Letter from the President of the World Theatre for Children and Young People

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Dear Editor: Art/Life Almost 80 centres from around the world consult on the future of the organisation that UNESCO established. This organisation represents the interests and rights of children and young people in art and culture. ASSITEJ develops contacts between practitioners in the field of arts for young audiences through its strong national and international networks, encouraging the production, creation and diffusion of Theatre for Children and Young People. The concept of worldwide exchange is connected with the hope of propagating inspiration and innovation for cultural diversity as well as maintaining this cooperation beyond all boundaries. Once upon a time there was an idea: The idea of cooperating in theatre. This was – 50 years ago – the beginning of the International Theatre Institute. Ten years later there was a first baby of this idea: The international relationship programme for Children’s and Young People’s Theatre. And this was the birth of ASSITEJ. Let us emphasise the idea of networking and exchanging. Let us state theatre arts as an important fact for cultural identity in the world of globalisation. ASSITEJ promotes every year the World Day of Theatre for Children and Young People. “The child has one hundred languages,” is said by the Italian philosopher Loris Malaguzzi. “But we steal ninety-nine.” Theatre could give back by listening, singing, understanding, loving, speaking, playing and much more. Theatre does not separate the head from the body. It could be an emotional experience, an intelligent imagination, an important cultural invitation. That is why ASSITEJ is coming together. That is why ASSITEJ is working in all continents. That is why ASSITEJ celebrates the World Day of Theatre for Children and Young People. That is what we have to reflect, to discuss and to promote during this day. Professor Wolfgang Schneider Assitej-International GERMANY