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Oz fest to draw Australia closer to India

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The Australian Federal Government has committed one million Australian dollars and raised a couple of million more for Oz Fest 2012, which aims to project contemporary Australia to Indian audiences. Australia’s Minister for the Arts Simon Crean said that the Festival, which will be formally launched on September 25, would showcase Australian culture through shows and exhibitions in theatre, music, dance, cinema and art in a number of Indian cities over a few months.

Speaking to a group of three journalists invited by the Australian government, Mr. Crean said events such as the Oz Fest and the increasing importance that Australia is attaching to cultural diplomacy are signs of Australia’s growing economic confidence and part of a push to usher in greater people-to-people contacts, particularly among countries in Asia.

He expressed himself in favour of the idea of Australia having a separate cultural organisation on the lines of Alliance Francaise and the Goethe Institut.

Asked whether this would be reflected in Australia’s white paper on foreign policy, expected to be made public next month, he declined to comment.

However, he said he has been arguing very strongly that Australia needs to go in the direction of developing a cultural institute on the lines that some European countries have. “We could strengthen that Australia International Cultural Council, which is jointly chaired by the Foreign Minister and the Arts Minister, into something like this.”

The details about the Oz Fest programme are likely to be announced when Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard visits India in mid-October.

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Printable version | May 21, 2018 7:17:37 PM | http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/oz-fest-to-draw-australia-closer-to-india/article3932581.ece