the root cause of global inequality, Poverty affects at least 2 billion people and prevents the 21 century medical advances reaching the sick, she said.

Every cow in the European Union is subsidised at the rate of US$ 2.50 a day which is more than what 75% of Africans have to live on, she said.

"These subsidies hurt the developing world. European farmers produce more food than what can be consumed by their markets and excess are sold in the world market at a cost below production," Prof Mendis said.

She said that farmers in the poor countries could not compete with these low prices and consequently our dairy industry does not develop because we import most of our milk powder, she said.

For almost 40 years the UN has been requesting rich countries to give 0.7% of their gross national product each year as foreign aid. Prof. Mendis noted

"In the last meeting of the G8 countries at the Glendale in Scotland, debt relief and more overseas aid were promised again" she said. But most rich countries do not honour this commitment, except Scandinavians, Prof. Mendis added.

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The terror of corruption

Daily Mirror: 07/03/2006" By J.A.L. Jayasinghe.

Some 68% of those in the government service appear to be involved in bribery and corruption, a top official said in a shocking disclosure.

Piyasena Ranasinghe, Director General of the Commission probing bribery or corruption told a seminar that if the increasing trend of bribery and corruption continued, it might also spark more terrorism in the country.

The three-day workshop and seminar was organized by the UNDP and the Constitutional Affairs and National Integration Ministry in Kandy from Saturday.

The workshop was held at the Mahaveli Reach Hotel to discuss the tasks of those responsible for Justice in the country.

Mr. Ranasinghe also said it was so tragic that people today were of the impression that hardly anything could be done in the government sector without offering bribes to public servants. He charged that some school principals and top police officials received bribes through third parties, and the general public hardly complained against such acts.

He said the people should be educated about the gravity of giving or accepting bribes and warned the country’s economy would be seriously affected if this trend continued.

Mr. Ranasinghe called upon the people to join hands with the media, the judiciary and civil societies to eradicate bribery and corruption from the country.

Constitutional Affairs and National Integration Secretary Malkanthi Wickremasinghe and several others also addressed the seminar.

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Sri Lanka: Human Rights Watch Replies to the Canadian Tamil Congress

Human Rights Watch:

During our investigation of intimidation and extortion in the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora, Human Rights Watch interviewed several dozen members of the Tamil community in Canada and the United Kingdom, including business owners, professionals, activists, journalists and other individuals. Their accounts were credible and consistent. Their personal experiences, as well as information they relayed from their colleagues, neighbors and relatives indicated a widespread and systematic campaign by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to obtain funds from Tamils in the West.

The extortion activities described in our report are being carried out by a small number of individuals claiming to represent the LTTE or groups linked to the LTTE, including the World Tamil Movement. While a large number of Tamils are subjected to demands for money, we do not suggest that significant numbers of Tamils are engaging in extortion or other unlawful activity. We also note that many Tamils actively and willingly support the LTTE.

We believe that the lack of prosecutions for extortion reflects both the reluctance of many Tamils to step forward because of their fear of LTTE reprisals against them and their families in Sri Lanka, as well as the failure of law enforcement to vigorously investigate and prosecute unlawful activity by the LTTE. It does not mean that intimidation is not a problem within the community.

Human Rights Watch is an independent non-governmental organization founded in 1978. We report on human rights abuses by both government and non-state actors in more than 70 countries. We are funded through contributions from private individuals and foundations. We accept no money from any governments. We never pay witnesses for information.

Human Rights Watch initiated its investigation of intimidation, extortion and violence linked to the LTTE in the West because we felt that these were serious abuses that deserved greater attention. The Sri Lankan government had no involvement in this investigation in any way.

Human Rights Watch investigations are based on qualitative rather than quantitative research. We do not do “population sampling” but rely on individual testimonies taken during in-depth, one-on-one interviews. For this report, witnesses were identified through contacts with Tamil journalists, activists, business owners and professionals. Accounts from a number of individuals could not be included in the report because we believed it would place those persons at risk.

The author of Funding the ‘Final War’: LTTE Intimidation and Extortion in the Tamil Diaspora is a veteran Human Rights Watch researcher with more than eight years of experience conducting human rights investigations. Her work for Human Rights Watch has included investigations in Sri Lanka, Burma, Uganda and the United States. She has extensive international and cross-cultural experience, and frequently represents Human Rights Watch in international forums.

