First ACP Group Cultural Festival in Santo Domingo

November 2006 -

acp festival

The festival was a showcase for all disciplines of art – including fashion, photography and film - from the ACP Group of countries, in which 79 countries in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific Ocean participate.

"Our unity and solidarity make it possible for us to nurture our cultural heritages and identities, and to welcome new and innovative impulses to guarantee progress and development." These are the closing words voiced by Assistant Secretary General Andrew Bradley at the end of the first cultural festival organised by the ACP Group, in which 79 countries in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific Ocean participate.

The member states put the cultural festival on the agenda back in 2003. Haiti was to be the host, but the political situation in that country made it necessary to cancel the festival. The event was ultimately held from 14 to 21 October 2006 in various locations in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic.

It was a showcase for all disciplines of art from the ACP countries, including fashion, photography and film. The Museum of Modern Art exhibited work by more than forty artists, including Ingrid Mangwani from Kenya. There was also an exhibition called Design Made inAfrica and a platform for modern dance, with performers from Fiji, Haiti and various African countries. Master classes were also held, including by Germaine Acogny from the Ecole desSables dance academy in Senegal.

The festival also had a serious undertone. The organisers hoped that the professional network of cultural industries in the ACP countries could be strengthened. Thus the festival also boasted an art market and network meetings for artists, cultural organisations and promoters, organised around themes such as 'regional integration and cultural diversity'. The festival followed a two-day conference attended by the member states' Ministers of Culture, during which the importance of the part culture plays in development was reconfirmed and the 2003 Dakar Declaration was reinforced with a new resolution.