EFA to participate in first FestArab Forum in Baghdad

17 May 2013

From 18-20 June 2013 in Baghdad, Iraq, FestArab is organising a Forum entitled “Cultural events as a tool for dialogue, social integration and economic growth”. A selected group of students from the fields of culture, education and tourism will have the opportunity to exchange their experience under the guidance of high-qualified professionals from the cultural sector. The Forum is aimed especially at cultural actors in Iraq as well as all other actors interested in broadening their horizons through dialogue and debate. The European Festivals Association will be represented by its President Darko Brlek (Festival Ljubljana) and its member Jurriaan Cooiman (Culturescapes, swissfestivals).

The Forum will focus on:

  • discussing cultural identities of Iraq and the binding role of culture;
  • designing and applying strategies that enable artistic exchange and intercultural dialogue among all relevant stakeholders in the country;
  • creating a stable platform for communication and cooperation among cultural actors within the country and with other countries; and,
  • suggesting formulas for creating new dynamics through cultural events that unite people through dance, cinema and sport.

The Forum intends to establish a first step towards providing permanent educational programmes on cultural management to young students within the cultural sector. Participants will be selected taking into account:

  • representation criteria: representatives come from all over Iraq as well as other countries in the Arab world;
  • cultural actors, stakeholders and managers, or other professionals related to culture and other fields akin;
  • high-skilled students within the field of arts and cultural management, tourism, mass media, performing arts, fine arts, cinema, art education and music.

The workshops will include debates, presented and moderated by renowned professionals, on selected topics as well as a wide range of cultural activities is offered to all participants. Topics for the workshops include: heritage conservation, cultural promotion in historical, urban and contemporary spaces; culture, citizens, mass media; cultural management; as well as cultural cooperation, partnership platforms, and joint initiatives.

The Forum is organised by FestArab and is commissioned by the Iraqi Government as part of the programme scheduled during the celebration of Baghdad, Arab Cultural Capital 2013. It is realised in the collaboration with the European Festivals Association (EFA) and the participation of UNESCO and festivals from the Arab world.

FestArab aims to create a permanent festival network that unifies and empowers arts festivals in the Arab world. “EFA and FestArab share the mission of providing education opportunities to the next generation of festival directors,” underlines EFA President Darko Brlek. Recently, EFA launched The Festival Academy which offers training formats for festival management to young festival makers worldwide, one of them being the Atelier for Young Festival Managers. The next opportunities will be: the Atelier BEIRUT 2013 (5-12 October 2013) and the Atelier EDINBURGH 2014 (3-10 April 2014; application deadline: 30 June 2013). Young managers participating in the FestArab Forum in Baghdad will be invited to attend future EFA Ateliers.

In addition to these activities, The Festival Academy aims to sustain and further develop the Academy Alumni Network which has emerged from the previous Ateliers for Young Festival Managers. Director of Culturescapes and President of swissfestivals, Jurriaan Cooiman, is one of the 172 Atelier Alumni.