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Tamil community cries foul: Rights group off base in alleging extortion, Sri Lankans say; author stands by findings

G&M: 16/03/2006" By TIMOTHY APPLEBY

A Human Rights Watch report alleging widespread extortion and intimidation in Toronto on behalf of Sri Lanka's separatist Tamil Tigers was assailed by the Canadian Tamil Congress yesterday as disparaging, methodologically flawed, short on specifics and flat-out wrong.

"If you have evidence, approach the police," speaker Dushy Gnanapragasam told a press conference at a Toronto hotel, echoing other panellists' contention that there is no track record of such complaints.

"The Human Rights report has become a threat to our human rights," Neethan Shan said, to a loud round of applause from the 80-plus congress supporters who attended.

Shanthela Easwarakumar said the report had caused "deep anguish," within Canada's roughly 300,000-strong Tamil community. Sri-gugan Sri-skanda-rajah, an influential leader among Tamil expatriates, called it "painful and hurtful."

But none of the six-member panel, which included Ottawa lawyer Lew Lederman, seemed able to explain why the widely respected New York-based human-rights organization might have been so far off base.

After the press conference broke up, one theory was voiced by audience member Satheesh Moorthy: Human Rights Watch had probably been fed bogus information by anti-separatist factions, he said.

The report's chief author, Jo Becker, stood by her conclusions yesterday, saying they were based on dozens of interviews that were "credible and consistent."

The absence of criminal prosecutions, Ms. Becker suggested, reflects a reluctance by Tamils to step forward because of fear of reprisals, together with a lacklustre stand by authorities.

The congress members, however, appeared to reject the possibility that there could be any truth at all in the damning report.

It found that Tamil families in Toronto -- like their counterparts in Britain -- are commonly extorted by fundraisers working for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

"This community doesn't have criminal elements," Mr. Gnanapragasam said.

As to the notion of the congress making its own inquiries, that would be "an impossible task," he said.

"Unless you interview all 300,000 [Tamils], you're not going to be able to counter these allegations."

Mr. Lederman, a long-time adviser to the congress, condemned what he termed the news media's "knee-jerk" response to the report's contents, which he termed "speculation."

Since 2002, a fragile ceasefire between the Tigers and Sri Lanka's Sinhalese government has granted the conflict-racked island a measure of peace.

But as the truce became shaky, the Tigers' fundraising efforts became increasingly aggressive, Human Rights Watch says.

"In Canada, families were typically pressed for between $2,500 and $5,000," Ms. Becker wrote, "while some businesses were asked for up to $100,000."

Speakers at yesterday's press conference also rejected suggestions that the Tamil Tigers are a terrorist group.

The U.S. State Department and Britain have labelled the Tigers as terrorists, citing their use of suicide bombs and their alleged responsibility for assassinating two heads of state, including Indian prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, killed by a bomb in 1991.

The Canadian government has not gone that far, although it has banned Tiger members from entering Canada and keeps them on a list of proscribed terrorist groups whose assets must be frozen if found here.

Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day, however, has indicated that he might follow the U.S. and British lead and outlaw the organization.

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Thursday, March 16, 2006

Funding the “Final War” LTTE Intimidation and Extortion in the Tamil Diaspora

Human Rights Watch: MAR/2006" Summary and Recommendations

Ninety percent of people, even if they don’t support the LTTE, they are scared. The killing doesn’t just happen back home in Sri Lanka. It happens in Paris, in Canada. They burned the library,1 they broke the legs of DBS Jeyaraj. They tried to stop the CTBC radio from organizing. A journalist was killed in Paris. The threat is not only in Sri Lanka. It’s everywhere, all over the world.
—Tamil community activist, Toronto, January 2006


Between 1983 and 2002, the armed conflict between the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE or Tamil Tigers) cost an estimated 60,000 or more lives, and was marked by gross human rights abuses and violations of the laws of war on both sides. The war prompted nearly one-quarter of Sri Lanka’s Tamils to leave the country, many fleeing government abuses, creating a Tamil diaspora that now numbers approximately 600,000-800,000 worldwide.

As Sri Lankan Tamils established themselves in Canada, the United Kingdom (U.K.) and other Western countries, the Tamil community became a significant source of financial and political support for the LTTE in its struggle to establish an independent state, “Tamil Eelam,” for the Tamil minority in Sri Lanka’s North and East. While many members of the Tamil diaspora willingly and actively support the LTTE, others have been subject to intimidation, extortion, and physical violence as the LTTE seeks to suppress criticism of its human rights abuses and to ensure a steady flow of income.

