Transcultura: A new paradigm for cultural integration between Cuba, the Caribbean and the European Union
By making use of the creative spirit and multiculturalism of the Caribbean to promote socio-economic development and deepen sub-regional integration, UNESCO and the European Union promote the Transcultura Programme: Integrating Cuba, the Caribbean and the European Union through Culture and Creativity, which will be implemented over the next three and a half years.
Transcultura is implemented by the UNESCO Regional Office for Culture in Latin America and the Caribbean in alliance with key partners in Cuba and the Caribbean, The Programme receives the financial support of 15 million Euros from the European Union, as well as the cooperation of the UNESCO Cluster Office for the Caribbean, based in Kingston, the UNESCO Office in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and the EU delegations in the Caribbean.
By building capacity, creating opportunities for decent employment and entrepreneurship in the cultural and creative industries, the Programme will enable Caribbean youth to become agents of socio-economic development in their countries and communities.
The establishment of a Regional Cultural Training Hub, consisting of educational institutions of renown, will place at the disposal of potential beneficiaries free courses on a wide range of topics.
Transcultura also promotes exchanges between the Programme’s 17 beneficiary countries and between these and Europe. Artists, young entrepreneurs and civil society organizations from Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago, will play a leading role in integration and synergy initiatives aimed at strengthening the contributions of cultural and creative industries to the development and dynamism of the region’s economy.
Through this network of exchanges and twinnings, new mechanisms for triangular cooperation will be created encouraging the participation of innovative socio-cultural projects in the sustainable development of the Member States of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM) and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).
The Programme will also promote the development of incubator programmes that will be key to transforming knowledge into entrepreneurship and will facilitate the beneficiaries’ access to new markets, management models and funding sources, both within the region and in the European context.
Although the image of the Caribbean, beyond its borders, is marked by the attraction of a mild climate and crystal-clear beaches, culture and heritage have much to offer in diversifying tourism in its countries, especially after the reordering that the tourism industry demands in a post-COVID-19 world.
The Programme will sponsor strategies to promote more sustainable and responsible forms of tourism, which allow visitors to discover the cultural resources of the Caribbean, in greater harmony with its natural wealth. Dialogue processes and concerted actions between relevant regional partners such as tour operators, travel agencies, cultural heritage sites, the private sector, local communities, among others, will be supported.
With such an array of expectations, Transcultura aims to bring about a positive change in the lives of thousands of young people in the Caribbean; build long-lasting bridges, overcome language barriers and show the potential of culture when placed at the centre of development strategies as its essence and banner.
Katherine Müller-Marín, Director of the UNESCO Regional Office for Culture in Latin America and the Caribbean, referred to the promise of these noble efforts, saying,