(Presidente del Consejo Asesor del Instituto para la Diplomacia Cultural; exPresidente de Ecuador)
Por Alberto Aznar Traval, Instituto para la Diplomacia Cultural.
A continuación, compartimos un mensaje de Alfredo Palacio, ex-Presidente de Ecuador y Presidente & Chairman del Consejo Asesor del Instituto para la Diplomacia Cultural, donde explica su visión sobre qué es y qué puede aportar la Diplomacia Cultural en la actualidad.
Entre otras ideas, el ex-Presidente Palacio señala, por una parte, la importancia de la ciencia y la tecnología para el siglo XXI. Y, por otra, señala la necesidad y la complejidad de los nuevos retos a los que nos enfrenteamos con la globalización.
Además, el ex-Presidente Palacio reflexiona sobre la función del ‘poder blando’ y el intercambio cultural como puntos de encuentro y desarrollo compartido entre los diferentes pueblos y naciones.
Reflections on Cultural Diplomacy by Dr. Alfredo Palacio (Former President of Ecuador; President & Chairman of the ICD Advisory Board)
By Alberto Aznar Traval, Institute for Cultural Diplomacy.
Next, we share a message of Alfredo Palacio, former President of Ecuador and President & Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy, explaining his views on what Cultural Diplomacy means to him, and the effects it has today.
President Palacio first points out the importance of science and technology for the 21st Century, as well as the need and complexity of the new challenges of globalization we currently facing. Additionally, President Palacio reflects on the role of soft power and cultural exchange as points of contact and shared development between people and nations.
Here you can find a complete transcription of his speech:
Dear Colleagues, Ladies, and Gentlemen,
Our technically-advanced civilization has the disproportionate inequality of any time in human history. There are two shames of our time, growing as quickly as the distance between them: the shame of extreme wealth and the shame of extreme poverty. The rich minority grows slowly, while the vast majority of the poor grows in waves. But in no area are inequalities more dramatic and cruel than in health and disease, life and death. Never more vulnerable is the human species than when the unhealthy have to face the test of disease.
The Twentieth Century was the era of infectious diseases and pandemics with huge mortalities in the poorest countries of the earth. The Twentieth Century was also a time of epidemiological transitions to chronic diseases with a high initial impact on developed societies. However, in a short time, the mortality of the new pandemic spread out uncontrollably in the populations of the poor countries. Historically,- no matter what century or continent- epidemics, diseases, global policies, economic curses, economical crises, natural disasters, or any war in the world, were always more severe and lethal in the world’s poor majorities.
The ugly scars of inequality increasingly disfigure the face of the planet, a prophetic example to show that inequalities of the Twenty-first Century remain, bearing the burden of disease and mortality. The year 2005 saw fifty-seven million deaths worldwide. Sixty percent of them, which means thirty-four million, were caused by four chronic diseases: cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and respiratory disease, more so than infectious diseases including three major ones: malaria, HIV/AIDS, and tuberculosis.
The historical inequalities continue dividing the wall between the haves and the have-nots. Literally today we face the same Shakespeare dilemma: to be or not to be, to have or not have- that is still the very same question. Nevertheless, we are still spending astronomical amounts of money on weapons and army forces, while very little resources are invested in health and the preservation of life. But inequality in opportunities to preserve life and health is just the final expression of a global system so full of deformities that produce only subordinate, unchained inequalities that are difficult to eradicate individually.
In the “2012 International Symposium on Cultural Diplomacy – Political & Economic Inequalities: Bridging the Gap Between Sectors,” we will discuss new approaches to the problem. Prestigious speakers from all over the world will propose different types of resolutions and approaches to creating a solid bridge to overcome these gaps. I personally think that our globalized world of today must create bridges over the following great gaps:
- Knowledge, scientific, and technological gap
- Capital gap
- Competitive gap
- Property gap
- Gap of world trade
- Gap between blocks
However, I maintain my old and known position; the world has to obey in the first place the laws of biology, the laws of life.
Dear friends of the whole world: we hope to see you in Berlin this June. Or shall I say, dear brothers, because together, we may start a new brotherhood.
To see the video: please click here