Paris, 03 Jun 2004
A new international event, the Universal Forum of Culture, has just opened in Barcelona, Spain. The three main themes are Cultural Diversity, Sustainable Development and Conditions for Peace.
ESA is an exhibitor at the Forum and also participates in the Forum 'Dialogues', designed to promote critical debate and reflection on major issues of global concern. The Forum, which opened 9 May and will continue until 26 September 2004, is organised by the Spanish Government, the autonomous Government of Catalonia and Barcelona City Council. UNESCO is one of the main partners in this international event.
Why a 'forum'?
Since Roman times a forum has been a meeting place to discuss current events and new ideas. Forum Barcelona 2004 offers an innovative and creative platform to explore and analyse the major cultural and social challenges facing the world in the 21st century. Visitors will have an opportunity to discuss with experts in various fields ideas on how to build a world which has greater respect for people and nature.
Numerous activities are taking place during the Forum but the main events are the 'Dialogues' to promote debate and foster contact between speakers and their audience; 'Performances' including music, dance, theatre, puppets and street parades; and 'Exhibitions' designed to provoke new thoughts and attitudes for the 21st century.
Earth in sight
The main exhibition area at the Forum is the Haima, a 16 000 m2 pavilion housing 15 exhibitions. Visitors are invited to travel through time to the year 2015, the date set by the UN for the eradication of poverty in the world. ESA's 400 m2 exhibit is called "Earth in Sight".
Observing our planet from space helps to protect the environment and exploring our universe provides a better understanding of our origins. At the ESA exhibit visitors can learn more about:
- the International Space Station: the largest international scientific joint venture ever undertaken in history, involving the USA, Russia, Canada, Japan and Europe
- Envisat and Meteosat: ESA missions for environmental and meteorological studies
- Mars Express and Rosetta: fascinating and challenging missions to discover more about our universe and the origins of life
Debates and discussions
In all there are 47 'Dialogues' divided into 11 main themes. As part of that on Science, Knowledge and Sustainable Development Stefano Bruzzi, Head of the Coordination Office in ESA's Earth Observation Directorate, participated in the debate on Energy and Sustainable Development. Eva Oriol, ESA Project Manager of the Meteosat Second Generation (MSG) and Metop missions, will participate in the World Conference on Broadcast Meteorology from 3 to 5 June and the 5 June session on Our changing climate: What is happening and what can we do about it.
Each evening, as part of the 141 questions for 141 nights, visitors are invited to debate with an internationally renowned personality. On 16 June, ESA astronaut Pedro Duque will discuss the new frontiers of European space activities.
"ESA's presence at this forum is a demonstration of how ESA's 15 Member States work together in a multicultural environment to conciliate national aims and aspirations for exclusively peaceful joint space activities," says Maria Menendez, head of ESA exhibitions. "Working together in space activities offers countries a way of communicating globally just as this international forum is a valid instrument for bridging the gap between different cultures."