UNESCO closed its quadrennial conference on arts education Friday after adopting an agenda that calls for cooperation, while offering guidelines on the field to member countries.

About 2,000 culture and arts ministers, as well as experts and activists from 129 member countries met in Seoul for four days under the slogan of “Arts for Society, Education for Creativity.” The second such UNESCO conference drew twice the number of participants than the inaugural event in Portugal in 2006, organizers said.

Member nations will seek to “ensure that arts education is accessible as a fundamental and sustainable component of in-depth vitalization of education,” according to an announcement by Seoul Agenda during the closing ceremony.
   They will also “apply the principles and practices of arts education to contribute to resolving social and cultural challenges facing the world today,” it said.
   The Seoul agenda guidelines will be conveyed to all 193 UNESCO member countries, and their implementation will be reviewed in the next gathering in 2014. Colombia has expressed its intention to host the third conference.
   “The first gathering in Portugal was to bring together different arts education systems from member countries and see what situations they are in. Now that the fine-tuning process has been done, we came up with action strategies at this meeting,” Lee Dae-young, president of Korea Arts and Culture Education Service and chief of the event’s organizing committee, said.

   This year marks the 60th anniversary of South Korea’s membership in UNESCO, It joined the world body in June 1950, a few weeks before the outbreak of the Korean War.

By Kim Hyun