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Latest info > News > Sydney Bartley, director of culture of the Jamaican Ministry of Education, Youth and Culture of Jamaica: Per mitjÓ de la voluntat cultural podem suprimir ignorÓncies i aconseguir un mˇn mÚs harm˛nic

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27 / 08 / 2004
Sydney Bartley, director of culture of the Jamaican Ministry of Education, Youth and Culture of Jamaica: Per mitjÓ de la voluntat cultural podem suprimir ignorÓncies i aconseguir un mˇn mÚs harm˛nic

The "141 Questions" at the Forum (109): "Can different cultures understand each other?ö Sydney Bartley, Director of Culture in Jamaica, responded that understanding is possible if there is first acceptance. He emphasized the need to know about the history to understand that the present culture forms part of a process that is permanently unfolding: "I am 100% Jamaican, and that means I am a mixture of many things. The Spaniards were in Jamaica two hundred years ago. I am one of you", he reasoned. In the course of his speech, Bartley was of the firm view that "humanity shares the same universal values", and that "cultures continue on into the future with or without religions".

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The Director of Culture of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Culture of Jamaica, Sydney Bartley, emphasized at the Haima Stage that education is an essential element to achieve a situation where inter-cultural dialogue is based on acceptance and not just on simple tolerance, "a concept that implies condescension". He recommended learning as a way of breaking away from certain stereotypes and stressed that the understanding between different cultures demands personal responsibilities: "What is it we are going to teach our children? Which are only European? Which are only Spanish? Through cultural will we can overcome ignorance and achieve a more harmonious world", he concluded.

"I am 100% Jamaican, and that means I am a mixture of many things. The Spaniards were in Jamaica two hundred years ago. I am one of you". Sydney Bartley expressed his view that the knowledge of history makes cultural dialogue possible: "the Europeans who marched through the world with their colonialist aspirations thought they would return with only gold and silver, but also they brought with them people who lived in those distant regions. You think and say things that are not originally European. In the Caribbean we are of mixed race. Europeans are too".

He spoke of culture as a form of resistance or as a weapon of survival arguing that people, even in conditions of slavery, never lose their roots. For the Jamaican Director of Culture, we all form part of a dynamic process, under continuous construction: "we are not a single identity. I drink English tea, I like Indian curry and Chinese food, I speak Spanish and I dance to African rhythms".

Bartley assured that "humanity shares the same universal values", and that religions represent only one part of a culture. After indicating that some of these cultures "impose very rigid and discriminatory values", he went on to point out that "cultures carry on with or without religions".

Before finishing off by reminding the audience of the lyrics of a song by Bob Marley, in which the words "release your minds" are repeated, Sydney Bartley, who throughout his intervention also referred to several authors from the Spanish Golden Age, insisted on the need to maintain in constant activity our intercultural channels of communication and expressed his regret that many young people do not have the opportunity of receiving from their elders values which were previously transmitted from generation to generation: "the problem today lies in the fact that everybody is too busy working and that nobody has any time".

As Director of Culture to the Jamaican Ministry of Education, Youth and Culture, Sydney Bartley is responsible for formulating, following up and implementing cultural policies and leading processes that turn programs and cultural development policies into opportunities for cultural expression, promotion of cultural diversity, the realization of the economic and social values of culture and a better standard of living for Jamaican citizens. Bartley also holds the position of Jamaican representative with the INCP working group on Cultural Diversity and Globalization (International Network of Cultural Policies).