“Art is the universal language of humanity, in its essence empa- thetic and communicative. It is deeply rooted in history and culture, distinctly and uniquely human, a perennial bonding agent. It is a trait and practice commonly shared by all peoples. As such, the arts carry great potential power toward helping to alleviate social ills which plague communities— including poverty, inequity, addiction, intergroup conflict, disaster preparedness and environmental concern.”
The above is from the Manila Declaration 2018 of the first global forum known as the “International Peace Movement: Not by Force but Art,” recently held in the Philippine Senate and other venues in the capital city; it was organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco).
There were 217 participants from Japan, Germany, Switzerland, United Arab Republic, Sri Lanka, South Korea, Vietnam, China, Singapore, Fiji, Sudan, Ecuador, Colombia, Saudi Arabia, and host Philippines.
Diverse cultural performances were a highlight of the conference-festival. Performers included Korean soprano superstar Sumi Jo, who has held several highly successful concerts in the Philippines; blind singer Grace Carol, University of Santo Tomas Liturgikon Choir led by Eugene de los Santos; Peking Opera singer Li Peihong and Vietnamese Peoples’ Artist Nguyen Thi Le Ngoc.
Prayers were interfaith.
Agenda for Action
The Agenda for Action to achieve the objectives of peace and global citizenship included the following recommendations: create open, collaborative artistic environments which cultivate mutual respect and unity in diversity; invest more capital in the arts and other cooperative cultural endeavors; apply art’s inherent therapeutic qualities to healing and rehabilitation processes; organize extensive awareness campaigns to promulgate art as a vital tool for intercultural learning among the masses; reintegrate, revitalize and renew the arts in the agenda of educational curricula and lifelong learning programs; and empower artists as conduits of social change.
The Manila Declaration will be submitted to the Unesco General Conference and the UN General Assembly. Follow-up global peace movements will be held later this year in Namibia, Africa; Colombia in November this year; and Sri Lanka in 2019.
The conference “was very successful in paving the pathway towards our common dream to build a more peaceful, healthy and sustainable world for our children and generations to come,” Cecile Guidote-Alvarez, president of International Theater Institute Philippines, said. –CONTRIBUTED