First World Culturelink Conference
Dynamics of Communication and Cultural Change:
The Role of Networks
The First World Culturelink Conference, which brought to Zagreb about a hundred participants from all the continents, came at the end of five years of operation of the Network of Networks for Research and Cooperation in Cultural Development. The stated purpose and objective of the Conference was to review cultural changes currently under way throughout the world and within individual cultures, and to stimulate intercultural dialogue. A more specific intention was to analyze the role of networks in processes of exchange of cultural values and in strengthening international cultural communication.
The Conference displayed a wealth of ideas and approaches to problems of cultural development, cultural change and communication. The diversity of approaches demonstrated that cultural pluralism is the most valuable part of the global cultural heritage. The Conference itself was held in wartime conditions, as the host city of Zagreb had suffered a rocket attack just three weeks earlier. In this situation, UNESCO and the Council of Europe, as the Network's founders, gave their full support to the organizers and asked IRMO to proceed with the preparations. The participants, too, responded favourably and arrived in large numbers. To all of them go our thanks for a demonstration of solidarity and for their papers and discussions, which represent an important contribution to the dialogue of cultures.
Our thanks are due also to the Conference co-organizers: The European College for Cultural Cooperation, LORETO, the Ministry of Canadian Heritage, Institut Méditerranéen de la Communication, Maison des Cultures du Monde, Russian Institute for Culture Research, and the Croatian National Commission for UNESCO. The Conference would not have been possible without the financial support of the Japanese Foundation, the European Cultural Foundation, the British Council Croatia, Institut français de Zagreb, the Croatian Ministry of Culture, the Croatian Ministry of Science and Technology, and the Tourist Association of the City of Zagreb.
The Conference was held on the premises of the Mimara Museum. The museum had no exhibits on display at that time, as all of its holdings were stored away for safe keeping during the war. Now they are all back on the walls of the museum to the delight of many visitors. In order to give the participants, and all those who will read this volume of the Proceedings, some idea of the Mimara Museum, we have included photographs of several items from Mimara's valuable collection.
The proceedings comprise some fifty papers and discussions, a testimony of the rich supply of ideas and thoughts about the world in which we live - the world in transformation and the world increasingly relying on networking in search of cooperation and dialogue. In some way, the volume summarizes the twentieth century with its painful experiences, anxieties and dilemmas and at the same time opens new planetary vistas into the twenty-first century and the start of the third millennium.