The Universal Peace Federation Austria in cooperation with ACUNS Vienna and the Best of the World Network organized a conference which was part of the cultural event "ÁUSTRIA BRASIL EM MOVIMENTO - CarnaViena 2013" by ABRASA, an Austro-Brazilian and Afro-Brazilian Cultural Point in Austria fostering education, cultural activities and social integration under the theme "Culture and Creative Economy as basic elements for Sustainability" on Friday July 5th 2013, in the Vienna International Center (UN).

(Photos by Andrea Bischinger, Chrishantha Wijesekera, TheBestOftheViennaCarnavienaBrazilianFestival, Emmanuel Schawaller)



To start the program Peter Jam, a young musician and UPF Ambassador for peace presented his song: "If you want Love, if you want Peace ..." which he had sung on his tour through European capitals during the past month. He was followed by a German-Brazilian performance of the group Maracatu Nation Stern der Elbe, which had come from Hamburg for the festival CarnaViena and performed the next day in a street festival marching and dancing through the main shopping street of Vienna.


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Peter Haider, president of the Universal Peace Federation in Austria, welcomed an audiance of 150 people and expressed his gratitude towards the UN and all partner organizations for their help in facilitating this event. He reminded the audiance that the UN proclaimed the first decade of the 21st century and the third millennium, the years 2001 to 2010, as the International Decade for the Promotion of a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World. And countries in South America experienced most of the time in history periods without wars and violence among nations. So as Europeans we can learn from them. He also quoted a statement by the Brazilian theologian and writer Leonardo Boff, who mentioned that he saw more happiness in the eyes of poor children in the favelas of Rio than in the faces of Europeans.


Dr. Leo Gabriel served as the chairman of the first session. As a social anthropologist and a expert for Latin America he spoke about the importance of the culture of indigenous and black people in Latin America. He tried to make a connection between what we understand as culture and creativity and how it relates to sustainability.


As a first panel speaker Queila Rosa PanstinglABRASA casa do Brasil spoke about the vision and Activities of her Afro-Brazilian NGO: “Through my work I wanted to make the Brazilians, who live in Vienna to become visible. We Brazilians are hyper-active and always want to do something. I specially wanted to help the women, and among them those who suffer from domestic violence. I also want to show to our country of Brazil how well we could integrate here in Vienna. In Vienna there are 28 000 Brazilians living. We need new opportunities, that’s why I asked the government to work out new strategies for integration. We would like to create opportunities for the migrants to be productive her in Austria. That’s why we need to cooperate with each other. Yesterday we had a conference about tourism and economy. There are many possibilities in tourism. We promote tourism from Brazil to Austria. Another very important point for the migrants is education and the aquisition of the local language.”



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Then Ernst Woller from the Vienna city council spoke about the role of cultural activities in Vienna, a city of migrants and cultural plurality: “Vienna is a city of culture, but also a city of peace. It is one of the four UN headquarters in the world, which hosts several important UN organizations. Vienna is also a city where numerous international congresses that take place throughout the year. Tourism is growing 5% per year. Last year there were more than 11 million overnight stays in Vienna. About integration: Vienna has 1,8 million inhabitants. 41% of them are with a migration background, which is defined by the fact that in the 2. Generation at least one parent is not born in Austria. We consider this as a great opportunity, not as an obstacle or a threat. The city of Vienna has also successfully supported foreigners to learn the German language. The city council organizes language courses especially for mothers with children, and many different kinds of financial support are provided for attending these courses.

Culture is one of the strongest attributes connected Vienna: 50% of all international media coverage about Vienna is relating to culture. Culture therefore has become an important economical factor. There are more than 100 theaters and 300 museums here. 20 million tickets are sold yearly for cultural events. This is 40 times more than for soccer matches. The open air festival on the Danube Island is the largest in the world of its kind. The aspect of cultural plurality is naturally included in many of these programs and the city is providing sponsorship for intercultural programs. They are so many that we don’t count them separately.


