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06 / 07 / 2004
Antoine Leonetti: Cultural administrations are excessively politicized

In the Dialogue “Human Rights, Local and Regional Administrations” Leonetti, a Doctor in Law, asked the public to encourage local identities without creating barriers for national identities.
Marina Subirats, councilor of education of the Barcelona City Council insisted that education in schools should transcend academics.


Antoine Leonetti, doctor in law, said this morning in the work group “Cultural and Educational Rights and Regional and Local Administrations” that, “cultural administrations are poorly managed by managers who are excessively politicized and bureaucratized.” In this sense, he insisted on the “need to keep politics a good distance away from the cultural administration.”

According to his opinion “A fundamental role of the administration of culture is to favor diversity. The presence of a very marked local identity is not a problem, quite the contrary, a balanced management of this pluralism requires a very advanced professionalism, people who aren’t politicized.”

He insisted “We have to encourage local identities without creating a barrier for national identities, just like local languages should be protected, but without protectionism. Where there is a local language, this language should have the freedom to be taught, but not to be detrimental to the official language.”

According to his words, “Cities are currently facing two large management problems: the large amount of people who move and the administrative revolution of the processes of decentralization. As a consequence, there is a series of new cultural practices, spheres, and also risks, and discrimination lies among them.”

In his definition of the concepts of cultural rights, he insisted that “cultural rights are ambiguous, they include the balance between national and regional identities. They are ambiguous because they can’t be brought to court and can’t have legal aspirations-these are rights that go beyond these spheres.”

He added that, “There are two fundamental principles that can be applied both locally and nationally, one is to assure the separation of the cultural and educational administrations. The Spanish constitution of 1978 separates in different articles, 24 and 27, the rights to education and culture.” Therefore, for Leonetti, “the previous government made a big mistake by joining these two ministries.”

Marina Subirats, councilor for education of the Barcelona City Council, said that, “There is an offer of free public education, arranged education, private education, but it isn’t enough because this supposes a segmentation of society in social classes.” In this respect, he said that 73 percent of emigrants go to free public schools.”

For Subirats, “In spite of the fact that the number of people who receive an education is very high, absenteeism is a big problem, and is something that happens especially in marginalized sectors: for example, in some gypsy sectors, not going to school isn’t something influenced by gypsy culture, but rather by unstructured families; groups of immigrants and travelers also have this problem.”

Likewise, she stressed the need for education to go beyond academics and concluded that “Behind every duty, there are rights, we cannot create spoiled citizens who only think about rights.”

The Dialogue, “Human Rights and Local and Regional Administrations” ended today at the Forum.