The Turkish city of Izmir is getting ready to host the 4th UCLG Culture Summit. Co-organized by Izmir Metropolitan Municipality and UCLG, the launch of the Summit kicked off with the opening speeches of Emilia Saiz, UCLG Secretay General; Dr. Mohamed Boudra, UCLG President, and Tunç Soyer, Mayor of Izmir. During her speech, Saiz pointed out: “The right to culture, the capacity to discover, create, share, and enjoy culture will be critical to the kind of transformation our world needs. Cultural component will be crucial part of the Pact for the Future.” UCLG President Dr. Mohamed Boudra argued that cultural rights are essential in the safeguarding of freedoms for all, and therefore, these rights must shape public policies at all levels, including city and local government strategies in the long-term.
At the opening session, Mayor Tunc Soyer expressed his happiness for hosting the Summit and underlined that they will promote culture as the fourth pillar of development and a core component of global solidarity. After the opening speeches, a conversation on the Cultural Impact of Covid-19 was held, where Lourdes Arizpe, Assistant Director-General for Culture at UNESCO, Paris; Pierluigi Sacco, Senior Adviser at OECD; and Assoc. Prof. Serhan Ada, Head of Arts and Cultural Management Department at the Bilgi University, addressed the concepts of culture, creativity, and knowledge in urban life.
After the messages delivered by the musician Anıl Acar and author and journalist Ece Temelkuran on the occasion of the event, zeybek, a Turkish folk dance, was performed to an Aegean folk song, and a piece from traditional folk music rebetiko was played by a local orchestra. Juan María Aburto, Mayor of Bilbao from Spain; Won Hee-ryong, Governor of Jeju from Japan; Enrique Avogadro, Minister of Culture of Buenos Aires; and Catarina Vaz-Pinto, Deputy Mayor on Culture of Lisbon shared their thoughts on the Summit. Nidai Güngördü, Mayor of Kyrenia from the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and President of UCLG-MEWA Committee on Culture and Tourism, took the floor and said that we can make use of the power of culture and art to connect and bring people together at the Culture Summit. Lastly, during his closing speech, UCLG-MEWA Secretary General Mehmet Duman reiterated his belief that the 4th UCLG Culture Summit to take place in Izmir will reemphasize the central role of culture in sustainable development and help facilitate the coordination between culture and other areas such as tourism, environment, and social inclusion.