Journalists and activists in the Tamil diaspora who openly criticize the LTTE or are perceived to be anti-LTTE have been subject to severe beatings, death threats, smear campaigns, and fabricated criminal charges. In 2005, the LTTE detained two British Tamils for several weeks in Sri Lanka in order to gain control over a Hindu temple in London. Such incidents have created a culture of fear within the Tamil community, stifling dissent and discouraging individuals from organizing activities that are not sanctioned by the LTTE.

The LTTE has for many years pressured members of the Tamil community to provide financial support for its operations. In late 2005 and early 2006, as armed violence escalated in Sri Lanka’s North and East, threatening the four-year-old ceasefire between the government and the LTTE, the LTTE launched a massive fundraising drive in Canada and parts of Europe, pressuring individuals and business owners in the Tamil diaspora to give money for the “final war.” Fundraisers for the LTTE and LTTE-linked organizations went from house to house, and approached businesses and professionals, demanding significant sums of money for their cause. In Canada, families were typically pressed for between Cdn$2,5002 and Cdn$5,000, while some businesses were asked for up to Cdn$100,000. Members of the Tamil community in the U.K., France, Norway, and other European countries were asked for similar amounts.

Individuals who refused were sometimes threatened. Some were told that if they didn’t pay the requested sum, they would not be able to return to Sri Lanka to visit family members. Others were warned they would be “dealt with” or “taught a lesson.” After refusing to pay over Cdn$20,000, one Toronto business owner said LTTE representatives made threats against his wife and children.

The LTTE and groups linked to it such as the World Tamil Movement repeatedly call and visit Tamil families seeking funds. Some families have received as many as three visits in a single week. Fundraisers may refuse to leave the house without a pledge of money, and have told individuals who claim not to have funds available to borrow the money, to place contributions on their credit cards, or even to re-mortgage their homes.

The LTTE identifies Tamils from the West who return to Sri Lanka to visit family members, and systematically pressures them for funds when they arrive in LTTE-controlled territory in the North of Sri Lanka. The assessed “rate” is often Cdn$1, £1, or €1 per day for the length of time they have lived in the West, so individuals who have been abroad for years may be asked for thousands, and told they may not leave until they produce the requested amount. In some cases, the LTTE may confiscate their passports until the money is paid.

Many members of the Tamil diaspora vividly remember government abuses during the war, and willingly contribute funds to the LTTE. They see the Tamil Tigers as a legitimate and important representative of the Tamil people and their interests. They support the LTTE’s goal of establishing an independent Tamil state and the use of military means to achieve that objective.

Other members of the Tamil community do not wish to contribute, either because of their personal economic circumstances, or because they do not believe in the LTTE’s goals or methods. Some support Tamil political parties that have been decimated or marginalized by the LTTE. However, under intense pressure or outright threats, these individuals may be forced to provide financial support for LTTE operations, including its continuing pattern of child recruitment, political killings, and other human rights abuses that have continued, even during the four-year ceasefire.

The LTTE’s dependence on the Tamil diaspora for financial support, and the diaspora’s substantial size and influence, give the diaspora unique potential to influence the LTTE’s policies and behavior, including its human rights practices. However, that potential has been effectively neutralized by the LTTE’s effective use of intimidation and extortion within the community.

The governments of countries that host substantial Tamil populations have a responsibility to protect individuals from these abuses. However, government authorities admit that responding to such activity has not been a high priority, and they have taken little action to respond. Although fear within the Tamil community has resulted in few individual complaints to the police or other law enforcement, clear patterns of intimidation and extortion should prompt proactive government action, including police investigations, prosecutions, and public outreach to the community to publicize individuals’ rights and avenues of complaint.

Methodology

Human Rights Watch conducted research for this report from October 2005 through February 2006, conducting interviews in person and by telephone with members of the Tamil communities in Toronto, Canada; London, U.K.; Geneva, Switzerland; and Dusseldorf, Germany. The focus of the investigation was on the Tamil communities in Canada and the U.K., as together these two countries host nearly half of the global Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora. In both countries, Human Rights Watch interviewed Tamil business owners, professionals, activists, journalists, and other individuals. Most interviews were conducted in English; some were conducted with Tamil translation.

