On July 21, the 8th BRICS Culture Ministers’ Meeting was held in Mpumalanga, South Africa. Ms. Nocawe Noncedo Mafu, the Deputy Minister of Sports and Recreation, Arts and Culture of the Republic of South Africa, presided over the meeting. Representatives from cultural departments of China, Brazil, Russia, India, and other member countries attended the meeting and spoke on issues relating to deepening cultural exchanges and cooperation among BRICS countries and promoting sustainable socio-economic development.
In his speech, Mr. Li Qun, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of China and Director of the National Cultural Heritage Administration, pointed out that General Secretary Xi Jinping's advocacy for respecting the diversity of world civilizations, promoting shared human values, valuing cultural inheritance and innovation, and strengthening international humanistic exchange and cooperation in the Global Civilization Initiative has provided a new direction for deepening cultural exchange and cooperation among BRICS countries. In recent years, culture has increasingly become a focus and highlight of practical cooperation among BRICS countries. This is not only due to the excellent cultures each BRICS country possesses but also owes to the open, inclusive, cooperative, and win-win BRICS spirit. Over the past year, China and BRICS countries jointly organized a wide variety of cultural exchange programs in areas such as culture and art, cultural heritage, cultural industries, and films. Mechanism-based cooperation facilitated by alliances like museums, art galleries, libraries, and theaters has provided outstanding practices for mutual learning and exchange among world civilizations. Mr. Li emphasized that China would continue to deepen the cultural partnership among BRICS countries, transcending cultural barriers, conflicts, and biases through civilized exchange, mutual learning, and inclusiveness, and contributing the "BRICS strength" to the common progress of human civilizations.
Representatives from all attending countries unanimously agreed that this meeting, the first offline BRICS Cultural Ministers’ Meeting since 2019, provides impetus for countries to realize socio-economic recovery and cultural prosperity in the wake of the epidemic. The countries will actively press ahead with the “Action Plan for the Implementation of the Agreement among the Governments of the BRICS States on Cooperation in the Field of Culture (2022-2026)”, which was signed in Beijing in 2022, and will jointly promote higher-quality cultural exchanges and cooperation among BRICS countries. Following the meeting, Mr. Li Qun, on behalf of China, signed the “Declaration of the 8th BRICS Culture Ministers’ Meeting” with the four countries.
During the visit to South Africa, Mr. Li Qun held meetings with Ms. Nocawe Noncedo Mafu, Deputy Minister of the Department of Sports, Arts, and Culture of South Africa, and Ms. Lungisa Malgas, Director of the South African Heritage Resources Agency. They exchanged views on cultural and artistic exchange, joint archaeology, repatriation of cultural relics, and professional training. In particular, positive consensus was reached in underwater archaeology, shipwreck relic investigations, and the signing of intergovernmental agreements to prevent the illegal entry and exit of cultural properties. Mr. Li also engaged in working discussions with leaders of cultural institutions including the South African National Gallery, the South African National Museum, the Castle of Good Hope Museum, and the Artscape Theatre Centre, which has received aid from China.