The Eastern Partnership recognizes the value of cultural cooperation and inter-cultural dialogue as an integral part of all external policies and has underlined the importance of cultural cooperation in addressing political processes and challenges (EU Presidency Conclusions of the European Council of June 2008, paragraph 78). Therefore the Eastern Partnership has called for a specific Eastern Partnership Culture Program that will strengthen the capacity of the cultural sector in the region and enhance the role of culture as a force for reform, promotion of tolerance, and social cohesion.
The Program provides both technical assistance to address specific priority needs of public institutions and the region’s cultural sector, and grants to civil society cultural organizations – profit and non-profit – and national and local institutions for regional cooperation projects. The Program focuses on 6 countries: Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. It will encompass the entire cultural sector, including cinema and the audiovisual sector, contemporary arts, tangible and intangible heritage, as well as support to heritage conservation projects.
The Program’s Overall Objective is support the role of culture in the region’s sustainable development and promote regional cooperation among public institutions, civil society, cultural and academic organizations in the Eastern Partnership region and with the European Union.
Program’s Specific Objectives:
- to support and promote cultural policy reforms at the governmental level, build capacities of cultural organizations and improve “professionalization” of the culture sector in the region;
- to contribute to exchange of information, experience and best practices among cultural operators at the regional level and with the European Union;
- to support regional initiatives/partnerships, which demonstrate positive cultural contributions to economic development, social inclusion, conflict resolution and intercultural dialogue.
All in all 42 professionals from the 6 EaP countries will be trained in 2013 during 3 workshops of the Cycle 2013. As the main focus of the Workshop Cycle 2013 is on strategy and policy elaboration workshop one of the main criteria was that submitted projects had to comply with this main focus. Therefore, eligible workshop projects consists of draft concepts for culture sector or sub-sector strategies or policies or laws proposed for development through the workshops or such existing documents proposed for revision and assessment through the workshops, as well as projects on regional cooperation of cultural actors of the EaP countries.A part of the time will be allocated to work on projects during the three workshops. Between the workshops consultancy will be also provided to enable participants to finalize their projects.
The first workshop “Creating Tomorrow Today” was held in Chisinau, Moldova 17-20 April 2013. The program covered topics such as:
The work was very interactive, combining lectures, presentations and work in smaller groups.The selection of participants was brilliant: they all are experienced, knowledgeable, ready to contribute to the policy reforms of their countries in the future. The overall energy and enthusiasm was amazing. We learned, exchanged ideas, developed projects, looking at policy dimensions and the need of reforms in the cultural sector in the 6 targeted countries. We tried theoretical frameworks and concepts into real practical cases, coming from diverse fields of arts and culture.