President Chen Shui-bian (
Addressing the opening of the AICA 2004 World Congress at the Taipei County Government building, Chen said artistic activities symbolize a country's freedom and creativity while artistic criticism can serve as a bridge between artists and the general public.
As a member of the international community, Chen said, Taiwan is more than willing to make positive contributions to the world and fulfill its duties and obligations.
However, the president said, Taiwan has been shut out of the UN since 1971. For years, he said, Taiwan has faced enormous difficulties taking part in UN-sponsored activities because of Beijing's diplomatic suppression.
Against this backdrop, Chen said, the AICA's choice of Taiwan as the venue for its annual congress is of great significance.
Chen said his administration has consistently placed much emphasis on cultural development and artistic activities and education, with an aim to making Taiwan a country with vitality and creativity. He urged all AICA conference-goers to present valuable advice to help boost Taiwan's cultural development.
The AICA was founded in Paris in 1948 and was recognized as a non-governmental organization by UNESCO in 1951.
The AICA now has branches in 72 member countries, representing more than 4,000 art critics around the world.
Taiwan became a formal member of the organization under the designation of "AICA Taiwan" in 2001 and the AICA authorized Taiwan to hold its 2004 world congress last year.
AICA Taiwan is one of the few local organizations that have been able to join an organization affiliated with UNESCO.