International meet to foster cultural industries opens today
December 06 2016 12:19 AM

A three-day international conference on Encouraging Dialogue and Diversity through Cultural Industries opens at the Katara Cultural Village, Doha, today.
Organised by Unesco Doha in partnership with Katara Cultural Village and Qatar National Commission to Unesco, the conference is to explore the social, cultural and economic impact and opportunities of traditional handicraft practices with a focus on Qatar.
It is part of a partnership between the entities on “Intercultural Dialogue and Cultural Diversity” that was launched in early 2016 through a 5-month long Cultural Diversity Festival that brought together performing groups from 21 countries representative of different regions of the world. The international conference will mark the end of the programme for 2016.
“The production of traditional handicrafts is closely linked to identity and therefore connects social groups and contributes to social cohesion within communities,” said Anna Paolini, Director of the Doha Unesco Office. 
“The social and economic contribution of the sector will be addressed, focusing on community involvement, gender empowerment and youth mobilisation through the processes of handicraft design, production, and promotion. In addition, the importance of the sector in safeguarding traditional skills and knowledge will be explored,” she added.
According to the Creative Economy Report published by Unesco and UNDP in 2013, the creative economy has been growing at a faster pace than the rest of the economy in a number of countries. To scale up the existing handicraft industry making it marketable and exportable, examples of product design, marketing and branding, access to regional and international markets, as well as economic viability will be presented at the meeting.
The conference will provide a platform for regional and international partners to share their experience and bring in examples from their countries. With testimonies ranging from sustainable craft enterprises to national handicraft awards of excellence, and from craft projects involving youth to marketing success stories, the conference will provide an overarching understanding of the handicraft sector, its challenges and opportunities. Drawing together these components, the conference will develop recommendations and an action plan that will guide the efforts of strengthening the handicraft sector in Qatar.
The conference will start at 8.30am today at Building 15, Katara Cultural Village.

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