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The Minister of State for External Affairs and Culture, Smt. Meenakashi Lekhi interacting with media at Bhubaneswar, in Odisha on May 17, 2023.

Culture connects; it can be a way of engagement to bring everyone together: Meenakashi Lekhi

Bhubaneswar:17/5/23:The 2nd Culture Working Group (CWG) meetings discussion sessions came to a close on  May 16, 2023. The delegates participated in the discussion sessions focusing on the 3rd and 4th priority areas outlined by the CWG: ‘Promotion of Cultural and Creative Industries and Creative Economy’ and Leveraging Digital Technologies for the Protection and Promotion of Culture. The discussions offered valuable insights, which are expected to culminate into tangible and action-oriented recommendations that have the potential to shape the cultural sector and concerning policy frameworks globally.

The first two sessions of the CWG meeting witnessed the delivery of statements by the delegates, followed by an open discussion on the third and fourth priority areas. Minister of State for Culture and External Affairs Smt Meenakashi Lekhi concluded the second session of the day with a special address. The concluding session outlined details and the timeline concerning the working process of the Culture Working Group going forward.

In her interaction with the media, Echoing Prime Minister’s desire to take India to greater heights during the Amrit Kaal i.e. 25 years from now, the Minister said, India has to work really had to regain the position it once used to be in. Underlining the cohesive nature of culture, the Minister said, “Culture can be a way of engagement to bring everyone together especially at a time when a lot of stress and strain are showing up. Stating “Culture Connects”, the Minister said that for the first time in G-20 Culture working group has been created as a separate group. She said when G-20 talks about harmony and peace, culture is something one needs to look at. She expressed happiness that the second culture working group meeting was held in the state of Odisha or Utkal, which transliterates into Utkarsh Kala ki Bhumi, which means the land of glorious art and culture.

n 16th May, 2023, the delegates were taken for a specially curated visit to the Konark Sun Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site which is located in the Puri district of Odisha. The Temple, dedicated to the Hindu sun god, Surya, was built in the 13th century and is considered a masterpiece of Kalinga architecture. Later, in the evening the G-20 delegates were feted with the Gotipua dance performance by local artists, which is one of the ancient dance forms associated with the temple tradition of Shree Jagannath temple, Puri. Union Minister Smt. Lekhi felicitated the artists who gave their best in creating a fine piece of Odisha’s cultural treasure to the immense pleasure of the visiting dignitaries and delegates.

With this the four days long activities and brainstorming sessions under the G-20 second culture group meeting came to a close. The 2nd Culture Working Group Meeting attended by delegates from G20 members, guest nations, and several international organizations, provided a platform to discuss pressing issues faced by the culture sector to further deliberation towards tangible, action-oriented recommendations. The meetings of the Culture Working Group that spread over six sessions and two days, focused on 4 key priority areas articulated under Culture Track of India’s G20 Presidency. The 4 priority areas are: Protection and Restitution of Cultural Property; Harnessing Living Heritage for a Sustainable Future; Promotion of Cultural and Creative Industries and Creative Economy; and Leveraging Digital Technologies for the Protection and Promotion of Culture.

On concluding day, the Minister along with the delegates visited famous caves at Udaygiri, which dates back to more than 2000 years. They also visited the museum at the Gandhi peace centre at Bhubaneswar which is dedicated to the life and vision of Mahatma Gandhi.

On being asked about the opinion of the delegates who were taken on a visit to the ancient rock-cut caves of Udaygiri at the outskirt of capital Bhubaneswar, the Minister said that it was a knowledge sharing experience for the delegates. She said they were very amazed at the super craftsmanship and the culture of Odisha.

The CWG meetings aim to promote an inclusive and collaborative forum to deliberate on key issues concerning the cultural sector and its pivotal role in sustainable development. The meeting seeks to promote a global dialogue on cultural diversity and its role in fostering inclusivity and sustainability.

About Editor in chief

Ashok Palit has completed his graduation from Upendranath College Soro, Balasore and post graduation from Utkal University in Odia Language and literture.. He has also carved out a niche for himself as a scribe of eminence after joining the profession in 1988. He is also an independent media production professional. He brings loads of experience to Advanced Media, Ashok Palit as a cineaste has been active in film criticism for over three decades. As a film society activist, he soared to eminence for his profound commitment to the art film appreciation and aesthetics of cinema. His mode of discourse is often erudite but always lucid and comprehensible marked by a perfect acumen so rare in the field. A film aesthete with an immense fond of critical sensibilities, he wrote about growth and development of odia cinema in New Indian Express, The Times of India, The Hindustan Times, The Asian Age and Screen. He has been working as an Editor for Cine Samaya from 2002-2004.. He had made solid contribution on cinema in many odia Dailies and weekly such as Samaj, Prajatantra, Dharatri, Samaya, Satabadi, and weekly Samaya.
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