31st United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization International Theater Institute Intercultural World Congress and Theater Olympics of the Nations at the Historic Landmark Manila Hotel

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IN the 58-year history of the International Theater Institute (ITI), the Philippines is the first Southeast Asian nation to host the ITI World Congress that will be held today until May 29, 2006. With the theme "From Ancestral Roots to New Artistic Routes Expression: Mobilizing Cultural Diversity to Achieve the United Nations (UN) Millennium Development Goals," the World Congress will have artists from more than 100 nations participating. United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Director General Koichiro Matsuura, will preside over the Leaders' Forum, one of the highlights of the Congress.

The ITI is an international non-governmental organization (NGO) established in Prague in 1948 by UNESCO and the international community. It has national centers in around 90 countries, including the Philippines. It maintains formal associate relations with UNESCO and is its principal international NGO partner in the field of the live performing arts. It has a cooperation and information sharing agreement with UNESCO and receives support for certain international projects through the UNESCO culture's sector, the Division of Arts and Cultural Enterprise. The ITI General Secretariat is based at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris.

The Philippines was unanimously voted in the 30th General Assembly of the International Theater Institute in Tampico, Mexico, as the host country for the 2006 Congress to be held at the historic landmark Manila Hotel. …