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Impact of Culture in Developing Countries
by Charles Mercieca, Ph.D., President
International Association of Educators for World Peace
Dedicated to United Nations Goals of Peace Education,
Environmental Protection, Human Rights & Disarmament
Professor Emeritus, Alabama A&M University

 


Culture is derived from the Latin word "cultura," which literally means cultivation. It deals with improvement of knowledge by mental or physical training. It especially refers to people's way of life. A cultured person is often viewed to be an enlightened individual that merits respect. Needless to say, the way that people tend to act or behave reveals their unique culture. This explains why people's habits vary so much from one global area to another.


Appreciation of Arts

When we speak of the appreciation of culture we generally refer to the appreciation of arts that may include painting and music as well as theater and poetry. Cultural exhibitions that take place from time to time in various global areas tend to show what it has just been stated. Besides, the Olympics that have taken place in Beijing in 2008 revealed a vivid demonstration of culture. Culture may be viewed in many ways as transcendental in the sense that it is generally liked and respected by all people.

The enrichment of culture is the result of contributions made individually or collectively. Luciano Paverotti, a famous Italian singer, fascinated large audiences with his singing. His individual cultural contributions brought joy and happiness in the hearts of countless thousands of people. It is good that we are living in an age of advance technology because his voice had been recorded and it could be still heard for many centuries yet to come.

Needless to say, many remember the Beatles that consisted of a group of four young men from England who performed together for a long time drawing large audiences. They were also instrumental in enriching our culture with their musical and singing talents. They made millions of records, which will enable them to keep their cultural contribution to society alive for a very long time. In addition, many videos and films were made on them that have eventually immortalized their cultural talents.

We should not forget the classical operas and various symphonies that were composed by Verdi, Beethoven, Mozart and the list goes on and on. Tens of thousands still flock several theaters to see stage operas and to listen to the classical music of some of the best composers in history. The enrichment of arts lies in the fact that they are so different in both concept and expression and, yet, they are all termed to be beautiful.


Source of World Enrichment

If we were to take a rapid tour around the world, we would be surprised to notice how many people of talent do exist in so many global areas. We should feel very grateful toward them because they have become the source of world enrichment. For those who might have visited France, they might have had the opportunity to listen to the cultural contributions made by Boudjemaa Zennouch whose talents in playing string instruments have instigated many to invite him to perform in a number of countries.

Mr. Zennouch is a young Berber from Algeria who lives with his beautiful wife and four talented children at St. Dennis in the outskirts of Paris. He is at present a permanent residence of France. Fortunately, he made quite a few CDs of his music and singing, which could be secured directly from him at any time. His e-mail is: b_zennouche@yahoo.fr

He has performed in a number of countries including Germany. During October 2008 Mr. Zennouch was scheduled to give performances for a few weeks in Algeria the country of his birth. He gave numerous radio interviews and people came from everywhere to enjoy his cultural contributions to society through his musical talents. Mr. Zennouch is a very intelligent and charming young man. He is noticeably modest and would go out of his way to make people feel happy and comfortable.

What is really nice with Mr. Zennouch, and many others like him, is that he tries to bring joy and peace in the hearts of all those he comes across. In fact, the music and songs he composes are all geared toward the promotion and implementation of peace, both individually and collectively. It was not easy for him to arrive at this important stage of him life time. He comes from a rather poor family where he had to do a variety of work to make sure that all the members of his family were not deprived of anything substantial and essential.

For some time, he played in subways and streets to entertain people that would stop to listen to him. Some of whom were so amazed and impressed that they gave him all the financial assistance that he needed.

What is the real impact of culture on developing countries? Such an impact has always been proven to be both positive and constructive. Culture is viewed in general as the product of the good an individual, a group or an entire nation, as a matter of fact, has to offer. As stated earlier, culture deals not only with painting and music but also with poetry and theater. These are items that are instinctively sought by all people from every walk of life and profession. They are elements that make people feel interiorly fulfilled.


Proper Utilization of Culture

We should keep in mind that culture could be kept alive or simply be buried into oblivion. When we keep it alive, especially in developing countries, we are managing to inject life and energy in people, something that they would appreciate immensely. On the other hand, when we keep it quiet like it is not there, we develop a situation where everyone feels a vacuum… sensing that something is missing.

When we deal with culture in developing nations we need to make sure that we do respect and preserve their inherited culture. Besides, we could take the opportunity to bring to the natives of these less fortunate nations other cultures that would enrich or complement their respective cultures. In this process, we need to be gentle as to bring them peaceful music, the composition of uplifting poetry, and the proper use of the theater as to enable them to learn vividly from history anything that is positive and constructive.

Besides, we could present a variety of paintings that are meaningful to their life, both at the individual and community level. The cultural approach would surely enable the natives of developing countries not only to appreciate culture but also to become an integral part of it. The most important element is to keep in mind that culture should be used primarily to promote and implement peace among the various communities on a permanent basis.

When people learn and practice the art of sharing with each other their feelings of both joy and concern, there will never be room for war, which should become obsolete the sooner the better. In view of what has been stated, it is obvious that we cannot take the importance of culture lightly. Culture gives satisfaction and fulfillment to everyone involved and concerned.

Moreover, it is enables us to develop our sense of appreciation toward ourselves and others. It also enables us to bring peace and harmony in the midst of each community where everyone should feel a winner and no one a loser. The appreciation of culture should always be our goal in life.