Walk and Talk of U40 Fellows in Istanbul

The U40 Network is active as an informal and self-organised network. Members are in touch as a bunch of like-minded people that became friends for the sake of cultural diversity. This website is also an archive and a source for further inspiration.

The U40 Idea

The U40 idea is to give a voice to young experts (under 40) in the implementation and promotion of the 2005 UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.

The 2005 Convention is a complex tool to promote cultural diversity. Stakeholders such as governments, civil society or cultural practitioners are challenged by the task of translating these broad political ideas into ground realities. Nonetheless, the Convention’s immediate and long-term objectives can only be achieved through the active involvement of all its stakeholders.

Young people play a crucial role when it comes to the sustainable management of the diversity of cultural expressions. They are more dynamic, daring, innovative and communicative. The U40 Network connects young culture experts from all over the world. As a platform for capacity building, innovative ideas, information, and knowledge sharing, the network aims to foster a better understanding and implementation of the Convention.

The U40 Network is an independent civil society network. It represents a concrete step towards the implementation of the Convention, by stimulating debates and ideas to better formulate cultural policies for cultural diversity throughout the world.

The People

We are young professionals from across the world involved in the field of cultural policies – experts, researchers, civil servants, cultural managers, graduate students, etc. We believe in the power of cultural diversity. Together we are stronger and make our voices heard through this civil society platform. Through awareness raising activities, advocacy, knowledge and good practice exchange we breathe life into the 2005 UNESCO Convention. On top of the U40 Network, a series of U40 subgroups are active in different parts of the world to better address local, national and regional issues and to foster regional cooperation in the cultural sector.

The Origins

In 2007, the German Commission for UNESCO offered young professionals a platform to participate in the debate on cultural diversity and the implementation of the UNESCO Convention on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions: This process was initiated as a capacity building programme in the context of the international conference “Cultural Diversity – Europe’s Wealth” (April 2007, Essen, Germany) as part of the German European Union Council presidency. 17 young Europeans participated in this edition over an eight-month period.

The next stage (2008-2010) of the U40-process aimed to involve excellent researchers, academics, professionals, future decision-makers and communicators from all over the world. The U40-World Forum (June 2009, Paris) was at the heart of this phase. In cooperation with the International Federation of Coalitions for Cultural Diversity (IFCCD) and over 30 partners from all over the world, this edition widened the regional scope of the programme to include all world regions. Held on the occasion of the 2nd Conference of Parties of the Convention (15-16 June 2009), the Forum included the participation of the U40-Fellows at this 2nd meeting of Parties. It marked the transition from a programme to an international network.