Arts Festivals’ Declaration features in EU publication on intercultural dialogue

29 July 2009

In the follow-up of the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue the European Commission released a publication entitled “Highlights of the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue 2008.” It presents a selection of projects and activities that took place throughout Europe. The Arts Festivals’ Declaration on Intercultural Dialogue – the 2008 flagship project of the European Festivals Association (EFA) – features among the chosen initiatives. With the Arts Festivals’ Declaration, EFA first and foremost aimed at uniting arts and culture festivals of all kinds to engage in an ongoing intercultural dialogue. The Declaration specifies the important role of festivals for developing and promoting intercultural dialogue, and it called upon all European festivals, national associations and cultural networks to share experiences and best practices. The Declaration defines a set of concepts, tools and means to illustrate how arts festivals play a powerful role in turning a multicultural society into an intercultural society. It was signed by hundreds of music, dance, theatre, rock, pop, jazz, literature, film, philosophy, children’s and street art festivals as well as national festival associations and cultural networks across Europe and beyond. “This greatly helped to increase visibility of the issue,” states the EU publication. Best practices and outstanding projects implemented in the course of 2008 by arts festivals are featured on the dedicated Declaration website. “In our increasingly diverse societies, only genuine dialogue will ensure that we overcome the risk of divisions and move towards truly intercultural communities in Europe,” stresses Ján Figel’, European Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Youth, in the foreword. “The European Year successfully raised awareness of the benefits of the cultural diversity which characterises Europe.” Beyond 2008, intercultural dialogue remains a priority for the European Commission. EFA’s own future commitment is underlined by the recent release of the forth edition of the EFA BOOKS series: “Dialogue. Festivals Act for an Intercultural Society.” In an inspiring collection of articles, interviews and discussions, seven festival directors share their thoughts about festivals’ roles in our diverse societies. They elaborate why festivals are important motors to enhance intercultural dialogue and discuss a festival’s role, potentials and limits to move borders and remove barriers. The EU publication “Highlights of the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue 2008” is available on the European Commission’s website. The EFA publication “Dialogue” can be purchased on the EFA eShop. Related news and links: • EU publication “Highlights of the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue 2008”Declaration websiteLaunch of EFA BOOKS 4: "Dialogue. Festivals Act for an Intercultural Society"