‘Creativity is Our Hope’: A Wider Perspective on Creativity
Introduction In 2006, the United Nations Educational, Scientiﬁ c and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) held its ﬁ rst World Conference on Arts Education in Lisbon, Portugal, entitled Building Creative Competencies for the 21st Century . The conference, which was attended by 1200 participants from 97 member states, reported the ﬁ ndings from four preparatory Regional Conferences held in 2005 (for delegates from Asia and the Eastern Paciﬁ c; the Caribbean; Latin America; and Europe and North America) and also presented two national case studies on Mali and Oman. The UNESCO conference concluded with a report based on an international expert meeting, held in Australia in 2005 (UNESCO 2006 : 4). The UNESCO conference was, then, truly global in its participants and also in its message, and the Director-General’s proclamation that ‘Creativity is our hope’ captured the urgency of the conference proceedings (UNESCO 2006 : 5). But why, we might ask, had the international community come to place such a high value on creativity? The answer to this question may be found in the conference Working Document (UNESCO 2006 ). Here, the four regional reports from their diverse, multicultural nations identify common tensions between cultural identity and economic and social well-being at the dawn of the twenty-ﬁ rst century.