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2014 Edinburgh International Culture Summit Welcomed NZ

Press Release

24 August, 2014


Chief Executive of the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, Lewis Holden led the New Zealand delegation at the second Edinburgh International Culture Summit, held at the Scottish Parliament last week. New Zealand was one of 25 international government delegations brought together with speakers, arts leaders and culture experts from across the world. The event has been hailed as a great success by participants and delegates, and recognised as a truly global collaboration on the current day role of culture and the arts.

The inspiring programme featured a stellar line-up of speakers including Nandi Mandela, business woman and grand-daughter of Nelson Mandela; Benjamin Barber from the City University of New York, Danielle Cliche, UNESCO - Secretary on Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, and Simon Anholt, the world’s leading authority on national image and reputation, and a world leader on ultra-wide scale human engagement.

An impassioned plea was heard over the three day Summit for recognition of the importance of the arts and cultural contribution to society. In particular there was a call for culture to be placed at the centre of government policy making and a more unified voice for the arts across the world.

The opening ceremony was led by Jordi Savall, world-renowned musician accompanied by Hespèrion XXI musicians. Award-winning a cappella vocal group Ladysmith Black Mambazo, described by Nelson Mandela as South Africa’s cultural ambassadors closed the Summit with an uplifting showpiece on Tuesday 12 August 2014.

Commenting on the Summit, Sir Jonathan Mills, Director of the Edinburgh International Festival and Programme Director of the Edinburgh International Culture Summit, said:

“The theme of the 2014 Summit has been somewhat provocative. At a time when economic systems have become forces unto themselves, and struggle to be perceived as either transparent or trustworthy, the thought that the creative outpouring of our civilizations might fill such an ethical vacuum and become a currency of trust seems appropriate, if a little confronting.

“The Edinburgh International Culture Summit is hosted by a city in which, for almost seventy years, cultural relationships of a most diverse and intense kind have been initiated and nurtured. I hope that from this Summit there will emerge a series of practical recommendations that are sensitive, sensible, and above all achievable.”

Speaking following the event, Lewis Holden said:
“The lively discussion and debate at the Summit underlined just how topical these issues are - how can we better articulate and measure the value of culture, how can we help culture flourish in a world increasingly made up of micro-cities, how can we ensure culture is at the heart of sustainable development. Our delegation found the Summit hugely valuable. We have left with some new insights and practical ideas – and many new international partners to work with”.

-Highlights of the Culture Summit can be found at

-Speeches delivered by the Summit’s guest speakers can be found at


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