The Cultural Identity of Central Europe
The conference on Europe of Cultures: Cultural Identity of Central Europe, held in Zagreb, 22-24 November 1996, was organized by Culturelink (Network of Networks for Research and Cooperation in Cultural Development) located at the Institute for International Relations IMO, Zagreb, and the Europe House Zagreb. It was sponsored by the Council of Europe, the Croatian Ministry of Culture, the Croatian Ministry of Science and Technology, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, Open Society Institute – Croatia, and City of Zagreb Tourist Office, who all deserve credit from both the organizers and the participants for making this meeting possible.
About a hundred participants from 14 European countries and more than 50 international and national organizations, institutions, academic, cultural and professional, governmental and non-governmental bodies assembled at the conference. 25 papers were presented and about 40 participants took the floor to discuss or raise relevant issues. The programme featured, in addition to the opening session, three working sessions, two special sessions (on cultural policies and on Our Creative Diversity. Report of the World Commission on Culture and Development), and the presentation of the Culturelink Network. A concert dedicated to the Croatian composer and violin virtuoso Franjo Kre˛ma (1862-1881) and the exhibition of works by the contemporary Croatian painter Boris Demur were part of the social programme.
The present volume does not represent an exact account of the conference. As its editor, I did not wish to create a skeleton of an event that elapsed so quickly. My intention was, rather, to preserve the traces that the participants wished to leave: the papers they offered for publication and a summary of the lively discussion, as well as the list of participants.
I hope that the papers included here faithfully reflect the plurality of approaches and different aspect and develop the contemporary view of Central Europe as a project and an intellectual challenge rather than a well defined cultural region of Europe. Understanding Central Europe as an open cultural project and making an effort to contribute to its development actually presupposes a re-definition and rebuilding of its identity. I would therefore like to thank all the participants, organizers and sponsors for their willingness to make such an effort.