By Samantha Tan
KUALA LUMPUR, March 14 (NNN-BERNAMA) — Cuba is keen to reinforce bilateral relations with Malaysia in three potential areas for collaboration, notably through cultural exchanges, said Cuba’s Deputy Minister of Culture, Kenelma Carvajal Perez.
Perez said she met the Secretary-General of Malaysia’s Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Datuk Isham Ishak in Putrajaya on Monday to discuss the matter.
“We are looking at three potential collaborations – cultural exchanges, heritage conservation, and information exchange in the education system,” she told Bernama International News Service at a reception given by Cuban Ambassador to Malaysia, Ibete Fernandez Hernandez at her residence here, Tuesday.
At the reception, the Art Expo Malaysia’s founder Datuk Vincent Sim was recognised for his efforts to promote Cuba through arts and culture. He received a certificate from Perez.
Perez, in Malaysia from March 11-15, in on her first visit here. She is here to attend the eighth World Summit on Arts and Culture at the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (KLPAC) from March 11-14.
Perez said the exchanges will enable Cuban and Malaysian people to have a greater understanding about each other, especially through arts and culture, adding that bringing Cuban artists to showcase their paintings to Malaysians is one way of doing it.
She said that one of the challenges in enhancing the people-to-people relation between the Caribbean nation and the Southeast Asian nation is the geographical distance, and added that cultural activities will close the gap between the two.
“Cultural heritage cooperation between Cuba and Malaysia is also one important exchange in the context of sustainable development as both countries have heritage sites,” explained Perez.
Cuba, with some 11.5 million people, is known for its efforts and successes in heritage conservation and protection, such as places like Old Havana which was founded in 1519 by the Spanish.
On information sharing in education, Perez said such efforts would increase cooperative relationships with teachers and promote the role of culture in education.
She also took the opportunity to express her government’s gratitude to the Malaysian government for its continuous support of the Cuban resolution against the blockade imposed by the United States.
On Havana International Book Fair – the largest cultural event in Cuba – Perez said the Cuban Government is ready to make arrangements if the Malaysian government is interested to be the guest country, as books and authors can be a way for Cubans to learn more about Malaysia.
This year’s fair, its 28th edition, was held on Feb 7-17 with Algeria as guest country.