The World Needs a World Culture Festival to Restore its Balance

By Yvonne Feri, Member of Swiss Parliament

Cultural diversity is like a colorful bouquet of flowers, something beautiful. Monocultures cannot flourish and are simply boring. We need to learn from and apply the historically charged treasure trove of experiences of different cultures, philosophers or religions. However, we must also ask ourselves whether that is enough. The challenges are immense.

According to the World Bank, amongst an approximate world population of 7.3 billion people more than 2 billion live in poverty. The tendency persists unabated, that the richest keep getting richer and the poor get poorer.

One percent of the world population owns more wealth than the rest of the world together. According to the FAO, 800 million people do not have enough food in the world, and some 2 billion people are suffering from malnutrition, which is likely to increase as a result of climate change.

The biodiversity has suffered greatly according to the WWF since the 1970s. The number of mammals, birds, reptiles and fish has since halved on average. The stock of large edible fish and predators has declined by 90 percent. According to WHO, more than half of all fish stocks are considered fished to the biological limit. Every minute forest areas as large as 36 football fields are disappearing, which also affects the climate.

The global land degradation and the waste in the West is progressing as well as the land-grabbing. Meanwhile, free trade agreements are in the pipeline as TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership), CETA (Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement), TPP (Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership) or TISA (Trade in Services Agreement). And meanwhile arms manufacturers make a turnover of annually around 400 billion dollars.

Recently, with the progressive digitization we are talking also of a fourth industrial revolution. Robotics, computer technology, digitalization and artificial intelligence will create combined new jobs, but mainly destroy existing. The list of developments, problems and challenges is long, and that which is clearly missing is the big picture. We intensively discuss individual aspects, we continue to function with the concept of the enemy and are at the same time prisoners of the financial industry.

Like this we will not get on. The Big Picture, the discussion of the commonalities and new values are the need of the hour. And we may as well own up: Previous concepts cannot accomplish the restoring of a sustainable balance in the world. More than half of the countries of the globe are corrupt and do not respect human rights. Local, regional or geopolitical conflicts and wars fomented for raw materials or other interests, and even larger refugee flows are emerging.
This plugs opportunities for the people of today and for future generations. On freedom, equal opportunities in education, equality between women and men, social achievements, solidarity and the respect for nature, of which we are a part, we must be able to agree. Human rights are non-negotiable!

Since discriminatory and exclusionary values or superstition have failed, they may be thrown overboard: You do us no good at the edge of the abyss. This requires global values that put human dignity and nature back into the center. It needs a new definition of satisfaction and contentment, from which all -- and not only individuals -- benefit.

And that is exactly why it needs a big festival, a World Culture Festival, in which people from all over the world peacefully come together, discuss the big picture and design it together.


Courtesy: The Huffington Post