[24 October 2008 - International Centre for Creativity and Imagination - Willimantic, Connecticut, USA] Town of Windham First Selectman Jean de Smet and Willimantic resident Steven Dahlberg will participate in multiple sessions at the World Cultural Economic Forum (WCEF) in New Orleans, Louisiana, on October 30 and 31. The WCEF will bring together cultural ambassadors and leaders from around the world to explore ways of building cultural economic development opportunities. It is hosted by Louisiana Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu and the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism.
"Leaders from more than 50 countries are coming to Louisiana to take part in the WCEF," said Lt. Governor Landrieu. "Some of the world's brightest minds will be in New Orleans, dialoguing about best practices for growing cultural industries as a part of our global economy. Together, we will build economic opportunities by supporting creative and cultural industries such as food, film, music and art."
De Smet will represent Willimantic's stories of creativity and success in a panel on "Strategies for Developing Creative Industries," along with panelists from The Netherlands, Sweden, Romania, Ghana, South Africa, France and Ireland. This group will address programs and policies that support a productive cultural economy. They will share how countries and communities can address cultural economic development in all areas of the cultural economy – design, entertainment (film, music, live entertainment, and performing arts), literary arts and humanities, visual arts, culinary arts, and historic preservation.
Dahlberg, who heads the Willimantic-based International Centre for Creativity and Imagination, will chair a panel on "Engaging Creative Communities." This session will explore what creativity is, what it looks like in communities, how communities can engage citizens' creativity in shaping the community, and the poetry of cities. De Smet also will participate with panelists from Maine, New Orleans and England.
The WCEF includes three components: a two-day forum for world cultural economy leaders to explore best practices for growing cultural industries, a World Bazaar and Marketplace featuring artisans and vendors from around the world and across Louisiana, and more than 100 cultural Passport Events held across the state throughout October to showcase Louisiana's unique culture and heritage.
"We are delighted to sponsor the World Cultural Economic Forum in New Orleans this year," said Secretary Stephen Moret of Louisiana Economic Development. "The World Cultural Economic Forum provides Louisiana an opportunity to showcase its many assets to cultural economy leaders from around the world. The relationships we build with these leaders can yield investments in our economy for years to come."
World leaders from Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Denmark, Greece, France, Iraq, Italy, Mexico, Morocco, The Netherlands, Pakistan, St. Vincent & The Grenadines, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom will be among those represented at the WCEF.
George Pataki, former governor of the state of New York, and Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres, culture ambassador for the European Union, are among those leading sessions during the two-day Forum.
More about the WCEF