ICOM Russia President
Several years ago, three National Committees of the International Council of Museums – ICOM Russia, ICOM Germany, and ICOM US – decided to hold a joint conference in St. Petersburg. The topic of the conference was "Museums and Power." This topic has always been relevant for the entire domain of culture in all countries of the world, but nowadays it has become critically important.
Culture has always been a universal language understandable to representatives of any nation, even if its representative does not speak the language that verbalizes a specific element of the culture. This universality has enormous consolidating potential that can and must be used by cultural figures to build bridges that join different countries and help different people see and get to know each other. In the near future, culture must become a "new" tool to enter into dialog and overcome contradictions. In this regard, culture and, particularly, museums do not limit themselves only to a diplomatic function. The concept of the connection that culture can build is much deeper – it brings together not citizens but people, explains the other, and helps to understand the structure of the society and the underlying connection which exists there, the global ultimate causes that lead to these or any other processes. This is exactly why museums have such great potential in terms of dealing with conflicts, both local and global, and in terms of building a harmonious society.