Terrorism is starting to become a threat of increasingly large proportions and world leaders are responding in different ways regarding this matter. The reaction of the Prime Minister of Italy, Matteo Renzi, in the face of this threat, may surprise many: increasing the national budget for culture.
According to the Financial Times, Renzi has allocated 2 billion euros, of which half will be used to increase security measures in the country and one billion would be spent on cultural programs.
In the Capitoline Museum in Rome, Matteo Renzi said: “What happened in Paris signaled a step-up in the cultural battle that we are living. […]They imagine terror, we answer with culture. They destroy statues, we love art. They destroy books, we are the country of libraries.”
Also, at the 2015 International Conference of Minister of Culture, the prime minister said: “Culture is what makes us more human”, telling the ministers present that they have a great responsibility and that they should join forces to highlight the critical role that culture plays in suporting sustainable development.
As a prerequisite for the future, humanity must unite and protect their culture. This is not only feasible somewhere in a certain area, but must be a collective effort. As Prime Minister Renzi notes: “Culture is our ID card not for the past but because we care for our future”.
In these times, it becomes imperative to promote the appreciation and understanding of the link between cultural heritage and identity, especially among young people of different nationalities and ethnicities.
This will help enhance mutual understanding and to strengthen the knowledge exchanges among cultures, thereby building new forms of ‘cultural diplomacy’.
“Protecting cultural heritage is building bridges and dialogue among cultures” – Irina Bokova, General Director at UNESCO