Thursday, May 04, 2006

Thinking of Tom Galvin as New Creative Cities Become Part of the UNESCO Network; Sad about the Ambassador. A Librarian at the Kitchen Table. No. 352.

When UNESCO news comes up I think of former ALA President and Executive Director, Tom Galvin. In 1980 Dr. Galvin was appointed by the secretary of state to the United States National Commission on UNESCO.When Reagan pulled the U.S. out of UNESCO in 1984 Tom Galvin was one of the most passionate voices speaking for us to stay. I believe that the U.S. lost much of its status as an international cultural force during Reagan and Bush I. Now that we have returned to UNESCO it will be a challenge for librarians to participate in programs like Creative Cities. The U.S. has lost so much by our heedless bullying of the world. Librarians foster understanding of world cultures by going where music, art and literature take us regardless of politicians. Prior to Bush II's appointment the UNESCO ambassador, Louise V. Oliver, was president of the controversial political action committee founded by former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, GOPAC. She is also listed as an emeritus director of the Independent Women's Forum (IWF), a Washington-based group of mainly far-right Republican women who often take positions opposed to grassroots feminist organizations, such as the National Organization of Women (NOW) and the League of Women Voters (LWV).

Amidst this cronyism librarians can fight for UNESCO's true purpose. Again, we need to change the people at the table. No cronies.

The Creative Cities Network connects creative cities so that they can share experiences, know-how, training in business skills and technology. Cities may apply to be endorsed by the Network and join the programme to ensure their continued role as centres of excellence and to support other cities, particularly those in developing countries, in nurturing their own creative economy.

On March 30,2006 Sevilla was named UNESCO’s first City of Music.

Santa Fe, New Mexico (U.S.A.) was appointed first UNESCO City of Folk Art in July 2005.

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