U.S. Department of Art & Technology

Press Secretary

For Immediate Release: May 24, 2002


WASHINGTON, DC - The World Mediation Summit will be convened under the theme "Artist as Mediator on the World Stage." Organized by the US Department of Art & Technology, the World Mediation Summit will be held at the Goethe-Institut Inter Nationes, the German Cultural Center in Washington, DC, on Wednesday, June 19, 2002 at 7pm. The scheduling of the event has been timed to honor the opening of Documenta 11 in Kassel, Germany, which this year is concerned with socially engaged "platforms" that explore the public communicative process.

It is in this spirit that the World Mediation Summit has been conceived, a "ceremonial cultural exchange" between the arts and government, held in the nation's capital as a signal of the cultural community's determination to tackle head-on the extraordinary challenges faced by the world after the attacks of September 11th. The World Mediation Summit will contribute to shaping a new vision for the global agenda by intensifying cultural dialogue between the arts communities and those responsible for responding to and mediating world crises.

"We intend to present to the U.S. Department of State a proclamation collectively authored by members of the arts communities, introducing imaginative methodologies and techniques of artistic mediation that could help us better cope with the fragility of our times," said Randall M. Packer, Secretary of the US Department of Art & Technology. According to Packer, "it is our hope that the World Mediation Summit will herald a new era of international dialogue between the arts and government to help establish a peaceful, more culturally-engaged world, and to redefine the role of the artist as a mediator whose reflections, ideas, sensibilities, and abilities can take significant action on the world stage."

With the World Mediation Summit, the US Department of Art & Technology - on behalf of its staff - is renewing its commitment to facilitating the artist's need to extend aesthetic inquiry into the broader political culture where ideas become real action. Packer states, "We see it as a way of moving toward a 'virtuous circle' of greater interaction between the transformational nature of the artist's voice and other sectors of society."

Participating at the World Mediation Summit will be artists and staff of the US Department of Art & Technology, including: Secretary Packer, Deputy Secretary, Jeff Gates, Envoy Plenipotentiary to the European Union, Middle East and Latin America, William Gilcher, Chief of Protocol, Alice Denney, as well as arts-activist Roberto Bedoya, former director of the National Association of Artists Organizations. Additionally, cultural officials from at least six nations will be attending including: Austria, Belgium, Egypt, France, Italy and Spain. The U.S. Department of State has been invited to send a representative to receive the proclamation.

The World Mediation Summit is focused around four major challenges that the arts communities are proposing the US Government consider in its war on terrorism:

1. To deepen its attentiveness to the richness and complexity of the world's many distinct cultures, particularly in areas of conflict;
2. to avoid what is being perceived in the world as a tone of aggression;
3. to adopt and project a nuanced view of the world's social conditions beyond a misleading division into "good and evil;"
4. to reiterate the value and power of meaningful cultural dialogue as part of an effective overall foreign policy.

The World Mediation Summit represents a fresh perspective for confronting the complex problems that face diplomatic efforts in an increasingly complex and global society, by creating an environment that maximizes opportunities for interaction and debate. The artist is a largely untapped, yet powerful force for understanding and resolving differences that have led to recent acts of terrorism and aggression.

"The incredible enthusiasm we have seen from our participants is very encouraging," - said Secretary Packer." We are bringing together an extraordinary collection of people, in extraordinary times, this could truly be an historic opportunity to advance the role of the artist, as well as the importance of cultural exchange that is so fundamental to improving the human and social condition of our world."

Special reports, press releases, and speeches will be posted on the Department's Web site following the Summit, at http://www.usdept-arttech.net

For additional information and to RSVP, call the Goethe-Institut at 202.289.1200 x178.


The US Department of Art and Technology is the principal conduit for facilitating the artist's need to extend aesthetic inquiry into the broader culture where ideas become real action. It also serves the psychological and spiritual well-being of all Americans by supporting cultural efforts that provide immunity from the extension of new media technologies into the social sphere.

US Department of Art & Technology: http://www.usdept-arttech.net

Contact: Press Secretary of the US Department of Art & Technology



Return to the Department of Art and Technology news releases

U.S. Department of Art and Technology, Washington, DC, USA