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Expert Meeting

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Cultural Policies and Cultural Development in Southeastern Europe: New Realities and Challenges

Expert Meeting


Zagreb, Croatia, 10-11 September 2004


Southeastern Europe, a most heterogeneous European region, after more than a decade of turbulent or even tragic events, is challenged by the changed overall European developmental constellation. The establishment of a new sub-region (Western Balkans), open or latent conflicts (Kosovo, Macedonia), the lack of development concepts in most countries and challenged intercultural relations (Bosnia and Herzegovina), as well as inequalities in the achieved level of approaching the EU (Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania vs. other countries) reflect new differences.

International organizations involved in cultural development and initiatives are gradually cutting down their programmes in the region. For example, Open Society Institutes from the region are being closed or are functioning with downsized funds. The European Cultural Foundation – very active in the past period – intends to shift much of its focus to other European or non-European regions. The level of involvement and active engagement of the Council of Europe is less visible from year to year.

What will be the position of the new EU member countries (particularly Slovenia and Hungary) towards the countries in the region? Which concrete measures and types of active support may be offered and provided by the enlarged EU? How will the countries in the region restructure their position towards each other in the context of an enlarged EU? These and other issues will be approached in the planned discussions.

Some Cultural Issues and Perspectives

The opening of the cultural space and the establishment of cultural cooperation in the region are still one of the most important tasks. These processes are still sporadic, non-systematic, occasional and mainly supported and fostered by the international community and international cultural organizations.

However, there are two basic pillars upon which such cooperation could be substantially improved and widened. On the one hand, a still preserved cultural capital exists, embodied in the knowledge of local traditions, cultural workers, and institutional memory. On the other hand, the transitional period has opened new forms of cultural cooperation (networking, consultancy, partnership, transfer of knowledge) and new approaches (cultural management, strategic cultural planning and a focus on organizational development and capacity building).

The context detailed above is the driving force behind organizing an Expert Meeting with the following basic aims:

  • to propose most effective ways of future cultural cooperation in the region;
  • to diagnose which organizational forms could be most suitable to support more systematic and continuous regional cultural development - open platforms, consortium of organizations, (in)formal network, regional coordinations in the form of regular meetings;
  • to propose future most needed concrete projects and initiatives in the field of cultural development and cooperation in the region;
  • to define a concrete organizational/institutional framework and division of tasks.

The Meeting will be divided into two interconnected parts:

  • The first day is devoted to conceptual and developmental issues related to the cultural policies and development in the region which will be elaborated in the form of interactive lectures and discussions of international speakers with Croatian Culturelink members.
  • The second day is devoted to the definition of operational scenarios for the future cultural development and cooperation in the region.

For more information, please contact: Culturelink/IMO, Lj.F. Vukotinovića 2, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia; tel.: +385-1-48 77 460; fax: +385-1-48 28 361; e-mail: Culturelink@irmo.hr; http://www.culturelink.org/conf/culpoldev/


Institute for International Relations
Institute for International Relations