Some 200 culture officials from across the hemisphere will gather in Barbados next month as the island hosts the Fourth Inter-American Meeting of Ministers of Culture and the Highest Appropriate Authorities of the Organization of American States.

The high-level biennial meeting is scheduled to take place on Thursday, November 20 and Friday, November 21, 2008 at the Sherbourne Conference Centre.

This was announced recently at the Organization of American States (OAS) in Washington where Barbadian Permanent Representative, Ambassador Michael King and OAS Assistant Secretary General Albert Ramdin signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the hosting of the event.

The two-day meeting, which is being convened under the auspices of the Inter-American Council for Integral Development, aims to promote hemispheric policy dialogue and consensus on priority topics on the public policy agenda for culture.

Ambassador King, while stressing the importance of cultural industries in the economic development of countries, said his government was pleased to host such a ministerial event.

He observed that culture provides an opportunity for persons to be creative and innovative and to explore alternative ways to develop income-generating programmes.

The Barbadian envoy noted that Barbados was looking forward to hosting the Ministers of Culture meeting, which could be an opportunity for hemispheric governments and countries to develop strong cultural policy and programmes for the benefit of citizens.

Assistant Secretary General Ramdin also remarked on the importance of culture to the economies of the hemisphere, noting that Barbados and the Caribbean had a lot to offer in this area.

He added that the results of the meeting would feed into the Summit of the Americas process and the deliberations would assist the OAS in seeing how it could support member states in the culture sector.

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