I entered a poster into a competition run by the Design21 site, a UNESCO partnered social design network. The contest was to create the poster for 2010, International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures; intended to promote better communication and understanding between all peoples and cultures.
From the brief: The United Nations General Assembly has proclaimed 2010, International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures, and has defined three main dimensions: dialogue, mutual understanding, and cooperation.
UNESCO, as a specialized agency of the United Nations entrusted with the mandate to build “the defences of peace in the minds of men," has been designated as lead agency of the Year within the UN system.
Let us recall that the quest for dialogue among civilizations, cultures and peoples is deeply entrenched in UNESCO’s Constitution (1946) as one of the best guarantees of peace in the world and constitutes an overarching objective of the Year 2010.
Furthermore, one of the major aims of the Year will be to demonstrate the beneficial effects of cultural diversity recognizing the importance of transfers and exchanges between cultures through implicit or explicit dialogue that underlines how all cultures and civilizations are interlinked and contribute to the progress of humankind.
The strategy of the International Year consists in mainstreaming the above-mentioned principles in all policy-making at local, national, regional and international levels through the involvement of the greatest number of relevant stakeholders. The activities carried out under the International Year focus on:
Promoting reciprocal knowledge of cultural, ethnic, linguistic, and religious diversity
Building a framework for commonly shared values
Strengthening quality education and the building of intercultural competencies
Fostering dialogue for sustainable development.
The poster I entered is above. Below is the concept and description as entered with the poster:
“In thinking about how to best encapsulate the three core dimensions of this year, namely dialogue, mutual understanding, and cooperation, I found myself remembering the most basic means of communication I played with as a child. When two cans are joined by a tightly pulled piece of string you can talk to each other through the cans. This only works if both people maintain their end of the string and can properly so that it remains taut.
To me this image clearly represents how countries can enter dialogue in a spirit of mutual understanding and cooperation. While it is not difficult to communicate with anyone across the globe these days, people can often end up talking over each other, or be left scrambling to have their voices heard. It is important to show the role that cooperation must also play to achieve meaningful dialogue. When states work together to keep their end of the string tight then magic can happen.
The colours of each can (and string) in this poster appear in the flags of every nation in the world, with none left out. There are 192 cans representing each United Nations member state, placed on each side of the poster to allude both to the globe and to the dialogue across it.
The graphic as a whole combines to form a visual meant to intrigue and excite the viewer, prompting them to read the proclamation of the theme of this year at the base, thus tying it all together in their minds.”
You can see this and all other entries on the Design21 site, and if you sign up for membership you can also vote. Entries are shown randomly (to keep voting more fair and balanced) so you might have to click through a lot of entries before getting to mine! There were just under 1200 entries for all over the world.
The prize is to have the poster used for the year, as well getting a trip to Paris for its launch! Fingers crossed…