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25 / 05 / 2004
The dialogue ‘Communication and cultural diversity’ urges that interaction between different cultures be achieved

The Dialogue web page shows the transcripts of the debates to provide a virtual forum which is open and free-of-charge on the internet

This morning in Barcelona the dialogue ‘Communication and Cultural Diversity’ was opened. The joint organizers of the event are Forum Barcelona 2004 and the Institute of Communication (InCom) of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) (Barcelona Autonomous University), under the direction of Miquel de Moragas and Maria Corominas. The event will continue for four days, until Thursday 27th May, and its aim is to distribute information to assist in establishing cultural and democratic communication policies as a means to avoid inequalities in the new context of globalization.

Taking part in the official opening were Laura Tremosa, director of Dialogue Operations, and Rafael Grasa, deputy-director of institutional relations and secretary-general of the UAB, together with the dialogue directors Miquel de Moragas and Maria Corominas. They explained that “on the one hand, the media has a positive function to facilitate access and participation, and to form identities, but on the other hand they can be negative because of the inequalities they reveal, the barriers they impose on access and the distortion they provoke in images and identities, especially of “others”. For this reason, debate does not have to avoid tension, but must extract its own analysis as an essential condition for the positive resolution of conflicts, or at least reducing them.

The Dialogue ‘Communication and Cultural Diversity’ is a debate between academics, professionals and the public, which focuses on four themes (the basic concepts, the barriers, the approaches and the policies). This Dialogue provides on its website (www.incomuab2004.org) the full transcripts of the 125 papers that participants from 25 different countries will present during the four days. This initiative provides information about the debate and makes it possible for people who cannot come to the Forum to participate in this dialogue in an active way.

After the official opening there was a plenary session in which two of the eight guest speakers discussed “basic concepts”, the first theme of the Dialogue. Rossana Reguillo, professor in the Department of Sociocultural Studies at the technical institute, Instituto Tecnológico de Estudios Superiores de Occidente (ITESO) (Western Institute of Advanced Studies), in Guadalajara (Mexico), and Unesco professor of communication (InCom UAB) 2004, emphasized that “cultural diversity will only be a politically useful concept to conduct our debates around differences if it can include in its approach an element of interaction between cultures”.

For his part, Thomas Tufte, professor at the University of Roskilde, discussed the concept of ‘communication for development’, placing special emphasis on the emerging notion of ‘communication for social change’. He said substantial solutions need to be found to face the challenge of development into the 21st century, in the areas of AIDS and diabetes, environmental pollution and terrorism, getting to the root of these problems and also promoting awareness of them.