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Tuesday 20 August 2019
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Trini artists craft UNESCO arts policy

Paul Pryce, second from left, and Shari Petti at right, with other delegates at Unesco's International Youth Forum in China.
Paul Pryce, second from left, and Shari Petti at right, with other delegates at Unesco's International Youth Forum in China.

TT film producer Paul Pryce and actor and filmmaker Shari Petti were among a distinguished delegation of 120 delegates from over 85 countries representing TT at the Third International Youth Forum (IYF3) on Creativity and Heritage along the Silk Road, in UNESCO designated creative cities of Changsha and Nanjing, China.

Pryce and Petti joined other artists, entrepreneurs, educators, heritage conservators and arts administrators to share the ways in which the arts are used to advance creativity in innovation, entrepreneurship and heritage preservation in local communities around the world.

The event was organised by UNESCO, the China National Commission for UNESCO, the World Federation of UNESCO Clubs, Centers and Associations and the Chinese Municipal Governments in Changsha and Nanjing between March 31 and April 3.

IYF3 is part of the Chinese government’s national “Belt and Road” Initiative and the cultural “going global” strategy to strengthen exchanges and co-operation with countries along the centuries old Silk Roads.

It is a yearly initiative to bring the brightest young people from around the world to find ways to achieve the UNESCO Sustainable Development Guidelines by 2030.

TT representatives Shari Petti and Paul Pryce at the Unesco global International Youth Forum in China.

Pryce and Petti were joined in China by ten other delegates from the Caribbean; Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, St Kitts & Nevis, the Dominican Republic and Cuba. The Caribbean contingent joined the Caribbean Embassies in Beijing (namely the Embassies of Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Barbados, and the Bahamas) in presenting the inaugural Caribbean Film Festival in Changsha; a five-day festival featuring films from Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago screened at universities across Changsha, China.

Pryce and the Cuban delegate were selected to represent the Caribbean alongside delegates representing Africa, Europe, The Middle East and Asia to draft what was dubbed 'The Changsha Initiative' a global arts policy document that incorporated the recommendations from the rest of the world into a cohesive document that will be presented to United Nations member states later this year.

Asked about his experience at the forum Pryce said: “Being part of the Changsha Initiative was an extraordinary experience in that I was among young world leaders in various disciplines and capacities in the arts from around the world; from Africa, Europe, the Middle East and Asia working with policymakers from UNESCO to harness the feedback and the ideas of our colleagues from the world and hammer out a cohesive document that would be presented to the secretary general and other member nations at the United Nations.”

The Changsha Initiative, is a unique global arts policy document drafted by leading young creatives from around the world meant to encourage governments, enterprises, and schools to provide financial and intellectual support for young people to promote their innovation and entrepreneurship; strengthen the building of platforms that will facilitate communication among young people, and launch international youth projects and competitions to encourage young people to share resources, leverage their strengths, and organise cultural activities in various places.

Pryce went on to say: “It was a very powerful opportunity to be an active participant in affecting change around the world. It was an honor to have been chosen to be a part of the drafting committee of the Changsha Initiative and it reminded me that our size as a country doesn't matter on the world stage but the content of our ideas. Learning about the UNESCO Sustainable Development Guidelines and how young leaders can use our collective genius to transform our communities was a lightning rod of inspiration and has redefined how I will use my work to impact change in TT, the wider Caribbean region and the world.”

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