3.4.1 Overview of main structures and trends
After gaining independence, one of the most important components of Armenian foreign policy in the cultural area became the formation of new relations aimed at the strengthening of cooperation and mutual understanding, as well as the establishment and development of equal and mutually beneficial partnership relations with other states. It was in the area of those relations where the first results of the democratisation and decentralisation processes in the field of the culture were reflected. The main principles of international cooperation in the sphere of culture might be generally characterised as those providing diversification and modernisation of cultural processes in Armenia; promotion of Armenian culture abroad and for the Diaspora; and bringing local cultural policies into line with the principles of democracy, human rights and international cooperation.
The relations with a number of countries considerably improved, gradually involving deeper (regional, marz and inter-city) levels (with Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur, Vendee regions and Marcel City in France, with Saxony-Anhalt Land in Germany, with different cities in the USA, andwith Rostov, Komi and Astrakhan Oblasts in the Russian Federation, etc.).
During recent years, a major priority of the international activity by the Ministry of Culture is integration in the European and CIS structures, the extension of the cooperation to other areas, the promotion of Armenian culture, and the extension of the Armenia-Diaspora relations.
Since gaining independence, the Republic of Armenia has established bilateral relations уwith state and non-state structures and organisations of different countries. In the area of culture, international activities are carried out within the framework of signedinterstate, intergovernmental and interagency agreements on cultural cooperation, memoranda and exchange programmes, according to the main directions and priorities of Armenian cultural policy.
At present, cooperation is conducted with nearly 50 countries, in particular, with the Russian Federation, Georgia, Kirghizia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Lebanon, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Iran, Finland, Hungary, Greece, Korea, India, Bulgaria, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Poland, Great Britain, Croatia, Estonia, Romania, Slovenia, France, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, the USA, Canada, China, Germany, Kuwait, Qatar, Cyprus and Japan.
One of the fruitful forms of international cooperation is the establishment of multilateral relations. Since 1991, Armenia has established cooperation in the area of culture with international organisations and structures such as UNESCO, CoE, different structures of CIS, UNO, EU, INCP, BSEC etc.
According to the strategy in the cultural field, all forms of culture and art are considered as elements of international dialogue. For the purpose of developing this dialogue, Armenia has signed a number of international documents during recent years, which substantially furthers large-scaleexchanges with different countries. In particular, in October 2000, Armenia joined the Bern Convention on WIPO Literature and Art Works;in 2005 – the European Convention on Joint Cinematography Production, the European Convention on Ancient Heritage Preservation and, by the Faro Declaration – the European Cultural Convention; in 2006 – the UNSECO Conventions on the Protection and Encouragement of Diversity of Cultural Expressions and on the Protection of Non-Material Cultural Heritage; in November 2006, the government ratified the Convention on Non-Material Cultural Heritage Preservation. The CoE framework Convention on Cultural Heritage Importance to Society is in the process of ratification by Armenia. As a logical continuation of the processes on joining the international instruments, Armenia has participated in international cultural events such as Days of European Heritage, Museums' Night, Music Day annual events, and the implementation of the programme on the Armenian Duduk Music supported by UNESCO and the Japanese government. The Ministry of Culture is holding negotiations on the possibility of joining Eurimage.
Armenia has ratified an International Convention on the Preservation of European Architectural Heritage, and joined a number of important declarations and conventions such as the Agreement for facilitating the international circulation of visual and auditory materials of an educational, scientific, and cultural character and protocols on the importance of materials of educational, scientific and cultural character (Lake Success, New York, Nov. 22 1950) and (Nov. 26, 1976, Nairobi).
In 2008 Armenia joined IFACCA (International Federation of Arts Councils and Culture and UNIMA, international congress of puppet-makers).