We also talked with representatives of the London Metropolitan Police, the Toronto Police, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the World Tamil Movement, and independent experts. In February 2006 we submitted questions in writing to the LTTE in Sri Lanka regarding the issues covered in this report, but did not receive a response. In February 2006 we also contacted the British Tamil Association by both telephone and electronic mail with questions related to this report, but did not receive a reply.

Because of the significant security risks for Tamils interviewed for this report, the names of most individuals are kept confidential. Some locations and other identifying details are also withheld or changed in order to protect the identity of those who spoke with Human Rights Watch. Some cases reported to Human Rights Watch have been omitted entirely, because it was not possible to describe the reported incidents without putting the individuals involved at risk.

Recommendations

To the governments of Canada, the United Kingdom and other countries with a significant Tamil diaspora
Take active steps to protect Tamil residents from harassment, threats, extortion and violence linked to the LTTE. Specifically:

Establish a special interagency task force, headed by the police and including other agencies as appropriate, to actively investigate intimidation and extortion in the Tamil community, and initiate prosecutions as warranted;

Initiate a public education campaign in the Tamil community, using Tamil newspapers, radio, and other media, to publicize relevant law related to intimidation, harassment, and fundraising by the LTTE or other groups, and steps that individuals can take if they are subject to such activity;

Establish a special hotline, staffed by Tamil speakers, to receive complaints of intimidation and extortion, and provide information as appropriate to law enforcement authorities;

Initiate meetings with leaders in the Tamil community to discuss patterns of LTTE-related intimidation and extortion, using such meetings to communicate the government’s deep concern regarding such activity, its commitment to respond, and steps that are being taken to protect members of the Tamil community;

Take steps to inform members of the Tamil community that funds raised for the LTTE may indirectly support the commission of war crimes, including the recruitment of children as soldiers;

Urge the LTTE to end all use of violence, threats, intimidation, and harassment against members of the Tamil diaspora.

To the LTTE and organizations linked to the LTTE

Immediately stop all use of violence, threats, intimidation and harassment to solicit funds from the Tamil community, including among the diaspora and from members of diaspora communitieis making return visits to Sri Lanka;
Immediately stop all use of violence, threats, intimidation or harassment against Tamils who express criticism of the LTTE or organize events or activities independently of the LTTE.

To the Tamil diaspora

When it is possible without undue personal risk, ensure that funds provided to organizations in Sri Lanka are not directly or indirectly benefiting the LTTE so long as the LTTE continues to commit serious human rights abuses.
Seek opportunities to promote human rights within the Tamil community, including dialogue regarding the community’s role in improving the human rights situation in Sri Lanka.

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Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Houses for tsunami victims: Virtually a drop in the ocean

Daily Mirror: 04/03/2006"

Fourteen months after the killer-tsunami ravaged vast tracts of Sri Lanka’s coastal belt, Non governmental Organisations have only been able to build a mere 5,000 houses out of the promised 30,000, it is revealed.

A report which details the unfinished or half done work by the NGOs for the tsunami victims will be handed over to President Mahinda Rajapaksa next week by the Reconstruction and Development Agency.

RADA chief Tiran Alles told the Daily Mirror certain NGOs had commitments to build some 20,000 houses but the sad fact was a paltry 500 houses had been completed and it was a virtual drop in the ocean.

Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga set up an institution called TAFREN to handle tsunami rehabilitation and reconstruction work.

But due to the mounting opposition to TAFREN by the JVP and the JHU and the subsequent court case it came to be placed in cold storage.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa after assuming office brought all tsunami work under an umbrella organisation called Reconstruction and Development Agency headed by his confidant Tiran Alles.

Earlier, when the NGOs failed to build the targeted number of houses for the tsunami survivors, the government issued deadlines, but those too had no affect in speeding up the work.

The NGOs in turn accused the government of dragging its feet in releasing the necessary lands for housing construction.

The controversial and much debated 100-metre buffer zone was another factor that delayed the process of reconstruction and rehabilitation.

Meanwhile the Urban Development Authority said of a total of 90,000 houses required for the tsunami victims, the NGOs were required to build 30,000.

The remaining 60,000 houses were to be built under what was called an owner driven programme where the owners were to be provided with state funds to build the houses on their own blocks of land.

The NGO’s were known to be heavily funded by foreign donors. But the work done in most instances appears to have been somewhat half-hearted and much more remains to be done.

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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Can online education be applied and benefit developing countries?

