MIREIA BELIL: “THE DIALOGUES HAVE CONTRIBUTED TO CREATING A STAGE FOR HOPE FOR THOSE PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT AS PRIVILEGED AS WE ARE”
After the session on the 5 Ds – “Diversitat, Desenvolupament, Diàleg, Democràcia i Dones” (Diversity, Development, Dialogue and Women), the Dialogues director, Mireia Belil; the mayor of Barcelona, Joan Clos; and the president of the Generalitat, Pasqual Maragall brought the Dialogues at Fòrum Universal de les Cultures 2004 to a close.
During the speech given by Mireia Belil, the Dialogues director, she said that, “once the Forum is over, many Barcelona locals will say to themselves ‘I don’t know why I never went’”. Belil said that during the 141 days of the Forum, “it has been possible to bring together knowledge, challenges opportunities and people that will have an impact on the 21st century.” Belil added that the Dialogues “have contributed to creating a stage for hope for those who are not as privileged as we are.”
Belil said: “we have acknowledged the various religious, ethnic, territorial and economic identities of the world.” Furthermore, Belil stated that, “globalization is not synonymous with hegemony”. She added that, “there is a need for identity and respect for differences”. And, according to Belil, “dialogue is necessary” to prevent these differences from leading to exclusion.
Belil said during her speech that, “the Forum Dialogues have given a voice to those who go unheard as well as to those who are.” Belil stated that, “the Dialogues have not been neutral, but have been intended to contribute, even if only a little bit, to reflecting up global issues.”
Belil stated: “We have proposed “more policies, more creativity, more transparency, more education, more culture, more equity, more commitment, and more justice.” However, Belil also said: “We do not want words without action.” She then gave the example of the Barcelona Commitment.
Finally, Belil express her hope that “when taking a critical look at the Forum, the positive aspects of it are not forgotten and that efforts are made to work towards women’s full integration in the world because this is the great revolution of the 21st century and the key to development.” Moreover, she advised the Mexican city of Monterrey, which will host the next edition of the Forum in 2007, to “be brave and daring.”
Belil closed her speech by using a quote from a tango to refer to the Forum; “As the famous tango says ‘ya formas parte de mi pasado, gracias por existir’ (now you are a part of my past, thank you for existing).”
The president of the Generalitat, the autonomous government of Catalonia, Pasqual Maragall, also bid farewell to the Dialogues by congratulating the event organizers. Maragall stated that, in order to create the Forum, “it was first necessary to create a new city, a part of the city that is as big as the Eixample.”
Maragall summed up the Forum as “city, urbanism and dialogue”. Maragall holds that “success like that which Barcelona has had with the Forum is worthy of repeating in a few years.”
”Thanks, Joan, for what you have done, for this great event that is so innovative and has had to face ignorance,” concluded Maragall.
Joan Clos, the mayor of Barcelona, stated that, “this has been a marvelous experience.” He continued by stating: “And that is why I don’t want to close the Dialogues”. He said that, “the Dialogues will continue through the Forum Foundation and Forum Monterrey.”