As a final speaker Antonio Cancado de Araujo a Brazilian, who lives in France and works there in tourism, spoke about “Brazilian Culture in Francein a very personal manner. He is also an artist, a painter and photographer. He had brought the colorful paintings and photos which were displayed on the wall of the UN board room. „What do we want? We do not only want to eat and drink, we want to live! I feel honored to be able to speak to you here in the UN! I even brought my paintings and photos with me. Since 25 years I have been living in France. I am always in search of something. The Brazilian people are very creative, and despite many difficulties they are always optimistic. I myself am the same. I always see the glass half full, not half empty. We can choose to be happy. We have thousand reasons for it. Fight for happiness! Find a reason every day to be happy! Sometimes we are in situations of uncertainty, but we have to move on!” After his statement he presented the exhibition: "BAHIA, Menina dos Olhos do Brasil".


The discussion and questions from the audience focused on better support for NGOs and artists by government institutions.


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To start the program after the break the dance group Jeroky Paraguay entertained the audience with two traditional dances in their colorful national costumes.


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Mag.ª Corinna Pummer, representing Aufwind Peru, an NGO working inspired by the Andean condor in aiding Peruan children, was the chair for the second session.


As a first speaker Dr. Gerardo Thadeu, member of the Brazilian Parliament and the Human Rights Commission in Brasilia spoke about "Migration to and from Brazil" „I am very happy for the opportunity to speak to you today! I’m representing the President of the Brazilian Parliament. In the Congress we discuss a lot about culture and creative economy. To support the migrants is very close to my heart. Brazil is a very interesting country: decades ago it accepted migrants from all over the world, from Europe, from Japan and China. They have contributed greatly to the Brazilian culture.

20 years ago Brazilians have started to migrate to other countries. 4 million Brazilians live outside of Brazil today. Sometimes they had to undertake great difficulties. Today many Haitians try to get into Brazil, due to the devastation by the earthquake caused some years ago. We try to help them all, but we also appeal to other countries to help. Besides, many people from Africa, Peru, and Venezuela seek to move into Brazil today. I am glad to meet Austrian people! I saw that they are happy people, even if they express it in a different way we Brazilians would do. Finally, I would like to assure you that as long as I am a politician I will make efforts to make life better for all migrants!”


Then Dr. Jorge Portugal spoke about "The Carnival in Bahiait’s history and importance for Blocos Afros": "My city is the oldest city of Brazil, the place where the most ancient traces of population could be found in Brazil. When the Portuguese occupied this country they found 4 million indigene people here whom they couldn’t enslave. That’s why they brought slaves from Africa into this region, mainly from Angola. My province is Bahia, and my speech will be about the history of the Carnival in Brazil. The tradition of the carnival came from Europe to Brazil, as a celebration to eat meat before a period of fasting. Music and dance became an important element of the Carnival. At the beginning a Carnival was held only in some areas of Brazil, later it spread all over the country. In 1928 the first Samba school was established. This kind of black rhythm became prevalent at the carnival. In 1950 people in Bahia already celebrated the Carnival. By then it had already spread in all other regions as well. The atmosphere at the Carnival is unique. Everybody participates, everybody dances on the street. Lorries with musicians who play the electric guitar drive through the streets, and people dance to the music. The Brazilian music has many African influences, because so many Africans have been brought there. Some decades ago they started to establish special clubs for the people with African roots. Almost all of these clubs have social functions: people can learn an instrument, or become a member of a Capoeira group. The Afro-Brazilian culture is important for Brazil and I am happy that I could tell you a little about it.




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Dr. Marineide Araújo addressed the topic "The responsibility of governments for supporting cultural diversity": "The Brazilian government created tax reductions for companies that are involved in culture. They also support the work of NGOs by reserving 6% of the tax income for them. Education is another area which the Brazilian government considers very important. 10% of the income made of oil is invested in education. We have good universities, but we are planning to create more. We have also increased the number of schools which provide professional education for crafts persons or specialized jobs in other areas. Creative economy means to support cultural projects. Our art has to be presented to the public through culture.”



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To conclude the conference Peter Haider presented Ambassador for Peace Awards to some speakers and famous artists who helped with CarnaViena 2013. He came back to the founder of the Universal Peace Federation: „Rev. Moon was a great fan of Brazil. After he had become famous as in the USA he suddenly moved to a small farm house in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul near the Pantanal in Brazil. He lived there for several years as he explained that real life and the original atmosphere of creation is to be found where human beings have not have yet destroyed the nature, and that is the Pantanal, one of the biggest wetland in the world. Besides this he got involved with Brazil's national sports soccer. He even had created an international soccer tournament called "Peace Cup" together with Brazil's soccer legend Pele.