Promoting Cultural Diversity through Cultural Heritage (CH) in Cyber Space

18 November 2009 - A Workshop on Diversity in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt


“Cultural and linguistic diversity, while stimulating respect for cultural identity, traditions and religions, is essential to the development of an Information Society based on the dialogue among cultures and regional and international cooperation”, as stated in Chapter 8 of the Plan of Action adopted by the World Summit on the Information Society participants during their first meeting in December 2003, in Geneva. Peoples’ ability to share and access knowledge, to become empowered in knowledge societies and to be able to participate in a digital world, will increasingly depend on the availability of pertinent CH content made accessible through multilingual solutions.
Egypt places high regard in preserving Arabic e-Content that forms the basis of intellectual and cultural inspiration for future generations. Parallel to this is its emphasis on promoting its rich CH among its local population and globally; as a pre requisite for empowerment for the masses. Hence, Egypt aims to develop a high-value Arabic digital content industry that constitutes a base for economic and social development. Among other objectives of the e-content initiative is to increase the accessibility of Arabic online digital content and to create an environment conducive to the sustainable production of Arabic online digital content. Thus the Egyptian society is following with great consideration the discussions around a number of topics that are pertinent to the Egyptian Internet society, including multilingualism, especially multilingual content and internationalized domain names, particularly for Arabic language users as well as content management systems that are designed to accommodate local traditions into “global” human value systems.
The aim of this workshop is to identify and present concrete actions in the area of cultural diversity that governmental and non-governmental players can implement, both on the policy and application level, to achieve a culturally rich multilingual cyberspace. Issues to be discussed include international, regional and national policies, multilingual domain names and digital content in local languages.

The workshop will illustrate stakeholder support for locally developed multilingual cultural content. In line with CULTNAT’s mission, the workshop will focus on cultural diversity and multilingualism from two perspectives:
1. Documenting cultural heritage and availing it online in multiple languages.
2. Building capacities of professionals in the fields of CMS for documentation of cultural and natural heritage using state-of-the-art technologies

Based on Egypt’s e content initiative, the workshop shall also address standards for a multilingual global Internet, exploring the facets of multilingualism in the context of the theme of Diversity, as multilingualism on the Internet is essential for maximizing access to cultural information and general flow of information, ideas and knowledge in cyberspace.

The workshop will encourage the participation of experts from governments, international organizations, academia, the private sector and civil society.