Keynote Speech of
Her Excellency Daw Aung San Suu Kyi
State Counsellor of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar
at the Culture Innovation Summit
(Busan, 25 November 2019)
Distinguished Participants, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a pleasure to meet with so many representatives from the cultural industry working at the intersection of Arts, Cultures and Technology.
The success of the Culture Industry is making a significant contribution to the global economy. This sector created global revenues amounting to 2,250 billion US$ and 29.5 million jobs in 2014 while Korea’s cultural exports reached 8.2 billion US$ in 2017.
Although the share of developing countries in the cultural trade is growing, ASEAN countries largely remain at the consumption side of the value chain and have yet to be part of the success stories in this sector.
In this context, today’s Summit on “Culture Innovation” is most relevant for fostering collaboration among the experts on cultural content and technology.
There are a few thoughts I would like to share with you today.
First, talent and technology as the drivers for cultural industry growth.
The Culture Industry, unlike other industries, is unique. Creativity and innovative novelty are central, and talent is the lifeblood of the industry.
The people working in this industry constantly need to find innovative ways, not only in content value creation, but also in extending audience reach and managing businesses.
Thus, talents need in the industry are not limited to creative education and cultural skills. The industry needs a talent pool of skills in information technology, networking skills and management.
As growing internet penetration and mobile access create new patterns of cultural consumption, the industry needs to invest more in nurturing digital talent and technology.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me turn to my second point: the role of the Culture Industry in promoting peace and addressing 21st century issues.
The Culture Industry, with its far reaching influence on diverse societies, is in a key position to ensure wider and better balanced cultural exchanges throughout the world, guiding intercultural respect and fostering a culture of peace.
The pervasive nature of the issues of our day make a holistic, societal approach essential for achieving sustainable solutions. Governments need greater collaboration and support from society and industry.
The growing soft power of media, artists and influencers, and the creative industries have a huge role to play in promoting peace and resolving the pressing problems of today.
Climate Change is one such issue, where the Culture Industry can make valuable contributions. As growing threats from climate change can only be effectively mitigated by behavioural changes in individuals, we need to find innovative ways of ensuring that the changes move in the right direction.
In this regard, the recent initiative of a classical orchestra in Germany in making climate change audible by reworking Antonio Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons,” using algorithms based on climate data, is very innovative and impactful. More of such initiatives are needed to raise climate change awareness, based on different cultural values and themes.
The issue of extremism is another area where cultural influencers can make positive contributions. Although it is tempting to see cultural factors as the cause of conflict and extremism, they are often mere pretexts for conflict. The root causes of conflict need to be sought deeper, and we must use cultural literacy and ‘inter-cultural competencies’ towards the appreciation, respect and value of diverse cultures, thus bringing together hearts and minds.
The cultural industry can also make a positive impact on inequality reduction.
Studies suggest that ‘cultural production is young, inclusive and entrepreneurial’, as the sector employs younger people, favours women, and is driven by small businesses and individuals.
Therefore, the creative industry is a powerful development tool offering economic opportunities for youth, women, and small enterprises, with a huge potential for narrowing social inequality, as well as the development gap, between nations and regions.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
My third point relates to strengthening Culture Industry collaboration.
With the ROK, a global cultural sector leader, as ASEAN’s valued partner, there are vast opportunities for strengthening cooperation for co-prosperity.
The strong and diverse cultural heritage of the region offers great opportunities for co-creation, co-production and co-distribution of cultural values.
Co-production not only allows cost sharing, but also provides opportunities for securing larger markets and more diverse contents for the film and TV industries.
I am happy to see that we are starting the co-creation of Arts between Myanmar and Korean artists.
The co-production of three films, “A Winter Once upon a Time”, “A Flower above the Clouds” and “My Music Teacher Mingalabar” by JBJ Entertainment and SBS Medianet of Korea, and Big 5 Film Production and Fortune TV of Myanmar, are positive steps towards future collaboration in the film industry.
The Myanmar film industry, in its golden days was the biggest and most vibrant in South East Asia. As our film industry will be celebrating its centenary in the coming year, I hope that it will build on its past glory to create a glowing future through greater collaboration with regional players.
In this regard, the convening of the ASEAN Cinema Week 2019 earlier this month in Busan, and ongoing efforts to establish the ASEAN-ROK Film Organization, are harbingers of fruitful future cooperation in this sector.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The prospects for music industry cooperation are also very encouraging. Music is a powerful tool for transcending barriers between different peoples and cultures.
The K Pop Girl Band, “Rose Quartz”, a band comprising members from Myanmar, Thai, and Korea, is a clear symbol of friendship bonded by music.
Myanmar recently hosted an international percussion project called ‘Gongs and Skins’, bringing together performers and players from different ethnic groups in Myanmar as well as from Asia, Africa and Europe, promoting peaceful dialogue among different cultures in the region.
Project K, a Myanmar Boy Band, inspired by K-Pop, enjoys great popularity, and not just among our young: I count myself as one of their fans.
Recognizing the increasing cultural collaboration between ASEAN and the ROK, and the significant contribution of these cultural exchanges to the promotion of global peace and harmony, I would like to conclude by encouraging industry players to explore greater opportunities to work more closely to promote peace and prosperity not just between the peoples of our region, but throughout the whole world.
I wish you all an enjoyable and fruitful Summit.