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Josep Rota gives keynote address at UNESCO special session

ATHENS, Ohio (Aug. 26, 2004) -- Ohio University's Associate Provost of International Programs Josep Rota helped set the agenda for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's (UNESCO) work in Latin America at a special session convened in the Dominican Republic in August.

Josep RotaFifteen people, including ambassadors, senators and representatives of regional organizations, as well as several academics, came together to evaluate the Declaration and Plan of Action established for UNESCO's work in Latin America 10 years ago in Santiago, Chile. The group proposed a new set of principles and plan of action to UNESCO to guide their work on issues of communication, culture and democracy in Latin America over the next 10 years. After the special session the group's recommendations were delivered to UNESCO's director general, Koïchiro Matsuura at UNESCO headquarters in Paris in the form of "The Declaration of Santo Domingo." The declaration will be presented to the UNESCO general assembly in October.

UNESCO asked Rota to provide an assessment of the Declaration and Plan of Action, which guided their work in Latin America over the past 10 years and to propose new areas for UNESCO to address. Following his presentation, the meeting participants worked in groups to formulate a set of new recommendations for UNESCO's mission in Latin America. Those recommendations addressed areas such as strengthening community media, providing specialized training for journalists, the impact of media in education, funding for research and the digital divide.

Later this year, UNESCO will publish a book with some of the special session documents. The book will include a paper authored by Rota based upon his presentation at the meeting in Santo Domingo. Rota said that he was gratified that his presentation was well received and was pleased with the results of the meeting. "There's a good chance we'll have an impact in the region," he added.

The director of the Center for International Studies and a professor of Telecommunications at Ohio University, Rota has been involved with UNESCO as a consultant in the field of communication since 1978. He served as the UNESCO professor of communication at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain in 1995-96. In November 2004, Rota delivered the keynote address for UNESCO's International Forum on Local Cultural Expression and Communication in the Dominican Republic. He spoke about communication and culture with an emphasis on the preservation of cultural diversity in a globalized age in a lecture titled, "Between Diversity and Uniformity: Communication, Culture, Identity and Development in a Globalized World."

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Media Contact: Associate Provost of International Programs Josep Rota, (740) 593-1839 or rota@ohio.edu

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