NEW YORK.- World Culture Open (WCO) is both an organization and a biennial people-centered "cultural Olympics", the first of which takes place this September with awards, competitions, demonstrations, concerts, galas , youth conference, seminars and other events open to all. The World Culture Open 2004 begins in New York City from September 8 to 10, then continues in Korea from September 11 to 19 in Seoul (South), Pyongyang (North), and Panmunjom (in the area that currently separates North and South). This twelve day event is designed to celebrate, explore and share the diversity of the world’s cultures and the unique contribution each makes to achieving harmony and peace. The combined participants in all locations include traditional dancers and musicians from every region of the world; ministers of culture from both developed and developing nations; practitioners of holistic wellbeing who encompass mind, body and spirit; and, non-governmental organizations devoted to humanitarian service.
The highlight of the New York City portion of the World Culture Open 2004 is the WCO Awards Ceremony that takes place in Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall on September 9. Three individuals or groups will be honored for excellence in the creative arts, holistic wellbeing and humanitarian service, each further distinguished by having used these endeavors to make a tangible contribution to building a world of peace and harmony within their communities, their nations or beyond. The evening will feature traditional music, dance and movement from around the world, along with a number of special guests.
The WCO Diversity Festival in New York City is a three day event from September 8 to 10. On the first day, the performers in the WCO Awards Ceremony will give evening Community Concerts hosted by a local community, cultural or ethnic organization--each performing group paired with a local organization of different ethnic or regional origins, or a different artistic style.
On September 9 and 10, the WCO Diversity Festival becomes an open air Global Village in Damrosch Park at Lincoln Center--created by a wide range of cultural, ethnic, holistic and community organizations from the Manhattan area. Five tented pavilions representing the regions of the world will each have a daylong program of performances, demonstrations, workshops and displays designed for the public to experience firsthand the cultural traditions from the region--how people express themselves through the arts, how they achieve holistic balance, health and wellbeing, and how they reach out to help others through humanitarian service. Each pavilion will also have food and crafts for sale from the region. On the permanent outdoor stage in Damrosch Park a day-long schedule of performers will include the groups who will be performing for the Awards Ceremony.
On September 10 at the United Nations, distinguished representatives from the UN, government, academia, the arts, holistic wellbeing and humanitarian service will join UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan for a WCO Seminar. Participants will explore the future of World Culture Open and the role of culture as a tool for shaping a future that is peaceful, harmonious and balanced--for individuals, societies and between societies. With the same agenda and some overlap of attendees, a WCO Culture Ministers Luncheon takes place the same day, with culture ministers coming from every region of the world.
Participating organizations in the World Culture Open 2004 include UNESCO, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA); Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO); World Conference of Religions for Peace (WCRP); New York Open Center; Center for the Study of Global Issues at the University of Georgia; and the International Center for Transcultural Education at the University of Maryland.