Challenges and Opportunities: Culture in Emergencies and (Post-) Conflict – Rudi von Planta


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An RSAA panel discussion with Rudi Von Planta, from our series: Culture, Conflict and Recovery in Asia.

As part of Switzerland’s commitment to the 2005 UNESCO Convention on the Diversity of Cultural Expression, all offices of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) worldwide apply a so called “culture-percent” in their programmes. They invest at least 1% of their funds in arts and culture.

In many countries in which the SDC operates, natural disasters and/or conflicts are major factors in the social, economic and political contexts. Specific challenges arise when implementing arts and culture projects in these situations. But art and cultural projects open up opportunities to promote tolerance and understanding, to deal with trauma and to rebuild societies. They contribute to normality and the return of human values and thus to social cohesion and help to break the spiral of violence.

Rudi von Planta is the Head of Culture and Development at the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. Equipped with a legal background, he started his career with short-term assignments for the European Migration Centre in Berlin and the Representation of the European Commission in Germany, as well as the Friedrich Ebert Foundation in Benin. He then worked for several years as a human rights lawyer for the Swiss section of Amnesty International. Since 2008, he has held various positions at the SDC. After heading the office in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, he moved to headquarters in Bern and headed the Middle East/North Africa and Asia divisions for four years each. He has headed the SDC’s Culture and Development Division since 2020 where he is responsible for the implementation of cultural programmes worldwide.