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Art Matters Forum - Croatia

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Art Matters Forum on the Role of Documentaries in our Society

Zagreb, Croatia, Saturday, October 24, 2009

I am delighted to be here with you this evening for this Art Matters forum on the role of documentary film in our society.

On the initiative of my husband, filmmaker and philosopher Jean‑Daniel Lafond, who was unable to join us, Art Matters was created as a space for dialogue, sharing and reflection on the arts and culture, and we have held forums not only in Canada, but during our State visits abroad as well.

This is our 41st Art Matters forum, and we are delighted to see the collaborations that have come out of this initiative and the ties that have been forged between participants from every background, be it in Canada, Brazil, Ukraine, Norway or elsewhere.

It is a way for us to exercise what we call cultural diplomacy, that is, to ensure that the arts and culture are opportunities for each of us to share.  

We would like to thank you for having responded to our invitation with such enthusiasm. The fact that you have chosen to take part in this discussion is especially delightful for two reasons.

First, because we are convinced that your contribution to our discussion and the diversity of your experiences will bring a new and entirely relevant perspective to a topic that will allow us to explore the role and place of film in our societies.

Second, because our reflection on cultural issues will add to the already productive dialogue between Croatians and Canadians and to the development of our respective cultural identities.

Jean-Daniel and I both believe that relationships between individuals and populations go beyond mere trade.

We see cultural diversity as an opportunity to come together and enhance the heritage of humanity with our own unique identities.

It is in this spirit that our moderator, Oliver Sertić, and the six panellists of this Art Matters forum will begin the dialogue this evening.

The paths they have travelled are incredibly inspiring, and I am grateful that they have accepted to take on this challenge.

You will then have the opportunity to respond, to share your ideas and viewpoints, as will the Web users who are following the discussion online on Citizen Voices.

Thank you. And now, the floor is yours.