3.4.2 Public actors and cultural diplomacy
These agencies have elaborated a long-lasting and fruitful collaboration both with the public and private sector in culture. The cooperation projects vary from traditional forms of artistic exchange (e.g. exhibitions, workshops, performances, touring etc.) to research and cultural policy development.
In Bulgaria the most present ones are: Institut culturel Français et de cooperation, Goethe Institut, British Council, Cervantes Institut (opened in 2005) and the Swiss Cultural Programme in Bulgaria (Pro Helvetia) withdrew its regular grants programme by the end of 2006, due to EU accession.
This active collaboration at multiple levels brings up the Bulgarian cultural sector closer to the European values and act not only as bilateral but also as multilateral instrument of cultural diplomacy.
While performing its main tasks in cultural diplomacy, the Ministry of Culture works in close collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the National UNESCO Commission, foreign representations (e.g. embassies, consulates, cultural institutes) etc.
Bilateral cultural co-operation
Within the period 2001-2009 Bulgaria signed one hundred and four agreements and protocols in the field of cultural cooperation. This number includes cultural cooperation programmes covering specific areas of the cultural sector e.g. cinema production, cultural heritage etc.
Bulgaria has 10 cultural institutes abroad, which were established as a result of bilateral agreements. They are situated in European capital cities: Berlin, Bratislava, Budapest, Prague, Moscow, Skopje, Warsaw, Vienna (the Haus Wittgenstein), Paris and Rome. Since 1 October 2006, the Academia Bulgaria di Arte e Cultura, "Boris Christoff" (a residency providing master classes to young Bulgarian opera talents in Rome) has been transformed into a Bulgarian Cultural Institute in Rome.
Bulgarian culture was presented in Brussels and other Belgian cities during the four-month festival Europalia - Bulgaria 2002. Participation in Europalia - Europe (Belgium, October 2007- February 2008).
The year 2008 was proclaimed as the Year of Russia in Bulgaria, which was celebrated with a number of major cultural artistic activities. The year 2009 was proclaimed reciprocally a Year of Bulgaria in Russia and a special programme was carried out for promotion of Bulgarian culture and arts among Russian audiences.
Memorandums and agreements have also been signed for some major events of international scale e.g. large scale exhibitions, residential programmes etc.
Besides the annual state support for international cultural cooperation through the budget of the Ministry of Culture, other instruments are available e.g. the Communication Strategy for the EU Accession of Bulgaria. It was launched in 2002 with the aim to promote the new European image of Bulgaria, where cultural and artistic initiatives have a core role. Through project subsidies allocated by the government, via the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, public and private organisations could participate in initiatives aimed at promoting Bulgarian culture and civilisation in Europe, at disseminating EU values to the general Bulgarian population.
The State Institute for Culture with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was established in 2006 as an instrument of cultural diplomacy. Its main activity is related to formulation of the Ministry's policy in the field of international scientific, cultural and education cooperation of Republic of Bulgaria as priorities of state's foreign policy. Among the main goals of the Institutes are to take part in drawing op of the positive image of the contemporary Bulgaria with rich ancient and dynamic contemporary culture, that contributes to the processes of intercultural dialogue and international cultural cooperation. http://sic.mfa.government.bg/