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A new Flemish-Moroccan culture centre, Darna, was due to open in Brussels in autumn 2017.

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Belgium/ 3.4 International cultural co-operation  

3.4.5 Cross-border intercultural dialogue and co-operation

Flemish Community

In the first decade of this millennium, a number of cross-border projects concerning intercultural dialogue were set up by Flemish governments. A "Local Cultural Policy Project" (2003-2005) was set up in 6 municipalities in South Africa in order to develop a local cultural policy. In the period 2007-2010, a project was set up in South Africa. The project called "Batsha" (Youth) was built around the "adoption" of four community centres, focusing on youth development through arts education, heritage, the performing and visual arts and sports.

In 2007-2008, steps were taken to stimulate Flemish-Congolese cultural cooperation. In February 2008, a declaration was signed by both Ministers of Culture. The possibilities were explored for setting up a "space" with socio-cultural programming in Kinshasa. At the same time, the idea emerged to develop a Flemish-Congolese culture house in Brussels, to stimulate durable and creative cooperation with Congo.

In May 2006, the Flemish Community and Morocco signed an agreement to set up "Daarkom", a Flemish-Moroccan House for Culture in Brussels, with a focus on intercultural dialogue. In 2011, Daarkom became operational, but only for a few years. In 2016, the Flemish and Moroccan Culture ministers announced the closing of Daarkom, and the opening of a new culture centre, Darna (scheduled for autumn 2017).

In the last and current legislative term however, cultural policy documents mention no current specific initiatives concerning the development of cross-border intercultural dialogue (apart from this discussion about the collaboration between the Flemish Community and the Kingdom of Morocco). At the same time, initiatives from the field are increasing. For instance, an increasing number of arts organisations are developing projects and strategies to connect with different and diverse regions, countries and continents. One example is KVS (the Flemish City Theatre in Brussels) which has been engaging in collaboration projects with Palestine and Congo. Moussem is a nomadic arts centre focusing on exchange with artists and organisations from the MENA region. 0090 is a production and presentation platform stimulating exchange with artists and organisation from Turkey. All these initiatives are supported via the Flemish Parliament Act on the Arts, and this is important: their aim is artistic. Rather than to simply present them as initiatives ‘to promote intercultural exchange’, it would be more accurate to frame them as initiatives that wish to stimulate new balances and more diversity in international and transnational collaboration in the arts.

French Community

The French Community has its own delegation within the summits of French-speaking Heads of State.

For more information, see our Intercultural Dialogue section

Chapter published: 16-01-2018

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