Council on Cultural and Social Affairs
Letter from the Director
I’m Clare, your chair for the Hungarian Cabinet and Cultural and Social Affairs Council at YMGE 2018. I’m a sophomore Political Science major from Hopkinton, Massachusetts and thrilled to be in the beautiful city of Budapest and to spend this conference with you all. In addition to YMGE, I also work on Security Council Simulation at Yale (SCSY,) Yale’s college-level crisis conference, and will chair for YMUN, Yale’s on-campus Model United Nations conference in January. Outside of YIRA and classes, I work with Yale Refugee Project advising local refugees through their employment application process. In addition, I tutor for RISE (Refugee and Immigrant Student Education,) working with a group of New Haven middle school students who have recently immigrated from Spanish-speaking countries. I also report for The Globalist, an undergraduate foreign affairs magazine, am part of the Yale College Democrats, and perform contemporary and jazz dances with Danceworks. I’m so excited to chair the Hungarian Cabinet and discuss an issue of immense importance to me and to the global community. We are living amidst one of the greatest migration crises in history, and the political decisions made by European leaders in this critical moment will powerfully influence the lives of refugees and displaced people as well as the political, cultural, racial, and economic future of the area. I can’t wait to meet you all and engage in dialogue around some critical problems and debates currently happening around the country, continent, and world. Hopefully, we can all work together to create an educational, memorable, and engaging YMGE experience :).
The Council for Cultural and Social Affairs was established in 1950 under the European Union. It deals mainly with crises, devising solutions for their short- and long-term causes and consequences. The council’s policy goals include frameworks for member cooperation and long term plans for growth in cultural and social sectors. The council’s areas of interest include but are not limited to education, minority rights, cultural preservation, youth and gender empowerment, and equality of opportunity. The council pays close attention to the quality of life for citizens in member countries, as well as the unique needs of those outside of citizenship such as migrants, refugees, and internally-displaced people. The council’s platform for growth is centered on inclusive policymaking and enforcement and assuring safety of expression and life. By working towards securing human rights in all environments, the CSA reinforces the idea of social and economic equity in an increasingly diverse world. The council aims for poverty reduction, efficient and humane crisis management, and ultimately increased economic and social equity and mobility. While considering the material and economic factors of growth, the council’s scope goes beyond the basic material needs of all humans to lay the foundation for global social cooperation and prioritized protection of human dignity.
In specific, the Cultural Affairs Committee prepares the work of EU ministers for culture in a wide range of areas relating to EU cultural cooperation and cultural cooperation between the EU and non-EU countries. It also discusses legislative proposals such as the European capitals of culture, the European heritage label, the Creative Europe program, and the Europe for Citizens program. The main framework for EU cooperation in the culture field is set in the multi-annual work plan for culture prepared by the Cultural Affairs Committee and adopted by EU culture ministers. The work plan for culture 2015-2018 focuses in particular on accessible and inclusive culture, cultural heritage, creative economy and innovation, promotion of cultural diversity, and culture in EU external relations and mobility.
The EU's role in the culture area is specified in the Article 167 of the Treaty of the Functioning of the EU. The department's activities in this area are framed by the European Agenda for Culture, which aims to reinforce the role and position of culture in an increasingly globalised world. The department develops evidence-based policy and manages initiatives in support of Europe's cultural heritage. As the executive arm of the EU, the European Commission is accountable to the European Parliament - more specifically, in this area, to its Education and Culture Committee. The department's main responsibilities in the field of culture are to ensure policy development and dialogue in the field of culture as well as support cultural and creative industries and professionals. In the past few years, the European Commission has focused on implementing the European Agenda for Culture, which is regularly reviewed to provide a measure of progress. Until the Creative Europe programme was launched, the department operated predominantly through the Culture programme (2007-2013), which supported Europe's cultural diversity and heritage, and the MEDIA (2007-2013) and MEDIA Mundus (2011-2013) programmes, which support the audiovisual industry.
The council has also commissioned a variety of studies, reports, and statistical surveys to contribute to international dialogue and cooperation in the field of culture. Individual EU Member States are responsible for their own culture sector policies, but the role of the European Commission is to help address common challenges, such as the impact of the digital shift, changing models of cultural governance, and the need to support the innovation potential of the cultural and creative sectors. The Commission also aims to promote cultural diversity, protect cultural heritage, and ease obstacles to mobility for cultural professionals. They support the contribution of cultural and creative industries to boosting growth and jobs across the EU, in line with the principles of the current agenda The Commission has now proposed a New European Agenda for Culture. The New Agenda acknowledges the evolution of the cultural sector and focuses on the positive contribution that culture makes to Europe’s societies, economies and international relations. It also lays out enhanced working methods with the Member States, civil society and international partners. The New Agenda provides the framework for the next phase of cooperation at EU level, which will start in 2019. Member States define the main topics and working methods for policy collaboration on culture, through Work Plans for Culture adopted in the Council of Ministers. A new Work Plan for Culture is due to be adopted by EU Culture Ministers to start in 2019. The culture sector is, increasingly, a source of job creation, contributing to growth in Europe. It is also an excellent area for promoting social inclusion and supporting cultural diversity. The Agenda contributes to both the 10 priorities of the European Commission for 2014-2019 and satisfying Europe's commitments to international agreements, such as the United Nations Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. Program funding is complemented by peer learning activities between EU Member State governments (through the Open Method of Coordination) and between cities and regions, as well as regular reports and studies, and data-gathering designed to provide up-to-date, relevant information on the culture sector and the economy of culture. Further policy measures and priorities are identified through international cultural cooperation, specifically in the form of discussions with Member States and regular progress reviews on the implementation of the Agenda for Culture. On June 8, 2016, the Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy adopted a Joint Communication Towards an EU strategy for international cultural relations. Additional working methods include expert groups, thematic seminars convened by the Commission, studies, informal meetings of officials from Ministries of Culture and Ministries of Foreign Affairs, and conferences such as the biennial European Culture Forum. In this council session, ministers will examine the ways in which ongoing crises threaten social dynamics and the cooperation, preservation, and sustainability of the diverse history and culture of the EU countries.