On 4, 5 and 6 December, the EU-LAC Foundation, in close collaboration with the National Institute of Fine Arts and Literature of Mexico (INBAL), organised the 14th EU-LAC Reflection Forum "Challenges and Opportunities for the Construction of a Common Agenda for Cultural Cooperation between Latin America, the Caribbean and the European Union". The Seminar "International Cultural Cooperation in a Changing Scenario: Building a shared agenda between Latin America, the Caribbean and the European Union" was also held. These meetings were conceived as a space for cultural managers, public authorities and members of civil society to come together to promote dialogue and in-depth reflection on the intersection of culture and development in the current scenario and the dynamics of cooperation between Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean.
The Seminar addressed the necessity of updating the concepts and strategies of cultural cooperation between Latin America, the Caribbean and the European Union, as discussed at the III EU-CELAC Summit. With the active participation of representatives from 24 countries from both regions, a collaborative process was carried out with the aim of strengthening and developing proposals for this cooperation.
At the opening, Lucina Jiménez, Director General of INBAL, welcomed the participants and stressed the importance of creating platforms that reconfigure current forms of international cultural cooperation. Leire Pajín, President of the EU-LAC Foundation, stressed that culture is a fundamental axis of development and links between the societies of Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean.
Closing the event, Gautier Mignot, Ambassador of the European Union to Mexico, said: "The bridges between European and Latin American and Caribbean cultures are the ones that unite us most. Our common history and values are reflected in our literature, music and visual arts". In addition, the Executive Director of the EU-LAC Foundation, Dr Adrián Bonilla, highlighted the close cultural ties that underpin the bi-regional partnership and reaffirmed the commitment to renew and strengthen these links, as agreed at the III EU-CELAC Summit.
The XIV Forum of Reflection promoted dialogue and produced systematised information for dissemination, with a significant potential impact on public policies and decision-makers. Dr Bonilla stressed the importance of considering culture as an essential component of development, as a central pillar for uniting societies around the diversity of expressions. Likewise, Dr Lucina Jiménez underlined that at a time when public cultural policies need to be rethought, the Forum posed the challenge of reflecting and shaping the future of cultural practices in a meaningful way.
Juan Patricio Riveroll Mendoza, Executive Director General of Cultural and Tourism Diplomacy at the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs, highlighted Mexico as a country in transition that is projecting itself firmly into the future thanks to the vitality of its cultures and arts. He underlined the importance of this 14th Forum of Reflection as a bilateral space for cooperation that contributes to the development and promotion of Mexican cultural diplomacy.
Both events brought together a diverse range of participants committed to international cultural cooperation, providing an opportunity to reflect on and shape the future of cultural practices, and to highlight the importance of the field and its good practices for society and development.