MEDELLÍN, Colombia – The Inter-American Culture and Development Foundation (ICDF) and Medellín’s Mayor Alonso Salazar signed a cooperation agreement and launched a pilot program of the city at the new regional portal GeoAmericas.
GeoAmericas is a portal, based on Google Maps, that employs state-of-the-art information technology applications and ambitious tools designed to explore and spread the continent's socio-cultural diversity. The innovative use of geo-referenced technologies gives communicators, educators, students, tourists and researchers from around the world a unique menu of options.
The portal will identify and promote the continent's cultural, educational, tourist-oriented and environmental sites using geographic information systems. The project will collect text, 360-degree images, timelines and videos, and make this information available to the public through the Internet.
Within the framework of the Expodesarrollo exhibition being held as part of the Inter-American Development Bank's 50th Annual Meeting, GeoAmericas presents a first contribution of Medellin as the starting point for a gigantic virtual and multimedia project inviting to explore the whole continent.
"Culture generates jobs and is a key piece to preserve the identity and generate much-coveted sustainable socio-economic development that can only flourish when the ideas behind it are concrete, viable, and well structured," the foundation's President Cosette Alves said.
"GeoAmericas not only deepens the knowledge of our region's cultural riches, but also promotes sustainable tourism and generates concrete working and educational opportunities for the community and for the youth, who will be the ones feeding information to this portal under specialists' supervision and training," ICDF Director-General Peter McFarren said.
"It is primordial to present the cultural and information technology industries as strategic action areas for our countries' sustainable development", McFarren added. "Medellin is a living example of the importance of investing in culture management."
Other cultural projects
Besides GeoAmericas, ICDF is also presenting at Expodesarrollo other innovative projects: the Community Museums Portal and the Bank of Musical Instruments and other Cultural Assets. The ICDF has also invited Corporación Antioquia Presente to present a model project that already is the pride of Medellin and of all Colombia: "Luthiers: Cultural Enterprises for the Production of Musical Instruments."
ICDF is a not-for-profit organization set up in 2005 at the IDB's initiative to manage innovative cultural programs based on forging strategic alliances with multilateral and bilateral institutions, both public and private, aimed at promoting culture as the driving force for socio-economic development in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Cosette Alves stressed the importance of sponsorship in times of crisis. "I sincerely appreciate the participation of people and organizations from the public and private sectors who share our fervor to provide opportunities to improve our people's quality of life," she said. "Investing in our culture is not just a good idea--it is an act of vital importance for the region's development and a unique opportunity for our leaders," she said.
The ICDF exhibit can be visited March 27-31 at Expodesarrollo, stand 371, at the Plaza Mayor Convention Center, from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00p.m.
- Christina MacCulloch