The european commitment to cultural diversity is there a strength and an opportunity for those evangelising the arts of Africa

Robert Madelin, Director-General of Directorate General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology, European Commission

What is your mission as Director-General of DG Connect?

We are a thousand public servants from all over Europe, dedicated to creating a better Europe for all citizens by researching, innovating ans developing digital opportunities and digital solutions.

Who were the biggest inspirations for your career?

My inspiring political leaders from Netherlands, UK, France, Belgium, Germany. My parents and teachers. My colleagues.

Today there are those in Europe who don’t understand the vital importance of innovation?

In Europe, we have always been innovators, makers and curious explorers, as well as eager consumers of the best that the planet has to offer to man: today, we still have all those qualities, but we are perhaps more fearful, even in cases where there is nothing to fear: so we need to balance our principle of precaution with an Innovation Principle, ensuring that responsible and good innovators find a rapid and easy welcome in EU markets.

How can innovation help European citizen?

Tomorrow’s innovation will offer better learning for our children, better health and health care and cures for all, more and better jobs and the prospect of advancing as humankind, in partnership with all continents.

In what way does EU can contribute to the understanding and promotion of African culture?

European researchers, entrepreneurs and citizens remain fascinated with Africa: always something new out of Africa, as in the days of the roman Republic. Too much, alas, Africa is also seen from Europe as a place of avoidable suffering and deep-rooted poverty, which Europe also wants to help eradicate, but does not always do well. I see the best of Europe in a continued interest in African arts, in African history and in africa’s plans for itself.

Africart Org mission is to promote the development of Africa counteracting the lack of information about the high quality of its art and culture: what do you think about this topic?

I believe that the sharing of culture is a crucial road to mutual awareness, understanding and solidarity: we must offer positive experiences to children in every primary school, so that they know the beauty of the music and the plastic arts before they become overwhelmed with negative media and in case they have no direct early opportunity to meet Africa and Africans for themselves. At the same time, we must avoid allowing African culture to be seen as a single soup, any more than we would want European cuisines, for example, to be seen as the same! The european commitment to cultural diversity is there a strength and an opportunity for those evangelising the arts of Africa.

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