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World Conference Highlights Vital Role of Arts Education in Building Creativity

Under the banner, “Building Creative Capacities for the 21st Century”, representatives from Ministries of Education and Culture, arts educators, artists and experts from around the globe met at the “World Conference on Arts Education” in Lisbon, Portugal, from 6 to 9 March 2006.

The World Conference was convened by UNESCO and the Government of Portugal, with input from a number of non-governmental organizations, including the International Society for Education through Art (InSEA), the International Society for Music Education (ISME), the International Drama/Theatre Education Association (IDEA) and the International Yehudi Menuhin Foundatin (MUS-E).

Bringing together over 1200 participants from over 97 Member States, the Conference was a dynamic forum for discussion and established a strong basis for the exchange of ideas and practice in the field of Arts Education.

One of the main themes of the Conference was the important role that Arts Education can play in fostering the creative capacities and other skills increasingly demanded in the 21st century. Arts educators, artists and others urged governments to promote Arts Education and the important skills it engenders, in the interests of fostering productive and peaceful societies.

A key outcome of the Conference was a draft document titled the “Road Map for Arts Education”. The Road Map is designed to promote a common understanding among all stakeholders of the importance of Arts Education in developing in learners the capacities required for the 21st century, and its essential role in improving the quality of education. Serving as an evolving reference document, the Road Map provides a framework for Member States to develop their own guidelines for the integration of Arts Education at a local level.

Further information about the World Conference and the draft Road Map can be found on the UNESCO Links to Education and Art (Lea International) website:

For additional information about UNESCO’s Arts Education programme, click here.



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