King Juan Carlos of Spain travelled to Barcelona’s newly refurbished waterfront at the weekend to open the 2004 Universal Forum of Cultures, a five-month urban extravaganza of festivities, music, and art with a series of conferences on themes ranging from peace and sustainable development to cultural diversity.
More than five million people, including figures such as the Dalai Lama, former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, and some of the world’s most popular music and film stars, are expected to visit the Spanish Mediterranean port city for the festival 9 May to 24 September to entertain and speak at what has been billed by the organisers as the world’s first “Cultural Olympics”.
Barcelona’s once crime-ridden northern waterfront has been transformed at a cost of some US $2.6 billion, with the festivities being funded through some US $460 million in private and public money.
A climax event at the forum will be the second international gathering of UN-HABITAT’s World Urban Forum 13-17 September 2004, which is expected to draw up to 3,000 delegates representing governments, local authorities, non-governmental organisations and other experts on urban issues from around the world. The agency has helped arrange the world’s first international hip-hop concert to coincide with WUF.
For further information see: http://www.unhabitat.org/wuf II