Poverty Development Gateway:
Online education is now on the agenda of most organizations concerned with education and training. But is there any evidence that online education is adding value to existing, more traditional education models? Can new technologies deliver accessible, flexible and revenue-generating programmes and courses in developing countries?
A report from the Commonwealth of Learning (COL)* surveys the evolution of virtual education systems. Highlighting the current widespread exclusion of nations which lack established ICTs infrastructure, it argues the need to provide the development capital to enable developing countries to use virtual education models to bring mass education opportunities to their citizens.

The report argues that causes of the ‘digital divide’ between those with and without access to technology must be addressed if virtual education is to be a meaningful part of educational reform in developing countries. An integrated vision of ways of learning is necessary in a world that requires educational systems to respond to education needs throughout life. The authors challenge the collective wisdom often associated with virtual education – that contact teaching, face-to-face interactions among learners, and the physical structures within which they occur will become obsolete.
While virtual education may not be the main answer to the pressing education problems of the developing world, it does offer potential to give learners increased choice in the the way they learn. Even in the poorest nations at least a segment of the population must be exposed to virtual education.
The report urges policy-makers and donors to:
address issues around equality of access to ICTs
encourage the creation – and assist with required infrastructure – of regional partnerships among institutions in developing countries to undertake joint development of learning objects databases, an independent agency to validate courses delivered by distance education and provide an authoritative database of accredited providers
work with local government, non-governmental organisations and communities to promote the use of multi-purpose telecentres where the public can use a range of ICTs for business and education
not underestimate the initial and ongoing funding requirements: sustainable adoption of virtual education will only reduce costs if there is a clear plan.


The changing faces of virtual learning
Missing the connection? Using ICTs in education
The Development of Virtual Education: A global perspective
On-Line Education in Developing Countries
Distance Education in Developing Countries
Distance Education Journals and Readings
Free Online Training Course on Poverty and Social Impact Analysis(PSIA)
The UNESCO International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa

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Monday, March 13, 2006

World Culture Report 2000: Cultural Diversity, Conflict and Pluralism

Culture Development Gateway: Aware of the need to delve further into the multi-layered concepts of cultural diversity, conflict resolution, and pluralism, UNESCO has produced this second edition of the World Culture Report, in which experts, statisticians, and artists provide information and analysis and propose new concepts, insights, and policy recommendations. The contents of the report include: cultural justice, redistribution, and recognition; the 'social investment state' as a solution to state regulation and market dynamics; cultural diversity vs. international trade debates; poverty and culture; the relationship between cultural pluralism and citizenship in the context of increased international migration; new strategies and concepts on tangible and intangible heritage in the globalized world; information and communication technologies as vehicles for cultural empowerment; survey of changing views on diversity, tolerance, and happiness; cultural indicators and statistics on languages, religions, heritage sites, and cultural festivals. Attached to the book is a CD-ROM Guide to Cultural Resources on the Web, including museums, cultural management sites, and other Internet addresses. The report is apparently out of print, but should be available in libraries. Statistical tables illustrating cultural indicators are available online, on the indicated website.
Access the online report

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Sunday, March 12, 2006

Safeguarding Traditional Cultures: A Global Assessment

Culture Development Gateway: "This excellent volume, edited by Peter Seitel, was published in 2001 by the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC., in cooperation with UNESCO's Division of Cultural Heritage. The book is the result of a 1999 conference at the Smithsonian and consists of essays by 36 cultural workers and other experts from around the globe, some of them leaders from traditional communities. It includes accounts of the eight regional seminars that were held to evaluate the state of traditional cultures and UNESCO's role in safeguarding them, as well as analyses of legal questions, such as intellectual-property rights, affecting traditional cultures. This book not only assesses the state of traditional cultures at the beginning of the new millennium, it also marks a watershed in the vital presence of local tradition-bearers in international meetings called to formulate and evaluate cultural policy. The entire text of the book is available online. Follow this link to the online book.

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Culture is Not a Luxury: Culture in Development and Cooperation

Culture Development Gateway: This booklet about the role of culture in development and cooperation efforts was published by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). It contains background information, programme guidelines, and lessons learned, as well as project examples from Mali, Mozambique, Burkina Faso, Cuba, Nicaragua, Vietnam, India, Bangladesh, Romania, Macedonia, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan. The authors argue that culture is an essential element of life and plays a major role in development. The 44-page publication builds on the efforts of other organizations over the past several decades, and the entire text is available online.
Download the full report

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