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The Year of Creative Economy

The use of the internet for work and for online learning has tremendously increased and facilitated working together since the outbreak of the COVID-19. Nevertheless, real communication such as building bridges is yet to be achieved. Thus, the necessity to work for it in a creative way.   

In November 2019, the United Nations declared 2021 as the International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development. It aims to promote inclusive economic growth through innovative means that would be respectful of human rights. Many countries have been reeling from the ill effects of COVID-19 and this campaign encouraging collaboration among all countries in this aspect is very much needed.

According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, “the creative industries –which include advertising, architecture, arts and crafts, design, fashion, film, video, photography, music, performing arts, publishing, research & development, software, computer games, electronic publishing, and TV/radio–are the lifeblood of the creative economy.”

The work-from-home and online-learning have pushed many sectors globally to increase their use of the internet, where numerous expressions of the creative industries have been largely visible. 

In my mission as a writer, I can now reach my favorite international personalities, made possible through social media. One of the opportunities that the pandemic has opened is that many famous individuals have been spending more time on their social media accounts and organizing educational Zoom conferences with people who may have had limited encounters with them in the past, or none at all.

There is no guarantee though, that as we strive to be virtually connected, and even as we initiate projects together, that real communication is being accomplished. Pope Francis, in Fratelli Tutti, challenges us with this reality: “digital relationships, which do not demand the slow and gradual cultivation of friendships, stable interaction or the building of a consensus that matures over time, have the appearance of sociability. Yet they do not really build community. Digital connectivity is not enough to build bridges.”

Even though the pandemic has had catastrophic effects on the world, it has also had the potential of bringing out the best in many of us. Pope Francis exhorts us in the same encyclical, “let us look to the example of the Good Samaritan. Jesus’ parable summons us to rediscover our vocation as citizens of our respective nations and of the entire world, builders of a new social bond.”

How can we, using social media, work together, so that our creative industries can be channels of living out values of compassion, generosity, cooperation, and care for the environment? May we concretely attain sustained economies not simply to enjoy material abundance, but to serve humanity and share God’s goodness with each one. 

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